Wednesday December 22, 2021 | NATIONAL
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
“Spring will be better if we hunker down in the coming weeks,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today regarding how all Canadians are being asked to adapt sensibly and cautiously to the rapidly-spreading Omicron virus.
He announced that components of the recently-passed Bill C-2 have been activated in order to extend supports for businesses and workers, similar to the wage and rent subsidies from earlier in the pandemic. There was no mention of anything resembling CERB-type support for individuals.
Impacts of this fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are social and economic, as well as personal and within families and workplaces.
Trudeau said that while most of us will have “a smaller number of gatherings and contacts”, people will “survive through”, and should realize how hard the health-care workers have been impacted and who continue to work in “hospital rooms and facilities” and administer COVID vaccine shots.
“Get booster shots and reduce your number of contacts,” the prime minister said. “Being safe in the choices we make as we gather,” was another of his guidance statements.
How Canadians handle this period of Omicron over the Christmas holiday season “will determine how difficult this winter will be”, said Trudeau today.
The prime minister did say there are enough booster shots available for everyone who is eligible. He added, however, that provinces are experiencing “obstacles to delivering” the shots (i.e. getting them into arms), and that the federal government will help in any way it can. Concerns about “speed and access are more properly given to the provinces”, he told reporters.
Major representation of Cabinet & public health:
Trudeau was accompanied virtually during the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Howard Njoo also participated virtually and provided an update on COVID-19.
This conference was held by dial-in only for all media, including the Ottawa parliamentary media. Trudeau mentioned that three people in his office and three of his security staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Please take responsibility for your health and the health of others,” said Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos.
Dr Tam reminded that “we’re not back where we started”, as now two years into the pandemic Canadians have access to masks, know-how for physical distancing and following other health protocols, effective vaccines, and clinical treatments.
Even if the actual experience of COVID illness by the Omicron variant is milder than in previous phases of the pandemic, the sheer number of people who are being infected could quickly overwhelm the health-care system.
New COVID public health orders start Dec 22 in BC (December 21, 2021)
Vancouver Island COVID profile at Dec 20 (December 20, 2021)
Strong BC vaccination effort for kids 5 to 11 (December 17, 2021)
Omicron mid-Dec: three COVID updates this week (December 16, 2021)
Liberal to Liberal: Trudeau addresses party faithful before Christmas (December 15, 2021)