As Vaccination Takes Hold in Canada, a Slow Reawakening Begins

Here’s what Canada’s reopening looked like during my trip through three Western provinces.

By Ian Austen

The pandemic is not over by any means. But Canada seems to be at least rubbing some of the sleep out of its eyes as a variety of restrictions have been lifted in most provinces.

This long weekend brought another round of loosening-up as vaccination numbers kept rising. As of Friday, the number of fully vaccinated adults reached 31 percent and 68 percent of Canadians had at least one shot.

The latest Covid-19 modeling released by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that the vaccination campaign is working. Hospital admissions, the number of cases and, thankfully, deaths have been steadily declining. The R number, which represents the number of people to whom an infected person will pass on the virus, has been below 1 since April 17, strong confirmation that the virus is in retreat.

None of that means that the Delta variant is no longer a concern and that we can entirely give up on precautions. The Public Health Agency has published a handy chart, offering some advice for fully and partly vaccinated Canadians, and an interactive risk-assessment questionnaire.

In short, if we want to hold off a fourth wave and another round of restrictions, more Canadians need to continue to get vaccinated. Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, has said that even fully vaccinated people can’t go back to normal lives until 80 percent of Canadians are inoculated.

“While we continue to make great progress with more than 36 million doses of vaccine administered by provinces and territories to date, precautions are still needed as immunity builds up further across our communities,” Dr. Tam said in a Canada Day message.

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