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Canada’s COVID-19 case rate tops U.S. as country continues to lag in vaccinations

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For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Canada’s rate of new cases of the novel coronavirus has eclipsed that of the United States.

An analysis of numbers collected by Our World In Data now shows that on Friday, Canada reported 205.73 new cases per million on a rolling seven-day average, relative to the country’s population, while the United States sat at 205.12.

On average over the last seven days, Canada has reported 7,967.7 new cases, and the country’s daily cases have increased 82 per cent over past 14 days.

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Canada saw 9,255 new coronavirus infections on Friday, marking a new all-time record for daily cases.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the country’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported a total of 30,814,955 COVID-19 cases, marking an increase of 77,478 new infections over the previous day.

Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said he is “not surprised” to hear Canada is now outpacing the United States.

“I think it does mean our measures are not working well or they’re not working well at this point,” he told Global News.

Bowman said the idea that the U.S. “botched” its COVID-19 response is “slipping away very, very quickly as the Americans make greater progress and we kind of don’t.”

He said the numbers begin to “parallel” what the U.S. saw in terms of infection rates.

“We’ll see,” he said.

Canada lagging in vaccine rollout

Canada has also fallen significantly behind the U.S. when it comes to its vaccine roll-out plan.

The country, lacking domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, has relied entirely on imported shots.

However, repeated delays early on from manufacturers and a competitive market have hampered Canada’s attempts to get shots into arms as quickly as possible.

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That effort has picked up in the last few weeks, though, as more doses flow into the country.

And, while Canada has experienced delays from both Pfizer and Moderna, the country procured 9.5 million doses by the end of the first quarter.

According to Health Canada, as of April 7, 10,542,312 doses had been delivered across the country.

Of those, a total of 7,569,321 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the provinces and territories so far.

That means approximately 10.14 per cent of the Canadian population is now fully innoculated against the virus.

According to Our World in Data, as of April 9, approximately 19.99 per cent of Canadians had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 34.22 per cent of Americans had.
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However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country remains on track to receive “at least 44 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca” by the end of June.

Further, the Trudeau government has maintained that all Canadian adults who want a vaccine will have access to one by the end of summer.

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However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, Canada’s top doctor Theresa Tam said the “race” between vaccine rollout and the spread of the new, more transmissible variants is “at a critical point.”

“It is clear that we need stronger control to combat variants of concern that are driving rapid epidemic growth in many areas of the country,” she said.

Meanwhile in the United States, over 178.8 million shots have been administered. That means so far, 19.21 per cent of the American population has been fully vaccinated.

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The United States has one of the largest domestic vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world. Therefore, it is making the majority of its vaccines at home.

In fact, last month, the country agreed to send 1.5 million of AstraZeneca shots to Canada.

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The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but was green-lit by Health Canada in February.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Joe Biden said all adults will be eligible to be vaccinated as of April 19.

Biden also said his administration is on schedule to meet his new goal of distributing 200 million doses of the vaccine during his first 100 days in office.

-With a file from Global News’ Sean Boynton

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