Speer: Let’s not prolong this pandemic for the sake of the expert class

An uncomfortable insight and a reminder how we all need to be aware of the incentives and motivations that affect our behaviour and positions:

I saw a fascinating tweet last week that reflected something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. University of Waterloo labour economist Mikal Skuterud wondered aloud whether the experts whose influence and profile have risen over the past twenty-four months or so may be consciously or subconsciously inclined to prolong the pandemic. 

Skuterud’s question doesn’t attribute malice or ill-intent. He’s not questioning whether academics or public servants would purposefully manipulate data or intentionally provide misleading advice. He’s making a far more subtle yet important point.  

He’s asking if our pandemic-induced emphasis on expertise may inadvertently create a powerful set of incentives in which these same experts may eventually find it challenging to surrender the sense of power and purpose that they’ve been given over the past two years. It’s a question worth asking.

As he rightly notes, the pandemic has necessarily elevated certain experts in our society. We’ve seen doctors, epidemiologists, and other public health experts come to have unprecedented influence over government policymaking and uncharacteristic prominence in the mainstream media and on social media. 

That’s somewhat natural in light of the circumstances. It’s to be expected that policymakers, the media, and the general population would come to value infectious disease experts in the face of a novel coronavirus. 

The result though is that a number of hitherto obscure academics and bureaucrats have never mattered this much before and probably never will again. It’s not normal for them to appear on television each day or increase their Twitter followings tenfold. 

Such a surge of influence and profile can bring with it a powerful set of incentives. It can contribute to a loss of perspective and an inflation of one’s ego. It can encourage individuals who may usually be scholarly and taciturn to be more quarrelsome and vehement. It can preference 280 characters over nuance. It can turn little-known academics into political actors. 

Skuterud’s question is therefore a good and honest one. How might this extraordinary yet temporary increase in the role of certain experts influence how they think about the pandemic and advise on pandemic-related policies including the continuation of public-health restrictions?   

The answer may lie in Public Choice theory, which the Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan famously defined as “politics without romance.” Public Choice came about in the second half of the twentieth century under the intellectual influence of Buchanan, his regular collaborator, Gordon Tullock, political economist Mancur Olson, and various others. 

The basic idea is that our understanding of one’s motivations in the private economy ought to extend to his or her involvement in government, politics, and public policy. As economist Pierre Lemieux has succinctly put it: “He does not metamorphose into an altruist angel.” 

Most economic analysis starts with a basic premise: the market is comprised of rational actors pursuing their own self-interest. Yet these same assumptions about human behaviour aren’t always applied in the political sphere. The underlying presumption can be that activists, bureaucrats, and politicians are somehow beyond self-interest and are instead capable of making judgments about government policy without accounting for their own personal interests. 

Public Choice theory challenges this notion. It uses modern economics to analyse politics and political decision-making. It starts from the premise that different actors in the political process are self-interested agents who will seek to maximize their own utility function just like individuals do in the marketplace. 

In practice, it means that politicians may offer voters popular measures to get elected, public servants might conceive of new programs to obtain more funding and greater resources for their departments, and special interest groups—including unions and corporations—invariably lobby government to obtain new benefits such as tariffs to protect their businesses or laws or regulations that advance their own interests. 

This hardly seems like a revolutionary idea now. Public Choice theory has become a well-respected school of economic thought with a number of prolific exponents and a wide range of applications. But, at its infancy, it was seen as a radical proposition that brought into question the capacity of government to make collective decisions in the public interest.  

The consequence of Public Choice isn’t to challenge government’s basic legitimacy or reject it altogether. It’s instead a call for a clear-eyed assessment of the impulses and motivations behind different actors involved in politics and public administration. This extends to the experts and journalists who form part of the overall system and must be similarly understood as influenced by a broadly defined notion of self-interest. It’s not narrowly about monetary reward either—though financial gain may be a factor for some. It can extend to other rewards including influence, profile, or the sense of meaning and purpose that the pandemic’s emphasis on expertise has granted. 

It’s important to emphasize that this isn’t a description of moral failing. Recognizing the pull of self-interest isn’t a judgement of particular people in positions of authority. It’s an observation about human nature and the fact that government and politics are fundamentally comprised of humans and their inherent fallibilities. 

Which brings us back to Skuterud’s question. There’s no reason to think that most experts haven’t acted in good faith during the pandemic and sought to make a positive contribution to solving the extraordinary public health crisis. But, as Public Choice tells us, it’s also quite possible that at some level these incentives are shaping the questions that they’re asking, the data that they’re collecting, the analysis that they’re bringing to bear, or how they’re engaging in the public sphere.

The risk, of course, is that these forces come to obtrude collective decision-making and in turn prolong the pandemic. It’s hard to know the magnitude of the risk. But it’s presumably not zero. It must be something that we are cognizant of—especially as the policy choices become more complex and the subject of greater debate. 

The ultimate solution to the COVID-19 pandemic is imperfect: it will require a combination of critical thinking and judgement calls without any altruistic angels. This pandemic’s end will necessarily involve a series of trade-offs, calculated choices, and second-best options. It must in short be an exercise in a politics without romance. 

Source: https://thehub.ca/2022-01-20/lets-not-prolong-this-pandemic-for-the-sake-of-the-expert-class/?utm_source=The%20Hub&utm_campaign=dd5b5eb714-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2022_01_19_06_47&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_429d51ea5d-dd5b5eb714-475403886&mc_cid=dd5b5eb714&mc_eid=7832dd2817

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 19 January Update

Steep rise of infections remains the main story, along with resulting increases in hospitalizations and ICUs.

Vaccinations: Some minor shifts but general convergence among provinces and countries. Canadians fully vaccinated 79 percent, compared to Japan 78.9 percent, UK 71.4 percent and USA 63.4 percent.

Immigration source countries are also converging: China fully vaccinated 87.3 percent, India 48.2 percent, Nigeria 2.5 percent (the outlier), Pakistan 36 percent, Philippines 51.8 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Effects of Omicron seen in steep curve in all G7 countries and provinces. No such effect in immigration source countries

Deaths: No relative changes but Quebec uptick more visible.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among most provinces but lower rates for Alberta and Prairies. Gap between G7 less Canada continues to grow despite overall convergence, with narrowing gap with immigration source countries. Nigeria remains the laggard.

Weekly

Infections: New York ahead of UK, France ahead of USA, Australia ahead of Canada less Quebec, Atlantic Canada ahead of India. 

Deaths: No relative change.

#COVID-19 Immigration Effects: November Update

Key trends from November IRCC operational data: 

Minister Fraser announced just before Christmas that the government had met it 2021 target of 401,000, with November numbers being the highest monthly numbers to date, 47,340. 

One consequence of the government’s fixation on meeting the target has been the inevitable increase in backlogs: 548,000 permanent residence applications, 776,000 temporary residence applications, and 468,000 Canadian citizenship applications. 

Transition from temporary residents to permanent residents accounts for about three quarters of all permanent resident admissions, as can be seen also in Express Entry Invitation to Apply and Admissions data. The economic class forms a slightly increasing percentage (from 57% in 2019 to 62.1% in 2021 YTD), reflecting in part a significant increase in the latter half of 2021. 

Meanwhile, applications continue to decline slightly along with web interest given increased two-step immigration from international students and those on work permits and their family members. 

Temporary Residents – IMP remained stable compared to the previous month but declined with respect to November 2020 and 2019. 

Temporary Residents – TFWP small decline, largely due to agriculture workers and those with a LMIA. 

Students: Seasonal decline of study permits but a November increase in applications year-over-year (and compared to 2019), suggesting greater awareness and interest in two-step immigration. 

Asylum Claimants: Significant increase in the number of asylum claimants, given reduced travel restrictions. Significant increase also for Irregular arrivals (Roxham Road etc), with close to one thousand in November. 

Citizenship: Program continues to recover to normal levels and starting to make a small dent in the backlog 

Visitor Visas: While numbers have increased given reduced travel restrictions, still remain slightly more than half of traditional levels (2019).

COVID-19 related racism impacts sense of belonging, reporting incidents: Study

Of interest given lack of major difference between first and second generation:
The dramatic increase in reports to Vancouver police of hate crimes targeted at Asian-Canadians in 2020 shocked many.

Now, a new study delves into the psychological impact of experiencing COVID-19 and racism when it comes to the sense of belonging held by different generations of Chinese-Canadians. It finds these feelings could hinder the reporting of incidents just as policy-makers are grappling with how to better understand what’s happening.

Source: COVID-19 related racism impacts sense of belonging, reporting incidents: Study

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 12 January Update

Steep rise of infections remains the main story, along with resulting increases in hospitalizations and ICUs.

Vaccinations: Some minor shifts but general convergence among provinces and countries. Canadians fully vaccinated 78.7 percent, compared to Japan 78.8 percent, UK 71.4 percent and USA 63.4 percent.

Immigration source countries are also converging: China fully vaccinated 87 percent, India 46.8 percent, Nigeria 2.4 percent (the outlier), Pakistan 34.7 percent, Philippines 49.4 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Effects of Omicron seen in steep curve in all G7 countries and provinces. No such effect in immigration source countries

Deaths: No relative changes but slight uptick in Quebec.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among provinces and G7 less Canada and narrowing gap with immigration source countries. Nigeria remains the laggard.

Weekly

Infections: Alberta ahead of Germany, Australia and Philippines ahead of India, India ahead of Atlantic Canada. 

Deaths: Atlantic Canada ahead of Pakistan.

Fair amount of commentary on Quebec’s announcement of a health tax on the unvaccinated, with most commentary opposed to the idea. A notable exception on the right side of the political spectrum, Tasha Kheiriddin:

What to do about the unvaccinated? As Omicron tears through Canadian society, this public health question has become a political wedge issue. The Liberals and Conservatives have chosen sides, ramped up the rhetoric, and polarized the debate, each playing to the base they think is most likely to support their point of view.

With 88 per cent of Canadians over the age of 12 fully vaccinated , the Liberals figure they’re pretty safe siding with the crowd that favours the jab. Regrettably, they have chosen the strategy of demonization. On Friday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos speculated provincial governments would make vaccination mandatory, which he said could be needed to get “rid” of the virus.

During the election campaign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the unvaccinated “misogynists and racists.” He dialled that down a bit last week when he said that Canadians are angry at the unvaccinated who take up hospital beds, but his remarks caused a furor that has yet to subside. This is not accidental.

The sad reality is that there is a subset of the unvaccinated who fit Trudeau’s description; since September, for example, some have been using the hashtag “Pureblood” on social media to self-identify as unvaccinated. You don’t have to scroll far to find tagged images peppered with shots of white supremacy gestures or MAGA hats.

The Liberals’ dogwhistle is designed to conflate these people with mainstream Conservatives — and turn people off Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s call for “reasonable accommodation.” O’Toole is asking for “acceptance” of the fact that up to 15 per cent of the population will not get vaccinated. He favours using rapid tests to keep unvaccinated workers on the job, as opposed to shutting down to stop the spread of the virus.

“In a population that is now largely fully vaccinated, in fact the action and inaction by the Trudeau government is normalizing lockdowns and restrictions as the primary tool to fight the latest COVID-19 variant.”

But this approach is also wrong. First, it relies on unreliable technology. Rapid tests are not good at detecting Omicron infections, particularly in the early stage when a person is infectious but shows no symptoms. Second, it sends a double message. On the one hand, the Tories encourage people to “get vaccinated.” On the other, they make allowances for those who eschew the jab. It’s like saying “wear your seatbelt, but if you don’t, that’s OK.” Well guess what — it’s not. If you get in an accident, it will cost up to three times more to treat you in hospital than if you were buckled up. Sound familiar?

The reality is that we restrict plenty of behaviours where we judge the harm to others, including economic harm, outweighs the limits to individual liberty. We don’t allow people to smoke in workplaces or public buildings. We forbid drinking and driving. And we mandate vaccination for contagious diseases such as measles if children are to attend public school. Why? Because otherwise your actions, or inaction, present a real risk of harm to someone else. They can cause quantifiable loss, in the form of sickness, suffering, even death (yes, last year 200,000 people worldwide died of measles , mostly children under five). People don’t live in a vacuum.

A liberal would cite Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, which called for government by popular consent; a conservative would point to Edmund Burke, who rightly observed, “Men are never in a state of total independence of each other.” In other words, there is no freedom without responsibility, no liberty without duty.

When it comes to vaccination, we should protect those who understand this truth from those who disdain it. Vaccine passports, restrictions on interaction and withdrawal of privileges are preferable to calling people names, forcing them to get the shot, or conversely accommodating a choice that puts others in harm’s way. Obliging those who opt out of vaccination to pay a penalty, such as the Quebec government is suggesting, is also a possibility. Such measures are not about cajoling or compelling, though if they do result in more vaccinations, that’s a good thing. They are meant to protect all of us who just want to move on from this once-in-a-century public emergency and get back to living our lives

Source: The unvaccinated must be deterred from harming others

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 5 January Update and impact of Omicron

Back from my holiday break, three weeks later, the steep rise in infections due to Omicron (likely undercounted given testing constraints).

Vaccinations: Some minor shifts but general convergence among provinces and countries. Canadians fully vaccinated 78.3 percent, compared to Japan 78.7 percent, UK 71 percent and USA 62.9 percent.

Immigration source countries are also converging: China fully vaccinated 86.4 percent, India 45 percent, Nigeria 2.2 percent (the outlier), Pakistan 33.5 percent, Philippines 46.8 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Effects of Omicron becoming more apparent with steep rise in all provinces, led by Quebec.

Deaths: No relative changes.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among provinces and G7 less Canada and narrowing gap with immigration source countries. Nigeria remains the laggard.

Weekly

Infections: Atlantic Canada ahead of Australia and Japan.

Deaths: No relative change

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 15 December Update and the rise of Omicron

The latest charts, compiled 15 December, with the effects of Omicron.

Canadians fully vaccinated 77.8 percent, compared to Japan 77.7 percent, UK 70 percent and USA 61.7 percent.

Vaccinations: Numerous minor shifts but general convergence: UK ahead of Canadian North, Atlantic Canada ahead of British Columbia, France ahead of Canada, New York ahead Sweden and Australia, Prairies ahead of California, Japan behind California. China fully vaccinated 83.2 percent, India 38.4 percent, Nigeria 2 percent, Pakistan 26.8 percent, Philippines 38.9 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Effects of Omicron becoming more apparent.

Deaths: No significant relative changes.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among provinces and G7 less Canada and narrowing gap with immigration source countries. Nigeria remains a laggard.

Weekly

Infections: Germany now ahead of Alberta.

Deaths: No relative change

How the Grinch stole Chanukah: secularism is not a veil for systemic racism

Legitimate observation on timing, whether this was intentional or blindness:

In the same week that an elementary school teacher was removed from her classroom in Quebec for wearing a hijab, the Legault government announced it will loosen the rules for indoor gatherings right in time for Christmas.

I hate to be a Grinch, but in this multi-faith household as we put away the menorah and bring out the Christmas lights, I question when Quebec will stop pretending to be a secular society.

What a coincidence that at this time last year, the CAQ also considered allowing larger gatherings for Christmas, right when holidays from other faiths, such as Chanukah and Diwali, had ended. 

The Legault government preaches about separation between church and state, puts into law Bill 21 preventing public servants (teachers, police, judges, etc.) from wearing religious symbols, and insists that systemic racism is not an issue in Quebec; yet we are expected to believe that loosening of public health measures on Dec. 23 is linked to the state and not the church.

Quebec is not a religiously neutral society; it is a Catholic-based society. Its institutions close for Christmas and Easter; countless streets, towns, hospital, and schools are named after saints; and the crucifix that hung prominently in the national assembly for decades was only recently removed, following much debate and push back. 

Even Bill 21, an act respecting the laicity of state, accommodates those who practice the Catholic faith, since donning a cross around the neck can be concealed, unlike a hijab, turban, or kippah worn on the head.

As this questionable bill impede the lives of marginalized Quebecers, the CAQ government dares, once more, to tempt pandemic fate in the name of Christmas.

Linking new rules for private gatherings to one specific holiday will, of course, never be publicly stated. Instead, it is conveniently suggested that the timing is due to a stabilization in the number of hospitalizations, the fact that the Omicron variant is not circulating widely in the province, that children over five are now being vaccinated. 

This pandemic has brought many issues to light, including the value of critical thinking. Much information is believable when taken at face value, but even evidence-based facts, like statistics, can be misleading when twisted the right way. 

There is no denying that Quebec has done well in its vaccination and public health efforts, but as the world grapples with mutations of a virus that aims to outsmart us, are we to naively believe that this province will be spared because it is Christmas?

Making progress in halting a global pandemic is hardly an excuse for loosening rules, which miraculously coincide with the birth of Jesus. 

If we really want to understand secularism, pay attention to COVID-19, which makes no distinction for any faith in its path of destruction. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus … one multicultural society battling this virus together.

As the candles go out on Chanukah and the Christmas trees light up, let’s be reminded that a secular society caters not to any one faith. Secularism, Mr. Legault, is not a vail for systemic racism.

Susan Mintzberg is a PhD candidate in social work at McGill University. Her research focuses on the role of family caregivers in mental health care.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/12/13/how-the-grinch-stole-chanukah-secularism-is-not-a-vail-for-systemic-racism.html

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 8 December Update

The latest charts, compiled 8 December. Too early to assess the impact of omicron.

Canadians fully vaccinated 77.5 percent, compared to Japan 77.4 percent, UK 69.7 percent and USA 60.8 percent.

Vaccinations: Minor shifts: Ontario ahead of Italy and Quebec, Sweden ahead of Alberta, Australia, New York and Japan. China fully vaccinated 79.5 percent, India 35.6 percent, Nigeria 1.9 percent, Pakistan 24.5 percent, Philippines 35.8 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Recent trends of increased infections in Europe continues. Canadian provincial trends showing minimal change from last week, with Quebec uptick noticeable.

Deaths: G7 less Canada (driven mainly by USA) continue to increase, Alberta has flattened while Manitoba and Saskatchewan are still increasing more than other provinces.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among provinces and G7 less Canada and narrowing gap with immigration source countries given China, and to a lessor extent, India, Pakistan and the Philippines which continue to increase vaccinations. Nigeria remains a laggard.

Weekly

Infections: France now ahead of Sweden.

Deaths: No relative change

Useful analysis of vaccine equity and other challenges for many developing countries:

While vaccine inequity among African countries has played a major role in the continent’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate, experts say capacity and logistical challenges, along with vaccine hesitancy, is also creating significant challenges.

“I’ve seen a number of articles say it’s just vaccine inequity — and that’s wrong. It’s not just vaccine inequity,” said Dr. Ron Whelan, who heads health insurer Discovery’s COVID-19 task team in South Africa.

“[It’s] one part supply, one part health-system capacity and the third part is the hesitancy component,” he said.

“It is a multi-factorial problem that’s got to be solved.”

Dr. Saad B. Omer, an epidemiologist and director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, agrees it’s a more nuanced explanation than just blaming vaccine inequity for low vaccination rates across the continent.

“We expect people to land the plane with a few doses at the airport, do a photo op, [and] people to run to the airport to get their jabs. That’s never happened,” he said.

While about 76 per cent of Canada’s total population is fully vaccinated, on the African continent — home to 1.3 billion people — it’s only about 7.5 per cent, according to Our World in Data.

Delivery expected to ramp up

In October, a report by the People’s Vaccine Alliance — a coalition which advocates for equitable and sustainable use of vaccines, and includes Oxfam, ActionAid and Amnesty International — found that only one in seven COVID-19 vaccine doses promised to low-income countries were actually delivered.

However, vaccine shipments have been on the rise over the past three months and are expected to ramp up in coming weeks and over the new year, according to the World Health Organization.

Yet despite the increases in vaccine supply, experts suggest inoculation efforts in Africa could still face hurdles.

About 40 per cent of vaccines that have arrived on the continent so far have not been used, according to data from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a policy think-tank.

Some countries have been forced to destroy thousands of doses of donated vaccines from their stockpiles. Namibia, for example, announced on Monday that it had to destroy 150,000 expired doses.

“It is highly regrettable that we are forced to destroy in excess of 150,000 vaccines, which have reached expiry date, because those who are eligible are refusing to be vaccinated,” Namibia President Hage Geingob is reported to have told a news conference on Monday.

According to the Washington Post, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have all asked drugmaker Pfizer in the last several months to pause vaccine shipments because of challenges with uptake.

Vaccination rates vary widely across Africa and many experts are quick to note that vaccine hesitancy is not unique to the continent; it has been an issue in other parts of the globe, including the U.S and Europe. Child vaccination campaigns for various diseases, meanwhile, have been quite successful in Africa.

“Africa is, in many instances, a well-established vaccine culture overall, ” Whelan said.

But Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, recently told the New York Times that “there’s no doubt that vaccine hesitancy is a factor in the rollout of vaccines.”

News or rumours of potential side effects, she said, “gets picked out and talked about, and some people become afraid.”

1 in 4 health workers vaccinated

Additionally, only one in four of Africa’s health-care workers has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to WHO. That compares to 80 per cent of health workers vaccinated in 22 mostly high-income countries.

Many of Africa’s health-care workers, including those working in rural communities, still have “concerns over vaccine safety and adverse side effects,” Moeti recently told reporters.

Capacity has also been a major issue for many African countries, specifically their health systems’ ability to absorb and distribute vaccines, particularly in rural areas, where health resources are scarce.

“We need significant capacity to deliver those vaccines,” Whelan said.

‘Weak supply chains’

That includes the need for strengthened supply chains and temperature-controlled cold chains required to store Pfizer doses, Whelan said, together with infrastructure to actually track and deliver vaccines to hospitals, clinics and other vaccination sites.

“Many of the countries have weak supply chains, particularly weak cold chain infrastructure. And the cold chain infrastructure is not well set up for the Pfizer vaccine in particular,” he said.

Some countries, including South Sudan and Congo, have had to send some vaccines back because they could not distribute them in time.

Often, Whelan said, that’s the result of issues with health-system capacity, storage capacity and administration capacity.

But reliable capacity also cannot be built without reliable access to doses, said Omer.

“When you are the head of a public health agency or a health minister in a country, you want not only doses, but also predictability in doses,” he said.

Instead, he said, many government officials “don’t know what kind of doses are coming and when they are coming.”

“Often what would happen is that [some African countries] would receive a call saying that, ‘We have doses that we are sending your way, with a month’s expiration left. Please distribute.’ That’s an obviously challenging thing for any country,” said Omer.

Last month, African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and COVAX put out a joint statement, calling the majority of vaccination donations to date “ad hoc” and “provided with little notice and short shelf lives.”

“This has made it extremely challenging for countries to plan vaccination campaigns and increase absorptive capacity,” the statement said.

“Countries need predictable and reliable supply. Having to plan at short notice and ensure uptake of doses with short shelf lives exponentially magnifies the logistical burden on health systems that are already stretched.”

According to a recent WHO statement, since last February, Africa has received 330 million doses from the COVAX program, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and bilateral agreements.

Of those, more than 80 per cent have been delivered since August alone.

And so, as vaccine supply picks up, it said, “addressing uptake bottlenecks and accelerating rollout become more critical.”

Source: Vaccine inequity only partially to blame for Africa’s low vaccination rates, experts say

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 1 December Update

The latest charts, compiled 1 December. Too early to assess the impact of omicron.

Canadians fully vaccinated 77.2 percent, compared to Japan 77.2 percent, UK 69.4 percent and USA 60 percent.

Vaccinations: Minor shifts: British Columbia ahead of Atlantic Canada, France ahead of Alberta and Japan, New York and California ahead of Prairies. China fully vaccinated 77 percent, India 32.8 percent, Nigeria 1.7 percent, Pakistan 23.2 percent, Philippines 33.6 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Recent trends of increased infections in Europe continues. Canadian provincial trends showing minimal change from last week, with some levelling off in West.

Deaths: G7 less Canada (driven mainly by USA) continue to increase, West still increasing more than other provinces.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among provinces and G7 less Canada and narrowing gap with immigration source countries given China, and to a lessor extent, India, Pakistan and the Philippines continue to increase vaccinations. Nigeria remains a laggard.

Weekly

Infections: No relative change.

Deaths: No relative change