The differences in how the neighboring United States and Canada have handled Covid is reflected in the latest data on the disease. As cases skyrocket in the former, approaching 150,000 daily diagnoses, further north the new wave is coming in a smoother fashion, with an average of 2,000 new infections per day.
The United States is the country with the most victims of the novel coronavirus in the world, with more than 630,000 dead during the pandemic. Canada, with a population eight times smaller, has lost 26,800 lives. In the per million population comparison, Canadians had the equivalent of one-third the death rate of Americans.
Some factors explain the difference: Canada has adopted stricter measures to contain the spread of the virus, has had greater political consensus on these strategies and greater public support for the measures.
In terms of vaccination, the country took a long time to get started, with the lack of doses, but then it moved forward and today it exceeds the figures of its neighbor: 66% of the Canadian population is already fully vaccinated; in the United States, it’s 51%. One of the strategies to speed up vaccination was unusual: the second dose could come from a different manufacturer than the first.
Even the advance of the delta variant and the threat it poses to reopening – something common to both countries – has differences in the response given to each location.
While Canadian provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario quickly curbed activity in the face of increasing cases, US states are still debating whether to demand the return of masks. Republican governors, like those in Florida and Texas, have barred schools and bars, among others, from requiring use of the article. The case ended up in court.
In the United States, clashes between the federal government and local authorities have been frequent since the start of the pandemic. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump criticized governors who adopted restrictive measures. Current agent Joe Biden has requested more action where there is a high number of cases.
“I say to these governors: please help us. If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing, ”Biden said in early August. In Canada, the provinces also have autonomy to define the rules to deal with the Covid, but there was more consensus between the levels of government.
In both countries, concern is now turning to children and young people, who are returning to face-to-face classes. “Now we have to protect the children. We are not yet done fighting Covid, ”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a rally on Sunday (22).
Trudeau still had two years in power, but decided to bring the election forward, in an attempt to increase his strength in Parliament. His Liberal Party has a tight majority, requiring the support of other parties to pass measures, and the prime minister hopes to turn good judgment during the crisis into more power.
But polls show the acronym is technically on par with its main rival, the Conservative Party.
The anticipation has been criticized by the opposition, which sees the gesture as an attempt to prioritize personal interests. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole staged virtual rallies and said the elections pose a threat to public health.
Immunization is a theme of the campaign. The Liberals wore “I am fully vaccinated” brooches and Trudeau touted the success of the vaccination. Rivals put less emphasis on the theme, fearing they might lose votes. About 15% of conservative voters have yet to be vaccinated, compared to 4% of liberals, according to a survey by the Ekos institute.
O’Toole, who has already received his shots, said he would not require vaccination of all candidates in his party. Trudeau, on the other hand, sees it as a fundamental measure to contain the further increase in cases. His government made the vaccination of officials and travelers compulsory; From September, foreigners wishing to enter the country will have to be immunized – with drugs from Astrazeneca, Janssen, Moderna or Pfizer, those approved in Canada.
During the crisis, the Prime Minister nearly doubled federal spending to fight the pandemic. Emergency aid alone cost around 10% of GDP, but its effective delivery is reported as one of the reasons for the low mortality: as the money reached those in need, fewer people were forced to take risks to work at the worst times. of the crisis.
“A neighbor worked in restaurants, had just bought an apartment and changed cars. With the help, he managed to find time to move and work with insurance, ”says Marcell Castelo Branco, 41, a systems architect who lives in Montreal.
At the same time, there was a strict application of the rules. “There was a fine of 1,500 Canadian dollars [R$ 6.250 para quem descumprisse normas de isolamento]. The surroundings of the houses were numerous, because the neighbors denounced the festivals. And the demonstrators who went to protest the curfew were also fined. “
Last year, a reopening took place during the summer, but in a more modest way.
“Now there are hardly any restrictions. Before, when it reopened, you could accommodate five or ten people in the garden, the stores had a reduced capacity and you had to queue. And everyone respected it.” , says Jean Freitas, 32 years old. system administrator who lives in Winnipeg.
“Although it is no longer mandatory, a lot of people still wear masks.”