The U.S. Has 6.3 Times More COVID-19 Cases Per 100,000 than Canada. What Went Wrong?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 30, 2021 ~

Coronavirus COVID-19As of this past Friday, August 27, the U.S. had 330 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 over the last 7 days, according to the Reuters COVID-19 tracker. Canada had 6.3 times fewer cases, reporting only 52 per 100,000 over the past 7 days. The U.S. stood at 62 percent of its prior peak of cases on Friday while Canada stood at 32 percent of its prior peak.

The U.S. and Canada confirmed their first cases of the virus within a week of each other in January of 2020. Both countries began vaccinating their population at roughly the same time, in December of 2020. The majority of shots in both countries came from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses to be considered fully vaccinated.

But the U.S. fell dramatically behind Canada in the early days of testing for the virus. By the middle of March 2020, the testing rate in Canada was approximately five times greater than the testing rate in the U.S. Vox explained the difference in testing between the two countries like this on May 4, 2020:

“Canada was ahead of the North American curve on testing because its federal government once again made the right choices. In mid-March, Canadian federal authorities launched a large-scale testing procurement program aimed at ensuring the country could test early and often. By contrast, Trump put his unqualified son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of the country’s testing ramp-up. Kushner proceeded to hype a Google testing website that didn’t exist and spearhead a drive-through push that, as of early April, had built a grand total of five testing centers across the entire country.”

By July 15, 2020, the Washington Post was reporting that the United States had “more than three times as many total infections per capita, and nearly twice as many deaths” as Canada.

As of last Friday, the Canadian government is reporting that 66.3 percent of its population is fully vaccinated while the CDC is reporting that just 52 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

Another big difference between the two countries is that Canada has a single-payer national health care system while the U.S. does not. This means that people in Canada do not have to worry about seeking immediate treatment if they believe they have become infected with the virus. In the U.S., people are often hesitant to seek treatment out of fear of the out-of-pocket costs for medical care.

There was also a more disciplined approach to mask wearing and social distancing practiced in Canada this past summer. In Canada, the majority of the large concerts and music festivals were cancelled. But as we reported earlier this month, the Lollapalooza Music Festival at Chicago’s Grant Park from July 29 through August 1 packed an estimated 100,000 people into the event on each of its four days. Social distancing was non-existent and a large segment of those attending were not wearing masks.

Likewise, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota on August 6 through August 15 was a petri dish for COVID-19. The South Dakota Department of Transportation reported that a total of 525,768 vehicles entered the rally and masks and social distancing were ignored for the most part.

Even after the disastrous experience that New York City had with COVID-19 in 2020, and with the new Delta variant raging in the U.S., New York City allowed the “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” to proceed on Saturday evening, August 21 of this year. The event was expected to attract 60,000 people to the Great Lawn in Central Park. Attendees had to show proof of vaccination. The event was halted due to heavy rain about halfway through.

Almost no one wore a mask to the concert despite the fact that Israel’s Director of Public Health Services, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, told millions of U.S. television viewers who watched Face the Nation on August 1 that “…we are seeing about 50 percent of the people who are infected right now are vaccinated, fully vaccinated individuals. And so that is obviously of concern.”

The Delta variant is the predominant strain of COVID-19 in Israel, as it currently is in the United States. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, based on the same mRNA technology as Moderna, was exclusively used in Israel.

Lollapalooza Music Festival, Chicago's Grant Park, July 29 through August 1, 2021

Lollapalooza Music Festival, Chicago’s Grant Park, July 29 through August 1, 2021

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