COVID-19 Update: Scams and Variants and Vaccines, Oh My!
It’s been over a year since we were hit with the pandemic, a pandemic we are all now beginning to live with. Things are changing drastically all the time. First, we’re doing better, then we’re in lockdown. There’s a vaccine out there, but the rollout is slow.
Now we’re into March and certain provinces have lifted some restrictions. In Manitoba, restaurants, and bars have opened to fifty percent capacity. In Alberta, restrictions were lifted on indoor dining and gyms. Ontario is gradually lifting its stay-at-home order and moving back to its color-code scale.
But this doesn’t mean we’re in the clear yet. This post will focus on TWO new issues to be aware of as we continue to ride out this pandemic together: COVID scams and the COVID variants we’ve all been hearing about. Also, if you’re wondering when vaccine rollout is going to ramp up, well, there’s good news on that front.
Throughout all of this, it is no surprise that someone might take advantage of the situation. The types of COVID scams out there are many, according to the Government of Canada website. Listed below are just a few of the worst and newest scams linked to COVID tests, the COVID app, and the COVID vaccine rollout:
- Beware of texts and emails, telling you to install malicious COVID-19 notification apps, open malicious attachments, reveal sensitive personal and financial details
- Beware of potential counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines
- Beware of unsolicited calls claiming to be from a private company or health care providers offering home vaccination kits for an up-front fee
- Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
For more information on these scams and others, visit https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2020/covid-19-eng.htm.
It’s important to stay vigilant right now, especially in such a volatile time. It’s very easy to get sucked into these scams, letting desperation to return to normal overwhelm our decisions. However, the “only way to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority in collaboration with Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments.”
It’s bad enough that we have one bad strain out there, now we have to worry about other variants? When I heard about this, I was terrified, too. But the more you know about these variants the better armed you will be against them:
How many are out there?
Currently, there are three variants: UK, South Africa, and Brazil
Are they worse than the original?
According to the CDC, these variants are much more contagious than the original and could lead to an increase in cases. The good news so far is that these variants are not immune to the vaccine, but the CDC insists that continuing to wear masks, using proper hand hygiene, self-isolating, and quarantining are the measures that will limit the spread of these variants.
Are these variants in my province?
As of three days ago, the COVID variants have been detected in 10 provinces:
Ontario – All three variants detected
Manitoba – UK and South Africa variants detected
Alberta – All three variants detected
New Brunswick – UK variant detected
BC – All three variants detected
Quebec – All three variants detected
Nova Scotia – UK and South Africa variants detected
Saskatchewan – UK and South Africa variants detected
PEI – UK variant detected
Newfoundland and Labrador – UK variant detected
These numbers will change as these variants continue to spread, but we can limit the spread by staying safe and practicing proper hygiene, including washing hands frequently. Wearing a mask (double up if you can), practice social distancing, stay home as often as possible, and don’t attend indoor gatherings.
Now for some good news. Even though our vaccine rollout has been slow due to delivery delays, vaccine distribution has ramped up everywhere.
With additional vaccines of astraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson alongside the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, distribution in Canada has increased with new vaccine pop-up clinics emerging to help speed up the process. Over 4.7 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed throughout Canada.
It’s important to remember that each province has its own detailed distribution plan, and according to the Government of Canada website, the following are groups that will receive the vaccine first:
- residents and staff of shared living settings who provide care for seniors
- adults 70 years of age and older, with order of priority
- health care workers who have direct contact with patients
- adults in Indigenous communities
- health care workers not included in the initial rollout
- residents and staff of all other shared living settings (homeless shelters, correctional facilities, housing for migrant workers)
- essential workers who face additional risks to maintain services for the functioning of society
For a lot more information on what’s going on in your province, click the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/covid-19-vaccine-treatment/vaccine-rollout.html
With all these updates, the new normal hasn’t changed, nor the safety measures that have been put in place for the original COVID-19 strain.
We are almost at the end of this pandemic, which means a return to almost normalcy for us all, but for now, to keep yourself and others safe and limit the spread, do not stray from the public safety measures put in place or become complacent.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we will reach it if we continue to work together.