Canadians join others around the world to remember

By: Terry Haig
Canadians joined others around the world today to mark the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic–a pandemic that has now taken over 2.6 million lives.
It began in Canada a year ago in January and has never really let up, though there have been ebbs and flows as Canadians tried to cope with the heartbreak of losing loved ones separated and isolated behind institutional walls–at hospitals and long-term care homes–walls that families were not permitted to breach to share love and to offer comfort, lest the pandemic gain more strength.
As of Thursday morning, 896,739 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in Canada, including 30,442 that are currently active and 843,962 that have been resolved.
Those numbers include 22,335 people who died.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau designated today, March 11, a national day of observance to commemorate those who have died, as well as the health-care and other essential workers who have been on the front lines.
Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Trudeau praised the health-care workers, military personnel and others who he said have stepped up over the past year to help Canadians through the pandemic.
The prime minister described the past 12 months as “a tough year, a heartbreaking year, but it is a year we have faced together.
Canada’s first “presumptive” case of COVID-19 was reported Jan. 25, 2020, a few weeks after Chinese health officials identified a new strain of coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
The patient was a man in his 50s who had just days earlier returned to Toronto from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak at the time. He fell ill almost immediately on his return and was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital where he stayed for about a week before being discharged.
Canada’s first fatality was reported a year ago, on March 9, when British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said that a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions had died the previous night after becoming infected with the illness at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
As Canadians remembered, the fight to return to some semblance of sanity continued.
Health Canada has approved four COVID-19 vaccines, and 1.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
“More and more people are getting vaccinated every day,” Trudeau said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“That means more grandparents, health-care workers, and vulnerable people are now safe.
“Our top priority is to get you your shot as soon as possible. No one will be left behind.”