The president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is questioning Canada’s new round of COVID-19 restrictions put in place to stop the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, despite reports that the variant causes less severe illness than its predecessors.
“If #omicron continues to result in very few admissions to hospitals/ICUs, how long will it be before provinces remove their new restrictions and lessen the panic they’ve created. U.S. public health officials say there is no need to close schools or businesses,” Dan Kelly, who is also the chief executive officer and chair of the business advocacy group, wrote on Twitter.
Kelly’s comment comes after Ontario’s top doctor said Dec. 21 that there haven’t been any known intensive care admissions in the province due to Omicron—nearly a month after Canada’s first two cases of the new variant were detected in Ottawa on Nov. 28.
Omicron’s hospitalization rate in Ontario was around 0.15 percent as of Dec. 21—significantly lower than the province’s general COVID-19 hospitalization rate, said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.
Similar findings were reported around the world.
The UK Health Security Agency said on Dec. 23 that a person infected with Omicron is 70 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital compared to one with the Delta variant, and is 45 percent less likely to require a visit to the emergency department.
The risk of hospitalization due to Omicron was estimated to be 80 percent lower than with the Delta variant, according to a recent study conducted by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and major universities in South Africa.
As the latest variant of concern, Omicron was found to be more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants, probably because it multiplies more rapidly—replicating 70 times faster than the Delta variant—according to a study conducted by the University of Hong Kong.
The study also found that Omicron multiplies more in the respiratory tract, which likely explains why it causes significantly lower infection in the lung than the original SARS-CoV-2.
However, government and public health officials have called for further restrictions and mass vaccinations in response to Omicron.
On Dec. 23, the Quebec government tightened public health restrictions for the third time in less than a week, limiting in-person gatherings to six people starting Dec. 26, while gyms, bars, and schools in the province were abruptly closed following a Dec. 20 announcement.
Other provinces and territories also released tougher COVID-19 restrictions on Dec. 21, including British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
Top doctor: 'I'm just giving Americans the data'
The Wikipedia entry for Dr. Peter McCullough states matter of factly in the second paragraph that the renowned cardiologist and medical scientist with 600 peer-reviewed published papers to his name has "promoted misinformation and falsehoods about COVID-19, the vaccines and treatments."
President Biden picked up on that charge Tuesday in his introduction of measures against the new omicron variant, centered on more vaccination and exponentially expanded testing. The commander-in-chief undoubtedly was referring to McCullough and a number of the scientist's colleagues when he charged that the "vaccine hesitancy" of an estimated 40 million Americans has been "fueled by dangerous misinformation on cable TV and social media."
Biden called on "the purveyors of these lies and misinformation to stop it." The president described as "immoral" their distribution of data on safe and effective early treatments along with reports of vaccine injuries from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website amid suppression of traditional scientific debate.
In a 30-minute video interview with WND on Thursday discussing the government's response to the omicron wave along with the latest on vaccines and treatments, McCullough was asked how he reacted to Biden's statement.
"Just like this interview today, I'm just giving Americans the data," he replied. "These are the published papers, and I cite them. So, I'm not giving misinformation. I'm not giving information. I'm just giving data, and that's for individuals, doctors, scientists and the public at large to interpret."
McCullough, who said he has been vaccinated for COVID-19, told WND the way forward is to simply "drop all the rhetoric and all the angst regarding the discussion here and just constantly – like we did today – dispassionately review the published data."
What's really immoral, he said, is the suppression of treatments that he, many doctors around the world and studies have found to be life-savers, such as ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and monoclonal antibodies.
Many of McCullough's 600 peer-reviewed publications have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. He testified to the U.S. Senate in November 2020against what he described as the federal government's politicization of health care during the pandemic, curbing or blocking the availability of cheap, effective treatments. In a speech in September, he told of having been stripped of the editorship of a Swiss-based journal after having lost his position with a major health system, "with no explanation and no due process."
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