So I have returned from a long break, my first vacation since the pandemic started. Canada finally relaxed the quarantine rules, allowing fully vaccinated citizens to visit without having to quarantine, so off I went for a long-deserved vacation. Sadly the pandemic is still not over so things are not back to 'normal' but at least with a PCR test and wearing masks on the plane I could travel.
At the time I arrived Canada's case average was lower than Qatar's but then there was a Delta outbreak in the valley where my Mom lives and cases started rising. Within a week British Columbia's case rate was more than Qatar -- and rising. It's still not great (around 85/day per million people, Qatar is around 70) but it's nothing compared to the US. I don't know what it is about America and vaccines but they are paying a price now, case rates are crazy, especially in the South. People need to realize that vaccines significantly reduce the risk of catching COVID and, if you do catch it, from having complications from it.
Not only was there a COVID outbreak in BC the province was also having issues with forest fires. There were so many fires burning that some days thick smoke descended into the valley. It was like a fog, and flights were cancelled, which led to me scrambling to find ways to get to/from the valley and Vancouver as three attempts to catch flights ended up with all of them cancelled. Things were better in Vancouver as the city did not have much in the way of smoke.
In COVID news while I was gone Qatar announced the detection of the Delta variant in community cases. This likely explains the increase in cases, now averaging around 150-200 community cases a day. A month or so ago it was around 50-80 a day. 150-200 a day doesn't seem like much but bear in mind Qatar has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, currently 92.6% of eligible people have had at least one dose -- and 81% have had both. Despite that there are still 150-200 cases a day, no doubt in part to how contagious Delta is. Qatar was to have removed the COVID restrictions by now but with the increase in cases they kept it where is was. I assume most of the cases are in young people or children as hospitalizations is actually down from before. Currently 69 are in hospital and 19 are in ICU, a great improvement from months ago. I think in the entire month I was gone only one or two people died.
It looks like restrictions will be in place until children can be vaccinated. With Delta being so contagious I don't think herd immunity can be achieved just by vaccinating people aged 12 and older. I expect that won't begin until December or January, these types of studies take time.
In the meantime everyone needs to keep wearing a mask and not be too reckless.