Thursday, January 27, 2022

Qatar Coronavirus Updates - Omicron Subsiding, Restrictions Lifted

Community cases in Qatar are dropping as fast as they were increasing a couple of weeks ago, from 2770 a day six days ago to 1621 today. Recoveries are now way outpacing new cases, over 4000 people recovered today. Even hospitalizations are now below 400, the daily rate of new patients is under 30, but unfortunately the number in ICU is still quite high. Makes sense, you're usually not in ICU for a day or two, those people could be there for weeks. Typically 1-2 people are dying every day now but they all appear to be quite elderly, 80s and 90s seem to be the common ages. 

So the Government announced an end to the restrictions that were put in place when Omicron started to take hold. Schools are back open, restaurants are back to normal capacity, restrictions limiting the amount of people in malls are revoked, and offices can be back to 100% of staff. What I call the 'base' restrictions will remain, such as mask wearing and showing your tracker app. More countries were moved to the travel red list though and I'm guessing it'll be a while, a month or more, before they are taken off it after the Omicron wave passes through.

I think too many people have jumped on that Omicron is 'milder' to mean it's not dangerous and they are totally wrong. The US reported over 3,000 deaths yesterday, numbers more akin to the peak of the Delta wave in 2021, and hospitals across the country are swamped. Vaccination is your best defense and it's so bizarre how many people are fighting it tooth and nail.

Looking at the death rates between Canada and the US it really is shocking to see the differences. Canada has way higher vaccination rates, and better embraced mask wearing, social distancing etc, and it shows. Here's a comparison of deaths per 100,000 people in a selection of US States and Canadian Provinces (and Qatar):

362 Mississippi (highest in US)

356 Arizona

350 New Jersey

346 Alabama

331 New York

320 Michigan

280 Montana

274 North Dakota

202 Minnesota

151 Quebec (highest in Canada)

140 Washington

127 Maine

110 Manitoba (next highest in Canada)

84 Vermont

81 Hawaii (lowest in US)

79 Alberta

75 Ontario

49 British Columbia

28 New Brunswick

23 Qatar

<15 rest of the Maritimes and Newfoundland

The differences are pretty sobering. The death rate in Ontario is one-quarter what it is across the border in Michigan. Quebec has the highest rate in Canada but it's less than half of neighbouring New York. Washington State has done well, for America, but across the border in BC it's around one-third of that. In fact, only Vermont could claim to have a lower death rate than the province nearest it (Quebec). Qatar is sure looking pretty good too. It demonstrates that vaccination and enacting measures to limit the spread of the virus did work.

Anyway, might stay at home for just a few more days, then cautiously go out, re-stock groceries, and so forth.

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