OTTAWA – COVID-19 – Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:
“As of the end of day Friday, June 5, there are now 94,335 confirmed cases including 7,703 deaths and 52,568 or 56% have now recovered. Labs across Canada have tested over 1,830,000 people for COVID-19 to date, with about 5% of these testing positive overall. Over the past week, we have been testing an average of close to 33,000 people daily. These numbers change quickly and are updated regularly on Canada.ca/coronavirus.
Yesterday we observed World Environment Day. This is one area where our response to COVID-19 may be having a positive impact. Amid lockdowns implemented worldwide to limit the spread of the virus, major cities are seeing a reduction in air pollution.
The World Health Organization identifies air pollution as one of the top ten threats to global health. Science has shown us that air pollution, even at low levels, leads to illnesses, increased hospitalizations, and even premature death. It can affect respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and heart conditions, including hypertension. Air pollution can also increase the risk of stroke.
People with these underlying health conditions are also some of the most vulnerable to the severe outcomes of COVID-19.
It is important that we continue to do our part to reduce the overall levels of pollutants in the air. At the beginning of the outbreak, people were travelling on the roads less and staying home more, which in turn reduced emission of pollutants from vehicles and buildings. Now, as we reopen society, we must find other ways to improve air quality.
Go for a walk and choose to bike instead of driving, if possible. Not only do these activities keep the air clean, they also are good ways to stay healthy and improve mental wellbeing.
Please keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over and we need to continue with our new and improved hygiene habits of frequent handwashing, maintaining a two-metre distance from others and covering coughs. As well, where COVID-19 is still active, wearing a non-medical mask is recommended as an extra layer of protection when physical distancing is not possible. Importantly, if you are experiencing any symptoms, it is important to stay home and to avoid spreading the virus to others. As we continue to care for ourselves and for others, we should also make an effort to care for Mother Nature who is vulnerable too.”