OHS Canada Magazine

Americans are getting a break on masks. What about Canada?


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings.

Canada’s top public health officials suggests a different approach would be taken north of the border.

“We have more of what I’d call a collective or community approach,” says Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer. “So it’s not about what an individual should be able to do with one or two doses.”

He says even as more Canadians get their shots, public health measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing remain key.

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Njoo says the rate of new infections, the number of new cases resulting from each infection, test positivity rates and impact on the health-care system are all factors that should be weighed.

“If all that is looking good at a certain point in time — along with high vaccine coverage — that’s the point I think that certainly local health authorities will be able to consider loosening restrictions on what Canadians are able to do.”

Njoo says 40 per cent of eligible Canadians over the age of 18 have now received one vaccine dose — good, but not maximum, protection.

More than 46 per cent of the U.S. population has been given at least one dose and more than a third given both.