Politics Briefing: Dr. Tam updates Canadians on COVID-19 and emergence of monkeypox


At a news conference Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, gave an update on the coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of monkeypox, saying she is “cautiously optimistic” about the current trajectory of COVID-19, with most epidemiological indicators continuing to decline, but that there are signs of growth in several emergent Omicron sub-lineages.

“COVID-19 has shown us over the past few years that there may be more surprises ahead,” she said. “Maintaining readiness for a potential resurgence that could result in severe impact is our best advantage.”

Dr. Tam said that COVID-19 readiness means maintaining awareness of local disease activity, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, wearing a well-fitting mask, and improving ventilation. She also said that staying home if you are symptomatic can help prevent other infections, including monkeypox.

As of June 17, there have been 168 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Canada, including 141 in Quebec, 21 in Ontario, 4 in Alberta, and 2 in British Columbia. Many cases, Dr. Tam said, stemmed from sexual contact between men, but said the risk is not limited to any one gender or sexual orientation.

Citing upcoming Pride celebrations, Dr. Tam spoke about the need to raise awareness about transmission – in “non-stigmatizing ways” – and thanked the dating app Grindr, which is popular among gay, bisexual and queer people, for helping get the message out.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written by Marsha McLeod. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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