By Paul Vieira


OTTAWA--Canada's chief public-health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says early evidence suggests infections linked to the Covid-19 Omicron variant might have peaked.

At a press conference, Dr. Tam cited stabilizing numbers as they pertain to daily case counts, rate of positive tests and wastewater analysis. However, she warned that hospitalizations continue to rise steeply, and the number of intensive-care unit beds occupied with Covid-19 patients remains at elevated levels.

Canada's most populous provinces, which are responsible for delivering healthcare, have started to lift some restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the Omicron variant. Ontario this week said it would allow bars, restaurants and gyms to reopen on Jan. 31 at 50% capacity.

Economists expect the economy to take a hit in the first quarter because of the fallout from the Omicron variant, which fueled a sharp rise in cases and absenteeism in the workplace.

Statistics Canada said Friday that it estimates retail sales fell 2.1% in December -- when initial concerns mounted about Omicron, and regions started to impose new economic and social restrictions.


Write to Paul Vieira at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 21, 2022 13:40 ET (18:40 GMT)

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