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Year in Review: Yahoo's most popular COVID-19 searches amid a chaotic 2022

From lockdowns and the Freedom Convoy, to understanding restrictions and vaccine updates, Canadians needed answers to navigate COVID-19.

(left to right). Health care worker puts on glove; Justin Trudeau looks over Doug Ford's elbow at press conference; Woman receives COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 restrictions in the hands of politicians remained one of the most popular topics in 2022.

Like all other years we've had to deal with the pandemic, 2022 was a whirlwind for Canadians dealing with COVID-19.

We started the year with restrictions still in place and limiting our close circles amid a new wave of Omicron infections. As politicians plotted steps toward a reopening, the Freedom Convoy made COVID-19 front and centre in an effort to drop vaccine mandates. Protesters gridlocked downtown Ottawa and border crossings, as trucks terrorized citizens behind glaring horns.

Provinces started dropping restrictions as we made our way toward spring, and since then the virus that once locked down the world has seemed to become less and less top of mind.

Queen Elizabeth II, Hurricane Ian, Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, COVID-19 swab, Ukraine President Zelensky (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II, Hurricane Ian, Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, COVID-19 swab, Ukraine President Zelensky (Getty Images)

Unfortunately, experts have warned it's not over. Thousands of Canadians having already experienced long-COVID, to go along with the emergence of new variants, as health-care settings crumble behind a lack of resources and illnesses.

As we continue to make our way through the pandemic, Canadians turned to Yahoo with their questions. Here are the most popular COVID-19 queries of 2022:

10. Pfizer side effects

Pfizer's been the most popular COVID-19 vaccine administered to Canadians with over 57M doses.

For its guidance on all COVID-19 vaccines, Health Canada has “general symptoms” listed as:

  • chills

  • fatigue

  • joint pain

  • headache

  • mild fever

  • muscle aches

9. Shoppers Drug Mart COVID vaccine

Gone are the days of 2021, when Canadians had to partake in the Hunger Games to get ahold of a vaccine. Instead, we enjoyed an easier process come our third dose to start 2022, as Shoppers Drug Mart’s walk-ins and appointment system remained a convenient choice for our vaccine needs.

8. Ontario COVID restrictions

Much like with other jurisdictions, Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted after they were initially implemented in 2020. That includes its mask mandate in March 2022, and then virtually all other COVID-19 related restrictions in April — despite outcry from health professionals.

7. Travel restrictions Canada

Whether you were coming into the country or travelling province to province, knowing what “restrictions” were in place was much needed info to avoid chaos.

That was until Canada stopped requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, testing, quarantines and everyone’s favourite ArriveCan app as of October.

6. COVID vaccine

At least 92 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Canadians since the start of the pandemic, with close to 3 million of those being at least someone’s fifth dose. With a continued global rollout, questions and news surrounding the vaccine's short and long term impact will continue to be of heavy interest.

5. Vaccine passport Ontario

To start the year, the Ontario government moved its residents toward a QR code system, making our O.G. vaccine dose receipts insufficient. A few months later, Premier Doug Ford removed the vaccine passport system altogether. However, the option to require it still remains for individual Ontario businesses and organizations — so having a handy copy doesn't hurt.

4. How long are you contagious with COVID

Health Canada says that the infectious period “remains uncertain,” but that a person “may be infectious for up to 3 days before showing symptoms.”

It remains a confusing situation to navigate, especially as governments across the world and Canada gradually shortened windows of isolation — with some provinces like Alberta lifting mandatory isolation altogether in 2022.

3. B.C. COVID restrictions

B.C. went away from its gathering limits in February, mask mandate in March, and vaccine passport in April. British Columbians and domestic travellers had to keep up to take advantage of some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.

2. Omicron symptoms

The year started with Omicron taking over.

The variant’s been reported as a less severe disease compared to Delta, but more transmissible with an increased risk of reinfection. In the second half of the year, subvariants have become of concern, notably BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.

Dr. Roy Gulick, the chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian, said to NBC News that typical symptoms of Omicron subvariants include:

  • Sore throat

  • Hoarse voice

  • Cough

  • Fatigue

  • Nasal congestion

  • Runny nose

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

1. COVID symptoms

Scratch in your throat? Covering up a runny nose? Any slight unwell feeling over the past couple years has led to millions of us questioning if we have COVID-19. Of course, many of the usual symptoms — with some differences — also check off boxes that are common with the flu, seasonal cold and RSV. Sometimes, you might just also have the blues.

Health Canada reports these as common COVID-19 symptoms:

  • sore throat

  • runny nose

  • sneezing

  • new or worsening cough

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • temperature equal to or more than 38°C

  • feeling feverish

  • chills

  • fatigue or weakness

  • muscle or body aches

  • new loss of smell or taste

  • headache

  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting

  • feeling very unwell