Ontario tallied only 847 cases on Feb. 17 – a high number compared to a year ago, but a very low number compared to where we were a month ago.
In early January, Ontario was close to seeing up to 4,000 cases daily.
Fluctuating between 2,000 to 4,000 cases through the month of January, the Ontario government warned the public through modelling it could see upwards of 20,000 daily cases in the near future if a lockdown was not successful.
And yet a month later daily cases are declining, and so the full lockdown has ended.
As encouraging as lower case counts can be, is it a true reflection of what’s really happening? With almost 40,000 fewer tests conducted than on some days in January, is it an accurate depiction of Ontario’s COVID-19 status?
The fact Ontario – and Canada – is on a major downward trend should be acknowledged, celebrated, but taken with a grain of salt. The virus has not been eradicated. Even worse, there are other strains that are highly contagious.
Vaccinations are on a roll, prioritizing populations within the province, yet the risk remains. All interactions, any activity – there is a certain risk involved as the virus uses humans to move about.
Yet perhaps there is hope. Perhaps the dreaded third wave public health is warning about won’t happen. But perhaps it will. It depends on the choices made as the restrictions are loosened.
So let’s continue following the rules, travelling only when necessary or essential, minimizing our social interactions outside of the home, and be responsible as the province opens back up.
It’s highly encouraging to see the downward trends of daily case counts, yet possible scenarios of another wave, or the fear a more deadly strain can cause, should not be ignored.
We are warned of the possibility of a third wave, yet shouldn’t disregard it because the case counts seem promising. A year ago the idea of a pandemic seemed impossible. Less than a year ago the idea of a second wave seemed like a fear-mongering model. Science warned us, and both those seemingly impossible events happened.
Reopening the province is important for a myriad reasons, and as COVID-fatigue sets in for many, we must trust the science again.
Remain responsible and careful, and while doing so, remain optimistic that efforts now will result in further declines in daily case counts.
– Kathleen Smith