Ontario COVID-19 Rates Lower Than Expected Due to Public Health Measures, Experts Say
The daily number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario is lower than many experts have expected to date, and although they point to a number of factors for relative relief, they say it is not. when to relax these measures.
For much of the summer, the province’s top doctor warned of a September wave, followed by a gloomy fall and winter. That has yet to materialize as the daily case count remains below 1,000 and Ontario’s seven-day average graph shows roughly a plateau since early September.
This is indeed the worst-case scenario in the most recent Ontario modeling, which showed about 4,000 daily cases to date. The reality is more in line with the best case scenario, in which cases have reportedly declined steadily since September 1.
Dr Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said hospitalizations and intensive care admissions were also stable, even without the introduction of more restrictions – noting that the proof of vaccination system was not ‘entered into force a few days ago.
“There is a bit of cautious optimism that the society is more open, the kids are going back to school, all the things that we…
Ontario’s vaccination campaign is certainly helping, he said, especially targeting high-risk communities. About 86 percent of eligible people received at least one dose.
The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, attributed the stable cases to Ontarians’ compliance with public health measures.
“I think Ontarians are cautious and cautious and have realized this virus can take off at any time if we let our guard down,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we only have to look west to see what can happen if we let our guard down with this delta. [variant]. “
Different approaches in Alberta, Ontario
In Alberta, there are more than 10 times more active cases of COVID-19 per capita than in Ontario. Hospitals are overwhelmed and the head of the Alberta Medical Association says major elements of triage have already started.
Chagla noted that Alberta’s vaccination rate is not significantly lower than Ontario’s. What he sees as the main reason for Ontario’s relatively low numbers is the different approach to public health measures.
In July, Alberta lifted its restrictions – including collection limits and a mask warrant – while in Ontario, weeks later, the government announced it would delay any further lifting of restrictions. The masks were still going to be needed even when the province exited Stage 3 of its reopening.
Masks certainly help, Chagla said, but it is also important to know what signal a government sends, if the pandemic is considered over.
“I think again, not getting to a point where there was full decompression of all the rules, treating COVID like it’s normal, I think he kept that foot on the gas again for continue to vaccinate aggressively even during the summer, using every last thousand efforts to get it out, ”he said.
“Keeping some of these precautions, I think, also helps with that behavioral element on people who still take it seriously and don’t create opportunities for transmission.”
Beate Sander, co-chair of the province’s modeling consensus table, said she would have expected to see more cases now, but that doesn’t mean a bump won’t materialize in a few weeks.
“The situation is so fragile,” said Sander, professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
“It’s stable, it’s not exactly decreasing. So things could turn very quickly. You just have to look at Alberta, see how quickly things could change.”
Colder weather will likely cause transmission
Sander said Ontario likely has yet to see the increase in cases schools would trigger. In-person classes have been in session for just over two weeks again, but Sander said most of a child’s contacts – such as their parents – are likely vaccinated, if a child contracts COVID-19 it would need to be more time for the virus to find someone else to infect.
“The infection rate has increased a lot in children aged five to 11,” Sander said.
“Something is growing below the surface, and since this is a relatively small number compared to the overall population, it’s going to take some time to pass.”
The colder weather will also likely force more gatherings and activities indoors and lead to transmission, experts said.
“We’re just at this point where things could tip over and we could be out of balance,” Sander said. “We don’t want to open anything else.”
Moore said he still expects a tough winter. “I’ve seen models where we have a significant increase in January and February after the Christmas holidays, and it’s baffling,” he said.
A little optimism is good to have, said Chagla, but it’s still important to keep doing whatever got Ontario to this point.
“There are a lot of factors that are probably saying that we are going to come out the other side towards the end of winter, the beginning of spring and start to go back to real normal, but there are still variations,” he said. he declared. “There are still a lot of things that could go wrong.”