In Ontario, COVID numbers are staggering. And, Bruce Arthur writes, they're going to get much worse:
Friday the Ontario government is expected to introduce stricter public health restrictions for the third time in three weeks, because Ontario’s panicked, pleading attempts to negotiate with a virus were always doomed. The only question now is how catastrophic it becomes.
“There are no good options anymore,” said a Science Table source, who declined to share the specific COVID-19 projections on hospitalization, cases, and death Friday. “We’re past that point.”
The projections are said to be between 12,000 and 18,000 cases per day by the end of May if nothing is done, and the nightmare of 1,800 patients in the ICU. The best-case scenario is now believed to be 1,000 in the ICU, more than double the second-wave high.
There are no easy solutions:
“Because this keeps seeding from high-risk regions to the low-risk regions, the low-risk regions can never really get their counts down,” says Dr. Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, where patients from Scarborough have been airlifted for weeks. “Restricting travel across Ontario is one means that we can allow all areas to try to recover, and get their counts down so we can get back our economy. I don’t know when that can happen, given that the rate of illness is so high in our high-risk regions right now.
“We’re in big trouble. I look at the Ontario data, and the immunization data, five times a day. We can’t immunize our way out of this: we have to public health measures our way out of it.”
Much stricter measures are required. And the public is sick of the ones that are in place:
The variables now are how far this government goes to limit mobility, and how a populace exhausted by months of restrictions reacts. The stay-at-home order instituted last week may have had an effect, but the traffic didn’t slow: mobility often equals contacts, and contacts spread the virus. The variants are ravaging this province; the seven-day average is a record 4,208 cases per day, and they are incredible undercounts, because the positivity rate on tests is climbing the walls, too.
The buck stops at Doug Ford's desk:
The government has let this spiral so far out of control. They were warned, but they reopened Ontario to variants anyway.
So people are gasping, and hungry for air, and dying, and more every day: often younger, essential workers, racialized, vulnerable. The hospital system is already crumbling in places we can’t see. There are COVID patients who would usually be in the ICU, but are being cared for on the wards — one hospital executive in the GTA estimates they number in the hundreds.
It's all hit the fan.
Image: Collins Dictionary