The situation continues to improve dramatically as restrictions remain in place and vaccinations continue at a rapid pace.
In Toronto and across the province, some two-thirds of adults have already received at least one dose. Those 12-17 have now been added to the eligibility list, and an accelerated schedule for second doses was announced today (see article below). If we continue at this pace, we’re on track to be able to start opening up around the middle of June, with an increased movement back to something resembling a normal life throughout the summer and fall.
To get there, we need a very high percentage of the population to be fully vaccinated. There are multiple examples throughout the world of how dangerous it can be to underestimate the COVID virus.
In Britain, for example, the government is having to rethink its re-opening plans following what appears to be a rapid spread of the B.1.617.2 variant, the same one which has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in India. This variant is thought to be so transmissible that it has pushed aside the UK variant, which was already far more transmissible than the original form of the virus from Wuhan.
Those who have received only one vaccine dose are still highly susceptible to B.1.617.2, which is already active in Ontario. In one recent British study, only 34 percent of those who had received one dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer were protected from this variant. After two doses, those numbers rose to 60 percent for AstraZeneca and 88 percent for Pfizer. Effectiveness against other forms of COVID was significantly higher.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we know how to keep ourselves safe in both the short and long term.
So, please, keep following Public Health guidelines until you are fully vaccinated. And encourage anyone you know who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to not only protect themselves but all of us collectively.
If we all do our part, we’ll be able to look forward to the kind of summer the Beach Boys sang about.