Reducing COVID – If Only in My Dreams

Whatever we’re doing or have stopped doing, it’s not good enough.

This week, Toronto’s new COVID case count didn’t just climb, it soared. The weekly case total was 4824, up from 4072 last week. The higher the case count the more likely you are to encounter the virus. By that measure, you are about 12 times more likely to catch it than you were three months ago, back when the weekly case total was 385 for the week ending September 11.

There is so much COVID out there that:

  1. a startling 5.6% of those being tested are coming up positive – almost double an acceptable rate

  2. the high caseload makes it almost impossible to do effective contact tracing, and that in turn creates the vicious cycle through which infected persons pass it on to greater numbers of others

  3. serious cases and deaths are mounting, and not only in the older, more vulnerable population we should be taking extra care to protect; this week in Toronto, a 47-year old man died and a 23-year-old was hospitalized

  4. hospitals have been instructed to make space in 15% of their beds to handle new COVID patients

  5. Intensive Care Units are getting so full with those terribly ill from COVID that surgeries are being cancelled

  6. diagnoses of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer are down – not because there’s less of it but because people aren’t being checked out so that they can be treated early

And then there’s the economic toll.

I personally know two restaurant owners who have permanently gone out of business, losing not only their incomes but everything they had worked to build. This is obviously related to government restrictions on dining, but those restrictions were needed only because so many people carelessly allowed an exponential increase in infections.

It is highly likely that you, or somebody you care about, will be directly affected, one way or another.

So why doesn’t our collective behaviour reflect that? I can’t believe it’s because people don’t care about themselves or others. So it must be that too many people aren’t connecting the dots between their personal choices and the tragedies that result from them.

It’s expected that the Province will announce increased restrictions on Monday to try to reduce the spread. And it’s increasingly likely that, if the numbers keep rising, students won’t be returning to schools immediately after the break – causing future hardship for many of them and immediate problems for working parents.

In a democratic society, government rules and advice don’t work terribly well if people ignore them. This is especially true over the holidays when gatherings with people outside our households could easily trigger a surge on top of a surge.

So please, take every precaution you can. Stay safe and be well.

I’ll be taking a break from regular newsletter writing until the first week in January – unless something urgent comes up that I need to let you know about immediately.

So I wish you Happy Holidays and a New Year with more happy moments than the one we’re saying goodbye to.

The last global event that caused family members to not be able to get together in person at this time of year was the Second World War. Today’s song, first made popular by Bing Crosby, is from 1943. There have been many great versions since then, so I chose a recent one.

– John