For a recap on the COVID virus look here.
There had been a global decline in COVID-19 cases -almost 1/2 number of the cases /day from the peak in Jan 2021 until last week.
Last week worldwide case numbers of COVID-19 rose for the first time in 7 weeks.
COVID cases have stopped falling because people have let their guard down governments and public health measures are being eased and COVID variants are circulating.
Ontario is seeing a drop in cases for the last few days. Our Re numbers 2 days ago were 0.99 (Re = effective reproductive number = estimate of the average number of people that one person with COVID -19 will infect). When Re is less than 1.0 the number of new cases is expected to decrease over time because one person will infect fewer than one other person. If Re equals 1.0 the number of new cases will not change because 1 person infects 1 other person. If the number is greater than one the number of COVID cases is expected to increase. For example If Re is 2 than 1 person will infect 2 people those 2 will each infect 2 more etc. Re greater than one means tighter control measure are needed reduce spread. Re is then translated into projections about spread.
Are we winning this battle against COVID? Much too early to tell. Fast spreading variants are a concern. Despite Public Health cautioning not to do so various provinces and even parts of Ontario are reopening nonessential businesses. "Overall we're still doing well " Dr. Theresa Tam Canada's chief public health officer said during a news conference on Tuesday. "But things could change rapidly.” Tam said. Newfoundland and Labrador is a cautionary tale for the rest of Canada where an outbreak of the variant first identified in the U.K. also known as B117 led to a spike in new cases in the community during a time when public health measures were "less stringent”.
New data on the B117 virus Shows that it stays longer in the body than the wild COVID (13.3 d vs 8.2 days for wild COVID). It may be that one reason this virus is more transmissible (able to be passed on from one person to another) is that an infected person with this variant carries the virus longer infecting a larger number of contacts.
Raywat Deonandan a global health epidemiologist and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, has stated that a third wave is “mathematically inevitable”. The third wave could be a spike in cases or a number of smaller wavelets in various area of Canada. We know that the third wave occurred in the Spanish Flu in the spring of 1919 at the same point that we are now. Loosening of societal behaviors will help COVID Variants to drive outbreaks.
Variant Viral behavior is unpredictable. For example the South African variant B1351 which drove the spike in transmission there has recently seen a drop in COVID cases But declines in cases may be short-lived. A steady stay of cases may exist for days and months then suddenly the take off. Portugal Spain and the UK were suddenly hit hard by the B117 British variant Recent increases in COVID infection rates In Israel are attributed to new variants notably B117. In Toronto, COVID variants make up more than 40% of COIVD cases. The numbers of these new variants almost doubled in the past week.
Thousands of new cases mean hundred of new deaths. More testing, contact tracing and travel restrictions need to continue. Preventing super-spreading is key (super-spreading occurs when one or a few infected people attend an event indoors with a large number of people)
Read this fascinating analysis on how we got into trouble with COVID and how have continued to fail to contain COVID.