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Is COVID making a comeback?


COVID-19 is staging a comeback

In an unsettling turn of events, the spectre of COVID-19 is staging a comeback that carries the ominous weight of endurance. As regions grapple with a resurgence of cases, there is a palpable sense that this time, the virus may linger for an extended encore.

The persistent mutations and the elusive nature of the virus challenge the collective hope for a swift resolution.

With the possibility of a prolonged stay, the landscape of our daily lives faces a renewed uncertainty, urging us to confront the reality that the fight against COVID-19 might demand a more protracted and resilient strategy. As we navigate this evolving chapter, the shadow of the virus looms larger, underscoring the imperative for sustained vigilance and adaptable public health measures to weather the storm ahead.

The echoes of mortality now resonate louder than ever, with more Ontarians succumbing to the relentless grip of COVID-19 in a mere three-month span this fall than the toll claimed by the perilous Ontario highways throughout the entire preceding year.

Comparing today’s numbers to 2020

Variations in the characteristics of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as differences in transmissibility and immune evasion, along with factors like public health measures, COVID-19 vaccine adoption, population immunity, and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against prevailing SARS-CoV-2 lineages, collectively influence the occurrence of severe COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalizations and fatalities.

In the province of Ontario, there were a total of 29,524 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the year 2022, compared to 22,559 in 2021. The rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in 2022 were 31% and 39% higher than those in 2021, respectively/

Regarding COVID-19 deaths, Ontario recorded a total of 7,625 fatalities in 2022, an increase from 5,485 in 2021. The rate of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 population was 39% higher in 2022 (51.4 per 100,000 population) compared to 2021 (37.0 per 100,000 population).

Fast forward to the week of December 03 to December 09, 2023, and the COVID-19 landscape has evolved. In Ontario, there were 5,293 cases reported during that week, reflecting a stark contrast to the early days of the pandemic.

Wastewater suggests Ontario case numbers have doubled in a year

The viral spectre, as gauged by the province’s wastewater signal, now looms ominously, standing at more than double its menacing presence a year ago. Health officials, their brows furrowed with concern, foresee a challenging trajectory in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

New Data reveals surge

The latest data, unveiled with a foreboding flourish, reveals a surge in the Ontario wastewater signal to 2.1, a stark ascent from 2.04 just a week prior, and a chilling leap from the mere 0.98 recorded on the same ominous day in 2022. Yet, a data relic from the now-defunct Ontario Science Advisory Table unmasks a harsh truth — this ominous number hasn’t reached such heights in at least two years.

Dr. Razak

Dr. Fahad Razak, an internist at St. Michael’s Hospital, speaks with a grave resonance, unveiling the disheartening continuity of a wave that dared to defy hopes of plateauing. The virus, once seemingly on a downward spiral by late September, early October, has insidiously swerved into an upward surge, ascending with a chilling steepness.


In the GTA, the viral crescendo has been less subtle, with the number standing at 1.68, a disquieting elevation from 1.09 a year ago. Yet, in the central west region, a macabre crescendo resonates at 3.65, more than fivefold the ominous whispers of a year past. In eastern Ontario, the viral score is a haunting 2.78, nearly tripling the grim echoes of yesteryear.

Dr. Kieran Moore – The Harbinger of Despair

The harbinger of despair, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, delivers a disheartening revelation. The virus, once in a state of decline this time last year, now revels in an upward surge. Despite 1.8 million souls embracing the latest vaccine, a meager 13 percent of the eligible population, the grip of COVID-19 persists. A glaring disparity emerges as only 40 percent of those 65 and older seek refuge in the latest vaccine, leaving a vulnerable population exposed to the malevolent forces of the virus.

The narrative unfolds with a sombre truth — despite the soaring transmission, the ICU wards bear witness to a muted rise. Dr. Razak illuminates the silver lining, attributing this resilience to the shield of immunity forged through vaccines, infections, and the potent alliance of both, known as hybrid immunity.

A Turbulent Winter Ahead

As winter descends, Dr. Razak forewarns of an impending storm in the hospital sector, where staffing remains a battlefront and the true onslaught of influenza and COVID-19 cases looms large. The vaccines stand as bulwarks, available at pharmacies and local vaccination centers, yet the Chief Medical Officer anticipates a zenith in transmission during the holidays.

In the face of adversity, Dr. Razak implores action — a plea to reduce the spread to loved ones. A rallying cry echoes for a concerted effort in this turbulent winter, urging precautions such as masking in crowded spaces, testing, and the sacred act of staying home when sickness descends.

The narrative concludes with a plea for respite, a desire to break the cycle of three challenging holiday seasons. Dr. Razak extends an olive branch, inviting a collective resolve to make this holiday season the best possible, filled with joy and a cautious celebration of life. Yet, lurking beneath the surface is the haunting spectre of new COVID-19 variants, like the ominous Omicron strain EG.5, which stealthily infiltrate the upper respiratory tract, bringing with them symptoms reminiscent of a chilling cold. The drama unfolds, the battle against the unseen enemy intensifies, and the stage is set for a winter fraught with challenges and resilience.

Rinse & Repeat

If the prospect of wearing masks and getting jabbed every 3-6 months wasn’t appealing to you before, it seems like we might be heading back to that reality. The question now is whether the Ford government or the Trudeau government at the federal level will take action in response to the recent increase in virus cases.

Will there be another round of mandatory 10-day stay-at-home orders? What about the COVID-19 Hotel, where everyone who has COVID can stay for ten days and pay thousands of dollars until they test negative? Are kids going back to online learning? “My son had a great year, really improving his Fornite skills?” Is remote work making a comeback just as we were adjusting to office life again? Back to zoom interviews in my underwear!

And what about the businesses struggling to repay their COVID loans – will they require additional financial assistance? What’s the designated distance to avoid fines? Will there be designated circles for standing with friends, if permitted? Are non-chain businesses, aside from big box stores like Walmart, facing another shutdown? Lastly, will Trudeau provide another $24,000 for those staying at home?

P.S– wouldn’t it be great if Tim Hortons uses hockey sticks again to issue payment at the drive-in window!?

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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