worse than the first.
We are ten months in to the COVID19 Pandemic now. Schools in Ontario are closed again. A provincial "stay-at-home" lockdown order was issued today for at least the next month.
And yet as summer became fall and case numbers rose, many people prematurely called it a "CASEDEMIC," and for good reason. Testing ability all around the world had ramped up. In Ontario the graph below shows how testing has increased since April 2020. More tests equals more cases discovered.
That did not translate to more hospitalizations and/or deaths at first. That gave rise to a host of video posts, blogs and social media rants, claiming the Pandemic was over, here and in Europe and Asia. Hardly; the virus was just getting comfortable. It became particularly serious for our neighbours to the South. Cases spread through States that were relatively unscathed in the first wave, hospitalizations spiked and so did deaths. That also happened in Ontario and all of Canada. At the time of this post, the Americans had almost twenty-four million cases and almost 400,000 deaths attributed/related to COVID19. Things were not nearly as bad in Canada, but bad enough to stress our always stressed medical system as the lockdown in Ontario demonstrates.
Of course there is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of lockdowns. It may be too early to tell, but their effect so far has NOT been exemplary. For example, the Government of Ontario promised an "iron ring" around long term care (LTC) homes after the first wave. The result has been a dismal failure, nothing new for government, but a tragedy for thousands of families. Around 80% of the deaths from COVID19 have been in LTC homes. Here is the data for Ontario. That is about the worst in the world, and most of it can be blamed on government. Of course the socialists in our Parliaments and Legislatures blame the profit motive, but of course it is not that simple.
We all know the news was not all bad. Unlike what happened with the Spanish Flu, a third wave in the developed world is unlikely. As 2020 finally came to an end, several effective vaccines had been approved and were being administered by many nations around the world. Once again the private sector has rescued humanity. Yes, governments helped, but mostly by getting out of the way, and allowing quick approvals without jeopardizing on safety. That model could have lasting benefits for the future of medicine. We can hope.
The vaccines themselves are unique because two of them - the ones that use mRNA, demonstrate new medical tools that may revolutionize the way vaccines are made in the future. This is an unforeseen benefit of the COVID Pandemic. The use of RNA as a therapy will also have a positive effect on other areas of medicine.
Once we get vaccinations going, hopefully with lots of private involvement (pharmacies), we could be seeing the end of the Pandemic by late summer.