The daily new COVID counts have dropped and stabilized but have not fallen to “0”. Given that we have been in code red for three and a half months it is unlikely that they will drop to “0” any time soon.
One could argue that we have reached an “endemic” (i.e. normal background) rate of COVID transmission which is our new reality.
Preferentially vaccinating those most “at risk” of severe COVID related disease is a rational strategy and should help us get on with our lives despite the persistent small number of daily new cases.
Having a Health Canada approved safe and effective COVID vaccine is a game changer. As risks to vaccinated vulnerable populations goes down the potential benefits of the COVID preventive measures (e.g. Public Health and Provincial Emergency Orders) are commensurately also reduced.
This means that the socio-economic and health risks associated with COVID preventive measures, such as those related to social isolation and economic stresses, become harder to justify.
We are bombarded, on a daily basis, about COVID case numbers and associated deaths as well as impacts on hospitals and ICUs’. However, there is no commensurate data and commentary on COVID related bankruptcies, overdose deaths, suicides, domestic violence ... etcetera.
The figure below is a first draft illustrating the risk and benefit balance of COVID preventive measures (above the line). Current measures to address the risks, on both sides, are found below the line.
Obviously, despite all the talk, and times rhetoric, about how “science” drives COVID related decisions, politics, ethics, and legal issues are strong influencers. This is demonstrated by the patchwork quilt of COVID response measures across Canadian jurisdictions. The COVID virus does not change behavior when it crosses a provincial border.
As the figure is a work in progress, I would love to hear back from you if I have missed important points on either side of the figure or if you have any comments for me.
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