It was this week three years ago when the City of Guelph announced that they were closing all their public facilities, when the University of Guelph started sending all students in residents home, when all Guelph students started online learning, and every business in town, except for the most essential, closed their doors. It was start of the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, and three years later we still have questions.
First, let’s think about how far we’ve come. In less than a year we had vaccines emerge that offered reasonably good protection from the virus. We were also able to emerge out of lockdown thanks to the public’s willingness to take sensible precautions like masking and physical distancing. Was the response perfect? No, one lockdown turned into two and three and even four, but there was a heartening collective response for the greater good.
But then something changed in the last year. The mandates and protections started going away, but the virus did not. Cases locally have not gone under 100 since mid-fall 2021, and Guelph’s once commendable 90 per cent rate of full-vaccinated has now fallen to less than 30 per cent as people are failing to keep up with boosters. Outbreaks are still being reported in long-term care homes, but completely gone is the urgency and sense of community. So are we done with COVID even though it’s not done with us?
That’s one of the questions we’ll consider on this personal edition of the podcast that will dare to ask all the COVID-19 questions you might only ever think about. Why have we given up on masking and vaccines even though the virus is still among us? Was “zero COVID” only ever a pipe dream and did someone mislead us about that? What are people with disabilities and medical complications supposed to make of our disinterest fighting COVID? And what does a “steady” number of COVID cases mean for the future?
So let’s talk about COVID-19 on it’s third birthday on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can still get the weekly local case count and long-term trends about the spread of COVID-19 at the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health dashboard and it’s updated every Wednesday morning. WDG Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer will be our guest on this week’s episode of Open Sources Guelph Thursday at 5 pm on CFRU 93.3 fm or cfru.ca.
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