As the federal government continues to release the latest information about Canada’s COVID-19 cases — of which there are now more than 11,000 — via detailed epidemiological summaries and reports, one changing statistic has been particularly concerning: the proportion of infections caused by community spread.
As of April 2, a whopping 67 per cent of the country’s cases are being attributed to community transmission, while 33 per cent are believed to have been contracted from recent travel (whether directly or indirectly).
By comparison, less than half of Canada’s patients were thought to have been infected via community spread 10 days ago. This number was only around 25 per cent in major cities such as Toronto as recently as a week ago.
This new figure — which is shockingly high given that rampant community spread is something every health official fears — is in part due to the fact that Canada and most other countries in the world have recently imposed strict travel bans, leading to far fewer outgoing and incoming travellers over the past few weeks, and thus a lower percentage of infections from travel.
There is also the fact that many Canadians still seem to insist on defying the directives from the federal, provincial and municipal governments, continuing to leave their houses more than is necessary and basically carrying on life as usual.
This is especially worrying when government officials are anticipating a forthcoming surge of the virus and hold a generally grim outlook on what’s still to come for Canada as far as the coronavirus situation is concerned.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself has said that too many Canadians are still not heeding advice and properly social distancing.
“The biggest variable in shaping these projections is you and your behaviour. You must listen… It’s up to you to do the right thing,” Trudeau told the public a press conference on Thursday. “While many of you are staying home and limiting trips to the grocery store, too many still aren’t.”
He went on to say that the actions of citizens at this time will define how bad the trajectory of COVID-19 in Canada will be in the weeks and months to come.
With summer already essentially cancelled, those of us who are abiding by the rules for the safety of ourselves and others are imploring those who aren’t yet to start — first and foremost, so that lives are spared, but also so that at least some part of 2020 can be salvaged for everyone.