Ron’s COVID-19 Page
What’s new on this site
See our new Variants page, which is intended as a primer to promote understanding of the dizzying array of new variants which the pandemic is creating at an accelerating rate. The other charts on this site have been significantly pared down to those for which credible and reasonably timely pandemic-related statistics are still available. We have reluctantly dropped all international comparisons because the quality and availability of the data are now simply too poor.
Who We Are
This site shares the results of an ongoing personal project to better understand why the pandemic has developed in such a damaging way in Canada, what other jurisdictions have done to better protect their citizens from those impacts and what we can collectively do to reduce the carnage of the unnecessary third wave which is now upon us. It neither represents nor receives funding from any other person or organization. The sole purpose is to provide the latest and most meaningful data and insights related to the pandemic and its impact on our society in a readily accessible format. You will find many meaningful charts and analyses which provide context for the statistics summarized in the above table by clicking on the Global, Canada, Ontario and Kingston menus. For more details, see the About page.
Week of November 26 to December 2
Once again, our primary indicators provide an uncertain picture with respect the state of the pandemic over the past week, which makes it difficult to ascertain whether or not the current COVID seasonal resurgence is peaking.
PCR testing of municipal wastewater serves as the best leading indicator of infection rates. As you can see in this week’s composite chart, Ontario COVID viral counts have continued their steep climb and have already exceeded last December’s peak. Positivity rates for PCR tests among the minority of Ontarians who still qualify also continued to climb. According to the data, Canadian COVID hospitalization rates appeared to have plateaued, as have Ontario’s. That data is unfortunately questionable in terms of identifying current trends since hospitalizations, among other vital statistics such as death rates, are almost always retroactively increased as late-arriving data are incorporated.
The reasonably encouraging news is in the biweekly update from COVID-19 Resources Canada, whose latest forecast of the number of Canadians who are currently infected and therefore infectious, now estimates one in every 41 Ontarians. That constitutes a significant improvement from last week’s one in every 23 people. However, one in 41 continues to make it wise to mask up when entering any crowded indoor public spaces.
Turning to currently-spreading variants, a new one has emerged which is definitely worth watching. Nicknamed “Pirola”, BA.2.86 is the first significant crack in the recent utter dominance of the XBB family of recombinant COVID variants. Looking at the most recent US data (Public Health Canada has yet to published any data on its Canadian prevalence), Pirola has soared almost 18-fold over the past 8 weeks. While now enjoying the third-largest “market share”, unless is rate of increase dramatically slows, it could easily achieve dominance within a matter of weeks. Early sequencing showed that it has 34 more mutations in its spike protein than its BA.2 parent and 36 more mutations than XBB.1.5. It is as yet unclear how easily it can infect people with up-to-date vaccinations and/or recent bouts of XBB, but its incredible growth rate can only be explained by a significant transmissibility advantage.