Sunday, November 01, 2020

Main sources of Ontario's COVID infections - not what you might expect

Buried in all the copious online articles and opinion pieces on the COVID-19 pandemic, I found this interesting graphic in an obscure COVID-19 update from Ontario's Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables, an outfit I had never even heard of before.

It shows the known sources of virus outbreaks in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York (the main areas of infection in Ontario), and what it shows is quite surprising, to me at any rate.
In Toronto, for example, it shows that the majority of cases in the second wave are coming from Schools and Daycares (22%) and Long-term Care and Retirement Homes (18%). Perhaps less surprisingly, Restaurants, Bars and Clubs are another major source (14%), as is healthcare (10%). Gyms and Sports only provides a measly 3% (so you can see why gym owners are so fed up with the most recent restrictions), as, surprisingly, does Events, Ceremonies and Religious Services (also 3%), although there is a separate category of Congregate Settings (10%), which presumably refers to more informal gatherings, barbecues, etc. Grocery and Retail Service is also small, at 4%.
What the graphic also brings home is how much the sources vary from area to area. For example, in Peel, just next door to Toronto, Grocery and Retail Service generates a much higher proportion of cases (19%), as does Industrial Settings (22%), while Restaurants, Bars and Clubs (3%) and Long-term Care and Retirement Homes (1%) are much less important than in Toronto, and Healthcare does not feature at all. In Ottawa, on the other hand, fully 72% of the cases are coming from just two sources, Long-term Care and Retirement Homes (33%) and Schools and Daycares (39%).
Fascinating, if true. But how does it help the government create a realistic and logical plan to battle the spread of the virus? Probably not at all.

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