Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Toronto's worst COVID numbers are now in the affluent areas near the lake

In the early (and even middle) days of the pandemic, all the talk was about how the areas in Toronto with the highest COVID cases were the poorer area in the north of the city, largely populated by immigrants carrying out essential services, and how the virus was - yes, I actually saw this written! - racist. At the very least, it was said, the pandemic was accentuating the polarization of the city, and highlighting existing inequalities.

Well, nearly two years later, an analysis of where Toronto's cases are being recorded now paints a very different picture (here's a link to the original interactive map by Toronto Public Health, part of a treasure trove of information on local COVID stats). Neighbourhoods like the downtown core and the Beaches, where I live, which had very low case counts last year, are now leading the pack, and the Rexdales and Agincourts of the city are now doing relatively well. The Toronto Islands and the Downtown Waterfront is the current hotspot with 625 cases per 100,000 residents, followed by The Beaches with 612. These rates have tripled in just the last two weeks. 

I have not seen any good explanation of this turnaround, either medical or sociological, although suggested reasons include unequal access to testing facilities, post-infection immunity in the early hotspots, or excessive social gatherings in more wealthy areas. But all those outraged race activists have certainly gone very quiet.

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