It’s going to get worse before it gets better

If you listen to radio news, or watch TV, you’re inundated with hourly updates it seems to the number of people suspected, infected, recovered or dead with the pandemic COVID19 novel coronavirus.

Each morning, I wake up to the news on CFRB NEWSTALK1010 and hear the numbers reported – but the only number that really matters to me is the number of new cases daily. Typically, that number increases daily. It was 39 new cases in Ontario the other day. Yesterday it was 70-something. Today it was in the 100’s.

This means the virus is spreading at a non-linear rate – infections are accelerating. Which is what you expect to happen in a pandemic – and what has happened in other countries that had their first cases earlier than Canada.

Infections will continue to accelerate. Until they don’t.

Your ability to maintain physical distance from others – to practice self-isolation discipline helps de-link you from the chain and slow the rate of spread.

I’m listening to those numbers in the morning to hear the day that the number of new cases one day is the same as it was the day before. Then, the next day, it’s fewer – as the spread begins too slow. Ultimately, it will plateau – and we’ll have few or no new cases. That’s when we’ll have turned the tide.

That’s what I’m waiting for.

Even then, as we come out of our shells and return to something closer to normalcy, we can expect another round of growth in infections.

Eventually, though, this pandemic will pass.

Leaving us to speculate what happens next?

What parts of our pandemic response will become permanent? Which protective measures will we abandon entirely? How will our society change? I’ll write on this soon.

The other question that must be asked is a harder and more brutal one.

Is our protective response more damaging to society than the virus itself? It’s entirely possible. Though the wisest minds in our government think not.

Every life is precious – if it’s yours, or that of a loved one. But the time-worn axiom that “if it saves just one life, it will be worth it” has never been true.

Millions of Canadians will be poorer because of this pandemic – and our response to it. Many will be impoverished. Decades of research have taught us the poor do not live as long, or enjoy good health, compared to the wealthy.

A discussion for another post. Another day.

Keep safe and let me know what you think – in the comments below or on twitter where you can find me @towhey