03:27:38 pm on
Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

In the Midst of Step 3
David Simmonds

Source: cpac

Ontario moved on to Step Three of its three-step Covid-19 recovery plan. The floodgates verily opened. Is it an almost return to normal?

Larger groups in all settingss

Outdoor social gatherings may include 100 people and indoor gatherings may include 25 people. Restaurants will be open for both indoor and outdoor dining, without table size limits. Essential and non-essential retail stores will be open subject to physical distancing guidelines, as will churches. You will even be able to get your hair cut, if you can find a barber who doesn’t have a lineup.

There are very few limits on what you can do. Movie theatres, museums, casinos and bingo halls can open, but at 50 per cent capacity. Sports arenas can open; the limit is 1,000 spectators. You will even be able to go to a strip club; if you do, you must stay two metres away from the staff. That’s it.

As Step Three begins, attention is bound to turn to the next milestone. That is, the day the Step Three restrictions go away. The recovery plan lists the preconditions for it to arrive.

First, Step Three must have been in effect for at least 21 days, so the earliest the restrictions can end is August 6. Second, 80 per cent of the 12-and-over population must have received two doses of vaccine. Third, each local health unit must report an over 70 per cent double vaccination level. 

There is nothing to say that the Ontario government will not insist on masking and social distancing to continue after the end of Step Three or at least prescribe it as recommended conduct. The bigger change may be when Step Three begins, rather than when it ends. If it ends.

Will Step Three rules be met.

Meeting the Step Three termination criteria will be a challenge. We met the transition into Step Two quite handily. Can we handle the end of Step Three, when it comes?

The data, available via the internet is from 7 July. It shows double dose coverage for 80-plus seniors at 75.9 per cent and for 70-to-79-year-olds at 74.0 per cent. For 18-to-29-year-olds, the number is 31.2 per cent. For 12-to-17-year-olds, it is 14.7 per cent. Much of the lower rate of uptake in these two younger groups is due to their later eligibility for a first vaccination. The overall, blended percentage of the double vaccinated is 41.1 per cent. We’re getting there, but when is an open question.

From a day spent poring over the data, one conclusion is compelling. The dramatic decline in new Covid-cases, in Ontario, on 11 July, there were just 114 new cases. Three months ago, there were over 4,000 a day. The drop coincides with the time vaccines became more widely available and vaccinated occurred at a brisker rate, in Ontario. You would almost think that the two were causally related.

Indeed, a Surveillance Report issue by Public Health Ontario, with data to July 3, says a conservative calculation of vaccine efficacy concludes that vaccination has avoided at least 28,583 Covid-19 cases in the adult population of Ontario.

Like everyone else, having spent the last 16 months in a state of closeted docility with my immediate family as my constant companions, I suspect it will take me a while to ease into the old social routines. I’ll keep my mask on when I don’t absolutely have to and store my unused masks in a handy place. I’ll also keep my social distance, just for a while, just to hedge my bets.

Mind your steps.

I’ll refrain from offering those passionate cheek on cheek kisses so beloved in European etiquette, in favour of much safer fist on fist or elbow on elbow bumps. You can never be too careful. I’d better mind my Step (Three).

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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