Across the country we're seeing Covid-infections flaring up where people gather to drink and party. After witnessing what happened in Florida following Spring Break this outcome should have come as no surprise.
Booze makes people, or at least some people, throw caution to the wind. Ask the locals at Spanish resort towns as hordes of besotted Brits descend on them. But let's get back to home, Canada.
Ilene Polansky, owner of Montreal restaurant Maestro SVP, said disrespectful clients littered; stumbled into her; did not distance; refused to wash their hands; and stormed off when she declined to group tables together.
Now Montreal has long lineups for testing, with infections rising and dozens of cases linked to bars, prompting new provincial guidelines.These instances, of course, are anecdotal. The telling metric is the positivity rate, the percentage of people tested who are positive for coronavirus infection. Here, despite the problems in our bars and outdoor social gatherings, Canada's numbers are mercifully low compared to most American states.
Alberta faced 41 new cases tied to outbreaks at four restaurants in Edmonton late last month. British Columbia has seen exposure to COVID-19 in bars, nightclubs and strip clubs since reopening. Ontario reopened bars and restaurants in much of the province Friday as it moves into Stage 3.
The post-reopening spikes inevitably raise questions about whether Canada is simply a few weeks behind a neighbour that reopened sooner.
The statistic to watch, according to one U.S. epidemiologist: the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus, and which direction it goes.
That's a metric Jennifer Nuzzo follows closely as a leading indicator of where case totals are headed.
If it starts to move down, that's good news; if it moves up, that's a red flag that more cases are being missed, more people are unwittingly spreading the virus, and there's a growing chance it might spiral out of control.
The goal set by the World Health Organization is to keep positive test rates below five per cent.
By that standard, the U.S. is in brutal shape. A whopping 33 U.S. states had rates higher than the WHO benchmark on Thursday, with several just above or just under 20 per cent.
In Montreal, even after its latest spike, the positivity rate inched upward, from a low under one per cent to three per cent this week. Quebec overall has a positivity rate of 1.4 per cent; British Columbia and Ontario both sit at about 0.8 per cent positivity; and Alberta hovers around 1.7 per cent.The Americans, of course, have been 'doing' summer for longer than what we get in Canada. That's why Americans sometimes refer to us as 'snowbirds.' We may have to wait for another month for an accurate picture of whether Canada has allowed Covid-19 to regain a meaningful toehold and what then may lie in store of we're hit by the dreaded "second wave."
More than 3.3 million Canadians have been tested for coronavirus since the pandemic began, with a positivity rate of about three per cent.