The curve is still not flat - and warmer weather is upon us - time to be even more vigilant.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2020



For those who are having difficulty with the need to Stay at Home and not mingle with people you don’t live with when they are out – some  graphics from the Regional Health Unit should give you caution.

515 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (456 confirmed + 59 probable)

The curve: It has to stop rising – until then we are going to have to Stay Home – and the province will not be able to even begin to lift the restrictions.

Episode date
cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (14% of all cases)

cases work in health care (15% of all cases)

The number of people infected by municipality.

Muni differences

Burlington’s numbers have always been the lowest – that is not a reason to think we can let up.

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6 comments to The curve is still not flat – and warmer weather is upon us – time to be even more vigilant.

  • Tom Muir


    You didn’t do your home work for the local scene, and some of your other info is not correct.

    The province is clear on the need for essential workers, and others that can work and under what conditions. So some people can work and the rest are under instructions to stay home, go out as little as possible, and practice physical distancing when they do.

    What’s so tough about that request that you make such a fuss about? Not doing it when you can’t work is stupid and selfish. Needing the money is no excuse in a pandemic. Many countries, including China, wouldn’t even let you go out from your home at all for 2 or more months. That’s total lock-down.

    You know why this is happening, although your opening sentence indicates you don’t really care cause your better days are past you say – no, you say our best years.

    Well, I think most everyone would care to disagree with that as an excuse to ignore the rules and as a basis for your complaint. So speak for yourself.

    The info on cases you want transparency on is generally available for everywhere on earth, and the Gazette regularly reports the local numbers right here, with many links to other sources in many places.

    Don’t you read the Gazette for information or is your reading keyed to look for another lame argument to make?

    I looked closely at Sweden and they have a partial lock-down, and have chosen a policy that has not yet played out enough to see what happened. It’s not business as usual, but letting the virus spread more freely hoping for herd immunity. We are waiting to see.

    And you really need to do the math on a per capital basis before you go off making grand declarations of their success compared to others.

    I could do it for you but you need to do it yourself with a lot more homework to fill the gaps.

  • Alfred

    Tom and Joe.

    Gents our best years are behind us. I would not refer to a young father who wants to go to work to feed his 3 kids and a wife or a single mother who needs to work to raise her family slackers, weakly and certainly not selfish. I would encourage you to review what is going on in Sweden. They do not have a lockdown and the country is still functioning. More importantly they have some of the lowest covid cases in Europe and USA. Lower than Trumpville, Italy, Spain,France,Belgium,Neatherlands, Switzerland, Portugal,Ireland,Luxembourg, Monaco, Vatican City,San Marino and more. The stats don’t lie. It’s easy for people who are getting paid to tell people that aren’t to stay home. We need more transparency and the government should tell us who is dying, the ages,and the circumtances.. So we can get a clear picture of what is going on and how people are getting infected.

  • Tom Muir

    I hope it doesn’t take months for there to be days, and continuing days/weeks, when there are consistently no new cases. Then the “cumulative number of cases”, which is the curve used here, will go “flat”, no higher than the previous days.

    The “new” daily cases chart or “bar graph” curve will then, hopefully, assume the overall exponential shape, reaching a peak, and then falling towards zero.

    For the slackers that feel sorry for themselves and ignore the rules of staying home, and especially, not mixing and mingling in groups, and so keeping socially distant when needing to be out, it is an emerging fact that these rules are the only thing that has worked, based on the observed reality any place that has succeeded in flattening the cumulative cases curve.

    So be smart and strong, and not stupid and weakly selfish.

    • Joe Gaetan

      Tom, I am using Italy as the base case. It took Italy about 30 days to descend from a daily case rate of 3% to below 1 % (Italy has been below 1% daily growth for 3 days now). We hit 3% yesterday May 2.

      • Tom Muir

        Joe, good point on looking at percentage increases in cases, and at a larger population (Italy) ahead of us as well.

        I was focused more on the local scene of the story, and the smaller population, where it seems more possible to get to zero case (and therefore percentage) increases to flatten the cumulative cases curve. My flaw.

        That said, your point is the more relevant for setting provincial ( and Canadian) expectations and policies. Your data shows how difficult the situation is for policy for the obvious reason that we don’t know how much economic shutdown we can handle, for how long, as months more seems daunting.

        And further, our health care system is not working right now for more than a month for regular population needs, as it is focused on COVID19 treatment and preparation. We have numerous life and death matters involving the usual disease burden that are on hold for all that time, and that has consequences for everyone in need. How long will that situation have to be maintained, or how long will it be tolerable?

        These are all very difficult policy questions and I feel for our politicians and senior health authorities. In my opinion, Ford and Trudeau have excelled in their heartfelt and diligent response so far. But these questions and vexing policy responses remain for the indefinite future.

        I read, as I recall, that the provincial health authorities want to see new provincial cases down to 200 to 400 per day before starting to open things up in the economy. This rate still involves further infections, transmission, and more death, and is a real policy conundrum with much difficulty to conceive and implement “safely”, recognizing that I don’t think we really know what “safely” means in practice in this context.

        The more people move around, mix and mingle the more the probability of spread.

        Something very important that I have noticed is not mentioned explicitly in this discussion is related to immunity and especially “herd immunity” based on slow spread with no vaccine reaching a high enough level to fight the virus off naturally.

        What is left out of the conversation is that the process of herd immunity is coupled tightly with the process we are seeing and experiencing presently, known as “the thinning of the herd”. We have become acquainted with that as the virus takes out the the most vulnerable of the population.

        We will experience this thinning process as the case fatality rate works its way through the spread of more cases per day. Until that new cases increase is zero it will be seen.

        This is the risk based trade-off we are faced with – between both preventing new cases by our interventions of spacing and lock-down, and by essentially risking new cases and their spread by loosening some interventions for economic reasons, and to deal with the background health care system backlog of untreated needs that is certainly causing a significant morbidity and mortality risk and actual outcomes.

        A very tough proposition, but one we now have some control over because we really are just in start mode and have too much to lose if we yield too soon. I think we must persevere and be very strong in our first defensive and offensive moves to get to a plateau rate of cases as close to zero as we can collectively tolerate and feel “safe” with the risk we take.

        I think that is what the province is trying to get to, but the more people move around, group, mix, and mingle the longer the time it will take and the harder the slog.

        The overall spread and increase in cases will only slow its rate when we look at estimates of the “effective reproductive number” Re (the number of secondary infections caused by a primary infection) over time in different locations that is less then 1.

        For example, if Re = 1, then 100 new cases will generate 100 new secondary cases, but if Re = 0.9, then 100 cases generates only 90. Still a positive add to cases, but less. Repeating this, the math shows that it still takes a length of time to get the iterations of secondary infections to tend to zero.

        Increasing evidence shows that it is entirely decreases in Re through social distancing that have resulted in a slowdown in the rate of increase in daily case counts.

        So the choices, tradeoffs, and need to persevere and make wise choices in loosening interventions in an intelligent way that monitors the outcome are apparent.

        Be strong.

        Data and figures at
        John Burn-Murdoch@jburnmurdoch and

  • Joe Gaetan

    “The curve: It has to stop rising”. Too bad you are using the wrong curve to prove your point. Our case curve will continue to increase for some time (months). Here is why. On April 1,2020 Canada had 9,731 cases, S. Korea had 9,881 cases (not bad right, but, S. K has a population of abut 50 million and we have 39 million). On April 30,2020, Canada had 53,326 cases (what happened Canada, we were neck and neck with S. Korea?).
    So, both Canada and S Korea are still experiencing more cases, but the key is, at a slower rate? But why the big difference? Good question grasshopper. The answer, it is due to the difference in the % daily case curves. During the 30-day period S. Korea experienced an average % daily case growth of .32%, while Canada experienced an average % daily case growth of 6.31%. But here is some good news, our 14 day % daily case rate was at 4.49% down from the 6.31%, not as good a S. Koreas 14 day % daily case rate of .13%. Yes, “Virginia”, the case curve will continue to rise but at a slower rate and Canada will soon be where S. Korea and Italy are now. Cheer up and keep the faith.