Does the Rollout of Vaccinations Mean and End to Mask-Wearing?

March 11, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. That week also marked a year since Canada went on a full lockdown as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau closed the borders to non-citizens (except for the US) and Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared an emergency a few days later. Since then the province and country at large have experienced many twists and turns, going in and out of full lockdowns. 

A year later, we are currently in a third wave of COVID-19 with as many as three variants in the country, unending anti-masks protests, restrictions loosening and the weather is getting warmer. This begs questions that has been asked since this started, when is this going to end? Are we doing enough as citizens and is the government’s efforts enough to end the pandemic as Canada is concerned?

There is a known saying “heaven helps those who help themselves”, whether you believe in heaven or any religion for that matter, one thing we know from this pandemic is that we are certainly not helping ourselves. There was a point last July when the entire province of Ontario was reporting just more than 100 cases daily and it seemed like the pandemic was slowing down. Fast forward to last week and Ontario recorded a record 1699 cases in a single day. It is a stark difference and one can’t help but point to how carefree society in general became after a couple months in lockdown. The government loosening restrictions such as the reopening schools, malls, and bars did not help matters. But there are things our politicians cannot control like citizens going in restaurants or public transit without masks covering their mouths or noses [I have witnessed this a few times]. Not to mention the anti-mask protests happening all over the country and the public gatherings at Wasaga beach last year. 

So are masks enough? No, because we as a society in general on many occasions have not done the bare minimum to contain the virus when given a little freedom by the government. The strict lockdown last year at the beginning of the pandemic and fear of the public to go out might have contributed to the earlier success in containing the virus. Maybe the government should look into stricter measures with the combined efforts of receiving more vaccines to eliminate the virus soon. Countries like China who are doing better in terms of vaccinations and daily and New Zealand, who have fought off the virus twice used stricter measures and are enjoying the benefits at the moment. We have been subjected to half-measured lockdowns and are currently in a third-wave with vaccines as our only saving grace with experts recommending another full lockdown. 

One thing is for sure, vaccinations will be ramping up in the next few months as Canada has received 10. 5 million total vaccines. Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand also announced that Canada is expected to receive an additional 3.2 million vaccines in the next two weeks, 6.5 million before the end of April and a grand total of 44 million vaccines before the end of June. Hopefully the government can keep the pace up and stay true to their word. With Canada’s population being over 37 million, the country would need rapid vaccination. Maybe another reason to consider going into another lockdown in the meantime so that Canada can reopen fully in the next coming months.