Why experts aren't declaring victory yet despite fewer COVID-19 deaths so far in Ontario's 2nd wave

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Treatment, testing have improved since virus hit province in spring, doctors say

Original author: CBC News

Published: October 30, 2020

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

As Ontario's daily COVID-19 case counts have risen this fall, those with an eye on the data may see reason for optimism in the lower numbers of deaths. 

In the spring, the province experienced a wave of fatalities. Typically, there were between 20 and 60 reported deaths a day. By mid-May, nearly 2,000 Ontarians had died. 

Since cases began rising again in September, the daily number of people dying from COVID-19 has been noticeably lower in comparison, ranging between one and 10 per day. 

"There's a definite trend towards improvement, but with a caveat," Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Sinai Health in Toronto, told CBC News. "We haven't observed where that trend is going to end up."

Health officials in Ontario are also registering some concern, pointing out a recent increase in long-term care home deaths despite an overall projection of slowing growth in novel coronavirus cases.

Although it's too soon to tell what the impact of the second wave will ultimately be, Stall said, he and other experts have some theories about what's behind the fall data to this point — and what could be coming next.

Learning about the virus

In the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals were "taken unaware," said Dr. Amol Verma, a physician and scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "There was a lot of chaos.&