Even countries that had early success in the pandemic are now experiencing a surge of cases including New Zealand.
Is it finally going to end?
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
This time last year, the province was still going through the second wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic. A vaccine was not yet found, many places were still closed, there were no public gatherings, and classes were online. People were wary of the impending increase in weekly cases.
Today, there is now a weekly average of 500 cases, many in-person settings are open almost at full capacity, and almost the entire province is fully vaccinated. At this point, it might be a sign that the pandemic is about to end. But I fear there might be a surge of cases again if there is another variant of the virus and the reopening of travel is too quick.
Canada is currently in the fourth wave of the pandemic while other countries including Australia went through a fifth wave and had to do lockdowns again. Even countries that had early success in the pandemic are now experiencing a surge of cases including New Zealand. If Canada does not lift all the safety precautions that are in place, keeping social distancing and masking policies in effect, it could prevent a fifth wave and the situation would be under control.
When there is a surge of cases outside of the country or a new variant, the government could put travel restrictions on those affected countries. The surge of cases right now is mainly from the delta variant though there is news that there might be a new variant that is more transmissible. There might be a variant that the vaccine may not have protection for and would require a booster shot to increase the effectiveness against it.
About booster shots, the government of British Columbia announced that by the summer of next year, everyone 12 years and older can get a booster shot which is optional but can increase the protection from getting the virus. The FDA in the United States currently approved them but there still needs to be more research from other countries to find out if the booster shot will help.
The capacity limits of public gatherings in the province are now at full capacity and require a BC Vaccine Card to get inside them. However, these places are not obligated to increase the capacity limits and can do them slowly depending on comfort levels and what happens with the pandemic. For example, The Cinematheque is currently operating at 50 percent capacity and beginning November 12, they will operate at 75 percent capacity. Ontario has plans to fully reopen the province and lift all safety measures by this spring. As we learned in Alberta and Saskatchewan, opening too early will lead to a surge of cases and hospitals overflowing.
If more people get vaccinated, cases remain stable, and everything is opened safely, the pandemic could end officially in the province but still happen in the rest of the world. But if there is another variant we can prepare for a continuation of the pandemic world.