When will Ontario return to normal? This doctor believes it could be sooner than you think
A sign encouraging vaccination is seen at the doors of a pub as staff watch patrons arrive, in Ottawa on the first day of Ontario's first phase of re-opening amidst the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday, June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
TORONTO -- With Canada set to receive enough supply to fully vaccinate most people by the middle of the summer, many Ontarians are wondering when exactly life will return to normal.
Last week, Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced that Canada would receive at least 55 million doses of vaccine by the end of July, meaning 80 per cent of eligible Canadians would be able to book their shots in the days and weeks that follow.
So when can residents in Ontario start to really live their best post-pandemic life?
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Zain Chagla said he believes that the fall is a safe bet.
“If 80 per cent of people get a vaccine by the end of July, or even mid-August, our ability to really get back to normal, especially before the winter time, is really preserved,” he said, speaking to CTV News Toronto Wednesday. “And that’s going to help with all of us feeling like this is behind us for the most part.”
Chagla went on to say that Labour Day could be a real turning point in the province’s fight against the disease with the September 6 holiday marking the first time where residents can really “do what they want.”
“You look at places like Israel right now and they’re still not at 80 per cent and they’re basically declaring they’re back to normal and they’ve even given up masks,” he said.
For context, Israel’s fully vaccinated population percentage, according to data collected by CTV News, sits at roughly 59 per cent. Meanwhile, only 13 per cent of Canadians are considered to be fully vaccinated after receiving both their first and second shots.
If Canada can fully vaccinate 80 per cent of the population by the end of July, Chagla said the situation in schools would also improve.
“Knowing that, at least in places struggling with the Delta variant like England, kids are going to transmit this, not necessarily get sick with it, having a significant amount of the population vaccinated will likely help reduce that burden in schools and make it much safer for them to operate,” he said.
Between now and then, Chagla said that doses will need to continue to be administered as fast as they have been in the last few months and that enthusiasm among people to get vaccinated will need to remain high.