Photo Credit: Myriam Zilles via Unsplash 

 

This week, US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech have pulled ahead in the race to create an effective COVID-19 vaccine. This brand new vaccine looks like it is 90 per cent effective in developing immunity to COVID-19, however, it must still undergo some more trials before being deemed the true winner of the vaccination race. Moderna’s recently announced vaccine is also chomping at the bit to be the first one available. 

 

There is a lot of different information going around about the vaccine. Whether it will really work, what countries may or may not be hoarding it, how it is going to be transported etc. While these are all legitimate concerns, I think everyone needs to slow down, take a breath and be thankful that we have made a step in the right direction. At the same time, we should also still be focussing on what we can do to curb COVID-19 while we wait on the vaccine. 

 

Just as Pfizer and BioNTech announced a big ‘W,’ Halton, York, Toronto and Peel Region have regressed back into the level red of COVID-19 restrictions. Which was a pretty big ‘L’, sigh. 

 

Closer to home, Niagara has dipped its toes back into the orange level for the first time. In Niagara, one must attend restaurants and similar establishments with those in the same household or “a maximum of two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health, such as caregivers or social supports to someone who lives alone,” according to the Niagara Region’s Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. 

 

The Niagara Region is certainly not kidding around. At the end of the extensive list of rules on its website the final line reads, “Failure to comply with this order is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.” 

 

A $5,000 fine? That amount of money is certainly a great way to deter businesses from breaking rules.

 

Ontario is on the brink of a very, very slippery slope and it is up to us to not fall down it. 

 

“Everyone has a role to play … we need to continue to fight … please don’t lose hope […] Never has so much depended on us coming together as a people, a province. Together we can and we will get through this,” said Premier Doug Ford via Global News. 

 

I know we have heard the ‘we are all in this together’ spiel a multitude of times by now, but it still rings true, just like it did even when we first heard it back in March. 

 

Now is not the time to be reckless and throw caution to the wind, as this would only cause COVID-19 cases to continue to ramp up. We need to buckle down; there is a vaccine on the horizon which means we are in the race to eradicate COVID-19. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, our attitudes positive (while keeping our cases negative) and our social circles small until we finally arrive at the light at the end of the tunnel.