We should compare ourselves to our neighbours

Ontario is not so exceptional

By now you’ve seen plenty of covid charts. The case chart for Ontario can be terrifying:

What’s clear is that the rising number of cases in Ontario inevitably leads to more restrictions here - school closures, provincial border checkpoints, closed playgrounds, shuttered businesses.

And when the cases inevitably go down, we will be expected to thank our leaders for carefully guiding us through the storm with their careful decisions and surgical interventions.

However, what if the rise and fall of cases (or hospitalizations and deaths) had little to do with government restrictions and other heavy-handed policy measures?

Exhibit A: The three neighbours of Ontario, Michigan, and Western New York. Three different provinces/states that straddle an international border and have different policies and leaders - yet have case curves that all look rather similar in the timing of their peaks and troughs.

Ask yourself: Is this a coincidence? Were all three neighbours carefully coordinating their policies? Or were natural seasonal forces at play?

Would your answer be different if you were a politician or public health official in Ontario, Michigan, or New York?