lockdown ontario

This new chart shows why attending large-scale events in Ontario might be a bad idea

As more lockdown measures were lifted this fall, things were looking up for Ontario — gyms, indoor dining and pubs all reopened.

But this week, things took a turn — one Ontario city went back into Step 3 due to spiking COVID-19 numbers and the province put a pause on increasing capacity limits in certain high-risk venues.

Those looking forward to getting back to the before times, where it was okay to dance in a club or go to a huge wedding, were undoubtedly disappointed.

The reasoning behind Ontario's move is all in the numbers.

This week, Ontario saw a big jump — about 46 per cent more cases this Thursday than last week with a reported 642 new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 11.

Understanding how the increases impact decisions for gathering capacity limits becomes a bit clearer with the help of charts like this one from Ryan Imgrund.

Imgrund, a biostatistician who has been tweeting charts and graphs throughout the pandemic, came out with a new chart this week on the statistical risk of encountering someone with COVID-19 at large gatherings.

The chart breaks down the risk assessment by Public Health Unit and shows how much risker it would be to attend a large event in say, Sudbury or Algoma compared to Haliburton or Renfrew on Friday, Nov. 12.

At an event with around 15,000 people, there is a 100 per cent chance that at least one person there can transmit COVID-19 nearly everywhere in Ontario. In Haliburton, there is a 86.8 per cent chance.

Things get a bit better at gatherings of around 1,500 but in Algoma, there is still a 100 per cent chance. Even in a gathering of 10 people in Algoma, you have a 8.6 per cent chance of being with someone who can transmit COVID.

Just to be clear, the chart isn't showing your chances of contracting COVID, it is simply stating the odds of someone with COVID-19 being in the crowd.

It may not make people change their plans, but it does make you wonder what they are doing right in Haliburton and what the heck is going on in Algoma.

Lead photo by


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