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Ontario’s vaccination rates soar, yet harmful restrictions remain: MLI’s Provincial COVID Misery Index

A new update to the MLI Provincial COVID Misery Index has been released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and things are looking rosier in Canada as COVID-19 caseloads decline and vaccine rates rise. 

Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick especially have seen a surge in vaccination rates, the index indicates. It is notable, then, that Ontario still persists with some of the most stringent lockdown measures in the country. This has greatly affected where the province grades out, coming in eighth out of 10 in terms of the Total Misery score.

“Higher levels of stringency result in a worse grade for the Response Misery category on the Index, since citizens suffer greatly during lockdowns from lost incomes, the mental health toll of isolation and stress, the impact on physical health of a hobbled medical system, and, for children, serious repercussions for learning and social development.”

One thing has been true since the start of the pandemic: Atlantic Canada’s performance has outpaced the rest of the country. A recent outbreak in Nova Scotia has done little to increase the overall misery experienced in the region by MLI’s measures, and all Atlantic provinces are included in the top five of the rankings.

The Western provinces, and especially Alberta, continue to fare poorly given that their vaccine rates are below average and excess deaths are above average, but better grades are on the horizon, according to the report.

“Alberta’s ambitious reopening will begin to pay off as its stringency rate continues to fall and  the economic benefits become more apparent, as long as there isn’t a major resurgence in the virus. As commodities recover, Alberta’s economic misery is expected to improve further.”

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