About a week ago, one of Canada’s most-watched novel coronavirus charts — new infections in Ontario — started to head definitely, unmistakably, in the wrong direction.

Canada’s most populous province has endured one of the country’s stricter shutdowns, with schools now closed until September.

For much of May, it seemed to help tame the virus, with the line marching reassuringly downward. But recently, Ontario’s daily new cases have stayed above 400, with the curve showing no sign of the hoped-for flattening.

Ontario’s R number, the number of people who an infected person will, in turn, infect on average, has remained stubbornly over one, University of Toronto epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite wrote in an email.

As our struggle with the pandemic has its advances and setbacks, victories and defeats, it’s unavoidable that restrictions will sometimes be tightened, warns Steven Hoffman of York University.

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“All Canadians need to be ready for the need to reimpose layers of protection that are now being lifted in the event that we have an uptick in cases that represents a threat to our public health,” he says.

“We all hope to go back to the way things were before the outbreak started,

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