NSW vs Ontario: A month later

Welcome to Plugging the Gap (my email newsletter about Covid-19 and its economics). In case you don’t know me, I’m an economist and professor at the University of Toronto. I have written lots of books including, most recently, on Covid-19. You can follow me on Twitter (@joshgans) or subscribe to this email newsletter here. (I am also part of the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium. The views expressed here are my own and should not be taken as representing organisations I work for.)


A month ago I wrote a post comparing the Delta experiences of New South Wales and Ontario. The contrast was that NSW was in lockdown with lower vaccination rates while the opposite was true of Ontario. The Delta cases were tracking each other up until August 15th when I wrote that post and I promised to revisit the numbers a month later (today) to see how it was going.

So here’s the data:

There is now a clear divergence going on. This indicates how useful vaccines are; as if you needed more evidence on that.

There are some headwinds about to hit Ontario though. School went back last week with a largely unvaccinated set of people now interacting with each other daily. And it is getting colder. We don’t know about the seasonality of Delta yet but our beliefs should surely be that like other coronaviruses, they thrive in colder temperatures. These headwinds will test our vaccine resistance. On the flip side, vaccine mandates for places may help mitigate some risks.

Given all of this, NSW appears to have become the first Australian state to have abandoned the Covid-Zero objective. Of course, the rest of the country is now isolating NSW from it which is a whole level of interesting politics and economics.