For almost two years now Ontario along with the rest of the world has dealt with the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest public health restrictions that came into effect in Ontario on Wednesday (January 5, 2021), have left people wondering if and when the pandemic will turn into an “endemic”.

The region's top doctor, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit said she remains hopeful that there is an end in sight.

“That there is a point where we can go back to a world where we don’t have to limit social gatherings, and physically distance, and be always masked I still think that is a possibility but at this point, information is changing rapidly,” said Young Hoon.

The latest restrictions have closed indoor dining, recreational facilities, paused sports, reduced indoor, and outdoor gathering limits, and forced employees to work from home. All of these restrictions are to last for at least 21 days, subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

Students have also been shifted to virtual learning yet again until at least January 17, 2022.

Though COVID-19 case numbers have increased rapidly over the Christmas holidays, vaccination rates are still very high across the region and province.

As of January 5, 2022, the NWHU is reporting a vaccination rate of 87.6 per cent of all ages to have gotten their first dose, 79.6 per cent have received their second dose, and 30.4 per cent have rolled up their sleeves and gotten all three doses.

Provincially, 86.8 per cent of those over the age of five have received their first dose, while 81 per cent are fully immunized.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a December 30, 2021, release their first New Year’s resolution is to end the pandemic.

They stated in order to achieve that goal, they need all countries to work together to reach the global target of vaccinating 70 per cent of people in all countries by the middle of 2022.

The WHO concluded by saying with the number of new tools to prevent and treat COVID-19, and if there is global cooperation the pandemic could end this year.