Is Canada Facing a Fourth Wave in the COVID Epidemic?

First modeling since June has suggested that Ontario is facing a substantial fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic. If things are not brought under control, it might see the daily count of new cases reach more than 9,000 by October. The modeling was prepared by Ontario's Science Advisory Table.

In an optimistic scenario, if there is a 30 percent reduction in contacts, the case counts might start declining within a few days and dip under 500 by October.

A presentation that accompanied these projections warned, "Our models, federal models, and models in other jurisdictions predict a substantial fourth wave. The fourth wave will affect all age groups with the potential to exceed ICU capacity."

The modeling says Delta variant and a high number of unvaccinated Ontarians might lead to a "rapid increase in the number of seriously ill people needing hospital care as workplaces and education re-open in September." If that happens, the patients in the ICU might exceed the peak of the third wave, 900 in a worst-case scenario.

It also says that the worst-case scenario for Ontario might be avoided if residents reduce the contacts to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels and vaccination rates keep on improving.

Highlighting that a lockdown can be avoided, the Scientific Director of the Science Table, Dr. Peter Jüni, said, "The vaccines have helped us tremendously. But in addition to that, we need to get a little better than what we're doing right now in terms of restrictions. And that's also where vaccine certificates come in now. If we continue to do the right thing and use vaccine certificates smartly, this will go in absolutely the right direction."

The forecasters also recommend that large gatherings can be limited, and work from home arrangements should continue. Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, said, "I will say that this doesn't really surprise me, and I would think that those who've been listening and hearing what we've been saying in terms of public health advice won't be particularly surprised either."

"They are talking about the need for greater uptake of a vaccine and reduced interaction, and we have said all along when it comes to COVID-19 the more people interact with each other, the more they socialize, the more likelihood you have of transmission, and this is particularly the case where you have unvaccinated people."

The modelers also noted that they "do not expect to see the same proportion of severely ill cases in the vaccinated," but they also said that to protect the healthcare system truly there is a need to ensure a "substantial acceleration" in the number of Ontarians who have two shots.

A spokesperson for Minister of Health Christine Elliott stated the Ford government believes that Ontario is "is currently trending between the projected medium and best-case scenario" and expects the recent announcement about a vaccine certificate system to "further improve" its trajectory.

The modelers did warn that vaccination alone won't be enough to protect the population, especially against the Delta variant, which experts believe has a reproductive number between six and eight without proper public health measures.

Read more about the government of Canada's response to COVID-19

Here are a few tips on preventing the spread of coronavirus.

-by Shruti , CNS Canadian News Source




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