TORONTO – Provincial health officials are urging Ontarians to take the COVID-19 situation seriously, as provincial modelling shows the third wave could continue through summer without more strict measures in place.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, appeared perplexed during an April 16 press conference that some people are still suggesting the pandemic isn’t that serious.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Williams said.
He added that refusal to heed public health advice could “lead us into a more disastrous situation.”
Provincial health officials unveiled new pandemic modelling on Friday, the second consecutive day the province set a record for daily cases, with 4,812 new infections.
There were 25 virus-related deaths reported Friday, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across the province now over 700.
The record-high cases and new modelling come amid reports the province is to introduce new public health restrictions to help flatten the third-wave curve.
Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair for the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, said “our progress is both frustrating and frightening right now.”
Brown said Ontarians’ biggest problem is “we’re too tired to notice” both the seriousness of the situation and those not doing all they can to improve it.
Modelling shows that without a stay-at-home order lasting six weeks as well as improvements to the vaccine rollout and support for high-risk communities, the third wave of COVID-19 could continue through the summer.
With the measures in place as of April 15, which Brown described as “moderate,” officials say the province could see 10,000 daily cases in June.
In the best case scenario, with stronger measures and continuing with 100,000 vaccinations a day, daily case counts could be lowered to 4,000 by late May and early June.
If vaccinations increase to 300,000 per day – there is currently not the supply to meet that threshold – and strong public health measures in place for six weeks, the province could see about 2,000 cases per day and flatten the curve by the end of June.
Williams cautioned those who suggest COVID-19 public health measures, including lockdowns, are more troublesome or harmful than the virus itself.
“You should not feel that way for the third wave,” he warned.
He urged people to adhere to public health guidelines, adding, “You have to be considerate of one another.”