While outdoor eateries reopen in hotspots across Ontario and vaccines are rolling out nationwide, doctors are preparing for the impact of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Ontario doctor was not surprised to see the number of infections rebounded when restrictions were eased in the province in February. Once the variants circulate, the doctor said it is only a matter of time until the third wave of a pandemic occurs. Now, he says this third wave could be the worst yet.
Ontario’s top doctor declared on Monday that the province is entering its third wave, while Alberta and B.C. have not made it official yet as their infection rates continue to increase.
Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an expert on infectious diseases, told CTV News: “I think it’s impossible to avoid a third wave that’s likely going to be worse than the first two,”.
This time, he said, we’re seeing the virus hit harder in places that have previously handled it well. Not only populated hotspots are facing this risk.
“Look what happened in Thunder Bay,” he said, referring to the northern Ont. city where case numbers recently reached a peak, setting a new daily record with 64 cases on March 1. The previous record was 60 cases on Jan. 19, and before that their highest daily case count was 33.
There are many factors propelling surges, but Sharkawy points to the slow vaccine rollout and variants being the main drivers of the third wave.
Around this time, the third wave is infecting younger people. The doctor says the number one driver to beat back the wave will be vaccines, and most likely, another lockdown.
For everyone to be vaccinated, he added, we not only need the supplies, but we also need a willing population. Until we get enough vaccines, a lockdown will likely be necessary to keep the spread under control.
“I can’t foresee any other way of dealing with this, it’s just not tenable,” he said.
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