Experts say 4th wave of COVID-19 has already started in Ontario
Worriesome chatter is starting to swell about a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ontario as case numbers reach their highest consistent levels in months and Canada reopens its border to fully-vaccinated U.S. residents.
Some infectious disease experts are now in fact saying that pandemic's latest wave has already hit, and they're calling upon the provincial government to take action before it's too late.
"It's clear, we are at the beginning of a fourth wave — that's clear and we're seeing that in Ontario, and we're seeing that in most other places across Canada," said Toronto-based infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch to Global News on Monday.
"It just comes to no ones surprise that when you lift measures to keep this virus in check, that the virus will start to be transmitted more frequently."
"The 4th wave is here. We just can't afford inaction," tweeted Mississauga physician Dr. Amit Arya Monday morning similarly.
"Today would be a good day for the Ontario Government to mandate vaccine passports, mandate vaccines for health workers/educators, provide clean air & N95s in high risk workplaces, schools & health care settings."
Dr. Mackie, Medical Officer for London, says a 4th Wave is beginning in Ontario.— Mike Gibbs🏳️🌈 (@Mikeggibbs) August 9, 2021
He says case counts would be higher if we were testing better. He notes positivity/ICUs climbing.
He says ICU always increase before hospitalization as a wave begins. We are seeing that right now. pic.twitter.com/b7OZbpxIhC
The provincial government has yet to offer any formal statement on the matter, though it is of note that Ontario remains in Step 3 of reopening past the requisite 21-day mark — something that didn't happen with previous steps, both of which were actually entered into early.
This is because only one of the four milestones have yet to be checked off on Health Minister Christine Elliott's oft-tweeted list of requirements for leaving the framework.
More than 80 per cent of people over the age of 12 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (nearly 82 per cent, as of Monday morning) but we're still short of the goal that requires 75 per cent of eligible residents to be fully vaxxed.
The other two benchmarks — that no public health unit can have less than 70 per cent of their total eligiblee 12+ populations fully vaccinated and that "other key indicators" remain stable — also remain unsurpassed.
More worrisome still to those who would prefer not to see any more lockdowns, cases of the coronavirus appear to be rising again in Ontario.
The province has been reporting more than 300 new cases for the past four days straight. More than 400 were reported Sunday alone, marking the highest single-day new case number we've seen since mid-June.
More lengthy forced closures for businesses are the last thing anybody wants, but many health experts and industry groups say that something must be done to slow down the aggresive Delta variant, and soon.
The province continues to push for unvaccinated people to get their shots, but millions still lag behind and it's not clear if they'll ever be innoculated. This is why so many community leaders are now asking Ontario to consider implementing a vaccine passport system similar to those in Europe and China.
Premier Doug Ford has remained adamant in his stance that vaccine certificates will never be used in Ontario to deny anyone access to activities based on vaccination status, but calls for him to reconsider are growing louder as case counts rise again.
"With a fourth wave of COVID-19 already raging, it is paramount that the Ontario and federal governments take swift and decisive action," reads a newly-launched petition from the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO.)
According to the association, mandatory vaccine passports (as well as mandatory vaccinations for teachers and healthcare workers) are crucial "to keep the pandemic in check and protect vulnerable populations."
Ford's lack of movement (or even comment) on the issue has now spawned its own critical hashtag blaming the premier for rising case numbers both now and in the future: #FordthWave.
"We need stronger public health measures to mitigate this #FordthWave," wrote one resident on Twitter, linking to an upcoming PC Party event in Hamilton with $1,000 tickets. "Can someone let the Premier know at his next important event? #UnsafeSeptember2021'
"So is Doug Ford just going to hide at the cottage until school starts?" tweeted another today. "Asking for a province that is on fire in more ways than one.
Vaccine passports aren't the only thing that Ontarians are asking for, either — many seem especially concerned about a lack of restrictions for unvaccinated students and teachers as back-to-school approaches.
"Since his back-to-school plan was announced 5 days ago, [Doug Ford] has tweeted 21 times. Guess how many of those tweets were about his plan? Zero," tweeted one critic Monday afternoon. "Doug Ford doesn't care what happens to two2 million students or the people who work with them."
"SINCE #FordthWave seems to be a reality, educators/parents/students take your own N95 masks/ demand ventilation in your class/demand a small class / WEAR MASKS all the time," wrote former Ontario NDP politican and Order of Canada recipient Cheri DiNovo.
"If that's impossible refuse unsafe work. The life you save may be another's."
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