fifth wave covid

People aren't sure if Ontario is in a fourth or fifth wave of the COVID pandemic

Nearly two years into the pandemic, people are starting to lose track of which COVID-19 wave Ontario is currently in.

The first, second and third waves went by in a blur, and it seemed clear we were heading into the fourth wave this past fall. But did the recent surge of Omicron cases put the province into a fifth wave?

At the end of November, Ontario's Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said case counts never got back to a low level, despite a slight dip before steadily increasing again in late October.

"We never declared the fourth wave over, this is simply a continuance," Moore told reporters at the time.

He said that the fourth wave would continue into and through this winter, stating that "sadly, all modelling would predict this would slowly, steadily rise and increase over the coming months, including January and February."

But recently, medical professionals have been saying we are indeed in a fifth wave.

Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician and clinician-scientist at Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, suggested in a Toronto Sun story that the province was "sleeping walking into a fifth wave."

In mid-December, the president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Katharine Smart, declared "the fifth wave of COVID-19 is here."

Smart said at the time that the healthcare system is already overwhelmed.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have experienced delayed care and are waiting for critical procedures," she said.

The Liberal Party of Ontario also, while criticizing the Ford government, also recently called for "for new measures to counter the fifth wave and Omicron."

Neither the Ministry of Health nor the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table responded to a request from blogTO to clarify.

It may take years to determine exactly how this pandemic played out.

The last big global pandemic, the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919, had three waves and an estimated 50 million deaths worldwide.

Lead photo by

Karen Longwell

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