Strict lockdowns in some regions may be needed to halt rise in COVID variants

We could see between 2500 and 5000 new cases a day in the next few weeks

Ontario may need a strict three-week lockdown in some regions to rein in the rising number of variant cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Peter Juni, a member of Ontario’s science advisory panel, told CTV Toronto, he’s thinking primarily of Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe.

Variant cases of the virus have been rising steadily in Ontario. More than 1500 cases of COVID were reported yesterday – the highest tally since early February. Dr. Juni thinks we could see between 2500 and 5000 new cases a day in the next few weeks if the trend continues.

Even with increased vaccinations and strict adherence to public health guidelines it wouldn’t be enough to slow the pace, said Dr. Juni. At the current rate of daily vaccinations, he said Ontario should be able to complete 2.1 million first doses by early April – not enough time for the effectiveness, which takes approximately two weeks, to take hold. 

Meantime, Ottawa is being moved back into the Red ‘Control’ Zone from the less severe Orange ‘Restrict’ Zone at midnight tonight. COVID cases in the Ottawa region climbed 24.8 per cent between March 10 and 15.

And another science panel member, Dr. Gerald Evans, Chair and Medical Director of Infection Prevention & Control at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, says the province went against the advice of the panel when it started lifting lockdown restrictions imposed at Christmas. He points to modelling data presented to the government that indicated a third wave was likely to hit the province. Dr. Evans told Yahoo! News it was another case of the province playing the ‘hope game’ with the pandemic.