New COVID modelling shows uncertain future, even as fourth wave plateaus

Data offers wide range of predictions, from 200 to 5,000 new cases daily

Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says the fourth wave of the pandemic has flattened. Increased vaccination rates and sustained public health measures are getting the credit for that. However, things could still take a turn as we head into the colder months.

Data released by the Table on Tuesday indicates hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are stable. The Table points out the chances of being hospitalized with COVID are several times higher for unvaccinated individuals.

While news of a flattened fourth wave is positive news, it comes with a warning: new modelling data suggests the province remains in a fragile situation, with instability ahead. Data presented by the Table on Tuesday offer a wide range of projections heading towards November, from about 200 new cases per day in an ideal situation to upwards of 5,000 in a worst-case scenario.

The table says the uncertainty in its forecasting all boils down to vaccine effectiveness, school and workplace contacts, and a shift to more indoor activities as the weather gets cooler.

Tuesday’s update from the Advisory Table also included a glimpse at the long-term effects of the virus. Cases of so-called “Long COVID” are expected to continue impacting thousands of Ontarians. “About 1 in 10 individuals with COVID-19 infection will continue to have symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks,” according to the Table’s update. Most common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, anxiety, trouble concentrating, and depression.

Ontario’s daily caseload increase has remained below the 1,000 mark, with the 7-day rolling average falling to near-600 on Tuesday. There were 466 new cases reported across Ontario on Tuesday morning.