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Friday, December 3, 2021

Coronavirus pandemic ‘likely’ to recede in summer, but health measures and limiting variants pivotal: Ontario data

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According to newly released data by the Ontario government‘s science table, the coronavirus pandemic will “likely [recede] in the summer” but variant spread, maintaining public health measures and focused vaccinations will be critical.

The findings were contained in a modelling data report released Thursday afternoon. It said variants of concern, such as the B.1.1.7, are continuing to spread across Ontario and that means cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions will likely increase.

“Evidence-based approaches to key public health measures, such as focusing (on) vaccination where it has the biggest impacst on deaths and hospitalizations, are the key to controlling the impact of the pandemic at this point,” Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, the co-chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told reporters Thursday afternoon.

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“The next few weeks are critical to understanding the impact of the variants. There is a period of remaining risk before the pandemic likely recedes in the summer.”

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If gains can be maintained, Brown said there could potentially be more openings in the coming summer compared to summer 2020.

The findings outlined how weekly growth in cases linked to variants of concern, which are reported to be more easily transmissible, is matching other countries, meaning there’s a strong possibility of increased cases.

In Ontario, the data said it’s likely by the middle of March 40 per cent of COVID-19 will be variants of concern.

The advisory body said gains (i.e. declining COVID-19 cases) in recent weeks have come by close monitoring of variants and by easing public health restrictions “carefully.”

“We must be nimble in applying public health measures to extinguish flare-ups quickly, and there will be flare-ups (but) we just need to stay on them and work very quickly through them,” Brown said.

With targeted vaccinations at long-term care facilities and lockdown measures, officials said the number of infections and deaths at those homes reduced “rapidly.”

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This is a developing story that will be updated.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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