The number of COVID-19 cases continues to drop sharply, but the Delta variant could still lead to a fourth wave: modeling – –

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The number of COVID-19 cases continues to drop sharply, but the Delta variant could still lead to a fourth wave: modeling – –


The number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline sharply across much of Ontario and although there is still a risk that the province will experience a fourth wave of the pandemic once the Delta variant becomes dominant early in the year. summer, said the co-chair of the Ontario Science Table. that such a surge is “highly unlikely”.

Ontario’s science advisory table released new projections on Thursday on the eve of the province’s partial reopening.

The projections are based on three possible scenarios for the next two months, all of which take into consideration the spread of the Delta variant.

In the best and most likely scenario, the number of daily cases will continue to gradually decline from their current level – a seven-day average of 617 – and fall below 300 by mid-August, then. that Ontario would likely be in the last stage of its plan to reopen. .

In a slightly more pessimistic scenario, meanwhile, the number of cases would decline over the next 10 days, but slowly start to rise again following Ontario’s partial reopening. By the end of July, Ontario would see about 800 or 900 new cases, although the numbers would start to decline as the schedule moved towards August.

Finally, in the worst-case scenario, the new, more infectious variant would lead to a fourth wave of the pandemic in which the number of daily cases would increase exponentially and reach 2,500 by mid-August.

The co-chair of the scientific table, Dr Adalsteinn Brown, however stressed in a press conference that such a scenario is “highly unlikely” and would only occur with a 100% increase in transmission.

“This is not an apocalyptic scenario. We believe that if we are able to really pursue a high-risk community-based vaccination strategy and do it very quickly and quickly, we have a good chance of controlling the Delta variant and in fact a very good chance of passing. a good summer, ”he said. “When we say this is the dominant form of the virus, it just means that it makes up the largest percentage of cases, not necessarily that it absolutely grows. In fact, the number of reproductions of the Delta variant has been below one for a few days now. “

The variant can spread in partially vaccinated individuals

The presence of the Delta variant in Ontario has raised concerns as it is said to be 50% more contagious and may be more likely to spread among partially vaccinated people.

But Brown said he believed it could be controlled by speeding up second doses in hot spot communities experiencing a rapid increase in Delta cases.

Modeling suggests that the current high-risk community strategy used by the province reduces the number of cases by 39% compared to the strictly age-based approach used earlier in Wave 3.

“I think it’s essential to try to get that first dose to as many people as possible across the province and to speed up that second dose in high-risk communities in the Delta so that we can protect ourselves from the disease. kind of push we’ve seen in the UK, ”Brown said.

The intensive care occupancy rate will continue to decline

The modeling released Thursday does not differ significantly from the latest set of projections released by the Scientific Table three weeks ago.

But it gives added hope that life may soon return to something near normal, even in overworked Ontario hospitals.

In fact, in all three scenarios examined by the modelers, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care would drop to around 200 in early July, which is the time when most hospitals can comfortably resume elective care and stop widespread transfers. of patients.

The modelers also took a closer look at the access to care deficit and found that urgent surgeries saw a 150% increase over last year, suggesting that some hospitals may already begin to reduce a surgical backlog that would have exceeded 250,000. procedures.

“Our hospitals are still overloaded, but as the numbers drop to increasingly manageable levels we will need to start rebuilding our society and its institutions,” Brown said.

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