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Ontario put on high alert for third COVID wave of variants

Ontario Science Advisory Table
Scientists say variants spread more quickly than the current strain of COVID-19.

Health experts in Ontario are sounding the alarm over COVID-19 variants. At least one expert has described them as a pandemic within a pandemic.

The COVID-19 Ontario Science Advisory Table is a group of scientists and health experts who monitor, gather data and offer guidance on the pandemic. It’s an independent group, hosted by the University of Toronto. Their findings show that cases of the original strain of COVID-19 are decreasing while variants of concern are on the rise.

During a presentation updating COVID-19 projections Thursday, Advisory Table Director Dr. Peter Juni said Ontario now faces a third wave of the pandemic, what some are describing as a pandemic within a pandemic.  The variants of concern are now responsible for more than 40% of new cases across the province, the largest number being the B.1.1.7, or UK variant, with more than 2,600 hundred infections.

Credit Ontario Science Advisory Table

Juni warned that people in Ontario need to remain on high alert until everyone is vaccinated.
“This is a very tight race now, but we need to first get this under control with restrictions and then really vaccinate as fast as we can. Then we will win this race," Juni said. "But we cannot loosen restrictions too much. It’s extremely unlikely that we will make it just with the vaccines. We simply don’t have enough time. So we need once more firmer restrictions."
Juni  said another lockdown and tougher restrictions would probably be the last, however unpopular.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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