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Science Advisory Table, more than 3,000 hospitalizations for Covid possible in May

TORONTO – The sixth wave of Covid-19 may have peaked, but the impact of this weekend’s family gatherings at Easter could have an impact. This is what the director of the Ontario Technical Scientific Table Peter Juni says. 

In the latest report, presented today, the group of scientists says it is uncertain about whether the plateau in the wastewater indicators will remain at the same level or whether after the holidays there will be an increase or decrease in infections.

Dr. Jüni is not unbalanced, believing that it is still too early to say if the cases have reached their peak because “things could change, especially with the Easter weekend just around the corner”. “We don’t know in which direction this will go… it is very difficult to make predictions – said Juni – but the latest data on wastewater suggest that the daily count of virus cases may have reached a plateau of about 100,000 new daily infections”.

The latest model suggests that Ontario is “well on its way” into the sixth wave of the pandemic, driven by the new, more transmissible sub-variant BA.2, declining immunity, and loosening public health measures. Ontario today reported 1,392 people hospitalized due to Covid-19 and another 23 deaths related to the virus. “An increase in hospitalizations is likely to occur, an increase that will continue for some time,” speculates the province’s Science Table.

The group of scientists and epidemiologists advising the Ford government on how to deal with the pandemic, suggests that the number of Ontario residents hospitalized with Covid-19 could exceed 3,000 by May in the most likely scenario. A scenario, marked by pessimism, indicates, by May, the hospitalization of 4,000 people, a number that is approaching the peak reached in mid-January when 4,183 people were hospitalized due to the virus.

The table also predicts that the number of Covid patients who will occupy beds in intensive care will increase, but it will probably be lower than that recorded in the fifth wave of the pandemic powered by Omicron.

The most likely scenario would see, by May, about 500 patients in intensive care. The worst-case scenario, on the other hand, involves more than 600 people in intensive care with Covid.

And Dr. Juni has returned to talk about masks again: although they are no longer mandatory in almost all public facilities, he reiterates their importance. “Wearing them indoors will continue to substantially reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ford, who has so far defended the decision not to impose the use of masks in schools and other places, said today that if Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, recommended it, he would be “more than happy” to extend the remaining restrictions on public health beyond the scheduled date of April 27. Ford also made a recommendation: “If you are in the company of 15 people, wear a mask… it certainly doesn’t hurt.”


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