Coronavirus: Third wave will be worse than the first two, expert says | CTV News
While patios reopen in hotspots across Ontario and vaccines roll out nationwide, doctors are bracing for the impact of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Ontario doctor isn’t surprised to have seen the number of infections tick back up as restrictions loosened in the province in February,and once the variants took hold he felt it was only a matter of time until a third wave of the pandemic. Now, he says this wave could be the worst yet.
Ontario’s top doctor declared on Monday that the province is entering its third wave, while Alberta and B.C. have not made it official yet as their infection rates continue to increase.
“I think it’s impossible to avoid a third wave that’s likely going to be worse than the first two,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.
“Many of us felt that this was an inevitability,” he said. “This is pretty much the trap that this pandemic has proven its ability to present to us. That’s why we call them waves, you get lulled into a sense of complacency and then cases start picking up.”
This time, he said, we’re seeing the virus hit harder in places that have previously handled it well.
“And of course we’ve seen what these variants can offer, they can really lead to an explosion of cases very quickly,” he said.
And it’s not just densely populated hotspots that are facing the brunt.
“Look what happened in Thunder Bay,” he said, referring to the northern Ont. city where case numbers recently reached a peak, setting a new daily record with 64 cases on March 1. The previous record was 60 cases on Jan. 19, and prior to that their highest daily case count was 33.
There are many factors propelling surges, but Sharkawy points to the slow vaccine rollout and variants being the main drivers of the third wave.
“What we’re witnessing now is a bit of a perfect storm,” he said, adding that complacency with some of the public health restrictions isn’t helping.
“There’s an element of fatigue that has seeped into our practices,” he said. “There is obviously an ineffective rollout of vaccines and the rapidity that’s needed to meet the race that’s going on with the variants and I think systemically we haven’t done enough.”
The third wave is infecting younger people this time around.
“We’re seeing younger, healthier people develop this disease because they’re unvaccinated and these variants are just likely to hit them, you don’t know where you’re going to end up on that dial and unfortunately we’re seeing some pretty tragic consequences of that.”
He said the number one driver to beat back the wave will be vaccines, and most likely, another lockdown.
“We don’t have enough vaccines getting to us quickly enough, we’re getting controversies with things like AstraZeneca, pushing people away from vaccines and vaccine hesitancy is starting to creep into this situation,” he said.
In order to get everyone vaccinated, not only do we need the supplies, but we need a willing population, he added.
Until we get enough vaccines, a lockdown will likely be necessary to keep the spread under control.
“I can’t foresee any other way of dealing with this, it’s just not tenable,” he said.
This content was originally published here.