Ontario could hit 1,300 daily COVID-19 cases in three weeks: head of science table
Published Monday, August 23, 2021 7:08PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 23, 2021 7:08PM EDT
Ontario could have 1,300 daily COVID-19 infections in three weeks if cases continue to increase at its current rate, the head of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says.
Over the past few weeks, the table’s scientific director Dr. Peter Jüni had voiced his concerns about the increasing rate of coronavirus transmission due to the Delta variant.
While speaking to CP24 on Monday, Jüni said the story remains the same, with exponential growth of new cases in the province.
“Three weeks from now, if we continue the way we do we will probably be at around 1,300 cases, that's a fact,” Jüni said.
According to the table, the current doubling time of new infections is 22 days, meaning the number of daily cases could double in that amount of time.
Jüni, however, noted that the doubling time was at about 10 days earlier this month, so the current metric is “a bit more reassuring.”
On Monday, Ontario logged 639 new COVID-19 cases, a jump of more than 100 cases compared to a week ago.
The seven-day rolling average stands at 581, up nearly 24 per cent from last week.
Although cases are on the rise amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, Jüni said ICU occupancy won’t have the same spike as observed earlier in the pandemic.
“Thanks to the vaccine rollout, we will not see the same amount of ICU occupancy as before giving the same case numbers. That's great news,” he said.
But Jüni warned that schools need to be closely monitored when students head back next month to avoid a significant increase in infections.
“Remember, we will only be able, hopefully, to start vaccinating our below 12-year-old students, around the end of the year and we need to make it there. So our case numbers can't be too high and the parameter to look at there will be school outbreaks,” he said.
Jüni’s comments come after a member of the table resigned from his position, alleging that politics appear to be influencing public health recommendations and that the table is withholding new modelling data.
Dr. David Fisman, an epidemiologist at University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, announced his resignation by posting his notification letter to social media Monday morning.
Jüni responded to concerns about the public’s faith in the table and said the team works tirelessly to provide accurate data.
“We really work our asses off, to be very blunt here, just to get this right and this is a process nobody has been there. We have 40 excellent scientists at the table, we have 60 or even more working in the background, you have the modeling consensus table, and we do that together and we just try to be as helpful and as honest as we possibly can,” Jüni said.
It is not known when the next modelling data will be released, but Jüni said his colleagues are working on it.