COVID variants in Ontario prompt call for new strict lockdown from Niagara Falls to Toronto

Mar 18, 2021

Several health experts and organizations say Ontario is now in a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, leading some researchers to call for a strick three-week lockdown.

That lockdown would be aimed at stopping what many are describing as the explosive growth of COVID-19 variants.

Ontario recorded more than 1,500 new cases of  COVID-19 on Wednesday. That was the highest single-day cases count since early February. Health experts said the variants are to blame for more than half of the new cases.

Dr. Peter Juni is calling for a new stricter lockdown in Ontario.
Credit University of Toronto

Dr. Peter Juni is the scientific director of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, a group of science and health experts who evaluate data on the pandemic. Juni said, based on current trends, there could be as many as 5,000 news cases of the coronavirus a day in a few weeks.

Juni said the area of Ontario from Niagara Falls to Toronto must be locked down as soon as possible, and that physical distancing isn’t enough.

“We would need to dramatically change, everybody change our way of approaching this to get this ready. Is it possible? Has anybody shown that this is gonna happen worldwide? No. Nobody has,” he said.

Juni said schools should be remote learning only, accompanied by a stay at home order and a curfew.

Other health experts said, based on what Ontario is experiencing, it can’t win the race between vaccinating enough people and outrunning the rapid growth of the variants of concern.