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“Blunting” another wave will take reducing contacts, Dr. Brown

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Vaccines won’t be enough to blunt the next wave of COVID-19. Ontario’s Science Advisory Table says a circuit breaker is needed.

That includes cutting personal contacts by half and strong booster shot campaigns. But the Science Advisory Table’s Dr. Steini Brown said that doesn’t mean provincial stay-at-home or work-from-home orders or another lockdown.

“If we want to blunt this wave, please note that I’m saying blunt it not flatten, we will need to reduce contacts between people,” he said. “I believe we can do this without closing schools or shutting down businesses that have suffered during previous waves, but it will take serious restrictions that reduce contacts,”

He says the Omicron variant is likely already the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Ontario. If no additional measures are taken, Dr. Brown painted a grim picture where Ontario could see nearly 10,000 daily cases as early as next week.

On Wednesday Premier Doug Ford said booster shots are the best way to combat the Omicron variant and said lockdowns were not a way out, he said “Let me tell you, everything’s on the table. I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you where the cases will be in two weeks or three weeks. All I’m saying is our best defense is get a booster shot. Locking ourselves down isn’t the solution out of this. What our solution is, is making sure everyone goes out and gets a booster shot in every corner of this province. That’s our plan and that’s what we’re going to get done.”

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The province has opened up booster shot eligibility to every Ontarian over the age of 18 and is providing free rapid antigen tests at various locations beginning this week.

The government has also reinstated capacity limits in venues including sporting facilities that can seat over 1,000 people. Capacity has been reduced in those places by 50-percent.

***With files from Mo Fahim and Wendy Gray

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