Will Ontario Welcome Spring with a Third Wave and Another Lockdown?

By Paul Minshull, CEO & Founder, Covid19 Solution Architect

When will it end? When will life return to normal?  Will we have another lockdown?  When will I get my vaccination?  These are the questions on the minds of all Canadians. 

The Scarsin Decision Support Team has been building a robust scenario for Ontario for the balance of 2021. We looked at more than 70 factors, including school opening, business restrictions, lockdowns, new more infectious variants, citizen behavior and vaccine deployment to answer these, and other questions.

Key Take Aways

  • Moving back to the colour system will increase general transmission again
  • New variants will accelerate transmission and comprise the vast majority of cases by end of May
  • Vaccine deployment will provide much needed protection in long term care and for seniors, which will save lives and reduce hospitalization
  • Vaccine rollout timing still exposes a large part of the population to infection between now and May
  • A third wave is likely based on the above factors
  • The average age of those infected will decline over time, providing more flexibility in terms of public health interventions
  • Some level of provincial lockdown (partial or full) is likely in the first week of April as cases spike in the usual hot zones, including Toronto and Peel
  • The Spring lockdown will likely last for 30 to 60 days, benefiting from infection reductions as people move outdoors in warmer weather
  • After reopening in late May or early June, Ontario will see a continued decline in cases as a result of vaccinations (assuming no major delays or disruptions)
  • Lower numbers of cases may continue into Q4, especially in younger age groups and those who declined the vaccine

A robust modeling solution can inform building medium- to long-term scenarios that are likely to play out for 2021. The Scarsin Covid-19 Decision Support System was built to answer these questions, based on combining dozens of complex different dynamics in one integrated system.

Based on the information to date on the variants and a vaccine rollout based Federal commitments the three forecast scenarios below represent potential pathways forward for Ontario.

Our team is able to conduct this long range forecasting by moving through the process 30-60 days at a time.  We forecast the impact of the variants and vaccine rollout, view the impact on transmission and then adjust for probable public health NPI. 

  • This analysis assumes there are no major changes in the current or future variants that lead to a major change in the vaccine immunity impact
  • Vaccine hesitancy in the 10-15% range by age group
  • Variants will account for 40% of cases for end of March and 95% by end of May