Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday March 12, 2021
New variants of the coronavirus are spreading rapidly in Ontario and unless they are better controlled, the province risks facing a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, an expert panel advising the province’s government said on Thursday.
It warned that the next few weeks are critical as the progress made in bringing the coronavirus under control in the province has stalled.
“Variants of concern continue to spread across Ontario. Our ability to control the rate of spread will determine whether we return to normal or face a third wave of infection,” the panel said in briefing material.
While mutations in viruses are inevitable, strains identified as “variants of concern” have worrisome changes that may give the virus advantages, increasing transmissibility or reducing the effectiveness of vaccines, according to the briefing materials released by the province’s science advisory and modeling consensus tables.
Graphs published online ahead of the briefing showed cases of the new variants in Ontario have jumped from below 5 per 100,000 residents each week in early February to nearly 20 per 100,000 residents each week in early March.
That increase has been balanced to some extent by a decline in cases of earlier variants of the virus. (Reuters) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-canada-ontario/coronavirus-variants-could-cause-third-wave-in-ontario-expert-panel-idUSKBN2B32WV
Meanwhile, as vaccine rollout continues to ramp up in Canada and the United States, some American politicians are calling on the Biden administration to reopen the Canada-U.S. land border by this summer.
In a letter addressed to U.S. President Joe Biden, Rep. Brian Higgins of New York asked that Biden work with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “a partial re-opening of the Northern Border by Memorial Day of this year with a full re-opening by July 4.”
Higgins, who also chairs the congressional Northern Border Caucus, wrote that the current border restriction between the two countries “tears at the fabric of our community and is a critical problem for individuals, families, and businesses.” (CTV)