Ontario Science Table Official Says The Province Is ‘Absolutely Not’ Ready For Step 3

The Delta variant is "a completely different beast," he says.

Ontario Science Table Official Says The Province Is ‘Absolutely Not’ Ready For Step 3
Toronto Associate Editor

Ontario is set to enter step three of its reopening plan on July 21, but is the province ready? According to the scientific director of Ontario's science table, Dr. Peter Juni, the answer is "absolutely not."

In an interview with CP24 on Wednesday, Juni said that "we need to be aware of what we're dealing with here," when it comes to the Delta variant.

"Remember how much we struggled with Alpha, we got this under control thanks to vaccines, but the vaccine thresholds that we see in the roadmap are for Alpha and not for Delta."

"If you have uncontrolled growth with [the] Alpha [variant] after four weeks, we have roughly 6,000 cases. But after the Delta, you have around 60,000 cases. This shows you how careful we need to be, it's a completely different beast," he said.

"What we now need is roughly 75% of the eligible population fully vaccinated and we need to see how step two of the reopening works out and we only see that roughly after two and a half weeks after we started with step two."

Just under 50% of all eligible Ontarians are fully vaccinated and 79% have received their first dose, according to provincial data. The vaccination targets to enter step three require 70 to 80% of Ontario adults to have their first dose and for 25% to be fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, other provinces like Alberta have lifted all of their public health measures. When he was asked why the situation is different here in Ontario, Juni cited the Delta variant. "The only reason for what we're seeing right now is that we are much more connected to the UK, therefore we have Delta much earlier than the rest of the provinces, but they will struggle too at a certain time."

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor