“We’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Friday. “And I will not hesitate for a second if we have to go further.”
It was a blunt statement about a blunt instrument: some combination of widespread restrictions, closures and a potential declaration of emergency.
It’s a situation few Ontarians want to see again, Ford among them — but some warn it may now be unavoidable as the province’s COVID-19 cases keep surging to new heights, with more people filling hospital beds week after week.
“We’re not looking down the barrel at a lockdown,” said Toronto-based physician epidemiologist Dr. Nitin Mohan. “A lockdown is inevitable.”
On Thursday, the latest modelling from Ontario’s science advisory table showed a staggering 6,500 daily new cases are possible by mid-December if no further action is taken.
At least 110 people are already in intensive care units, according to the most recent data from a COVID-19 report sent out to critical care stakeholders, and Ford said modelling shows those units could be “overwhelmed” within six weeks.
There have also been dozens of deaths over the last week alone, including more than 70 in outbreak-riddled long-term care facilities.