Variants must be controlled to prevent third wave, say Ontario's science advisors

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TORONTO — Ontario's science advisors say the province's ability to control the spread of COVID-19 variants over the next few weeks will determine if there will be a third wave of infection.

The province's Science Advisory Table says residents must continue masking and physical distancing even as vaccinations increase in order to prevent further cases of the more contagious variants.

The group says that while the drive to vaccinate residents and workers in long-term care has paid off in declining deaths and illness, progress against the virus has stalled outside that sector.

Declines in community cases and test positivity rates have leveled off as mobility rates jump in the aftermath of a provincial lockdown lifting.

The group says the actions of people over the new few weeks will determine the quality of summer in Ontario.

Ontario reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 293 new cases in Toronto, 199 in Peel Region, and 79 in York Region.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press