Ontario’s top doctor says it’s time to “learn to live with COVID-19” as he anticipates the province is in for a much better spring.
“We have let our lives be controlled for the last two years in a significant amount of fear and now we are going to have to change some of that thinking,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said Thursday.
Moore credited COVID-19 vaccines, especially third doses, and new antiviral medications, as the reasons why Ontario needs to shift to a more “balanced response” to the pandemic.
“I think we have to start to understand we have to learn to live with this virus,” Moore said.
He said January has been a tough month on the province’s health-care system, but things should crest in February.
Moore said that trend is expected to continue in March, and by April “we will be heading to that low rate of activity in the community.”
“When we reach that low endemic rate, that’s when we review all public health measures in play,” Moore said. “No one wants them a minute longer than they have to be.”
He did note that the introduction of a new variant, that is more transmissible or vaccine resistant, could change these predictions.
“I am hopeful and anticipating March and April having much lower risk for all Ontarians,” Moore said. “I do see the risk going down, less and less, day-by-day, month-by-month, going forward, all the while staying humble in front of this virus.”
Ontario will take its first step in the reopening plan on Jan. 31, allowing indoor dining and gyms to reopen.
Public health measures will then ease at 21-day intervals until capacity limits lift by March for most settings.
Moore’s comments about COVID-19 come as health officials confirmed at least 3,645 people with COVID-19 are in hospital, including 599 people in intensive care units (ICU).
This is the first time the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU has been below 600 since last Friday.