Remain cautious during summer to avoid COVID-19, expert says

The sixth wave of COVID-19 has had a "staggeringly high" number of cases and is taking its time coming to an end, says one expert.

The latest wave of the pandemic appears to be declining at a snail's pace, which Dr. Barry Nathanson says could be due to several reasons, including the amount of community transmission in the early days of the wave.

"We had tens of thousands and more estimates of cases per day - upwards over of 100,000 cases per day in Ontario, so we had a long way to fall," he says of the sixth wave ending.

The Newmarket ICU physician says while patient numbers are down, he's concerned with the death count. On Thursday, provincial health officials reported 14 more virus-related deaths within the past 30 days.

"The pandemic is not over," he declares.

Dr. Nathanson says some individuals experience COVID-19 symptoms more severely than others, which continues to puzzle experts.

"There's a great deal that we don't know about this virus."

Dr. Nathanson says one explanation could be the amount of virus someone inhales from another person and whether they are vaccinated or not.

"So if someone is close to someone who is shedding the virus, like an unvaccinated grandchild who is carrying the virus and shedding it, up-close exposure with sharing the air, a high dose of the virus might be inhaled, and that person might be more prone to not only turn positive but also to get much more symptomatic infection," he explains.

As the mercury rises and more people congregate outdoors, the Southlake Regional Health Centre doctor advises being responsible.

"Each of us has to do our own personal risk assessment whenever we enter an environment."

He advises wearing a face mask in indoor settings to help prevent infection.