The coronavirus pandemic is expected to accelerate unless Canadians reduce their contact with others, new modelling shows.
Health Canada’s latest modelling suggests that by Oct. 17, the cumulative case total could range between 188,150 and 197,830.
The overall death toll could be 9,690 to 9,800 by that date.
If people decrease their rate of contact with others by 25 per cent to 35 per cent, the epidemic will come under control in most areas, the modelling states.
Some of that can be achieved if individual people choose not to see as many people, but in some cases it will also require more government-imposed restrictions, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a press conference on Friday.
She said that the virus reproduction number — or the number of people infected by each infected person — needs to be below one in order for the virus to die out. Since August that number has been above one.
The second wave of the pandemic is unfolding differently across the country, however, with cases rising quickly in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta, while the Atlantic provinces have seen few new infections.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is at a “tipping point” when it comes to COVID-19.
“Not only is the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest daily recorded cases well above what we saw this spring,” he said.
There were more than 2,400 new cases reported Thursday. Currently, more than 177,000 people in Canada have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there have been 9,583 fatalities associated with the disease. People aged 20-39 currently have the highest rate of infection of any age group.
“We need people to do everything they can to prevent transmission of this virus,” Trudeau said.
–With files from the Canadian PressView link »