Should Canada be unable to reign-in the coronavirus resurgence in the coming weeks, Dr. Theresa Tam says the country could see daily case counts of over 10,000 by early December.
In mid-October, Canada had about 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed each day. By November, that number grew to above 4,000. On Thursday, it was just shy of hitting 5,000.
Tam — Canada’s top doctor — and public health officials alike have been sounding the alarm in recent weeks about the surge in infections permeating across much of the country.
Tam said if Canada “continues on the current pace,” the daily national virus case tally will climb by thousands.
She said the same culprits are to blame for the growing numbers.
“An important driver continues to be informal social gatherings, and activities both inside and outside our homes,” she said at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday.
“It’s in these more relaxed settings, such as family get-togethers, birthday parties, holiday celebrations and recreational activities that it is easier to forget and let our guard down on necessary precautions.”
Tam reiterated how “layering prevention practices is the most effective” strategy, including reducing contacts, wearing a mask, proper hand hygiene and staying at home or self-isolating if you are sick.
“This situation is worrisome,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said in French.
“It’s putting pressure on local resources and healthcare.”
Njoo pointed to the burden health care systems in Alberta are facing while grappling with a second wave. Some elective surgeries have been canceled in Edmonton, leading dozens of physicians to speak out about the circumstances, demanding stricter restrictions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with Canada’s premiers on Thursday night, where they discussed additional measures each will roll out in their respective region.
“We know that the optimal path is for us to work together,” Trudeau said in Ottawa.
“It is best if we move quickly and firmly to bring in measures that are going to keep people safe. We continue to press upon individuals to reduce their contacts, avoid gatherings and do things we all know keep us safe.”
— with files from the Canadian Press
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