Toronto projects 600 to 3,000 deaths over course of coronavirus pandemic

Apr 3 2020, 1:15 pm

The City of Toronto projects that the city’s death toll for the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the existing measures in place, could be anywhere from 600 to 3,000.

Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa said that Toronto now has 986 cases, with 812 confirmed and 174 probable.

There are 89 patients in hospital with 42 in ICU.

Additionally, 27% are attributed to community spread, with 13 deaths in total so far.

Based on the models and projections by the Province of Ontario released earlier on Friday, de Villa said that with Toronto counting for 20% of the province’s population, the projections show that 600 to 3,000 deaths could happen over the course of the pandemic.

The pandemic may last for 18 months to two years, as there could be a potential second wave of the virus.

“I know these numbers are stark and seeing the data is truly sobering and even frightening,” de Villa said.

The Chief Medical Officer also said that Toronto Public Health has reviewed models and with the absence of a vaccine or effective treatments, other strategies need to be used in order to reduce the spread of the virus and make sure the health care system is not overwhelmed.

“These deaths are preventable. We each have an opportunity and personal responsibility to prevent the spread from happening,” she said. “Everyone needs to stay home now and adhere to the public health measures.”

Mayor John Tory agreed with de Villa’s sentiments adding the need for people to do their part and physical distance.

“These aren’t just numbers, these are the lives of real people,” Tory said. “I am firmly resolved to do everything I can as your mayor to ensure that the city continues to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Tory noted that as the city continues to see an increase in cases, the closures of businesses are taking a toll.

Toronto is experiencing a financial pressure estimated at $65 million a week.

The pressure is driven by decreased TTC and other revenues, coupled with increased costs. Revenues are decreased due to closures, decreased demands, and property tax and utility payment deferrals, and increased costs are stemming from coronavirus related needs like additional personal protective equipment supplies, cleaning, additional shelter space, and overtime.

The mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force is beginning to rebuild efforts after the City transitions into the recovery phase, with a focus on “growth and building resiliency.”

To achieve this, the City is conducting research to understand the economic impacts already experienced in the city and determine how to best support the different business sectors.

Led by the mayor, the city is engaging other orders of government and requesting relief funding from the federal and provincial governments to offset the cumulative financial impact to city expenditures and revenues as a result of the pandemic emergency.

Earlier on Friday, the provincial health officials projected that the Ontario death toll for the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the existing measures in place, could be anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000.

If Ontario had no measures put in place over the entirety of the pandemic, there would be 100,000 deaths.

For the month of April, deaths are projected to be 1,600 in the province. If measures had not been in place there may have been 6,000 deaths.

As for cases, projections state that if there were no measures in place, there would be 300,000 cases in Ontario by the end of the month.

With the measures in place, the health officials say there will be a total of 12,500 cases by the end of the month.

On Thursday, Tory signed a new bylaw allowing a fine of up to $5,000 for two or more people who do not stand two meters apart in parks and public squares, enforcing physical distancing.

The mayor received approval of $1000 set fine for violating the bylaw on April 3.

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the City of Toronto enacted enhanced measures to  “aggressively halt” the spread of coronavirus, and that physical distancing will continue for the next 12 weeks.