Canada forecasts up to 60,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by end of December

Nov 20 2020, 4:33 pm

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer is warning that the country could see 20,000 to 60,000 new COVID-19 cases per-day by the end of the year.

At a press conference on Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam released an updated National Epidemiology and Modelling framework, which the country uses to inform management of COVID-19.

The data shows that if Canadians don’t limit contact with those outside of our homes, we could see a minimum of 20,000 new virus cases per-day by the end of 2020. If we increase contact, the country could see 60,000 total daily cases.

“Without sufficient reduction in contact rates, we are forecasting to have 20,000 cases daily by the end of December, with an attendant increase in hospitalization and deaths,” Tam said.

Short term forecasts, which Tam says continue to be accurate, show that Canada could see 366,500 to 378,600 cumulative cases and 11,870 to 12,120 cumulative deaths by November 30.

Data in the long-term forecast, which shows how the epidemic could evolve over the next two months, indicates that a stronger response is needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

COVID-19 cases

Public Health Agency of Canada

Tam also said the country is aiming for the blue line of the trajectory. That safer path requires that Canadians significantly reduce the number of people they come into contact with each day.

A combined effort by individuals and public health authorities is needed, Tam said.

In addition to asking Canadians to limit the number of people they interact with, Tam urged public health authorities across the country to implement time-limited restrictions and control measures to reduce further the number of people coming into contact each day.

“The only way for Canada to stop the rapid growth of COVID-19 and keep our health, social, and economic systems functioning is for individuals and public health authorities to work together,” Tam said.

The updated modelling shows that the rapid growth of the virus is being driven by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. All six provinces have had their highest daily case count to date in the last week.

COVID-19 cases

Public Health Agency of Canada

The percentage of people testing positive has risen above 6.5% nationally, a clear sign that transmission has increased, Tam said. Each new case is being spread to more than one person, keeping the epidemic in a “growth pattern.”

While outbreaks have been linked to informal social gatherings and schools, they are increasing in long term care settings and hospitals. Elderly adults over the age of 80 now have the highest incidence rate in the country.

“There is an urgency to quickly bring infection rates down across the country,” Tam said. “The curve shows that case counts have now far surpassed peak levels seen in the first wave.”

To date, Canada has a total of 315,715 cases.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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