Canada could see close to 15K deaths by Christmas Day: modelling

OTTAWA — Canada is on track to reach between 531,300 and 577,000 total COVID-19 cases by Christmas Day, and up to 14,920 deaths, according to the latest national modelling released on Friday.

The federal projections show that Canada is on a “rapid growth trajectory” and is not at all flattening the curve of the second wave of cases in this country.

The presentation being made by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo includes a long-range forecast that shows: “a stronger response is needed now” in all large provinces, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

With the holidays around the corner, the modelling shows that if people maintain their current rate of contact with others the pandemic will continue to surge.

The latest projections show that over the last seven days, Canada is averaging more than 6,500 new COVID-19 cases daily, and 49 of Canada’s 99 health regions are reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

As cases keep climbing, so too is the number of COVID-19 infections among high-risk adults and inside long-term care facilities.

Hospitalizations are increasing in most provinces west of the Atlantic region, and COVID-19 deaths are “steadily rising.”

In order to get the public health crisis under control, federal officials continue to urge people to reduce their close contacts by only engaging in essential activities only and observing public health precautions when celebrating this holiday season.

“COVID-19 is still presenting a very clear danger to Canadians all across the country. We know that the vaccine is an important part of the solution in stopping spread and reducing deaths, but we have a lot of work to do together as a country in the next several months,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu on Friday. “We’re entering into a very tricky period of time, of course it’s the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to a rest from our workplaces and an opportunity to have some downtime. But we’re going to have to be very, very cautious during the next several weeks.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada has released a guide for planning holiday celebrations that asks people to follow local public health guidance, consider the risks of any get together, and how to travel safely if it is essential to do so.

More to come.

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