Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

‘Canada is at a crossroads’: Federal health officials warn coronavirus habits must change

There is a “concerning” number of coronavirus cases spreading across Canada, the country’s top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a media conference, Tam said Canada’s uptick in COVID-19 cases will continue to escalate unless both public health and personal preventive measures are strengthened.

Because daily reporting of cases only catch transmission in the past, she warned that actions taken right now are essential to keep the virus under control.

“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.

As of Tuesday, there have been 145,415 reported cases of coronavirus and 9,228 reported deaths in Canada.

Tam offered an updated picture of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, which included new modelling and estimates on the number of cases and deaths.

The modelling showed the highest uptick in transmission occurred in young adults — aged 20 to 39 years old — a shift from older Canadians, who saw the most cases in June.

“The surge is a different one than the previous wave,” Tam said. “It’s younger people and right now we are seeing the mortality rate is lower. But people don’t exist in age group cohorts, so that is going to spill over into the high-risk population.”

The report also showed that Canada is at a “crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path.”

For example, if Canadians maintain current rates of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge to over 5,000 reported cases per day in October. However, if Canadians decrease the current contact rate, COVID-19 is forecast to come under control in most locations, the modelling data showed.

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