A new model released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that the number of daily COVID-19 cases will triple to 30,000 if people increase their contact at a time of widespread social coverage.
If Canadians simply maintain their current contact with those outside their homes, the number of cases will rise from 7,900 to about 13,000 a day, the report said.
Based on the current number of cases, the models said Canada is “on the path to rapid growth”, with an estimated 2,000 people expected to die in the next 10 days, with the country approaching the threshold of 20,000 deaths from the virus. The PHIC estimates that another 100,000 people could be infected in the next week and a half.
“Rapid, robust and sustainable action is needed to prevent rapid growth and maintain COVID-19 control,” PHAC said in a statement. “There is an urgent need to reduce COVID-19 activity when the release of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines begins.”
During a news conference in Ottawa, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tom said the vaccine roll, which now protects priority groups of high-risk Canadians, will not have a big impact on numbers in the short term.
“As far as national forecasts and community outreach are concerned, you are not going to see it in the early months, which is why our news … is fully engaged in public health activities,” he said.
“Do all of that, don’t make unnecessary trips. It actually works for everything that counts. And when you suppress that plan, vaccines have a long run.”
Data to determine the impact of vaccine roll
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr Howard Enjo said the government and external experts are using the data to determine the impact of vaccine rolls on medium and long-term numbers.
“But at present, it is very difficult to say. There are many factors involved. Even today, we see problems in the supply of vaccines and how vaccines are made across the country,” he said.
“There are other factors in the increasing rate of infection in different parts of the country. So there are different factors in the game.”
Currently, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec are the states with the highest rates of infection per 100,000 population.
About 10 months after the outbreak, long-term care homes reported hundreds of daily cases following the outbreak.
There are currently more than 400 outbreaks nationwide, which is expected to further increase hospital admissions rates. Alberta and Manitoba report more than 100,000 people being hospitalized.
The PHAC reports that COVID-19-related deaths are steadily rising and may soon exceed the levels seen during the first peak.