Up to 60K new cases a day, hundreds of deaths: Canada's COVID-19 path

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Canada is far from flattening the COVID-19 curve, with the new national modelling showing that if people increase their contacts — such as gathering for Christmas — the country could see upwards of 60,000 new daily cases in December.

New projections released on Friday show that, in the short term, Canada is projected to hit between 366,500 to 378,600 total cases, and between 11,870 to 12,120 deaths by Nov. 30.

“The national epidemic curve shows that case counts have far surpassed peak levels seen during the first wave,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said during a briefing on the modelling Friday.

“An average of about 4,800 cases are now being reported daily. Moreover, epidemic growth is continuing at rapid pace, and about 15 per cent more daily cases are reported this week, compared to the last.”

The projections also indicate that even under current rates of contacts into December the country could be recording 20,000 cases a day. In order to drop the rate of spread enough to begin slowing the epidemic’s growth, Canadians need to reduce their number of contacts and stay home as much as possible said Health Minister Patty Hajdu on Friday.

“Think about the choices that you're making carefully, because lives actually depend on it: Is my travel essential? Do I need to go out today? Can I reduce my shopping time? Do I need to have that dinner? This will be especially hard as holiday season approaches, but I know that we can be creative in the way that we stay connected more safely,” she said.

The modelling shows that instead of flattening the curve, national daily case counts are “increasing significantly,” and rapid growth is occurring in several provinces because each new case in Canada is spreading the infection to more than one other person.

After getting an advance look at the seriousness of the health crisis on Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is resuming his national addresses from his residence: Rideau Cottage.

-- with files from CTV News --