Tam warns of 'urgency' to lower infections as forecast paint dire scenario

Theresa Tam

After weeks of asking the public to limit socialization to bring the COVID-19 crisis under control, Canada's chief public health officer issued a sobering warning Friday: If contacts increase above current levels, we'll be hurdling toward a worst-case scenario.
   
"Absolutely do not go above what we have now,'' Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters. "Otherwise, we're really in trouble.''

Tam emphasized the "urgency'' to decrease infections as officials released dire new forecasts indicating that COVID-19 case counts have far surpassed levels seen during the first wave.

If Canadians increase their contact rates going into the holiday season, COVID-19 cases could skyrocket to 60,000 per day by the end of the year, according to the modelling.

That would be a twelvefold increase from the current level of around 5,000 cases per day, which is already straining the health-care system in some regions.

Tam warned "the time is now'' for Canadians to do everything to do reduce their contacts, saying it will take a combined effort on the part of individuals and public health authorities to bring infection rates down to manageable levels.
    
(Adina Bresge/The Canadian Press)