The increase of new COVID-19 cases in Canada is slowing down dramatically
The Public Health Agency of Canada released federal modelling today that outlines exactly what has happened throughout the pandemic so far and where we can expect to be in the future, and it's a mix of good and bad news.
The good news is that the growth of the epidemic in Canada has slowed significantly since the last numbers were released.
According to the new modelling update, the number of cases in Canada is now doubling every 16 days instead of every three days — which was the growth rate early in the epidemic.
Dr. Tam says Canada’s epidemic, the red curve, is bending as the rate of growth slows down because of collective efforts. She says last time modelling was presented the case count was doubling roughly every three days, now it is doubling roughly every 16 days. pic.twitter.com/sauWn6PFU8— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) April 28, 2020
The modelling also shows that stronger controls including physical distancing and self-isolation are helping to reduce the average number of people each case infects.
Prior to stronger public health measures, each case of COVID-19 in Canada infected an average 2.19 other people.
Now, thanks to strong restrictions, each case infects just above one other person.
The goal is for this progress to continue so that each person infects fewer than one person on average and the epidemic eventually dies out.
The bad news, however, is that death toll predictions are higher in the new data.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said today that the initial models released on April 9 under-predicted the number of deaths in Canada, and the new modelling indicates that we will see between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by May 5.
Case numbers are also expected to reach 53,196 - 66,835 by then.
Overall, the new information makes it clear that recent national epidemic growth in Canada is being driven by cases in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
More positively, there appears to be no community transmission occurring in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories or the Yukon outbreak
Outbreaks in long-term care and seniors' homes as well as other congregate living and work settings are currently the major driving forces behind regional epidemics, and deaths in long-term care and seniors' homes are responsible for the majority (79 per cent) of deaths nationwide.
Officials release update to Canada's national COVID-19 modelling and this statistic immediately jumps out pic.twitter.com/2Tm5afSrWa— Zi-Ann Lum (@ziannlum) April 28, 2020
The data makes it clear that strong epidemic controls must be maintained in order to make the best-case-scenario predictions a reality. With strong measures in place, Canada will likely see between 376,000 and 3,759,000 cases of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, with between 4,000 and 44,000 deaths.
The modelling also proves that — despite endless questions and concerns on the matter from residents in recent days — it is simply too early to lift the majority of social distancing restrictions in Canada.
Let’s all listen & follow the Canadian modelling & guidelines by the medical experts led by Dr Tam so we get the pandemic under control here in #Canada. We are not ready yet to open our economy at the expense of Canadian lives. #AllLivesMatter #COVID19 @CPHO_Canada @adriandix pic.twitter.com/Uq3btbbroo— Ken Kuhn (@consult_ken) April 28, 2020
"Canada is making progress to slow the spread and bring the epidemic under control, thanks to the commitment of Canadians, who are following public health advice to protect themselves and others," the document states.
"It is critically important that we maintain our current public health measures until we have achieved epidemic control for the first wave. Relaxing controls too quickly could squander our collective efforts to date and put us at risk of future epidemic waves."
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