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Canada at a 'crossroads' as new COVID-19 cases surge

By Karen Graham     Sep 22, 2020 in Health
Ottawa - Canada is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases that risks ballooning to higher levels than were seen during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring if people do not take stringent precautions, health officials said on Monday.
At a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, federal health officials presented new modeling on COVID-19 cases. “Canada is at a crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path,” said a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Health officials have already declared that a second wave of the coronavirus is taking place across the country. Canada's seven-day average is now just under 1,000 cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University and the Public Health Agency of Canada. On Monday, Canada reported 145,415 total cases and 9,228 deaths.
Looking at several scenarios outlined by Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, it was hard not to cringe at the "worse-case scenario" presented by the health agency. In this scenario, cases could rise more than 1,000 per day for the next 10 days to 155,795 by Oct. 2, with the death toll hitting 9,300.
Dr. Tam says the "most favorable" scenario would be the modeling that shows a "slow burn," meaning there is active case detection and tracing in place, and individuals are taking all the necessary precautions, reports Reuters.
However, people must not be complacent or the outcome could be disastrous, Tam said. “With minimum controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak ... (that) could overwhelm our health system capacity and significantly impact our social and economic systems as well,” she said.
CNN News is reporting that health agencies across Canada are reporting that people are not practicing social distancing, including social contacts between family and friends, as well as young people gathering in large groups, making it impossible to contain the virus.
And according to CBC Canada, the recent rise in coronavirus cases just happens to coincide with the coming flu season and colder weather that forces people indoors. All this is a real concern for health officials.
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