New modelling released Friday morning shows Canada could see 20,000 COVID-19 cases per day by the end of the year if people maintain their current number of personal contacts. Meanwhile, Ontario is set to announce new public health restrictions in its hardest-hit areas.
The modelling charts prepared by the Public Health Agency of Canada also project a worse-case scenario of 60,000 a day by the end of December if Canadians increase their current level of contact with other people.
Conversely, limiting interactions to essential activities while maintaining physical distancing and adhering to other public health guidelines could bring that number to under 10,000 cases a day by that time, according to the modelling.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam offered detailed projections on potential infections and deaths at 9 a.m. ET Friday.
“We are not on a good trajectory,” Tam said at the news conference. “I think across the board, across Canada, we have to say the time is now, with urgency, that we limit contacts.”
Tam noted that infections are spreading across a wider geographic area of Canada compared to the first wave. She also said hospitals and health-care systems are under strain as the surge in cases pushes some to capacity and leads to the postponement of other medical procedures.
WATCH | Dr. Tam on having ‘The Talk’ with relatives as holidays approach:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is addressing Canadians about the worsening situation starting at 11:30 a.m. ET from outside Rideau Cottage, which CBC is carrying live here.
Meanwhile, Ontario is expected to issue more stringent restrictions for its COVID-19 hot spots — Toronto, and Peel and York regions — as Premier Doug Ford says there are “difficult but necessary decisions to make.”
At a press conference on Thursday, the premier didn’t specify what those measures would be as they still needed to go before cabinet, saying only that they will have to be “tough” in the hardest-hit areas.
Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health, said he thinks further closures and restrictions are warranted at this time to “reduce the number of contacts and interactions” occurring in the region.
WATCH | Further restrictions needed in Peel Region, says medical officer of health:
Ontario reported 1,418 more cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 393 in Toronto, 400 in Peel Region and 168 in York Region.
The newly confirmed infections push the seven-day average up to 1,373 after three straight days of declines.
The province also announced that eight more people with COVID-19 have died since the last update, bringing the official death toll to 3,451.
What’s happening across Canada
Canada’s COVID-19 case count — as of 11:15 a.m. ET Friday — stood at 318,440, with 51,902 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,303.
In the North, Nunavut health officials reported 10 more cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the number of cases in the territory to 84.
A two-week territory-wide lockdown is currently in effect in an effort to get a handle on the outbreak and avoid overwhelming Nunavut’s small, isolated health-care centres.
Yukon said it will “divorce” B.C. from its COVID-19 travel bubble as case counts rise in that province. A new case was confirmed in Whitehorse on Wednesday evening, which brought the territory’s case total since the start of the pandemic to 26.
Meanwhile, the Northwest Territories has renewed a state of emergency for Yellowknife to clear the way for an emergency warming shelter in light of capacity limitations at other facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick has moved the Moncton health region back to the stricter orange phase due to the growing number of cases in that region.
WATCH | Moncton region goes back to orange phase as cases rise:
Quebec reported 1,259 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 more deaths on Friday, a day after Premier François Legault proposed a “moral contract” with residents in order to facilitate some holiday cheer.
Legault said residents can have small gatherings — with no more than 10 friends and family members — around Christmas if they voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after.
Manitoba introduced new COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday that ban people from having anyone inside their home who doesn’t live there, with few exceptions, and businesses from selling non-essential items in stores.
The new measures were announced as the province reported 475 new cases, eight more deaths and a record high of 263 in hospital.
WATCH | Manitoba tightens shopping restrictions as COVID-19 cases spike:
Alberta on Thursday saw a record single-day increase of 1,105 new cases, as well as eight more deaths.
British Columbia is bringing in wide-ranging new rules for controlling the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory masks in indoor public and retail spaces and restricting social gatherings to household members only for everyone across B.C.
The move came as the province recorded 538 new cases and one additional death on Thursday. There were 6,929 active cases of the virus and 217 patients in hospital — both record highs for the province.
What’s happening around the world
As of Friday morning, there were more than 57.1 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 36.6 million of those cases listed as recovered, according to a COVID-19 tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.3 million.
In the Americas, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was isolating at home with “very mild symptoms.” He’s the second U.S. senator, along with Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, and at least the eighth member of Congress to announce a positive test this week.
California and Ohio have ordered nightly curfews on social gatherings as the number of patients hospitalized in the United States jumped nearly 50 per cent in two weeks.
Mexico has registered 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths within days of passing one million infections. It is the fourth country to reach that death toll, after the U.S., Brazil and India.
In Europe, Amazon has bowed to government pressure to postpone its “Black Friday” discount shopping sales in France to help local shopkeepers struggling with a nationwide lockdown. The U.S. retail giant saw sales soar globally as COVID-19 restrictions sent consumers online, making it difficult for some bricks-and-mortar shops to compete.
Portugal’s parliament has voted by a comfortable margin to extend the country’s state of emergency by two weeks amid the pandemic. The state of emergency has allowed the government to impose nighttime and weekend curfews across most of the country.
Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has died after contracting the coronavirus. The patriarch was hospitalized with the virus early in November, soon after attending the funeral of the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, Bishop Amfilohije, who also died from complications caused by the COVID-19 infection.
Ukraine said on Friday it hoped to receive eight million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine — enough vaccine for up to 20 per cent of its population — in the first half of next year, as it reported 14,575 new coronavirus infections, passing the previous day’s record of 13,357. The country has now recorded more than 598,000 cases, with more than 10,000 deaths.
In Asia-Pacific, Australia’s once hard-hit state of Victoria has gone three weeks without a new COVID-19 case for the first time since February. The state has also decided to close its border with neighbouring South Australia, which was in its second day of a six-day lockdown on Friday as it experiences a new spike in cases.
Sri Lankan officials announced that they will suspend all passenger trains for two days as COVID-19 cases surge in Colombo and its suburbs. The authorities have locked down many parts of the capital and its suburbs since last month when the virus surged.
India’s total number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began has crossed nine million. While the country’s new daily cases have seen a steady decline for weeks now, authorities in the capital of New Delhi are fighting to head off nearly 7,500 new cases a day while ensuring that the flagging economy doesn’t capsize again.
South Korea’s prime minister has urged the public to avoid social gatherings and stay at home as much as possible as the country registered more than 300 new virus cases for a third consecutive day.
Hong Kong reported a spike in daily cases to 26, two days before an arrangement with Singapore to allow a limited number of passengers to fly both ways without having to go through quarantine kicks in.
In Africa, one player in the South Africa cricket squad has tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of a six-game limited-over series against England, and two others have also been isolated after being in close contact with him.