Canadians must reduce the number of close contacts they have with other people by 25 per cent in order to suppress the second wave of COVID-19, according to new federal modelling on the spread of the coronavirus released today.
At a news conference in Ottawa, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people being infected continues to increase across the country, even as some regions tighten restrictions.
“If we increase, or if we even maintain our current rate of contact with others, the epidemic in Canada is forecast to continue increasing steeply,” said Tam.
“To bend the epidemic curve and reduce transmission to lower levels … we must really reduce our number of contacts as much as possible.”
Reducing those interactions by 25 per cent would bring the pandemic under control in most regions, according to the modelling.
The projections show the number of COVID-19 cases could rise from the current level — 230,547 as of 11:20 a.m. ET today — to 262,000 by Nov. 8, with up to 300 people expected to die from complications of the disease during that time.
While it has been increasing, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 remains below the peak of about 3,000 per day observed during the first phase of the pandemic. Tam said this is most likely because the vast majority of recent cases have been among young people who have experienced less severe illnesses, and because of the better availability of treatments.
The number of deaths also has continued to gradually increase over the past several weeks — but at a slower rate than it did during the first wave.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged people to continue following public health guidelines — particularly those that call for people to physically distance and reduce close contacts with others.
“When you’re thinking of seeing people outside your household, ask yourself, ‘Is this absolutely necessary?'” said Trudeau.
“I know that the situation is frustrating. I know it’s hard. But it is temporary.”