With strong control measures, the federal public health agency projects that 11,000 to 22,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19 in the coming months.
In a report released Thursday, (April 9) Public Health Agency of Canada said short-term estimates are more reliable, and it anticipates 500 to 700 deaths by the end of next week.
The agency released modelling data this morning with different possible scenarios, warning that what happens depends very much on how Canadians behave to keep the respiratory illness from spreading.
With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency said.
It says the COVID-19 battle in Canada is still in its early stages but Canada’s numbers of confirmed cases have been increasing more slowly than in other countries.
The agency the fight against the novel coronavirus will likely take many months and require cycles of tighter and weaker controls.
Later on Thursday (April 9), Chief medical officer Dr. TheresaTam said the “aspirational and our ambitious goal” was that just one per cent of the population is infected with COVID-19. With a population of 37.6 million, that would mean about 376,000 people would be infected.
Tam said there were 17,766 total confirmed cases of the virus and 461 deaths as of Thursday morning.
“I recognize the changes in our daily lives… are extremely difficult,” Tam said during a press conference in Ottawa.
She said the measures have so far “allowed the healthcare system to cope.”
She called on Canadians to make the upcoming long weekend a “staycation for the nation,” and stay home to celebrate with their household, or virtually with other friends and family.
Tam said health officials were evaluating the effect of measures like physical distancing and self-isolation daily.
“No one is gathering, really… we’re just trying to strengthen the message to Canadians that you should avoid all non-essential travel and stay at home as much as possible,” she said.
The Canadian Press