Trudeau addresses nation as COVID cases climb, says second wave ‘already underway’

Justin Trudeau addresses the nation. September 23, 2020. (Screen grab from @CPAC_TV livestream on Twitter)

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, Canada’s prime minister is asking everyone in the country to do their part to avoid a winter season that could be much worse than this past spring.

“The second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he addressed the nation in a live televised speech on Wednesday.

Trudeau said the numbers clearly show we are headed into a harsh winter with well over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday. On March 13, when the country first went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic, only 47 new cases had been reported.

As of Wednesday, Canada has reached over 147,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic with 9,234 deaths.

“We are on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring. I know this isn’t the news that any of us wanted to hear and we can’t change today’s numbers or even tomorrow’s. Those were decided by what we already did or didn’t do two weeks ago. But what we can change, is where we are in October and into the winter,” he said. “It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

Trudeau said along with other social distancing measures, it’s “critical” that Canadians continue to wear masks in indoor public places. Trudeau also urged everyone in the country to get vaccinated for the flu this season and encouraged everyone to download the government’s COVID Alert app, a digital contact tracing app for mobile devices as a measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

“Together we have the power to get this second wave under control because we’ve already done it once before,” he said.

Trudeau spent the second half of his address reiterating parts of his government’s plan for the country, which had been outlined by Governor General Julie Payette earlier in the day in a speech from the throne to open the new session of parliament.

Specifically, the prime minister reiterated that the government will be expanding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for Canadians and the Canada Emergency Business Account to help Canadian businesses with fixed costs.

The prime minister also addressed concerns over government spending during the pandemic along with economic recovery.

“I know some people are asking, how we can afford to do all this for Canadians. That’s fair. Low-interest rates mean we can afford it and, in fact, doing less would end up costing far more. Doing less would mean a slower recovery and bigger deficits in the long run.

“While we are dealing with this pandemic, I don’t want you, or your parent, or your friend to take on debt that your government can better shoulder,” he added. “As we start to build back better, we must do that in a fiscally and sustainable way. Investing for our recovery must be done responsibly.”