Tam urges Canadians to act now to prevent 60,000 daily cases of COVID-19

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam (Courtesy of the Government of Canada)

At the release of national projections on the COVID-19 pandemic Friday morning, Canada’s top doctor said Canadians have a choice.

Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters if Canadians increase their social contacts, the nation could see up to 60,000 new cases a day by the end of the year.

That figure was the worst-case scenario laid out in the projections.

At the current rate, Tam said Canada is on a path toward 20,000 new cases a day, which could have an overwhelming impact on hospitals.

Tam said the country has far surpassed the highest case counts of the spring, with an average of 4,800 cases a day now.

“Rapid growth nationally is being driven primarily by the six provinces outside of the Atlantic bubble,” said Tam. “All of these jurisdictions are currently experiencing steep increases in infection rates. Over the past week, each of these provinces has marked their highest daily case counts to date.”

Tam is urging Canadians to shrink their number of close contacts, re-evaluate going out, and to even wear a mask inside their homes if someone outside of their household visits.

“Everything that we do now has to be avoiding that situation,” she said, referring to the worst-case scenario. “Do not go above what we have now, or otherwise we are really in trouble.”

Nationally, 4,642 new cases were reported on Thursday, along with 79 deaths. While on Friday, Ontario reported eight deaths and 1,418 new cases.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford told reporters Ontario would get 1.6 million doses of the new Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 Moderna shots between January and March 2021.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju (courtesy of the Government of Canada)

Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju (courtesy of the Government of Canada)

However, federal Health Minister Patty Hadju refused to confirm Ford’s comments during the morning news conference.

“The delivery schedule is one thing, and then the successful delivery of the vaccines is another,” she told reporters. “I think the assertion of various promises around the number of doses that they are going to receive in their own jurisdictions is the area where we have not come to an agreement on yet.”

Pfizer is asking the Federal Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. to allow emergency use of the vaccine, and Moderna is expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.