Skip to content

Federal modeling shows cases expected to increase in Canada even with restrictions

OTTAWA – New federal modeling suggests an estimated peak of 170,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, even with the array of public health restrictions in place across the country.

The peak may arrive this month and then recede in February, but the overall timing of the peak is likely to vary across the country, Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said in a briefing Friday.

These figures are not based on the number of known cases, but on what is believed to be the true spread of the Omicron virus in Canada, given that testing capacity is now limited nationally, Tam said. .

Without existing measures, Tam said, that peak could reach nearly 300,000 per day.

“These scenarios highlight that while combined public health measures and booster doses may help reduce the size of the Omicron wave, in either scenario, the actual number of daily cases, driven by the The extremely high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, could still far exceed anything we have experienced to date during this pandemic, ”she said.

The Omicron variant has now replaced Delta as the dominant strain in Canada, and although the risk of hospitalization is lower, serious illness is still possible, Tam said.

Hospitalization rates are increasing in all age groups, the modeling shows, and over the past month, severe outcomes have been highest in adults 60 years of age or older and especially in those 80 years or older. more.

Two features of the Omicron variant have an impact, Tam said.

“Omicron’s rapid rate of spread is likely due to a combination of characteristics inherent in the virus and an increased ability to evade past immunity against past infection and vaccination,” she said.

Likewise, Omicron’s lower severity profile – as shown by international and Canadian data – is likely due to characteristics of viral protection against serious illness resulting from vaccination and / or previous infection.

That means, she said, getting the shot – especially a booster – and following public health guidelines remains crucial.

“While Canada could experience a peak and a decline in cases over the next few weeks, as disease activity far exceeds previous peaks, even the decline in this curve will be significant,” he said. she declared.

“With several weeks of very intense activity expected, we must do our best now to limit the size of the Omicron surge in order to maintain the health system and critical functions of the company.”


Conversations are the opinions of our readers and are subject to Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.