People get exercise outside on the lake shore path along Lake Ontario in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Health officials and the government has asks that people stay inside to help curb the spread of the coronavirus also known as COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

‘Not a sprint, a marathon’: As Canada’s COVID-19 case counts slow, deaths climb

Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, says easing restrictions must still protect vulnerable people

With ears perked across the country for when health officials will begin easing the strict measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Canada’s top doctor is reminding the public that tiding the virus is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Roughly 503,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, with a positive test rate of six per cent, said Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, during a news conference on Friday morning (April 17).

Canada’s latest tally on Friday showed that there have been 30,000 cases confirmed by lab testing. Across the provinces, 1,250 people have died. Meanwhile, 10,000 people have recovered from the respiratory illness, which has no cure of vaccine, making the total number of active cases roughly 18,750.

ALSO READ: B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada: here are a few reasons why

But while daily case counts start to slow death tolls are climbing, Tam explained, due to the prolonged nature of the virus’s incubation and recovery time and because such a high proportion of outbreaks are in long term care centres.

“It creates a bit of a paradox where early in an epidemic we see a rapid growth of new infections but not so with deaths,” she said, “but as the epidemic begins to slow, deaths accumulate at a faster pace.”

More than 90 per cent of the patients confirmed to have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 60, and half of them lived in long term care centres, according to statistics from Health Canada.

Federal models are now predicting between 1,200 and 1,620 deaths from COVID-19 by April 21. Last week the projections expected between 500 and 700 deaths this week.

“At this important junction, intense public health efforts are needed to stamp out existing outbreaks, prevent new outbreaks and manage chains of transmission in the community,” Tam said. “To get this done, without slipping backwards, all Canadians need to stay home and practise physical distancing.”

While it is unclear just how long COVID-19 will impact daily life, the federal government is preparing for at least some restrictions to last into the summer.

In his daily briefing out front of Rideau Cottage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government is planning a virtual Canada Day celebration in place of the typical gathering at Parliament Hill, which will feature Canadian artists.

WATCH: New COVID-19 testing machine takes load off B.C.’s virologists and labs

In B.C., health officials have cautioned that it could be awhile until British Columbians gain some normalcy. If some of the restrictions are to be lifted, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that those same provisions could return by the fall.

Any changes to measures taken by individual provinces will have to keep the nation in mind, Tam notioned.

“No matter where we are in the country we have to remember that Canadians are all susceptible to the virus,” she said. “Remember this is not a sprint it is a marathon and there will only be unpleasant surprises if we quit early.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Cariboo Seniors’ Council receives $10,000 from United Way

The funds will help the council provide meals to vulnerable seniors impacted by COVID-19

Regional district issues evacuation order for 9 residences near McBride

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George issued the order on Sunday, July 4

FOREST INK: Microgrids in developing countries have many positive features

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about his experiences with “off the grid” power systems

Evacuation alert issued for three properties on Garvin Road, southeast of Quesnel

The Cariboo Regional District has issued the alert due to “potential danger to life and health”

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read