The Latest modelling by one of Canada’s top doctors shows that the transmission of COVID-19 is under control across the country. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said data points to a steady decrease in both the number and severity of coronavirus cases since the peak of the pandemic in Canada in late April. The data forecasts a slight rise in cases from about 106,000 to 111,260 by July 17, and a minor incline in deaths from around 8,700 to 8,900 by the same date.
Dr. Njoo said the “effective reproductive number” or the “RT” should remain consistently below one to consider the virus extinct. For the last ten weeks, the RT for Canada has been mostly below one for more than 10 people. However, Dr. Njoo said it’s likely Canada will see that indicators fluctuate as local outbreaks continue in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.
Besides, he said, they had done an excellent job because most of the cases they were finding were linked to a known source.
During a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while overall cases of the coronavirus in Canada were declining, some communities remained vulnerable, especially those in long-term care facilities and working on farms. Besides, he said the situation was stabilizing in Canada because Canadians did their part and followed public health instructions. However, they still had to be very careful, as things could change quickly.
Some of the hotspots identified by the prime minister were the long-term care facilities and agriculture work settings. The majority of recent coronavirus cases in Ontario have been reported in the Greater Toronto Area and on farms with high populations of migrant workers. The latest epidemiology report shows 1,242 cases and four deaths among workers in agricultural settings as of July 7. Over the past 14 days, Ontario’s Peel region and Windsor-Essex County are among the communities with the highest rates of coronavirus.
According to Dr. Njoo, Canada is entering into a phase of “risk tolerance.” This is a state whereby the government is trying to balance between lives and livelihoods. Njoo assured that even though there would be cases coming forward, it will not be an overwhelming outbreak, and they will be able to manage it within the health-care system.
Regarding the issue of reopening the school in September, Njoo said while there was undoubtedly a level of threat as children could be carriers of the virus, there were other considerations. He said even though kids going to school was very important for their growth and development beyond just academic acquiring of knowledge, they recognized there were mental health impacts. Njoo noted that beyond the impact on children, parents’ well-being was also a factor.