Over the past few days, it appears that Tuesday marked a day where many provinces reported a higher number of new COVID-19 cases, causing a slight spike in the total number of COVID-19 cases across Canada.
On Tuesday morning, Ontario reported 203 new cases, the highest daily total in three weeks, whereas Quebec reported as many as 180 cases, the most the province had seen since mid-June.
British Columbia’s Medical Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, warned that her province was teetering on the brink of an “explosive” growth in cases after the province reported more than 100 cases this past weekend.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, stated in a briefing on Tuesday that Canada was “averaging about 300 cases a day” previously.
However, “more recently, that’s increased to 350. And now we’re in the neighbourhood of 450, 460 cases per day over the last for days or so” added Dr. Njoo.
“That is of concern.”
On Tuesday, it was reported that overall, Canada added 445 new cases of COVID-19, which unfortunately continues a steady upward trend in the number of new cases.
Should Canadians be worried just yet?
Robyn Lee, an Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto commented on the matter saying she is “concerned that the numbers are going back up”.
According to a weekly report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the average number of people to whom each infected person spreads the virus has been rising recently.
Previously this number, which is referred to as “R0” by epidemiologists, was below 1, however, more recent reports have shown that the R0 is currently above 1.
In other words, this means that on average, each infected person spreads the virus to more than one other person, indicating that the virus is spreading rather than shrinking.
“If this number keeps going, if it keeps increasing, that means that more people are being infected for each person who has this virus,” said the Epidemiologist at the University of Toronto.
“We could very rapidly end up in the same spot that we were in a few months back where we were concerned about the hospital bed utilization and ICU bed availability.”
On the other hand, some health experts are saying Canadians should not be alarmed just yet and that we should be looking at the overall trend rather than the numbers reported daily.
Dr. Matthew Pellan Cheng, an Infectious Disease Doctor and Medical Microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre has said that he is not too concerned about the rise in case numbers yet.
“I think we need to look at the general trajectory in that the number of cases is, indeed, slightly increasing but not at very, very elevated levels,” said Dr. Cheng.
“And it was expected that there’s going to be a slight uptick in the number of cases as most of the country reopens.
“I think the more important question is, what are we doing now with this information? Are we implementing appropriate contact tracing? Are we reinforcing important public health mitigation strategies? Are we going to let it continue or are we going to start planking the curve?”
Meanwhile, other health experts such as Robyn Lee believes that Canada is running out of time before serious consequences begin as a result of the rise in the number of cases.
“We’re going to run out of time. I think we need to do stuff now,” she said. “There is going to hit a point where it spins out of control and we don’t have the resources to keep up with it.”
Are younger Canadians to blame for the spike in COVID-19 cases?
As many provinces and regions in Ontario start to reopen businesses and restart their economies, a majority of new cases of the virus appears to affect the younger demographic.
Dr. Njoo said that many recent cases of COVID-19 had to do with younger adults attending indoor events, like house parties, and not restaurants and bars opening.
“I don’t have any actual proof, but the thinking might be that as bars and restaurants and society opens, that is maybe in some ways a signal for people to think, ‘Oh, OK, I can let go,” said the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer
“Things are returning to normal and, therefore, they are getting together at indoor parties, probably with lack of social distancing and so on.”
Earlier this week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford had a message for younger people in Ontario amid the spike in COVID-19 cases as a majority of the province moved to Stage 3 of reopening.
“We have the brightest, smartest people coming out of our colleges and universities and the vast majority, 98 percent them are following all the protocols (and) procedures but a couple percent are going hog wild,” said Premier Ford during his daily COVID-19 update on Tuesday.
“Guys you have to rein it in. It is as simple as that. Because again you may get through it (COVID-19) but maybe your grandparents won’t get through it. So that’s the way you got to think about it.”
What’s next for Canada amid the COVID-19 Pandemic?
According to Robyn Lee, she believes there still is time for Canada to stop the trend of rising COVID-19 cases, but people will have to maintain physical distance and follow advice from public health officials.
This includes limiting contact with other people, wearing masks when entering indoor public spaces, and other public health measures.
“I think we all need to recognize we’re in it for the long haul,” she said.
“Unfortunately, until there’s a vaccine, this is something that is a part of our lives, meaning we do have to keep up with the physical distancing and we do have to keep going with the same precautions.”
Canada COVID-19 Statistics
Confirmed Cases: 11,975 (+307)
Recovered: 98,039 (+282)
Deaths: 8,868 (+6)
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