Epidemic growth rates have doubled every three days, but have now slowed to double every 16, said Canadian public health officials. But Canada now reports nearly 3,000 deaths from the corona virus, far higher than initially estimated.
“We see the tragic paradox of the epidemic happening,” said Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, during a new modeling presentation Tuesday.
“When the epidemic is under control, and case growth slows, severe outcomes and deaths continue to grow, because Covid-19 is taking a large toll among a very vulnerable population,” Dr. Tam
Less than two weeks ago, Canadian officials had estimated the case fatality rate to be around 2.2%. Now it stands at 5.5% with hundreds of deaths more likely in the next week alone.
‘Soldiers take care of old people’
Canada currently faces hundreds of outbreaks in long-term care homes across the country, and hundreds of elderly and vulnerable populations have died. Government statistics released Tuesday show that 79% of deaths across the country are related to outbreaks in care centers.
“Outbreaks in long-term care and parental homes encourage the growth of epidemics in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia and are responsible for the majority of all deaths in Canada,” Dr. Tam
Responding to the outbreak and requests from the province, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that thousands of troops would be deployed to long-term nursing homes to support the elderly.
“This is not a long-term solution. In Canada, we should not have soldiers caring for elderly people,” Trudeau said at his daily press conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
‘We may lose the progress we have made’
This virus is clearly slowing down in Canada with a sharp increase in transmission rates. Previously in a pandemic, each person infected might have infected 2.19 people, now the rate of transmission has slowed to just one.
Some regions have issued guidelines and dates for reopening, such as Quebec where primary schools will gradually open from May. Trudeau said he is working with provincial leaders, but there must be enough personal protective equipment throughout the country before it is safe for businesses and workplaces to be reopened.
While Canada is leveling the curve, Trudeau said the steps are distancing and some closures will remain in place for some time.
“We are in the midst of the most serious public health emergencies Canada has seen and if we take steps too quickly, we may lose the progress we have made,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.
CNN’s Sheena Jones contributed to this report.
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