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

Just Posted

‘Drive as fast as you can’: After 40 years, Mt. St. Helens eruption still hits close to home

Observer readers felt the effects even thousands of kilometres away

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

Kent council votes 4-1 in favour of Teacup properties development

Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg was the only ‘no’ in difficult vote

MP Vis advocates for faster internet in rural communities

Less than 45 per cent of rural households in Canada have high-speed internet

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

BREAKING: Langley Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35-year-old nightlife hotspot

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Most Read