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Canada's 'window of opportunity' to stop COVID-19 cases reaching 15,000 daily is 'narrowing,' top doctor says

·2-min read
Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

As COVID-19 continues to spread, Canada's top doctors are stressing the "urgent need" to get more 18-39 year olds vaccinated in Canada as the fourth wave continues to "accelerate along the strong resurgence trajectory."

"Without bridging that gap in the younger adult population, I don't expect a significant impact on that wave," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer said at a press conference on Friday.

Dr. Tam stressed that COVID-19 cases have "increased rapidly" since the last COVID-19 modelling presentation at the end of July. Cases have risen from just over 640 cases per day nationally to almost 3,500 a day.

Additionally, severe and critical illness trends are "once again on the rise," including hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases in ICUs.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

The long-range forecasting shows that if the current level of COVID-19 transmission continues, Canada will see a "strong resurgence" heading into October, with over 15,000 cases a day.

"If the Delta variant or other transmissible variants continue to spread rapidly and provinces, particularly if they identify a risk to their healthcare capacity, they may then reimpose some of those public health measures to control spread," Dr. Tam said.

"It may not take the form of restrictive lockdowns, that's what everyone wants to avoid, but they could be targeted measures for sure, but you've got to do it pretty fast."

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

As vaccination has proven to be "highly effective" in Canada, the core messaging is that increasing the number of people who are fully vaccinated is critical at this time.

"Covering this last stretch to reach very high vaccine coverage across eligible age groups could prove crucial to reduce the impact of the Delta driven wave," Dr. Tam said.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer, said that the modelling trends are in the "wrong direction" but vaccines will allow Canada to "control that future."

"Unfortunately, with the earlier than expected reopening and the current slowed-rate of vaccine uptake, Delta variant spread has accelerated quickly," Dr. Tam said.

She added that there is still a "window of opportunity" to reduce the rate of transmission that window is "narrowing."

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