Canada seeing a massive spike in COVID cases, hospitals could be swamped - PM Trudeau

By David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases which could overwhelm the hospital system, an emotional Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, imploring Canadians to stay home as much as possible.

Reuters November 21, 2020 00:11:01 IST
Canada seeing a massive spike in COVID cases, hospitals could be swamped - PM Trudeau

Canada seeing a massive spike in COVID cases hospitals could be swamped  PM Trudeau

By David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases which could overwhelm the hospital system, an emotional Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, imploring Canadians to stay home as much as possible.

A second wave is ripping across the country, forcing several provinces to reimpose restrictions on movement and businesses. Cases continue to spike and authorities complain some people are being more careless about taking precautions.

Trudeau, saying "a normal Christmas is quite frankly right out of the question", spoke shortly after Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, predicted new daily cases could soar to 60,000 by the end of the year from less than 5,000 now.

"Cases across the country are spiking massively. We are facing winter, that's going to drive people inside more and more, and we're really at risk of seeing case loads go up and hospitals get overwhelmed," said a clearly upset Trudeau.

"So we need to do everything we can, right now, to slow the spread of COVID-19," he told reporters, stressing the need to curb personal contacts as much as possible.

Tam said the worst case scenario, a spike to 60,000 daily cases, would occur if people became more sociable. Even if current restrictions on gatherings are maintained, new daily cases will jump to over 20,000 by Dec 31.

Only if people reduce their personal contacts can the situation be kept stable and even then, the experience of harder-hit European nations strongly suggests more curbs will be needed, she said.

"Absolutely do not go above what we have now (in terms of daily cases) otherwise we are really in trouble," she said.

Officials predict that by Nov. 30 the total death toll could be between 11,870 and 12,120, with the total cases between 366,500 and 378,600. Canada has recorded a total of 315,751 cases and 11,265 deaths so far.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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