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Tam warns of 'urgency' to lower infections as forecast paint dire scenario

BY The Canadian Press, Nov 20, 2020 8:40 AM - REPORT AN ERROR

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam arrives for a press conference on COVID-19 at West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canada's chief public health officer says there's "urgency" to bring infections down as officials released dire new forecasts indicating that COVID-19 case counts have far surpassed levels seen during the first wave.

Dr. Theresa Tam says COVID-19 cases could skyrocket to 60,000 per day by the end of the year if Canadians increase their contact rates.

The modelling predicts that at current rates of contact, Canada is careening towards a surge of more than 20,000 cases per day by the end of December.

But if socialization increases, the projections indicate that as 2020 draws to a close, Canada could see twelvefold increase from the current level of around 5,000 cases per day, which is already straining the health-care system in some regions.

The forecasts predict that at current rates Canada's case total could land between 366,500 and 378,600 and the death toll could fall between 11,870 and 12,120 by the end of the month.

Currently, Tam says an average of 4,800 cases are being reported daily about a 15 per cent increase compared to last week.

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