COVID-19 Projections for Canada: Under Strict Health Measures, 22,000 Canadians Could Die from COVID-19


As part of current public health measures – which officials believe are strong – up to 44,000 Canadians could die from COVID-19 in the coming months. Federal modeling, however, shows that the death rate could skyrocket if efforts were to stop.

Federal projections released by Health Canada have detailed the best and worst overall scenarios for the spread and impact of the pandemic in Canada, based on the degree of action taken by governments and Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking about these projections in his daily speech, said the peak – the top of the curve – could be in late spring, with the end of the first wave in summer.

He said the result, keeping the number of deaths as low as possible depends on what each person does now, but it “will take months of continuous, determined effort.”

“We are fortunate to determine what our country will look like in the weeks and months to come. Our health systems across the country are doing well for the moment, but we are at a crossroads between the best and the worst possible results, “said Trudeau. “The best possible outcome is not an easy path for all of us. “

“There will likely be smaller hatches for several months after that. It will be the new standard until a vaccine is developed, “said Trudeau.

The scenarios indicate that, depending on containment efforts, between 4,000 and 300,000 people in Canada could die from COVID-19 during the pandemic. However, the current reality of the virus brings Canada closer to the lower end of this spectrum, and Health Canada’s two more elaborate scenarios show that the range is probably between 11,000 and 22,000 Canadian deaths.

The short-term federal projection of the spread of COVID-19 shows that between 500 and 700 Canadians could die from COVID-19 in the next week, with the number of cases increasing from 22,580 to 31,850 cases.

If 2.5% of the population contracts the virus, it would mean:

  • 934,000 Canadians fall ill;

  • 73,000 could be hospitalized;

  • 23,000 people could end up in the intensive care unit; and

  • 11,000 people could die.

If the percentage of the population who falls ill reaches 5%, this would mean:

  • 1,879,000 COVID-19 contracts;

  • 146,000 could be hospitalized;

  • 46,000 people could end up in the ICU; and

  • 22,000 people could die.

If this increases further for 10% of the population, approximately 44,000 people in Canada could die.

Without any control efforts in place, up to 80% of Canadians could contract the virus. This scenario could result in a peak in summer and more than 300,000 deaths, which is roughly equivalent to the total number of deaths from all causes in Canada each year.

Health Canada says current pandemic settings under which Canadians live are seen as tight controls, such as physical removal and quarantine of travelers, if fewer people stay at home or do nothing as if they could carry the virus, the disease.

The data and modeling published on Thursday provide information on the national public health measures currently in place to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam described the figures as “strict”, but cautioned that these possible scenarios are imperfect given the different regional epidemics, and the results will ultimately be determined by the actions of Canadians.

Tam said this means that everything that can be done must be done to keep Canada’s trajectory in the range of the best scenarios, “despite all the difficulties and costs.”

Tam said that community transmission in Canada started later than in other countries, our per capita screening rate is higher than in most countries, and the increase in the total number of cases has been slower here than in other countries.


In all scenarios, the peak appears to occur between late spring and early fall.

The Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, said it looks like the first wave of the virus will last until summer and “it will not be the end.”

The agency warned that in the absence of a treatment or vaccine, the fight against the disease will likely require waves of epidemic controls, spanning months.

For example, Canadians could always be asked to distance themselves from others and practice hand hygiene; restrictions on international and domestic travel may remain in place; and incoming travelers could face mandatory 14-day segregation.

Increased health care capacity also plays a role in the scenarios, from the supply of vital supplies such as ventilators to the presence of sufficient workers capable of responding to the wave of patients.

Prior to physical distance and other measures, Health Canada estimates that each person infected in Canada has transmitted respiratory disease to more than two people on average, but has since declined, but we have not yet reached the point to stop everything spread.

Several provinces have already released their best and worst case projections for the number of deaths and cases, as well as the estimated time it will take to contain the virus, which has already infected nearly 20,000 Canadians and killed 462 people. at national scale.


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