Daily new COVID-19 cases triple
COVID-19 CASES TRIPLE IN PAST MONTH; MORE SCHOOLS HIT
Adramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month, mostly among young people, prompted warnings on Wednesday that Canada is staring at a major second wave of the pandemic and the federal government said shortterm lockdowns might be needed.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.
“Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory,” Tam said. “Unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.”
While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness. The figures from the group COVID Ecoles Quebec and the Ontario government came as authorities seek ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 among younger people.
Data from Ontario show cases among those in their 20s have risen sharply in the past month, with one expert attributing the increase in part to the reopening of schools and universities.
In an effort to tackle the problem, several provinces, cities and universities have warned of stiff fines for violating anti-COVID restrictions. However, Quebec said it would not allow police to enter homes without a warrant to break up gatherings that violate the measures.
The worrisome upward trend in new cases came as the federal Liberal government laid out its plan to take on a second wave of COVID19.
“To prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders,” the government said in its throne speech.
Stringent lockdowns in the spring caused unprecedented economic disruption, prompting the government to spend tens of billions of dollars on supports as unemployment skyrocketed.
The throne speech promised, among other things, an extension of the federal wage-subsidy program until next summer, more aid for businesses, and help to boost testing capacity. People in various cities have waited for hours or even days for virus testing. Safety concerns led a hospital in Kitchener, Ont., to close its drive-through testing centre as people arrived in the wee hours.
In all, COVID has killed about 9,250 people in Canada, while the cumulative case count has been edging toward the 150,000 mark.