Director of Public Health, Dr Theresa Tam, has released a new COVID-19 model warning that Canada could see up to 15,000 cases per day by the end of the month if the vaccination rate does not rise and no more restrictive public health measures are introduced.
“This is a defining moment,” Tam said. “We have a window of opportunity to accelerate vaccine uptake and close the protection gap in younger age groups with the least vaccine coverage.”
Today’s briefing was the first time that Tamm answered questions from the media since the start of the federal election campaign.
Tam said that as fall approaches and Canadians return to a more indoor lifestyle, they should increase their use of masks and physical distancing.
“If we continue down the path we are now on since reopening, we can expect to see a continuing sharp increase in cases … reaching levels not seen before in Canada during the pandemic,” said Dr. Howard Ngo, deputy chief of public health. officer.
Tam said it is critical to increase the vaccination rate in the 10- to 39-year-old group because those in this group are the most mobile and tend to interact with a large number of people – and currently have the lowest vaccination rate of any group. demographics in the country.
According to Public Health Canada (PHAC), only 63 percent of Canadians aged 18-29 are fully vaccinated, and those aged 30-39 are slightly better off, with a vaccination rate of 68 per cent. cent. The data indicate that all older age groups have significantly higher vaccination rates.
Watch: A window to slow a delta-driven wave as vaccination rates rise “is narrowing,” says Tam:
Canadians aged 40 to 49 years are 76 percent fully vaccinated, 50 to 59 years old are 80 percent immunized, and 60 to 69 years old are 88 percent immunized. Those between the ages of 70 and 79 are 94 percent vaccinated, and those over 80 are 92 percent vaccinated.
Tam said Canadians between the ages of 12 and 17 are vaccinated at only 67 percent, but added that she is not concerned about such a low number because the number of vaccinations in that age group is increasing rapidly.
According to the modeling, Canada could see a drop in the number of cases from the roughly 5,000 it sees a day now if transmission could be reduced by at least 25 percent.
If the economy reopens further and transmission increases by 25 percent, modeling warns we could reach that 15,000 figure by mid-September.
Ngo said that currently about 7.6 million eligible Canadians have not been fully vaccinated and that a COVID-19 outbreak among this group is many times more likely than an outbreak among those fully vaccinated.
I would ask caution and patience for a booster dose for the rest of the population because we haven’t seen enough data.– Theresa Tam
The Primary Health Care Center says the number of new cases is increasing among the unvaccinated at a rate of 12 times higher than the rate of fully vaccinated, and that the hospitalization rate is 36 times higher for those who have not been vaccinated compared to those who are fully vaccinated.
Tam said she would like to see up to 80 percent of eligible Canadians get fully vaccinated but she doesn’t want the country to stop there.
“There is no magic number except to say reach for the stars,” she said. “I have a 100 percent mark on this graph. This is where people should be targeted as much as possible.”
“I think we can go faster and I know the provinces are stopping everything in different ways.”
There isn’t enough data on boosters yet: Tam
Tam said the National Immunization Advisory Committee, NACI, is meeting today to examine evidence that immunocompromised Canadians would benefit from a third dose of the vaccine.
She said the committee would release its findings soon, but cautioned that offering a third dose to immunocompromised Canadians was not the same as providing booster doses to other Canadians.
“While that is being analyzed quickly, I would like to ask caution and patience for a booster dose for the rest of the population because we haven’t seen enough data, and based on the information we have in Canada we don’t see a lot of unprecedented infections,” she said.
All evidence now indicates that available vaccines provide significant protection against hospitalization and death, Tam said.
High delta driven cases
The update comes as parts of the country plunge into a fourth wave of the pandemic driven by a delta variant.
In Alberta, the number of active cases and hospitalizations in the intensive care unit quadrupled. As of Thursday, there were 12,290 active cases, 465 people in hospitals and 107 in intensive care units in the provinces.
The absence of COVID-19 reports by Public Health Canada during the election campaign sparked some controversy last week.
Conservatives have called on interim writer to the Privy Council Janice Sharett to investigate what they describe as a violation of a “conductive agreement” – the policy that directs public officials to avoid doing anything that could affect the campaign.