Federal health officials project up to 700 COVID-19 deaths in Canada by April 16

Federal health officials are projecting there could be nearly 32,000 cases of COVID-19 and between 500 and 700 deaths in Canada by April 16.

The figures came Thursday morning as officials release modelling on how the COVID-19 crisis could unfold in the country.

A briefing is underway with Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo and Stephen Lucas, the deputy health minister. Watch it here live.

The analysis of how many people could become infected, get sick or die from the virus comes just before the long holiday weekend.

Tam said models are “imperfect” but they can help understand the state of the pandemic and where it might go, along with the effect of public health measures on the transmission of the virus.

Repeated advice

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly told Canadians that how fast and far the virus spreads will depend largely on how stringently Canadians follow public health advice, including physical distancing, handwashing and staying home whenever possible.

Several provinces have already released projections. Ontario estimates the number of deaths in the province could reach between 3,000 and 15,000 people over the course of the pandemic, which could last up to two years. 

Tam has cautioned that models that try to predict how many people could become infected and die from the coronavirus are not “crystal balls,” and that it’s important to focus on data on what is happening in real time.

How projections actually play out depends largely on actions taken by individuals and governments, she said.

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