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COVID-19 variants could fuel surge of 20K daily cases if restrictions eased: feds

Last Updated Feb 19, 2021 at 8:30 am MST

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

New federal forecasts project that COVID-19 variants could fuel a surge of 20,000 new cases per day by mid-March if public health restrictions are relaxed further.

The Public Health Agency of Canada released modelling today suggesting that while infections continue to decline nationally, the spread of virus mutations threatens to reverse that progress. 

Canada’s chief public health officer says there are currently fewer than 33,000 active cases in Canada, a 60 per cent drop compared to a month ago.

But with COVID-19 variants detected in 10 provinces, Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada may not be able to avoid a rapid acceleration of the epidemic without continued vigilance.

Even with current restrictions, the spread of the variants could push Canada’s caseload to more than 10,000 new diagnoses per day by April, according to the projections.

But the forecasts suggest that Canada could control the outbreak with enhanced public health measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press