Hospitals could possibly be flooded in Canada, the place COVID instances are skyrocketing: PM Trudeau

© Reuters. People wear masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease in Iqaluit

By David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm the hospital system, an emotional Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday, pleading with Canadians to stay home as much as possible.

A second wave is sweeping across the country, forcing several of the ten provinces to reintroduce restrictions on movement and business. Cases continue to rise and authorities are complaining that some people are more negligent in taking precautionary measures.

Trudeau said “a normal Christmas is frankly out of the question,” and spoke shortly after Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, predicted the number of new daily cases could rise from less than 5,000 to 60,000 by the end of the year.

“Cases are growing massively across the country … we really run the risk of the number of cases rising and the hospitals being overwhelmed,” said a clearly annoyed Trudeau.

Rejecting the idea that Ottawa should invoke emergency powers to reinstate the widespread national shutdown the provinces imposed earlier this year, he said, “I don’t want to bring a federal hammer in to try to do things . “

Tam said the worst case scenario, an increase to 60,000 daily cases, would happen if people became more sociable. Even if the current congregation restrictions are maintained, daily cases will climb to over 20,000 by December 31st.

Only if people reduce their personal contacts can the situation be kept stable, and even then the experience of European nations strongly suggests that more curbs will be needed, she said.

“In any case, don’t go beyond what we have now (in terms of daily cases) or we’re really in trouble,” she said.

Officials predict the total death toll could range from 11,870 to 12,120 by Nov. 30, with the total number of cases ranging from 366,500 to 378,600. Canada has so far recorded a total of 315,751 cases and 11,265 deaths.

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