National COVID-19 modelling shows cause for concern, even as B.C.'s curve flattens
VICTORIA -- Despite a flattering curve, modelling shows British Columbians need to reduce their interactions to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to Canadas’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, there is worrisome news from new modelling data that shows the pandemic's growth is escalating rapidly in Canada, and Canadians need to restrict their social interactions or the problem will get worse.
“Unless public health measure are intensified, we will not be able to suppress the current rate of epidemic growth,” said Tam at a press conference on Friday.
The data projects almost 800,000 cases nationwide and nearly 20,000 deaths by Jan. 24.
While B.C. is faring better than other provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, Dr. Brian Conway of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre says we are far from immune to the trend of growing cases.
Conway says the modelling indicates British Columbians need to reduce our interactions to avoid a surge in cases.
“The model suggests that if we continue to act as we have in the previous few weeks that the cases, the number of cases, will continue to increase,” said Conway Friday after looking at the numbers.
Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Health Minister, struck a cautiously optimistic tone Friday, noting the province’s COVID-19 case numbers had flattened in recent days.
Although Dix indicated tighter restrictions didn’t appear likely anytime soon in B.C., he said what matters most is that folks stay vigilant.
“The virus isn’t interested in your orders or our speeches or anything else,” said Dix Friday in Victoria. “What’s more important is our actions.”
Adding to the uncertainty of the coming months, the modelling numbers do not take into account the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus recently discovered in the U.K. and South Africa and now present in Canada, including B.C., but only in very small numbers so far.
On Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it will be important to contain the cases of variants and identify them early.
“So it may be that we're in a very similar place to where we were in February of last year, where if we can find them and catch them early we can prevent that variant from spreading,” she said.
Separate modelling to reflect the potential impacts of the variants will be done in the coming weeks.