Red Cross volunteer Stephane Corbeil is shown at a mobile hospital at the Jacques Lemaire arena in the Montreal suburb of LaSalle, Sunday, April 26, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Red Cross volunteer Stephane Corbeil is shown at a mobile hospital at the Jacques Lemaire arena in the Montreal suburb of LaSalle, Sunday, April 26, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Canada predicts 3,800 total deaths by early May, as COVID-19 spreads in vulnerable groups

Total cases could be between 53,196 and 66,385 by May 5

Canadian health officials are forecasting up to 3,883 COVID-19 deaths by May 5 due to outbreaks among vulnerable populations.

In modelling released Tuesday (April 28), Dr. Theresa Tam said total COVID-19 deaths are expected to reach between 3,277 and 3,883 by May 5. By that point, the number of cases is forecasted to reach between 53,196 and 66,385. There are at least 49,025 total confirmed cases in Canada as of Tuesday and more than 2,700 deaths.

Tam said the key to keeping infections and deaths down was to reduce the transmission of the virus. In March, each infected person spread the virus to 2.19 others, while currently that spread is at just over one person. Tam said that to grind epidemic growth to a halt, transmission rates must slow to under one.

“By achieving epidemic control we expect only a small percentage of the population will be immune,” Tam said.

“Some public health measures will need to remain in place to prevent the sparking and growth of further epidemic waves.”

Canadians will need to get used to “living with the virus” for a while to come. Tam said it was a “delicate balance” to keep COVID-19 under control in Canada while not leading to an uptick in mental health issues and domestic violence.

Currently, Tam said 95 per cent of deaths are in people 60 or older, while 79 per cent of deaths are linked to longterm care or seniors’ homes. The mortality rate, calculated using known COVID-19 cases and deaths, has risen from 2.2 per cent as of April to 5.5 per cent as of Monday (April 27.)

The data is affected, Tam said, by outbreaks among vulnerable population, who have a higher risk of dying due to the virus, even as Canada begins to flatten the curve.

Tam said 74 per cent of hospitalized cases have at least one pre-existing condition.

Men make up 45 per cent of cases but are more likely to be hospitalized than women. Six per cent of male cases versus three per cent of female cases end up in the ICU.

Tam said Quebec and Ontario make up 80 per cent of Canada’s cases and, along with Alberta, are driving the national epidemic growth. Alberta and B.C. have 14 per cent of the nation’s cases.

In B.C., correctional facilities and worker housing are leading to a growth in cases.

How Canada’s pandemic could evolve

However, that growth is slowing. Earlier this month, Canada was doubling its cases every three days and now the case count doubles every 16 days.

Some predictions from health officials have not changed since the first set of scenarios was released in early April. Longterm modelling shows, both then and now, that stronger epidemic controls – physical distancing, isolation and contact tracing – could keep the infection rate at five per cent or under and deaths at under 22,000.

If 10 per cent of the population is infected in the worst “stronger epidemic controls” model, then deaths are expected to double to 44,000.

If controls are weakened, between 25 and 50 per cent of Canada’s 37.6 million population could be infected and between 111,000 and 222,000 people could die. No controls could lead to 70 to 80 per cent of the population being infected with between 311,000 and 355,000 deaths.

READ MORE: Trudeau says COVID-19 curve is beginning to flatten; more PPE on the way for provinces

READ MORE: Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read