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Canada at a Tipping Point in Fight Against Coronavirus, Says Frustrated Prime Minister Trudeau | World News

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is at a tipping point in the fight against a second wave of the novel coronavirus and health care workers are increasingly swamped, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in some of his most gloomy comments on Friday.

He spoke after health officials said authorities needed to do more now to fight the pandemic since forecasts suggest the number of new infections will continue to accelerate.

Trudeau said the second wave was “really frustrating”. He and other officials are urging people not to gather in large groups next Monday on Canadian Thanksgiving, a major holiday.

“We are at a tipping point in this pandemic. Not only is the second wave under way, (but) yesterday we hit the highest daily record for cases, well above what we saw this spring,” he told a news conference.

“I know this is discouraging … the increase in new cases is putting an enormous pressure on hospitals and health care workers, who are more and more swamped.”

Health officials project the cumulative death toll could reach between 9,690 and 9,800 by Oct. 17, up from 9,557 now. Total cases could total 188,150 to 197,830 by the same date, compared to 175,559 today.

Almost 80% of cases have been recorded in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces.

Ontario will close indoor gyms and cinemas and ban restaurants from serving food indoors. The 28-day measures, which apply to the major regions of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, start on Saturday.

Ontario could experience “worst-case scenarios seen in northern Italy and New York City” if trends continue, the provincial government said.

Trudeau’s federal government, which has already announced more than C$210 billion ($160 billion) in aid for people and businesses hit by the virus, said on Friday it would launch an improved program for enterprises having trouble pay rents.

(Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, Moira Warburton in Toronto and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Trudeau says ‘we’re at a tipping point’ amid latest modelling data, new government benefits

Canada’s top health officials provided an update on the nation’s latest modelling data, which projects how COVID-19 will continue to spread throughout the country. 

Canada could see up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November if we maintain our current levels of contacts, according to just-released modelling data.

“We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, noting the country reported its most-ever daily cases on Thursday with 2,437 new infections.

Canada could see up to 5,000 new cases a day by late October if we don’t limit contacts

The latest modelling data by Public Health Agency of Canada shows that by Oct. 17, there could be 188,150-197,830 cases in the country, while the death toll is expected to increase to 9,690-9,800.

On Thursday — after Canada recorded its most-ever cases in a day with 2,437 — there were 175,559 total diagnoses and 9,557 deaths. Federal data projects that the country will see at least 133 additional fatalities and 12,591 more cases by Oct. 17.

“The acceleration of epidemic growth is concerning,” Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said. “The actions of individual Canadians are needed now to reverse this trend.”

Modelling data also shows that Canada may see up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November if we maintain our current levels of contacts. If Canadians decrease them by 25-35 per cent, we could see fewer than 3,000 cases a day by November, according to the data.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Tam said that the individual actions of people in some areas of the country have not been enough to decrease transmission. Therefore, such as in areas like Quebec and Ontario, additional measures have been in place, including strategic business closures in “order to put the brakes on the epidemic.”

Tam said that by acting fast and imposing restrictions, we have the best chance of limiting the spread and avoiding the public health system being overburdened.

“We are at an important juncture in the pandemic where we would very much like to see the voluntary actions of Canadians across the country be sufficient to bend the curve downward,” Tam added.

Tam, along with Trudeau and several other ministers, stressed the importance of limiting contacts this Thanksgiving weekend.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Along with the recent projections, the data showed how that across Canada trends vary, with the highest increase in cases occurring in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. In contrast, there hasn’t been a significant resurgence in cases in the Atlantic bubble, which consists of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. There also hasn’t been any community transmission in the territories.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Canada’s time-varying effective reproduction number (Rt), represents how many people are being infected by each new case. When it’s less than 1, it means that the “epidemic will die out.” However, Canada’s RT has been greater than

Trudeau prepares for possible ‘disruptions’ after U.S. election outcome; Edmonton faces new voluntary restrictions

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada needs to be ready for “all outcomes” of the U.S. presidential election, such as if there are any “disruptions” following the result.

Trudeau shared his thoughts on the controversy in the U.S., after announcing a $295 million investment from the federal government into a Ford Motor Co. assembly complex in Ontario. The investment, which was matched by Premier Doug Ford’s provincial government, will make it a global hub for battery electric vehicle production.

In Alberta, a record-high spike of 364 new daily cases was announced. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that a worrisome trend may have developed in its epicentre of Edmonton — where new voluntary restrictions have been introduced — because some people will only follow public health recommendations if they’ve been “personally impacted” by COVID-19.

In Prince Edward Island, the province’s top doctor raised concern about the current “Atlantic bubble,” after an outbreak was reported in New Brunswick, where there are now more active cases than the rest of the Atlantic provinces combined. In New Brunswick, officials announced new mandatory mask restrictions on Thursday, while they also suspended non-essential travel between itself and a Quebec border community.

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Trudeau’s focus on Canada’s COVID-19 response, not U.S. election debates

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked repeatedly to share his thoughts regarding the U.S. presidential election, especially on Canada’s response if Donald Trump doesn’t accept Nov. 3’s results.

It’s a rumour that has gained traction with Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence not providing clear answers as to how they would respond to potential defeat in the 2020 election, such as if there will be a peaceful transfer of power.

The prime minister on Thursday said that he’s watched “clips” from both the U.S. presidential and vice-presidential debates, but “my focus right now needs to be on keeping Canadians safe and working with premiers across this country to engage in everything we need to do to control this second wave.”

“Of course what happens in the United States is going to be impacting Canada after the election. But our job is to be ready for all outcomes.”

Trudeau was then pressured to elaborate on what “all outcomes” could mean. 

“Well I think we’re certainly all hoping for a smooth transition or a clear result from the election, like many people are around the world,” said Trudeau. “If it is less clear, there may be some disruptions and we need to be ready for any outcomes, and I think that’s what Canadians would expect of their government, and we’re certainly reflecting on that.”

The prime minister said that he doesn’t comment or weigh in on American political processes.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the upcoming U.S. election due to the significant amount of Americans who will be