“I do not want to be here this morning. You don’t want me here this morning, ‘he began. “But here we are again. Cases across the country are on the rise. We are facing a winter that will increasingly drive people inside. And we are really at risk of seeing that the workload is increasing and the hospitals are overloaded and the loved ones are dying. “
Ascending numbers: Canada’s six most populous provinces have seen dramatic jumps in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. Currently, the country is averaging nearly 5,000 new cases a day, much more than at any time during the first wave, with no signs that the curve is leveling off. Nunavut, an isolated territory in the far north of the country that did not register a single Covid-1
On Friday, Canada’s chief public health official outlined a new model that paints a grim picture for the coming weeks and warned that the country was “not on a good trajectory.” If people maintain their current number of contacts, said Dr. Teresa Tam, Canada can register 20,000 cases daily by the end of December. If contacts increase, this could rise to 60,000 new cases every day.
Individual provinces have begun to impose stricter restrictions in recent weeks. In Manitoba, the province with the highest rate of infection per capita, new rules coming into force on Friday prevent people from having visitors in their homes and ban businesses from selling non-essential items. Other provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, are more reluctant to impose new rules that would cause more pain to already difficult businesses. On Friday, however, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford announced that Toronto and several surrounding cities would be blocked on Monday.
No national lock: The provinces have jurisdiction over public health decisions in Canada. But the mixing of rules in the provinces and regions has caused confusion, prompting calls from some neighborhoods for Trudeau to use emergency powers to impose a national, coordinated response to the second wave. However, Trudeau remains adamant that he does not want to interfere in provincial decision-making. On Friday, he said using the federal emergency law to restrict travel between provinces “is not an idea I’m even considering right now.”
He also flatly rejected the idea of another nationwide blockade, like last spring, in which schools and businesses were closed across the country. Given that the situation is not the same in all regions, he said, targeted restrictions are a more effective approach. “It was a little easier in the spring,” he said of the suspension of work across the country. “And that managed to bend that curve. But millions of Canadians suffered, and that was a blunt tool. “
At the same time, he called on prime ministers and mayors to impose restrictions in areas where the virus is growing, and said the federal government would support businesses that are forced to close their doors temporarily. “Going into blocking and supporting businesses while we’re in this lock is a better way to ensure their success in a few months, in a few years, than trying to spread a virus that works without scrutiny,” he said.
On Thursday, the federal government passed new legislation that will extend wage and rent subsidies for businesses until next summer. Canada and the United States also confirmed this week that the border will remain closed until at least December 21.
“A long winter is coming.” Trudeau urged people not to leave their homes unless necessary, not to throw parties and to avoid seeing friends in person. “This is the future of our country, this is the future of our children, this is the future of our loved ones and our adults.”
Becoming visibly emotional, he asked people to think about exhausted health workers in hospitals who are now at risk of being overwhelmed. “They are tired. They were heroes. “They have surpassed anything they could think of signing,” he said.
He acknowledged that the latest news about two vaccine candidates, which may soon be ready for use, is a cause for hope, but warned not to become complacent. “We have a long winter ahead of us,” he said. “It will be difficult, but we know what we need to do.”
Still, Trudeau and senior Canadian government officials have not yet asked people not to hold any holiday gatherings, although Trudeau said Friday that “normal Christmas is frankly out of the question.” On Thursday, Quebec Prime Minister Francois Lego outlined his province’s plan for Christmas, which will allow people to gather in groups until December 10-27, as long as they isolate themselves for a week before and after.
Asked about his reaction, Trudeau said Legault copes with the reality that people will meet during the holidays, regardless of the rules. “I think we have to admit that there are still many weeks until Christmas and it is right to give people hope that there may be ways to get together at Christmas,” he said, but added that what is allowed during the holidays , “A lot depends on what we are doing at the moment. “
Trudeau and Tam shared new Covid-19 forecasts with federal opposition leaders on Thursday. In response, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole issued a statement saying Canada was “in a worse position than we were at the start of the pandemic.” He called on Trudeau to make rapid testing widely available and to provide better information on distribution sources in the community.