THE Ontario government on Friday released extensive COVID-19 modelling, revealing several scenarios that project the potential number of cases and deaths.
In doing so, the province said it is providing the public with full transparency about the consequences should everyone but non-essential workers fail to stay home and practise physical distancing.
“The models show that the potential to spread COVID-19 is massive and deadly if we don’t act swiftly to stay home and practise physical distancing,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We owe it to our frontline and essential workers, to our family, friends and neighbours to restrict our travel, and act responsibly. This is the only way we are going to minimize the risk to people, stop the spread and reduce the number of fatalities.”
Key highlights from the modelling include:
- While COVID-19 impacts Ontarians of all ages, those over the age of 60 face higher risk of severe disease leading to higher mortality rates. The data demonstrates the need to focus public health measures on protecting seniors.
- Had Ontario taken no action, the impact of COVID-19 would have risen to an estimated 300,000 cases and an estimated death toll of 6,000 people.
- Due to timely public health measures, Ontario has avoided much more dire impacts, preventing an estimated 220,000 cases and 4,400 deaths to date.
- Over the course of the pandemic, between 3,000 and 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19 are predicted with current public health measures in place, compared to a total projected 100,000 deaths if no action were taken.
- By taking further measures, Ontario can further reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 down to projections as low as 12,500 additional cases and 200 additional deaths by the end of April.
On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19. Most recently, the province banned organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people and closed all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds. At the same time, the province’s COVID-19 Command Table has been implementing extensive measures to build health-system capacity to prepare for increased hospitalizations.
“Ontario is entering a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The numbers released today are sobering. While they reveal a disastrous path, they also serve as a call to arms for greater action. We have for months now been preparing for this very moment, but to avoid the worst-case scenario we are relying on every Ontarian to stay home to stop the spread of this virus. Lives depend on the public heeding this advice.”
“We feel is it important to be transparent with the public about the challenges we are facing, and the important work we all need to do to flatten the curve,” said Dr. Peter Donnelly, President and CEO of Public Health Ontario. “How this outbreak unfolds is in the hands of the public, in all of your hands. We can change the outcomes by how we all stay at home and physically distance ourselves.”
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self-assessment.