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Covid 19 Update 5, April 11

On April 9 the Canadian government released a report predicting 500 – 700 new deaths and 32000 total cases by the end of the week. These numbers are entirely consistent with the trends we have been considering. The weekly projections are realistic as they are based on national data.

This is not the case for long term projections as the actual outcome will depend on past, present and future actions to reduce the threat. The federal government also released the range of 11000 – 22000 possible deaths in the course of the pandemic, corresponding to mortality rates between 292.5 and 585/1M. Based on the numbers we have been following, the actual outcome will be significantly below that range.

The current mortality rates for the two most afflicted countries Spain and Italy are 330 and 302 respectively. As the worst is over, these are increasing more slowly every day – by 14 and 12 yesterday. Germany’s rate is 33 up by 2 from the day before. South Korea’s is 4 and hardly growing. It is hard to imagine the Canadian rate reaching nearly 300.

Let us look at our international comparison.

For Iran, Spain, Italy and Germany the new daily infection rates are in the single digits and dropping slowly, with France somewhat behind. For the UK, the US and Brazil the numbers will get worse.

So far, the data continue to confirm Canada’s excellent performance. The new infection rate is dropping. We will see how our downward curve compares to other countries March 19 was the first day for which I reported data. As you can see in the table below, it was the beginning of a decisive week for Covid 19 in the US and Canada.

For both countries the week brought high new infection rates, with Canada’s peaking at 29.70%. It was far worse for the US with very high rates causing a tsunami of new cases and deaths in the future. The data demonstrate the benefits, present and future, of Canada’s comparatively effective response to the crisis. At the same time, there were several serious problems as well.

On March 10 briefing notes to the Canadian Minister of Health claimed that “the risk of the spread of this virus in Canada is low” and that “the public health system is well equipped to contain cases coming from abroad limiting the spread in Canada”. What nonsense! As a result, the government chose not to screen passengers arriving from China at the time causing more infections and deaths.

About a half of all deaths in Canada occurred among nursing home patients, mostly housed several per room, and staff. It is unconscionable that no plan existed for such n eventuality. An inquest must be conducted to ensure that it would not happen again and that private nursing home operators would be held accountable for negligence, if any, in failing to protect their highly vulnerable residents and the staff who care for them.

When the pandemic struck, Premier Ford was in the process of eviscerating the department of public health as part of his assault on human services in Ontario.

Congratulations to the only jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the very few in the world free of Covid 19 – Nunavut will have none of it !

Table 4 compares the outcomes in Canada’s 4 largest provinces.

AP, Toronto, April 11, 2:00

Andrew Pakula is a long time peace activist and has been a member of Science for Peace from the very beginning. He is a retired social research and management consultant with a background in social psychology.


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