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How Canada’s first long-term coronavirus pandemic projections hold up today

How Canada’s first long-term coronavirus pandemic projections hold up today
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In early April, Canada’s public health agency first released estimates of how widely the novel coronavirus might spread in the country and how many people might die as a result.

Those projections, released on April 9, predicted that COVID-19 could take over the course of the pandemic, if strong public health controls were implemented. The agency also offered worse estimates for scenarios involving weaker epidemic controls, or none at all.

Nearly four months later, the deaths of about 9,000 people have been linked to the virus in Canada — but , according to the World Health Organization.

How did those initial forecasts influence Canadians’ behaviour — if at all — and how do they hold up today? Here’s what experts have to say.

The April 9 estimates showed that weak to no controls during the pandemic could see anywhere from 25 per cent to 80 per cent of the population infected and between 100,000 and 350,000 deaths — a startling difference from the approximately 500 deaths reported at that time.

“I think [the projections] did scare people, at least helped people understand the extent of what we were talking about,” said Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist and mathematical modeler at the University of Toronto.
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