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COVID-19 cases in Ontario could hit 12K per day if U.K. variant spreads: modelling

Last Updated Jan 12, 2021 at 1:51 pm EST

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is located at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto on March 17, 2020. GETTY IMAGES/The Toronto Star/Steve Russell

Daily COVID-19 deaths could double from 50 to 100 between now and the end of February. The new U.K. variant of the virus could see cases spike to 12,000 a day. Over 2,600 more long-term care residents could die by mid-February, and the health care system could be totally overwhelmed.

That’s what Doug Ford meant when he said the new modelling numbers would cause you to “fall off your chair.”

Those grim COVID-19 projections were released by the province on Tuesday, ahead of more restrictions that were announced by Ford later Tuesday.


RELATED: Retailers face restricted hours under new COVID-19 measures: sources


The latest modelling numbers show the frightening potential of the virus, especially the new U.K. variant which has now surfaced in Ontario and could result in a surge of infections.

Fourteen cases of the new U.K. variant have been confirmed in Ontario with eight new cases on Tuesday, but that could be the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Ford said he’s been told by health officials that “it’s not a matter of if the new U.K. strain takes hold, but when, and how wide it spreads.”

If the new variant spreads in the community, the modelling shows it could cause cases to double every 10 days, potentially reaching a staggering 12,000 new cases a day between late January and March.

If only the current virus spreads, modelling shows cases would top out around 6,000 per day.

Either way, the modelling projects serious trouble for the health care system.

“One quarter of hospitals have no ICU beds free, another quarter have only 1 or 2 beds free,” the report stated.

“Without significant reductions in contacts, the health system will be overwhelmed and mortality will exceed the first wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect.”

A rattled Ford reflected on those statements while announcing further restrictions to retail businesses on Tuesday.

“The system is on the brink of collapse,” he said.

Evidence on COVID 19 Pandemic by CityNewsToronto on Scribd