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Canada is expected to see a "sharp peak and decline in cases" in the coming weeks but even the downside of that curve will be "considerable," new modelling data shows.
"I think that next week is actually quite important," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer said on Friday. "I think a number of provinces, the biggest ones...are seeing some stabilization, at a very high level but some stabilization in the daily case rates."
"I think this is the early signal that we could be approaching that peak."
Looking at the long-range forecasting, estimates the "true number of daily cases" in Canada, opposed to the reported daily cases due to the limitation in the testing capacity across the country.
"These numbers are much higher than can be detected and far exceed the number of cases reported in the surveillance data," Dr. Tam said.
"All I'm saying is that there is a grey zone, of a zone of uncertainty, that you're seeing in either the projections but also in the actual case trends."
She added that while not every individual will know whether they have the Omicron variant of COVID-19, following changes in testing, "if you had your symptoms somewhere after Dec. 20, or thereabouts, you probably got Omicron."
With the recent implementation of restriction public health measures in Canada, it has been estimated that cases will be at about 170,000 a day. Without these new restriction, the modelling shows that cases could have hit 300,000 a day.
Even without the underestimation in cases, national case count is still over 37,500, exceeding the peaks of previous waves of COVID-19 in Canada.
"That Omicron is the most contagious variant observed to date is evident from these curves, showing the sudden increase in the proportion of cases due to Omicron," Dr. Tam said. "The incidence of reported cases is higher across all age groups than at any time previously during the pandemic."
"As opposed to previous weeks when rates were highest among 5 to 11 year olds who were just becoming eligible for vaccination, incidence rates are currently highest among adults aged 20-39 years."
Hospitalization data shows that the rate is increasing across all age groups, but it is higher among adults 60 and older, and even great for Canadians 80 and older.