Canada was nearing the 10,000 COVID-19 death total Friday, as the pandemic set a new record of 939 new cases in Ontario, Canada’s most populated province.
The situation is critical, with health officials warning that the Thanksgiving long weekend, running Friday night through Monday, could ignite a conflagration of new cases.
The situation is serious enough that Quebec, with 1,102 new cases as of Friday, will set up police checkpoints on the weekend to ensure Quebecers do not travel between regions of the province for traditional Thanksgiving celebrations with family.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference Friday that Canada is projected to experience up to 197,830 cases and as many as 9,800 deaths by Oct. 17. As of Friday, the number of cases was 179,419 with 9,630 deaths, reported Johns Hopkins University.
“We are at a tipping point in this pandemic,” Trudeau said. “Not only is this the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest number of recorded cases [2,435], well above what we saw this spring.”
But besides the dire warning, the prime minister sounded an optimistic note.
“We flattened the curve before, we can do it again,” he said.
The resurgence prompted new Green Party leader Annamie Paul to ask Trudeau to postpone an election in Toronto to fill two vacant federal government member of parliament positions. The election was set for Oct. 26 but Paul said that would force people to choose between voting or staying safe from possible exposure to the virus.
“I just don’t see how we have the conditions for a free and fair election and – more important than anything else – a safe election that isn’t going to put people at risk,” she said, Friday. The prime minister’s office has not yet responded to the request.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was slated to convene an emergency session of Cabinet Friday afternoon to discuss steps to combat the resurgence of the virus.
Most cases have surfaced in the heavily populated city of Toronto as well as Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.
The Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, first celebrated in 1578, is a traditional time for families to come together.
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