Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will soon be able to give Canadians a better sense of the impact COVID-19 is going to have on this country, but he isn’t able to do it yet.
As countries like New Zealand and the United States project the numbers of people in their countries who might die from COVID-19, Canada has yet to release any modelling data.
Trudeau says he knows Canadians want to be able to plan and see what is working and what is not and promises that information will be ready soon.
Trudeau says he is chairing a first ministers meeting with premiers tonight in an effort to coordinate the national response to COVID-19.
That includes sharing data across jurisdictions that will give Canadians a better sense of the toll the virus is expected to take and how long the lockdown measures may last.
Trudeau says there is a range of scenarios, but just sharing them without a better analysis of the data now becoming available to public health experts will not do much good.
During his daily national address on Thursday, Trudeau also suggested that the biggest factor in the modelling data is Canadians themselves.
“The biggest variable in shaping these projections is you and your behaviour,” Trudeau said at a press conference outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. “You must listen to the world-class doctors who are already sharing the best available information and advice. Ignoring them puts lives at risk. It’s up to you to do the right thing.”
Despite the majority of Canadians listening to authorities, Trudeau feels that enough people are still not listening.
“While many of are staying home and limiting trips to the grocery store, too many still aren’t,” said Trudeau. “What the experts are telling us is that we must do everything we can today and tomorrow to set us on the right path for next week and next month.”
Trudeau suggested that staying home helps, first and foremost, Canada’s healthcare workers.
“If every single one of us steps up right now, we can help them. If you listen to doctors, if you stay home, if you stay away from other people, we won’t overwhelm our hospitals,” Trudeau outlined. “We will protect our doctors and nurses, we will protect our friends and neighbours.”
During his address, Trudeau also added that over 11 million masks had arrived in Canada over the last few days and will be distributed to communities that need them most.
He said the masks are being inspected first before being sent out around the country. The prime minister also praised Canadian companies that are stepping up and repurposing production to critical medical supplies.
Trudeau claimed that the federal government has ordered “hundreds of thousands of face shields” from Bauer Hockey, who is using their manufacturing resources to produce medical supplies.