Between 30 per cent and 70 per cent of Canadians could become infected with the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday, but that number will depend on the scope and scale of the response to combat transmission.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a “national emergency and crisis,” Ms. Hajdu told the House of Commons health committee, but public health officials say they won’t prohibit mass gatherings until the virus spreads more widely.
“There are a range of estimates, but I would say that it is safe to assume that it could be between 30 per cent of the population that acquire COVID-19 and 70 per cent of the population,” she said.
While most will recover, she said Canadians must work together to protect seniors, people with underlying conditions and other vulnerable groups. Calls for limits on public gatherings intensified Wednesday amid news a Sudbury man who attended a major Toronto conference held by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada tested positive for COVID-19.
Unlike every other case identified in Ontario to this point, officials don’t know how or when the man became infected, but believe it was at the conference, meaning someone there was likely spreading the virus.
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