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Trudeau, Tam warn that COVID-19 crisis could determine Canada’s future

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store, Sunday, August 9, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s future hangs in the balance if people don’t reduce their contacts to rein in the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau addressed reporters outside his home at Rideau Cottage — the site of his daily briefings during the first wave of the pandemic last spring — following the release of grim new forecasts suggesting that Canada is on track to see COVID-19 cases climb by 60,000 per day if socialization increases.

“I don’t want to be here this morning. You don’t want me to be here this morning. But here we are again. The cases across the country are spiking massively,” Trudeau said Friday.

“We are facing winter that is going to drive people inside, more and more, and we are really at risk of cases going up, hospitals overwhelmed, and more loved ones dying.”

He says Canadians must do everything in their power to reverse this trajectory by staying home and reducing their contacts with others.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says there’s “urgency” to bring COVID-19 infections down as new forecasts from officials show case counts have surpassed levels seen in the first wave.

“The graph shows the predicted number of deaths could be in the range 11,870 to 12,120 by Nov. 30,” Tam said about the modelling.

RELATED: ‘COVID fatigue’ wasn’t planned for in pandemic modelling, one of Canada’s top doctors says

The prime minister acknowledged the growing fatigue Canadians face as the pandemic drags on, but says actions now could determine the country’s fate for generations to come.

He also recognized the financial toll closures could take, and says his government his committed to helping businesses weather the storm.

But Trudeau says that lockdown measures are a better way to ensure long-term economic success than letting the spread of the virus continue unchecked.

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