Canada expects corona virus deaths to increase; Job losses amounted to 1 million

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By David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s coronavirus deaths are expected to increase from 435 to 22,000 at the end of the pandemic, health officials said Thursday, while the economy lost a record 1 million jobs last month.

Officials outlined the two most likely scenarios and showed that between 11,000 and 22,000 people would die. The total number of positive diagnoses of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, ranged from 934,000 to 1.9 million.

The officials said they expected between 500 and 700 people in Canada to die from the coronavirus by April 16. So far there have been 18,447 positive diagnoses.

“Models are not a crystal ball,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a briefing, saying it was too early to predict when the climax would be.

Tam said it was crucial that people continue to follow the instructions to stay at home as much as possible.

“While some of the numbers released today may seem strong, Canada’s modeling shows that the country still has the ability to control the epidemic,” she said.

“We cannot prevent every death, but we must prevent all deaths that we can.”

Local governments across Canada have mandated that non-essential companies be shut down to combat the spread of the corona virus and unemploy millions of people.

Canada lost a record 1 million jobs in March while the unemployment rate rose to 7.8%, Statistics Canada said Thursday, adding that the numbers do not reflect the real toll.

“Sticker shock sure. It was as bad as it could be,” said Derek Holt, vice president of capital markets economics at Scotiabank.

More than 5 million Canadians have applied for all forms of state unemployment assistance since March 15, government data on Thursday showed, indicating that the actual unemployment rate is closer to 25%.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government has announced a number of measures to help companies make direct expenditures of around $ 110 billion ($ 78.3 billion), or 5% of gross domestic product.

Canada’s independent parliamentary budget official forecast that the budget deficit would increase from $ 27.4 billion in fiscal year 2020-2021 to $ 184.2 billion in fiscal year 2019-2020.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Paul Simao)

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