OTTAWA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Canadians will decide whether there is a second wave of COVID-19 as the country is at a crossroads in its fight against the pandemic, according to the projections by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on Tuesday.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating in the country, the PHAC warned that if Canadians don't step up preventative measures, the coronavirus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one.
As of Tuesday noon, there were 146,410 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 9,232 deaths, according to CTV.
"Canada is at a crossroads and individual action to reduce contact rates will decide our path," said the projections document.
The projections show that the COVID-19 cases could jump to 155,795, including 9,300 deaths by Oct. 3.
"With minimal controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak because most Canadians don't have immunity to the virus," Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam at a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday noon.
If the current rate of infection is maintained, the pandemic is expected to resurge, but if that rate increases, it is expected to resurge faster and stronger, Tam said. "This surge could overwhelm our health system capacity and significantly impact social and economic systems as well."
She added that there has been a significant demographic shift in the caseload since June: instead of the virus disproportionately affecting elderly Canadians, most infections are now being reported in Canadians aged 20 to 39.
The Canadian government has reached a new deal with French multinational pharmaceutical firm Sanofi to obtain 72 million doses of its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine.
Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday that Canada is in line to secure up to 150,000 vials of Gilead Sciences and McKesson Canada's antiviral drug remdesivir, to treat the virus.
To date, Canada has allocated one billion Canadian dollars (about 760 million U.S. dollars) to vaccine procurement, which translates to a minimum of 154 million doses of a future vaccine. Deals have reportedly been signed with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax.
Ontario province has been seeing an upward trend in the case of counts over the past few weeks. The province recorded 478 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which is the highest single-day increase since May 2 when 511 infections were reported.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a press conference Tuesday that a more challenging and more complicated second wave of COVID-19 is on its way.
"With the number of cases on the rise, it's clear that the next wave will come at us harder than the last one. It will be more challenging than before because the flu season is starting soon and people are heading indoors again," Ford said at the press conference.
With 586 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Quebec province has issued a stern warning that the province is at the start of the second wave of COVID-19.