COVID-19 modelling shows daily deaths could double by mid-February

Ontario’s top doctors are predicting the daily death toll in Ontario could double by mid-February if current COVID-19 case rates continue.

The latest modelling by the Ontario science advisory table predicts the daily mortality rate due to COVID-19 will double from around 50 deaths a day to around 100. This would far surpass the deaths seen in the first wave of the pandemic.

That model assumes case rates continue to climb between three to five per cent a day, which is the current rate. On the worst days, cases in Ontario rose by about seven per cent. That could mean the province could see 10,000 to 20,000 cases a day by mid-February if the current growth rates continue.

The new variant of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 (B117), could cause an increase in growth as current statistics show it is 56 per cent more transmittable than other variants currently in the community. While there has been no evidence shown that the new variant is not more severe, more cases will put more pressure on the health care system as a whole.

More than half of the intensive care units in the province are full or close to full. There are currently over 400 patients with COVID-19 in ICU beds throughout the province. If growth continues at 3 to 5 per cent that number could equal over 1,000 patients by mid-February.

Public Health Expert Dr. Adalsteinn Brown told reporters these types of numbers will force hospitals and doctors to have to make tough decisions about the type of care each patient will receive.

“These are choices that no doctor ever wants to make, and no family ever wants to hear,” Brown said. “There will be choices about who will get the care they need and who will not.”

The choices will not only affect COVID-19 patients but will have an impact on access to care throughout the system. Many surgeries have already been cancelled or delayed because of hospital capacity concerns.

On Tuesday morning, Ontario reported 2,903 new cases of COVID-19, including eight cases of the new variant. There were 41 deaths reported.

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