Apr 13, 2020

By Jane Brown

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Early signs show parts of Canada may be starting to flatten the curve, as the feared surge of COVID-19 patients overwhelming hospitals has so far failed to materialize.

But public health experts caution against relaxing physical distancing too soon.

“I think the fact we’ve been able to avert disaster at this point emphasizes the fact we need to maintain the policy of physical distancing,” said Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital (formerly East General Hospital). “In terms of a survival mechanism, we need to keep doing this.”

Early April was always seen as a pivotal moment in Canada’s battle against COVID-19.

Midway through the month, evidence from several provinces shows physical distancing policies combined with increased COVID-19 testing and expanded hospital capacity are keeping the spread from getting out of control.

And in the U.S., the top infectious disease expert says the curve of COVID-19 is showing signs of flattening.

(Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

“When you look at the admissions and the hospitalizations, intensive care and the need to intubate, these are not just starting to flatten, they’re starting to turn the corner,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, “so we’re hopeful and it’s cautious optimism that we are seeing that decrease and if you look at the patterns of the curves in other countries, once you turn that corner, hopefully you’ll see a very sharp decline.”

But Doctor Anthony Fauci says calls to implement life saving social distancing measures faced a lot of push back early in the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

As a result, he says the country is now looking for ways to more effectively respond to the virus should it rebound in the fall.

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