Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: 'The top of the curve may be in late spring' (Full transcript)

In the PM's April 9 briefing, he addressed the federal government's latest COVID-19 projections, stating the initial peak may be in late spring, with the first wave ending in summer

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa. Here are his remarks for April 9, 2020.

Bonjour tout le monde.

I want to start off today by talking about the job report we just received for March. As stark as those numbers are, they aren’t a surprise for a lot of Canadians. Each one represents a different story. A worker who has been laid off, a family that’s having to hunker down, a community that’s anxious about today and tomorrow. We’ve all seen the impact of COVID-19. We all knew this was going to be a tough time and countries around the world are in a similar situation.

But that’s no comfort if you’re out of a job, if you’re having difficulty making ends meet. You need real support. So we’re doing our best to help you bridge to better times. On Monday, we launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. More than four and a half million claims have been processed, which means people are already receiving their $2,000 for this month. We’re also working on legislation to bring in a wage subsidy to help employers keep people on the payroll while working on new loans for business owners. We will keep expanding our three-point economic plan to protect jobs, support business owners and get everyone the help they need. Things will get better, and once they do, you can be sure that our country will come roaring back.

As a country, we’ve gotten through tough times before. We’ve stood together, united and strong. On Vimy Ridge, more than a 100 years ago today, thousands of Canadians gave their lives so that our country would know peace.

[translated from French] Today we remember those who fell at Vimy more than 100 years ago today. We remember the sacrifices that they made for our country. They fought to defend values that are dear to us, such as equality and peace. For values that still define our country. [end of translation]

Historians have noted, reflecting on Vimy, it was a moment ordinary people did extraordinary things. Fathers and sons, brothers and friends, their sacrifice and courage defined what it is and what it meant to be Canadian. And their legacy lives on in the women and men who continue to step up and serve us in uniform. In our nurses and doctors who put themselves in harm’s way for us all to stay healthy. And in everyone who steps up and asks what they can do for their fellow Canadians. That’s what makes Canada strong, and that will be our path forward no matter what tomorrow may bring.

Right now, the future can seem even more uncertain than normal. If you’ve lost your job, if you’re worried about an elderly parent, you probably want to know what to expect. Earlier today, we released our modelling on how we think this pandemic might unfold. The modelling shows that COVID-19 arrived in Canada later than in other countries, so we’re in an earlier stage of the outbreak. That means we have the chance to determine what our country looks like in the weeks and months to come.

Our health-care systems across the country are coping for the time being, but we’re at a fork in the road between the best and the worst possible outcomes. The best possible outcome is no easy path for any of us.

The initial peak, the top of the curve, may be in late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer. As Dr. Tam explained, there will likely be smaller outbreaks for a number of months after that. This will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed. But as we saw, that is so much better than we could face, all of us, if we do not rise to the challenge of this generation. The path we take is up to us. It depends on what each of us does right now. It will take months of continued, determined effort. We’ll need to keep practicing physical distancing, staying home and washing our hands. It will help. It will help get the numbers that Dr. Tam was talking about, between 4,000 and 44,000 deaths as low as possible.

[translated from French] I know that Dr. Tam and the entire team at the public health agency have worked very hard to prepare those projections and to ensure us that all the information is up-to-date. We are in constant communication with the provinces and territories to get their latest data. Earlier today, we released our projections. The models show that COVID-19 arrived in Canada later than in other countries. Therefore we are still in the early stages of this epidemic. That means that our actions are even more important in terms of determining what our country will look like in the weeks and the months to come. For the time being, our health-care system is holding strong, but we are at a crossroads. The path that will take us to a better result will not be easy. We could reach the peak at the end of the spring, and the first wave could end in the summer.

But as Dr. Tam explained, we will probably see other outbreaks, smaller outbreaks, for a certain number of months. It is and will be our new reality until we find a vaccine. But as we saw this morning, it’s a better scenario than what could happen if we refuse to act. The path we take will depend entirely on us. We will have to be disciplined in the next few months. We will have to continue to stay home and continue to wash our hands. That’s how we can avoid the thousands of deaths and reduce the number of cases. [End of translation]

I know it is tough to stay home—especially as the weather gets nicer. If you have kids, it’s even tougher. But to get them back outside and running around the playground and park as soon as possible, you need to keep them inside for a little longer. This will work. And we’ll be with you, every step of the way. Just this week, we received millions more masks to keep our front line workers safe. And we have contracts to get more ventilators. We’re helping industry mobilize. Like the entrepreneur from Vars, Ont., who’s creating reusable visors for hospitals across the province. And we’ve continued to support Canadian researchers working on a vaccine. We’re pulling out all the stops to beat this virus and help you get through this time.

[translated from French] We must all do our part: governments, businesses and citizens. So, continue to stay home. Continue to do your groceries once a week only, or even less often than that.

If you must go out, do keep a two metre distance between you and other people. That is how we can protect vulnerable people. That is how we can protect our seniors. That is how we will save lives. And that is how we can help our nurses and physicians who are doing extraordinary work every day.

I know it’s not easy but it won’t last forever. At some point we will be able to go back and watch a film or go to parks. But for now everyone must do their part. Now and for the coming weeks. [end of translation]

A hundred years ago today, Canadians showed what mettle we are made of. I know each of us will rise to be worthy of the legacy of the heroes that built this country. We can do this, together.

Merci tout le monde.

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