As COVID-19 continues to spread, people are more worried than ever about catching it. Cases of coronavirus in Canada have been rising, and new research shows how far the virus could reach. If not handled properly, the majority of Canadians could contract it.

According to a disease-transmission model created by epidemiologist Dr. David Fisman from the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School Of Public Health, without any measures to control the spread of coronavirus, anywhere between 35-70% of Canadians could become sick.

However, speaking with the Ottawa Citizen, Fisman said that the number could be reduced by half with "modest controls."

"That’s still a huge number of people ill, and critically ill people are a large fraction in this disease," Fisman said, adding that he wouldn't get into more specific numbers as it might stoke fear in the public.

Speaking with U of T news, he said that these types of models and numbers can actually be used to alleviate public worry about an epidemic.

"A big driver of fear during epidemics is uncertainty, and a feeling of lack of control. We can use models to dampen fear in a few ways: we can identify actions communities can take to protect themselves and we can demonstrate that epidemic curves are being bent downwards by interventions."

Canada's first death attributed to COVID-19 occurred in British Columbia. A man in his 80s living in a care home succumbed to the virus on March 8. 

The official number of cases across the country now stands at 77, with the majority of cases still in Ontario and British Columbia (34 and 32, respectively). Seven cases have also been confirmed in Alberta, with four more in Quebec.

Other statistics have been provided by the government to give an overview of the outbreak. Currently, 82% of people with the virus are over the age of 40, and 53% are female.

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