If strong protective measures (social distancing, hand-washing…etc.) are used, we will continue to have enough healthcare resources in Canada to effectively manage patients with COVID-19. However, this greatly depends on the continued physical distancing efforts by the general population in order to flatten the curve. For a more detailed and visual answer to this question, visit this website.
The curve refers to the projected number of people who will contract COVID-19 over a given time period. A steeper curve means that the virus is infecting more people at a faster rate. The health care system (i.e. having enough doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists etc. as well as hospital and intensive care capacity) and protective equipment (i.e. masks) would be stressed to its maximum and hospitals may not be able to service all the people who need it. We have seen this in places like Italy, New York City and Spain.
The concept of “flattening the curve” is used to help explain how we can ensure adequate resources are available throughout the pandemic period. More details about this including a graph are available in this New York Times article.
“Flattening the curve” means less people or the same amount of people get infected but throughout the pandemic this happens over a longer period of time, which allows for adequate distribution of resources to ensure proper care is sustained over the full pandemic period. This is the case in places like Hong Kong and South Korea.