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COVID-19: Quebecers let their guard down this summer | Coronavirus

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The authorities also felt the need to take stock of the health situation in Quebec on Thursday. The national director of public health, Dr. Luc Boileau, has made no secret that large gatherings like the Festival d’été de Québec have contributed to generating new cases of COVID-19.

Many health workers attended the Festival. They came back and got [la COVID] after a few days. When a health worker has COVID, we try not to bring him back to the hospital immediately, he said. He invited the population to be cautious for the future and encouraged them to wear the mask.

As the number of cases increases, the health system is again under pressure.

Low adhesion

Several ingredients were in place for a new wave of infections, according to data from theINSPQwhich conducts bi-weekly surveys on the attitudes and behaviors of the population in relation to the pandemic.

Between June 24 and July 6, the probe measured the lowest adherence to measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 since these polls began in October 2020. During this period, barely one in four said they always wash their hands and maintain physical distancing from others.

A graph shows that adherence to recommended or mandatory barrier gestures has eroded over time and reached a low point at the start of the summer.

Enlarge image (New window)

Adherence to recommended or mandatory barrier gestures has eroded over time and reached a low point at the start of the summer.

Photo: National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ)

This proportion has gradually eroded over time. It reached 55% in the fall of 2020 and 48% during the Omicron wave last winter. There is actually a decrease in membership. This is not surprising in a context where mandatory measures have been removedsays Ève Dubé, anthropologist and researcher at theINSPQ.

Among 18-24 year olds, the proportion is even lower, at 13%. People over the age of 60 continue to protect themselves more, while a third say they still adopt barrier behaviors against COVID-19.

Obviously, older people may feel more at risk if they catch COVID, so they generally tend to continue to follow these measures, whereas in younger people, we say “never” or “sometimes”.notes Ms. Dubé.

Another noteworthy fact raised by the researcher: the intention to maintain adherence to certain measures did not necessarily manifest itself once the obligations were lifted. In the case of the mask, many people had demonstrated a desire to continue to keep it in certain situations. What we saw was that once the obligation was lifted, most people stopped wearing it.

Earlier this year, another team affiliated with theINSPQ demonstrated that social contacts followed a seasonal curve. Summer, the holiday season and spring breaks were particularly conducive to the transmission of the virus.

Filled with optimism

Quebecers were also swollen with optimism about the pandemic situation at the start of summer 2022. An overwhelming proportion (85%) believed and still believe that the worst is behind us.

The same positivism could have been observed in the summer of 2021 (86%) but had declined last winter (26%) during the Omicron wave and the return of the curfew after the holiday season, marked by an alert transmitted on cell phones on December 31.

With the lifting of health restrictions announced in March and the end of compulsory mask-wearing in mid-May, the wind of optimism blew again (86%).

Quebecers' optimism is generally very high in the summer, while it drops during fall or winter waves.

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Quebecers’ optimism is generally very high in the summer, while it drops during fall or winter waves.

Photo: National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ)

The government signals went in the same direction as this upturn in the mood of the population.

In a press briefing three months ago, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, had mentioned the end of a long fight against the virus. He then undertook to no longer impose population measuresbut only to ease the restrictions.

It now remains to be seen if the seventh wave will have an effect on the attitude of the population, like the Omicron variant. So far, however, Ève Dubé does not see such a correlation in the polls.

Concerns

This trend towards slackening is now worrying health professionals as fall and the start of the school year approach.

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For Dr. Donald Vinh, an associate microbiologist at McGill University, public health policy on mask wearing is a particular source of concern. The importance of the mask is not stressed enoughhe insists, judging by the way disappointing low public support for this measure.

There is a misunderstanding of the importance of the mask to protect everyone, everyone in society, the health system. I think it’s a failed communication. »

A quote from Dr. Donald Vinh, Associate Microbiologist at McGill University

Dr Vinh recalls that the waves of COVID-19, the seventh being supported by community transmission, have impacts in all areas of our company, be it education or the economy. He wants to see a certain collective consciousness reappear and a desire to protect each other. It calls on all sections of the population, even those least at risk, to see wider than their own situation.

The microbiologist does not have a crystal ball, but he still fears that the start of the school year could relaunch the seventh wave or even see a new one appear. I am not JoJo Savardhe nevertheless takes care to say out of caution.

Same thing elsewhere in the world

Pandemic fatigue and the lifting of sanitary measures are phenomena observed elsewhere in the world. The case of Quebec is therefore not unique.

Last week, Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operations research unit at University College London, said the world had entered a vicious circle. How is this a sustainable approach? How many waves will we see before leaders act? she asked.

In his opinion, it’s not normal to have a wave in the summerin Canada and elsewhere. It is not normal that we cancel hundreds of flights because we lack employees. It is not normal that we lack teachers in schools because they are infected; some have been two, three or even four times. We are not back to normalshe decided during an interview with TurnedNews.com.

With the collaboration of Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

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