“Living” smart with COVID

“Living” with COVID. That expression always made us cringe.

Posted yesterday at 5:00am

Obviously we’re all fed up with this damn pandemic. That we strive for a normal life again.

But pretending the pandemic is over doesn’t get much better when it clearly isn’t. There are currently 1,549 COVID patients in the hospital. This is more than at any time in 2021 and we are nearing the peak of the first wave in 2020 (1672).

The fifth and sixth Omicron waves have been so exhausting that it feels like there are only two options left on the menu: 1) 100% sanitation; 2) 0% hygiene measures.

However, there is a third possibility. Which requires nuance and patience. But sooner or later we will have to collectively make this our own: “living” intelligently with the virus. to be smarter than him. Maintaining the most effective hygiene measures and practices while protecting our mental health.

The recipe is known, but it has to be repeated: vaccination, isolation, mask, ventilation. Vaccination, isolation, mask, ventilation. VIMA: Think of this acronym (that’s our phrase) that might make you want to have a more normal summer.

After months of silence, the Legault government ended its silence on COVID-19 this week (finally!) as the seventh wave has begun.

His summer strategy is to foam up the booster dose of the vaccine and remember the isolation rules. Without the reintroduction of targeted health measures, Quebec remains only in suggestion and recommendation mode. It’s more popular. But let’s face it: it’s a lot less effective.

vaccination

Two cans are not enough. As long as COVID-19 is in the pandemic stage, it will of course be necessary to be revaccinated at regular intervals. Because the protection of the vaccine decreases over the months. Within six months, the protection of the third dose decreases from 90% to 70% in hospitalizations and from 65% to 10% in symptomatic infections. For almost 8.7 million Quebecers, this additional risk places an immense burden on our healthcare system.

In recent months, it’s apparent that the Quebec government has dropped the ball in encouraging Quebecers to take their booster dose(s). In Ottawa, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was more open and politically courageous.

From now on we need a clear message that we repeat often and without hesitation on all platforms: update your vaccinations. For immunocompromised people, it’s five doses. For those over 60, it’s four cans. For children 18 and older, it’s three doses (possibly four if your third was more than six months ago, but that’s your choice). The only downside: wait three months after a COVID infection before taking a new dose.

Quebec has promised to run a promotional campaign over the summer to promote the booster dose. Very wise decision. Better late than never.

isolation

Given the number of people contracting COVID these days, it must be repeated: 10 days of strict isolation (no contact). If you have no symptoms on days 6 to 10, you should stay home and wear a mask when interacting with other residents (your immediate family), forget about your social activities, and limit your trips (wearing a mask) to essential activities ( e.g. work) restrict ).

mask

Quebec probably shouldn’t have lifted the mask requirement on public transport, which is a must-have service for many people. The mask requirement also applies to public transport in Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

No matter how you get there, the important thing now is that at least 75% of Quebecers wear the mask in crowded indoor places like public transport.

G7 country with the lowest COVID death rate, Japan has never had to impose the mask on public transport and indoors. The government recommended it and the Japanese followed this recommendation. Quebecers will never have the legendary discipline of the Japanese. But the equation is the same in Montreal as it is in Tokyo: the more often you wear a mask in risky situations, the lower your risk of contracting and transmitting COVID, clogging the healthcare system and developing COVID.

That’s a lot of benefits for such a simple and non-intrusive health measure.

ventilation

Summer means outdoor activities two meters away.

It would have been nice if Quebec had used the summer to significantly improve ventilation in the schools. Unfortunately, the Legault government is being pulled by the ears.

In the end, the equation is simple: the more Quebecers adopt the VIMA recipe, the more pleasant the summer will be.

While we wait for an autumn that, let’s face it, promises to be difficult.

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