Second wave of COVID-19 is starting, Quebec's chief scientist says

It's crucial we realize even if it is not all that pleasant, it's better to respect the guidelines now than to face the prospect of living with them for a long time, Rémi Quirion says.

Quebec chief scientist Rémi Quirion in 2006.

It is not unusual for a pandemic to have two or even three waves, he said: Ontario and Alberta have also been experiencing increases in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Quebec’s testing capacity is improved over what it was during the first wave, Quirion said, and the province can now do 25,000 to 30,000 tests per day.

Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Sunday because of a continuing rise in cases, Montreal, Chaudiere-Appalaches and parts of Quebec City are moving up a level in Quebec’s COVID-19 alert system, from yellow, or early warning, to orange or alert — and that the province is increasing restrictions on all kinds of gatherings, including those in houses of worship, reception halls and even private homes.

In those three regions, “the contagion has amplified,” he said at a news conference in Montreal. “The number of cases is rising, the number of outbreaks has increased and our capacity to look after people who are sick is diminishing.”

“If you live in an orange zone, make a special effort in the coming weeks,” Dubé implored Quebecers: “Reduce your contacts to a minimum. We are not in confinement but limit non-essential visits, suppers with friends, parties,” he said. And unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t go from an orange to a yellow zone.

As the number of cases of COVID-19 creeps up daily and hospitalizations increase, Quebec is at the beginning of the second wave, says Rémi Quirion, Quebec’s chief scientist.

We know what we have to do to diminish its intensity, he said on Sunday.

“We know we have to wear masks; we know we have to social distance; we know we can’t gather with too many people.”

Thing is, we’re getting kind of fed up with restrictions.

“At the beginning, we were ready to make sacrifices and they bore fruit,” he said.

But at this point, it’s all rather less tempting.

“It’s human nature,” Quirion said. “We want to go to restaurants; we want to see our friends.”

It’s not much fun for anyone — but it’s particularly challenging to get adolescents and young adults to respect the guidelines, he said.

It’s crucial we realize even if it is not all that pleasant, it’s better to respect the guidelines now than to face the prospect of living with them for a long time, Quirion said.

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