Hong Kong is currently experiencing its worst wave of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. In just one month, the number of cases has multiplied by 360. China and New Zealand are also experiencing an impressive resurgence of cases. Should we fear a 6e wave in Quebec? Not necessarily, experts tell us.
• Read also: Ontario universities will require wearing a mask until the end of the session
• Read also: [SONDAGE] The effects of the pandemic on Quebecers, two years later
• Read also: China: millions of confined people face a record outbreak of COVID-19 cases in two years
It would be ill-advised to compare Quebec to Hong Kong or New Zealand, because their strategies to fight COVID have been very different from ours, explains Benoît Mâsse, full professor at the School of Public Health at the Montreal university.
Indeed, these countries “adopted an excessively severe containment that some called “COVID Zero”, which means that we have a population – for example in New Zealand – which is very vaccinated, but which has had almost no exposure in terms of immunity acquired by infection,” he argues.
“It’s very different from us. We are approaching 40% of Quebecers who have been infected with Omicron, not counting the other waves. So we have a vaccinated population – maybe not as well as New Zealand – but with a large number of people who may not have perfect protection, which may not last for years, but a certain immunity which was acquired by the infection”, he continues.
Still, there may be an increase in cases here as well. According to André Veillette, researcher in immunology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, we must not lose sight of the sub-variant of Omicron, the BA.2.
“In the countries where they have removed the sanitary measures, the BA.2 begins to rise more and more in percentage and then the number of cases also increases. So I think that probably here too we will have an increase in the number of cases with the relaxation of health measures.
“Is it going to be as bad as what they’re going through in Hong Kong or Australia or New Zealand? Maybe not. I do not know. I have the impression that we are still going to have an increase but that it will not be massive, but I do not really know because anything can happen, ”adds Mr. Veillette, who recalls that the trajectory of a pandemic remains relatively unpredictable.
It has been almost three months since Quebec experienced its strongest wave of infections. This is the recommended waiting time between a COVID infection and the third dose of vaccine.
Currently, 52% of Quebecers over the age of 5 have received a third dose. Double-vaccinated Quebecers who have had COVID are wondering if they should go get it.
The Department of Health is advising anyone who has tested positive for COVID to pick up their third dose.
For a person whose infection has been confirmed by a PCR test, the ministry says that they “could obtain a booster dose of the messenger RNA vaccine against COVID-19 if they wish, even if this dose is not not necessary”.
When we ask Benoît Mâsse if he recommends that people who have had COVID during the holidays get their third dose of vaccine, his answer is unequivocal: yes, because there are still a lot of community transmission.
“Going for your third dose in the middle of July when there’s no community transmission, you’re wasting your time and it’s not worth it. But right now would be a good time. If I was infected in mid-December, I would have to have my third dose, I would go because there are still weeks when we are at risk since there is still transmission, ”adds he.
Listen to Philippe-Vincent Foisy’s interview with virologist Benoît Barbeau on QUB radio: