Don't care about the virus and not live with it

Don't care about the virus and not live with it

and Ludovic Théberge MISE À DAY

Quebec seems to increasingly not care about COVID instead of “living with the virus”, as Premier François Legault and Public Health suggest. 

“We're fed up, so we pay less attention”, simply explains Mathieu Girdal met on avenue du Mont-Royal when asked if he continues to take action to limit transmission, such as wearing a mask.

Yesterday, while the sun was beating down, Le Journal strolled through the central districts of Montreal and at the Festival d'été de Québec to meet Quebecers who, for the most part, admitted having put away their mask and resumed their social life. 

However, the end of health rules has led many people to forget about COVID, even if Public Health suggested “living with the virus” by continuing to advocate certain measures:

  • Wearing a mask

The government always recommends wearing a face covering when it is difficult to maintain a distance from others. Radio advertisements still massively convey this message. 

But despite this seventh wave, many Quebecers have abandoned the mask and have no intention of putting it back on anytime soon.

Aaron Zak was not even aware that there was a seventh wave of COVID -19.

In April, a Léger-Le Journal-TVA-QUB ​​poll reported that 73% of respondents would continue to wear the mask “most of the time or occasionally” when the measure was be lifted.

Visiting a popular thrift store on Plaza Saint-Hubert and a busy grocery store in Plateau-Mont-Royal, Le Journal found that about one in ten people wore the mask.

“We took the habit of the mask quickly, but we lost it just as quickly, “says Fanny Blanchard, crossed on avenue du Mont-Royal.

At the Festival d'été de Québec, COVID-19 is non-existent in people's minds. In the queues or on the Grande-Allée, people are packed like sardines.

Waiting for the shows at the Festival d'été de Québec, almost no one wore the mask.

The observation is that very few passers-by wear the mask. Within hours, Le Journal came across a lady with the face covering on her chin. She refused to have her picture taken, not wanting to be laughed at.

  • Surfing the waves
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    Living with the virus also means being able to avoid big waves. But Quebec is failing to do so as it weathers its worst pandemic summer as a seventh wave hits the province.

    Hospitalizations jump 200 in one week, deaths outnumber deaths previous years and nearly 7,000 workers are absent from the health network, while the hospital occupancy rate is exploding in many regions. 

    Without forgetting that “community transmission remains very strong”, as stated this week at a press conference by Dr. Marie-France Raynault, advisor to the Ministry of Health and Social Services. 

      < li dir="auto">Reduce travel

    Finally, to learn to live with the virus, experts suggested reducing travel. The opposite is happening. 

    Many Quebecers left the province this summer, as evidenced by the chaos that has reigned at Montreal-Trudeau airport since the beginning of the summer. 

    Traffic has returned to 70% of its pre-pandemic state. 

    Palpable disinterest

    In fact, many people have stopped taking an interest in the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

    “The whole population is moved on, people have started to turn the page,” says Emmanuel Lazarini, seen on Mont-Royal Avenue in Montreal.

    In Quebec City, Sylvain Gallant, seated over a beer with friends while waiting for a show explained that “we have returned to the measures exactly as before COVID”.

    Audrey Latulippe and her friends have specially chosen downtown Quebec to celebrate the bachelor party of an accomplice.

    “The virus is weak. You have to live with it. In my mind, it no longer exists. It's like a normal cold […] We have to come back from COVID, ”she says.

    On the other hand, bottles of hand sanitizer gel are not very present on the Summer Festival site and at the entrance to the shops.  

    The illusion that COVID disappears during the summer 

    If Quebecers seem indifferent to the seventh wave of COVID-19, it is because they have been sent the wrong message that the pandemic would take a break this summer, denounces an expert. 

    • Olivier Faucher, Le Journal de Montréal

    “The message we sent by removing all the measures is that there is no problem. After that, when you come back saying there is a problem, there is no longer anyone who wants to wear masks or who wants other measures. »

    This is how Jacques Lapierre, a retired virologist, analyzes the attitude of Quebecers in the face of the wave of COVID which is causing the rate of hospitalizations to jump in the middle of summer in the province.

    Jacques Lapierre, retired virologist.

    Worst summer ever

    The summers of 2020 and 2021 also gave people the wrong impression that the virus takes a break when the heat kicks in, he says.

    “It's not a seasonal virus, he thunders. It is a virus which is not there when you protect yourself and which is there when you do not protect yourself. Over the past two summers, there have been measures such as the mask, the vaccine passport. »

    Quebec is experiencing its worst summer since the start of the pandemic, when there was no wave in the middle of the summer season in 2020 and 2021. There were 47 and 34 deaths respectively during the weeks of the 4th and the July 11, whereas in the past two years, there had never been a week with more than 20 deaths in July.

    To slow the progression of COVID-19, we should at least people wear a mask “in all indoor and outdoor places where there are a lot of people”, and that the population be up to date with their doses of vaccine, estimates the virologist.

    Because if nothing done, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise.

    “I feel like what we've done is we've given every puck a puck.” person from the opposing team, that we removed our goalkeeper and that we said to ourselves: the puck will not fit in the goal, ”he illustrates.

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