After relaxing the Covid-19 emergency measures in the province, Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s Public Health Director, is now concerned too many people not wearing masks or following public-health guidelines properly. With restrictions being lifted and many business and establishments reopening, he is worried. “I’m concerned, very concerned…I sense real loosening that worries me a lot,” he said in an interview with Radio-Canada. ‘After months in lockdown, Quebecers are justifiably eager to socialize and otherwise enjoy the summer’ and added that he feels the ‘lax attitude will lead to a new increase in cases or a second wave that starts early’.
Arruda is encouraging ‘Quebecers to follow public-health guidelines when inviting people into their homes – and to wear masks in situations where physical distancing is difficult or impossible’. With the province having the highest number of cases in Canada and Montreal being the epicenter of the pandemic, many feel the relaxing of measures and reopenings have come too soon – however Arruda described the lifting of rules in the province as a ‘conditional deconfinement that could be reversed’.
Do I need to wear a face mask?
Dr. Amir Khadir, a Quebec microbiologist and former MNA, said at a news conference on June 11th that ‘for new infections to stay manageable, 80% of Quebecers need to be wearing masks. According to data at that time, that number was only at about 50%’. With the relaxing of emergency measures, it appears more and more people are also relaxing, or even ignoring, the physical distancing rule and not wearing masks – as seen in the crowds of people in parks and other places.
Although it is true that wearing a mask offers little protection from getting infected with the virus, it does offer a degree of protection from stopping people from touching their faces and infecting themselves – but what is most important is the fact it has been proven to be very effective in protecting others from being exposed to it. Not only from those who have tested positive or have been in contact with them, but from the many people who are asymptomatic and unaware of it. After several months of isolation, the social and psychological toll it has taken on our lives is real and disconcerting. The need to get out and experience some normalcy is real – however the pandemic is far from over. If taken seriously, we can significantly decrease the spread of the virus to a point where we can safely return to a sense of normalcy – or rather the ‘new normal’.