The opening of many public spaces – shops, golf clubs, office – over the next few weeks could increase the risk of transmission to the community.
May 16, 2020 12h06
COVID-19: a second wave of “inevitable” in Canada, experts say
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Nobody knows when a new wave of the COVID-19 will emerge in Canada, but the number of cases could well be about to increase, even in places unexpected, predict experts.
Just look in South Korea, where the nightclubs and bars have reopened, to observe the speed at which the ground gained through the containment is crumbling and the number of infected people increases.
The bars are closed in Canada, but the opening of many public spaces – shops, golf clubs, office – over the next few weeks could increase the risk of transmission to the community.
According to Dr. Camille Lemieux, head of the medical aspect of the centre for the evaluation of COVID-19 of the Western Hospital, in Toronto, a principle of “proven” any respiratory virus is that the risk of infection is lower at the outside and in larger spaces, where germs can dissipate.
This in comparison with small confined areas where ventilation is poor. But what is most worrying, says Dr. Lemieux, that is the speed at which the coronavirus is human hosts.
“According to me, for many people, the most confusing is the speed with which the COVID spreads when it takes a walk”, she explains.
Even with containment, the virus is circulating in the community because of a small percentage of individuals asymptomatic or with mild symptoms: they do not even know they are sick, ” says Dr. Gerald Evans, medical director of infection control at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
Dr. Evans says that “the second wave is inevitable” as areas to improve the flexibility of the containment. He uses the word “inevitable” in a broad sense to refer to any increase, big or small. He warns against letting to hear that such or such a public space, such as a tennis court, is less risky than other places.
“If people start to gather around the campfires and in the parks, and then that large groups of golfers get together, it could facilitate the transmission,” says Dr. Evans.
According to him, a resurgence in Canada is very likely to start in young adults who resume social activities; one can expect that they will have been largely protected against the infection, and also that they will be more at risk of exposure.
“Starting to open restaurants and social venues, I think that what we have seen in Korea can give an idea of what could happen here,” says Dr. Evans.
On the map of risks in the workplace, large companies have a greater ability than small to apply the directives of public health and to supplement them by their own efforts to search for contacts and training of the staff, ” he said.
The rules of physical distance mean that most offices will not bring back that 20% to 40% of the employees, said Patrick Saunders-Hastings, an epidemiologist and consultant for Gevity Consulting Inc, a management consulting firm.
Dr. Evans notes that it is tempting to assume that the risk of infection is lower in a city like Kingston, Ontario, to Toronto. He fears what could happen if the inhabitants of large cities took to the roads for a day trip, bringing the virus in a vulnerable region, where there are few cases of the COVID-19.
“If the virus were to be reintroduced, say, Toronto or Montreal, where there are more activities, then there would be a larger population, which could contract the disease.”