COVID-19: the doc who bothers

COVID-19: le doc qui dérange

COVID-19: le doc qui dérange

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May 8, 2020 4: 00

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COVID-19: the doc who bothers

COVID-19: le doc qui dérange

COVID-19: le doc qui dérange

Elizabeth Fleury

The Sun

“Open!” “Pile up to two metres, crossing someone on the sidewalk, the driveways to one-way at the grocery store, the employees of the pharmacy wearing a mask and a visor, the distancing of children in school, it’s no use. It is the collective hysteria.” On Twitter, Dr. Mathieu Bernier bother. His tweets cause it, he knows it. And it is assumed. Interview with an emergency physician who claims the right to criticize the government and public health if he finds that their measures “are not stylish.”

“I’ve told the joke to someone who was criticizing the partys of COVID: by the way, a large party of COVID healthy young people throughout the province would immunize much of the world and would do little dead, just saying. The person in question was extremely angry and it has earned me many, many hateful messages,” says Dr. Bernier, who practice in the emergency department and the intensive care unit of the Hospital de Gaspé, one of the regions least affected by the COVID-19.

The doctor did eventually delete the tweet incendiary, tired of receiving so many hateful messages. “It was made a hundred a day! Say something against the current on Twitter, it brings a lot of insults. The anonymity of the majority removes any filter,” he explains.

But it will take more to silence the doctor. “Trudeau repeated: ‘we want to protect the workers’. Suggestion: remove from work those with risk factors. Let the others work normally, without special precautions. Let it infect and immunize”, he wrote recently.

To someone who was saying that unless you consider a specialization in public health or infectious diseases, he should use his reserve duty, Mathieu Bernier replied: “No question! I intend to advocate for what I believe to be the most beneficial!”

In the interview, Dr. Mathieu Bernier is more nuanced than on the social networks. Scholar, he supports his thoughts with eloquence.

“This is not me who manages the public health. Me, I’m on Twitter to cry between my guards to the emergency, which does not prevent me to apply myself all that said, Dr. Arruda and recommending it to patients. But that does not stop me from criticizing him, for example ”


Dr. Mathieu Bernier

“When we have a crisis of State which involves the whole world, a doctor does not speak just as a doctor, he also speaks as a citizen. We are in a democracy, and when we find that there is something that does not look great in the State, although it is to say”, argues the doctor, aware that his comments can make the world “ill at ease”. “But as for me, I am quite comfortable with it. Public health recommendations, it may be subject to debate. Without debate, we will not go far.”

When prime minister François Legault said the containment, Dr. Mathieu is one of those who cheered, because at this time, “with the data we had, this is what the science told us to do, and I thought it was absolutely necessary.”

“But I think when it was new knowledge, it is necessary that one adapts to it, and if it is seen that the government does not, it relies more on the emotion of people, I think it is good to come out of rational arguments and try to deprogram this fear that is may have become out of proportion”, he says.

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COVID-19: le doc qui dérange

Dr. Mathieu Bernier

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Follow the science

At the beginning of the containment, the data from the WHO suggest that it was the face of a virus with a mortality of 3% or 4%, in all ages, ” says the doctor. The containment is therefore necessary to avoid the overflow of the hospitals, “not to prevent the cases of COVID-19 to occur”.

“The majority of us will have it, me first because I work in a hospital. […] Now that we know that the curve is flattened, the virus is sufficiently slowed down [in the regions], one has of the place in the hospitals [with the exception of Montréal], it serves no purpose to retain the same containment measures. If we continue to keep our businesses closed, there was more profit, it does not earn anything, we just slow down the epidemic more,” said the doctor.

Worse, “it does damage elsewhere in maintaining the containment”. Dr. Bernier points out that people have stopped to consult to the emergency for fear of catching the COVID-19, that the consultations in psychiatry have begun to increase, that the unemployment rate has shot up — “and we know that a 1% increase in the unemployment rate, historically, it is accompanied by an increase of 0.7% to 0.8% suicide year” — and that we will eventually have to pay for the deficit that the State in the form of cuts in our social services and our social safety net.

“That too, it’ll make dead a little camouflaged, in the long term, that will not necessarily in the newspapers. It is morbid finally to remain confined too long,” said the doctor.

Less worse than a flu in the bottom of 50 years

“When I say ‘open everything’, what I’m saying is that the majority of the population has no more risk if they catch the COVID that if they catch influenza. These are statistics that have been published by the Pasteur Institute, but there are other more and more studies that are beginning to corroborate it,” says Dr. Bernier.

READ ALSO: The COVID-19 less worse than a flu in the bottom of 50 years?

“At the beginning, he recalls, there were only China is affected, and there was not a lot of knowledge about the virus. To calculate, WHO took the number of deaths divided by the number of cases multiplied by 100 to get a percentage called the rate of mortality of the virus. But after, it was realized gradually that the real prevalence, that is to say at what point the virus is spread, is greater than the official number of cases.

“In Quebec, Dr. Arruda has said that he thought there were roughly 10 times more of the real cases on a case by case officers, only 4% or 5% of the population would have been infected, which would make 300 000 or 400 000 people with COVID, so that at this time (Monday), it is up to 30 000 confirmed cases. Therefore, if we consider that the virus is 10 times more widespread than what we thought, it means it necessarily has a mortality rate 10 times less. The 3% mortality which was expected by the WHO at the start, therefore, would be more like a 0,3%,” explains the doctor.

Not equal before the COVID-19

What is interesting with the data of the Pasteur Institute, according to him, it is that they separate the mortality rates in different age groups. “What is, is that the virus is a virus, geriatric, killer of seniors. In children and teens, the mortality rate is three to 10 times less dangerous than the seasonal flu. […] And when we reach the age of 50 to 60 years, the COVID joined a little influenza, nearly on an equal footing in terms of dangerousness or risk of dying. And then, past the age of 60 years, there has been as escalation flamboyant, where the COVID is becoming dozens of times more dangerous than influenza,” said Dr. Bernier.

This is especially in people who have comorbidities, who are suffering from hypertension or who have cardiovascular history (what we often see with age), for example, that the virus appears to be destructive.

“One of the explanations is that the virus has, on its surface, a protein, the S protein, which is a key that will go log on to a receiver located on the human cells, the ACE2, which is part of the control system of the blood pressure. It is a virus that loves the human body that have a dysregulation of blood pressure, because this receiver-there is his front door to attack them”, explains Dr. Bernier, adding that the metabolic health also seems to be in question, while obesity and diabetes are increasingly apparent as risk factors.

Vaccine and herd immunity

For the Dr. Bernier, the ideal scenario would, of course, that we have a vaccine, “tomorrow morning”. “We’d never have need of herd immunity […]. But research on vaccines, this is one of the scientific research slower and more difficult,” he recalls. According to him, the herd immunity is likely to happen before the vaccine because a vaccine, it’s moving forward at a snail’s pace, so that the virus ahead like a rocket”.

“I have the impression that you and I, we will not be able to wash their hands and hide enough to not catch it until the vaccine arrives. ”


Dr. Mathieu Bernier

About the discussion on the duration of immunity, Dr. Bernier points out that most of the time, when one survives an infectious disease, it keeps immune memory.

“This immunity-there, it can be overcome if the virus is capable of changing the proteins on its surface, or to disguise themselves to not be recognized,” he says. Influenza change of mask, costumes for all years, but the coronavirus, they are not good to do that. They are mutations, as every virus, but they have the misery, to change the small protein [the crown of thorns on their surface], which means that we would have a chance that the virus would not be able to escape our immunity, and that if we réattrape later, our immune system would be able to recognize it, as it is seen, for example, for the MERS and SARS, two dangerous coronavirus for which it is known that he has immunity that lasts for two, three years, maybe more.”

And if the coronavirus gives us immunity for two or three years, “that would be great, because in two or three years, maybe we’ll have our vaccine and get rid once and for all of this virus”, hopes the doctor, aware that he must not, however, that the virus is contracted “all at the same time”.

“If we open our shops, but that people distance themselves from two metres away, that people start to wear masks, if they continue to wash hands, we can manage to have a functioning economy, a decline in the unemployment rate and suicide, and, at the same time, the virus will accelerate a little bit, which will have the disadvantage that there will be more cases in the hospitals, but the advantage that there will be more immunity”, analysis Dr. Bernier.

Containment variable geometry

According to him, the containment measures should be “variable geometry”, not the “one size fits all”, as it has done since the 13th of march. “It is sure that when we talk about it, it always comes out the word ‘discrimination’. But I prefer to call it of the protection under the age discrimination according to the age,” he says.

“Maybe we should say to people : if there is anyone in your home who is at risk [to be obese, diabetic, elderly, hypertensive…], ben good blood, déconfinez you, go catch it, this is not serious, you will not be hospitalized, and do the reverse with people at risk, explain to them that, for you, it may be a good thing not to be in contact with the grandchildren immediately, wait they have had, and that they are immunized and, in the meantime, do you deliver your groceries and drugs at home,” suggests Dr. Bernier, while agreeing that older people should also have the freedom to choose and decide what risks they want to take.

Dr. Bernier insists : “The people that this disease-there is not a threat to them particularly, as they return to work, they go out, they play to their mental health, but also for the proper functioning of society”. “Stay home with the benefit of Justin Trudeau, it is good for anyone,” he says.

Le Soleil

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