While the Festival d’été de Québec is in full swing and the big events follow one another, the COVID comes to play the spoilsports. Infections are on the rise and sanitary measures are minimal or even completely absent in some cases. How to protect yourself to limit the spread without sulking your pleasure? The Journal asked the question to Kevin L’Espérance, epidemiologist.
• On the other hand: COVID-19: Health publishes recommends caution for the summer
• On the other hand: COVID-19: a marked increase in the number of hospitalizations in Quebec
Q: Sanitary measures are rather rare in events this summer. How to protect yourself?
A: Covid-19 is transmitted by aerosol. My main recommendation is, if possible, to wear the mask. This is the best measure we have at our disposal to protect ourselves individually and collectively. It drastically reduces transmission and infection in crowds. It is also necessary to promote external events and have an up-to-date vaccination.
Q: Are the measures to hold large-scale events without sanitary facilities premature?
A: From an epidemiological point of view, it certainly worries me. No more social isolation that comes with overly restrictive health measures is not good for our psychological and physical health either. You have to try to make sense of things, but I think that during major mass events, like the Festival d’été de Québec, we should stay with the group as much as possible with the fanl we arrived, encourage distancing and wear the mask as much as possible, hatching for indoor and poorly ventilated events. Outside, the risk of transmission remains relatively low, not zero.
Q: Is it possible that the mass contaminations, with me of the cells observed this summer, could be beneficial for collective immunity, in a context where the population is mainly vaccinated?
A: The strategy of relying on natural immunity can be dangerous. Hypothetically speaking, if we are in a context where there are zero sanitary measures and we tell everyone to go and catch COVID, there is a risk of infection booms, like at the moment, and we trace the repercussions, such as deaths and severe forms. There are still many uncertainties about the virus and the medium and long term repercussions. On the other hand, contracting COVID-19 confers some immunity. More natural immunity is difficult to study. Not many things are known, such as how long she lasts and how strong she is. However, it is known to be more variable than artificial immunity dictates. [vaccin].
Q: Despite the high rate of vaccination, isn’t natural immunity a weapon to protect the population?
A: Vaccination efficiency has decreased because times are not important for update doses. We may have the impression that vaccines are ineffective, because we have many cases and we see an increase in severe forms of the disease. It is normal to observe this. In absolute numbers, it is directly linked to transmission, so the more transmission increases, despite the vaccine [plus on observe] an increase in severe cases. Without health measures to reduce transmission, we see these increases occur.
Q: Can we expect mass contamination will prevent another wave in the fall?
A: It’s very hard to say. The last two summers, the contamination was less, the car was more outside and there were still measures in place. There, there are practically no measurements. On the other hand, there is no doubt, but it is likely that there are no favorable conditions for reducing transmission. I have the impression that in the fall, we will have to be careful [rentrée scolaire et retour de vacances]. If there are no measurements, I think the peak will if it continues beyond the summer.