Top public health expert urges calm, says Canada is well-positioned for second wave

A top public health expert is urging Canadians not to overreact to the daily coronavirus numbers and instead to adapt to living with the reality of the coronavirus. 

The warning comes as several provinces, including Ontario, are considering re-entering another lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus cases this autumn. 

Vivek Goel, who is a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public health and member of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force made the comments during an interview with True North’s Anthony Furey.  

“What we seem to have developed, by and large, is a view that we need to focus on eliminating COVID-19,” said Goel. 

“We have to think about what the world is going to be like until there are effective vaccines fully deployed, and even in that scenario we may still have some cases. So it means we have to learn how to live with this.”

On Wednesday, 20 doctors and academics published an open letter urging Ontario Premier Doug Ford to not plunge the province into another lockdown. 

“Lockdowns have been shown not to eliminate the virus. While they slow the spread of the virus, this only lasts as long as the lockdown lasts,” read the letter. 

“This creates a situation where there is no way to end the lockdown, and society cannot move forward in vitally important ways including in the health sector, the economy and other critically important instrumental goods including education, recreation and healthy human social interactions.”

In recent weeks, Ontario has ramped up coronavirus restrictions as new infections continue to grow at alarming rates. On Friday, the province announced that it would curb the capacity of restaurants and bars, meanwhile, Quebec also announced that the province was under a red alert status

However, according to Goel, Canada is in a good place this fall compared to when the country was first plunged into lockdown. 

“If we look at how many companies and organizations still have people working from home, so the number of daily interactions are limited, we have physical distancing and other requirements, we don’t have big conferences, sports events, theatres — so we are already starting from a baseline of control measures that didn’t exist back in March,” said Goal.

“Even in the worst-case scenarios, we’re not looking at having our health-care systems completely overwhelmed,” said Goel. 

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