The “new pandemic”, that of variants | Coronavirus

More contagious variants that spread very quickly. Entire families who are hospitalized. Younger and sicker patients. A rapidly increasing ICU admission rate threatening the capacity of the health system.

I believe this is the worst we have seen. The data is higher than in the first and second waves.

A quote from:Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario

The picture of the situation has changed a lot, note many experts.

Dr. David Williams is calling on Ontarians to do even more to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Frank Gunn

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, describes the percentage of very ill patients who present to the emergency room and need intensive care immediately. What places immense strain on ICU teams and staff, he explains.

Jérôme Leis in a jacket in front of one of the entrances to Sunnybrook hospital looks into the distance.

Dr. Jérôme Leis, Director of Infection Prevention at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto

Photo : Radio-Canada / Matéo Garcia-Tremblay

In the field, Dr. Jérôme Leis, Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, is witness to this reality.

It is really striking. Many patients are in their forties, fifties, even in their thirties and sometimes in their twenties. These are patients who come in very, very sick.

A quote from:Dr Jérôme Leis, Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Sunnybrook Hospital

He finds it particularly disturbing to see several members of the same family admitted to intensive care: In the past you might have seen a severe case in the house, but in this third wave I saw more than one family member admitted to intensive care on several occasions.

The strong presence of variants

This new pandemic began with the marked presence of variants.

Alain Simard, associate professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and expert in immunology, explains that due to these mutations, the virus is different.

The pandemic has never disappeared, but in another sense, these are new variants that represent new challenges that we must face.

A quote from:Alain Simard, expert in immunology, Northern Ontario School of Medicine

By comparing the intensity of the second and third waves, we can see how quickly the situation worsened.

Dr Santiago Perez Patrigeon, professor of medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University, notes that during the second wave cases started to increase quietly in September. Three months later, at the end of December, the province had 2,500 cases per day.

[La 3e] wave is much sharper than the second wave. It’s a wave that goes much faster.

A quote from:Dr Santiago Perez Patrigeon, infectious disease expert, Queen’s University

For the third wave, it took less than 30 days to reach 2,500 cases per day, notes Dr Perez Patrigeon.

Projections that have been confirmed

Many experts have sounded the alarm bells for months on the threat of variants.

In early February, Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr.Eileen de Villa, described the importance of remaining vigilant in the face of this transition to a new pandemic.

On February 19, Canada’s public health announced that a relaxation of measures could explode the number of COVID-19 cases and specified that the measures in place at that time were insufficient, due to the increase in cases of variants.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, looks at her notes at a press conference in Ottawa.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and her Assistant, Dr. Howard Njoo, at the press conference on December 11, 2020

Photo: The Canadian Press / David Kawai

In recent weeks, the projections of experts have been confirmed.

In Ontario, the number of patients ill with COVID-19 being admitted to intensive care has reached unprecedented levels and the hospital community does not believe the situation will stabilize anytime soon.

Dr Leis expects the number of COVID patients to exceed 600 in intensive care in the province in the coming weeks, a threshold that is very scary and who will make access to the health system Harder and harder, he explains.

How will we do it?

In response to the rapid spread of the virus, the Ford government first imposed a new province-wide lockdown that went into effect on Saturday.

Doug Ford wears the mask and is about to close a door.

Premier Doug Ford decreed the imposition of an emergency brake for Ontario less than a week ago.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Frank Gunn

Criticized from all quarters by the opposition and by unions and healthcare workers’ associations calling for tougher measures to tackle the third wave, the government yesterday announced more restrictions, including a stay-at-home order .

Dr Santiago Perez Patrigeon is optimistic that these new measures will be effective, although they are imposed late, he said. However, he specifies that one should not expect to see results for at least two weeks.

We must not believe that the changes we are seeing today will have an impact right away and that does not mean that it does not work. We have to hold on for two weeks and I hope to see a plateau , he explains.

Professor Alain Simard remarks that citizens are tanned of the situation and the many restrictions, a situation that he recognizes as being discouraging.

But to get out of this crisis, he recalls the importance of contain these variants and do everything possible to prevent the situation from getting worse. He believes that the new measures announced will only be effective if they are respected.

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