Infectious disease experts worried about impact of Quebec’s COVID-19 Christmas plan

Infectious disease experts worried about impact of Quebec’s COVID-19 Christmas plan

Quebec Premier François Legault wants to grant his province a mini-reprieve from pandemic restrictions for a four-day window over Christmas, leaving some medical experts baffled by his plan — and worried for the repercussions it could have on the rest of Canada.

Not only could those limited Christmas gatherings lead to widespread infections to start the new year, experts say, the decision also adds to confusion due to mixed messaging.

Legault’s plan, announced Thursday, allows gatherings of up to 10 per day from Dec. 24 to 27 and asks people to self-isolate for seven days before and after their events. However, Quebec public health officials clarified on Friday that the plan could change if the situation in the province worsens.

Further adding to rule confusion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cast doubt on the hope of a “normal Christmas” on Friday, while Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that Legault’s plan could work, at least in theory.

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READ MORE: Quebec reports 1,189 new cases of COVID-19, 32 additional deaths

Tam said gatherings could be made safer with masks and physical distancing, but the crux of the plan would be limiting interactions before the holiday events.

“If we bend the curve fast in the next weeks, well, let’s just see what happens before the Christmas vacation,” Tam said.

Dr. Don Sheppard, the founder and director of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4), strongly opposes Legault’s plan.…

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