1) With #COVID19 cases and hospitalizations soaring in Montreal and across the province, public health experts are beginning to openly question the Legault government’s semi-lockdown plan over the holidays. In this thread, I will examine the continuing problems with that plan.
2) What worries epidemiologist Benoît Mâsse is that cases have ratcheted up despite the fact that schools closed on Dec. 17. “I sincerely expected to see a reduction in new infections around Dec. 28 or 29,” Mâsse told Presse Canadienne.
3) Yet from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30, Quebec posted four days of rising #COVID19 cases, culminating in a record 2,819 on Dec. 30. The number of intensive-care stays climbed to 165 amid 1,175 hospitalizations and a growing number of infected health workers.
4) In an op-ed in Saturday’s @mltgazette, two experts at McGill University argue that half measures in fighting the #pandemic have undermined “the capacity of our health systems to respond to COVID and deliver timely care for other conditions such as cancer and heart disease.”
5) “The health system is now close to being overwhelmed,” write Drs. Marina Klein and Catherine Hankins, both of whom have considerable experience in tracking infectious diseases. Please click on the link below for their incisive commentary: montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinio…
6) In light of this dramatic resurgence, Klein and Hankins are urging Premier François Legault not to reopen schools and businesses on Jan. 11, as initially planned. “The Legault government must act decisively or risk squandering all the sacrifices made to date," they conclude.
7) Meanwhile, Ontario — unlike Quebec — released its #COVID19 statistics for the past two days. On Saturday, our neighbor posted a record 3,363 cases from the previous day. This does not portend well for Quebec, which will made public its figures on Sunday.
8) In the absence of #COVID19 data from Quebec, I would like to close this thread with some observations about the second wave in Montreal. Since Aug. 31, the demographic that has witnessed the biggest percentage increase in cases is between the ages of 5 and 9.
9) On Aug. 31, the cumulative total of #COVID cases in this cohort was 360 in the metropolis. Since the start of the school year, the number of cases in this group has increased by 2,030 or 563%. The next biggest percentage spike is in the 10-to-19 age group: 435%.
10) The 10-to-19 group posted an increase of 5,518 cases. That compares with a boost of 7,652 in the 20-to-29 cohort (up by 182%). These figures strongly suggested that poorly ventilated schools, set to reopen on Jan. 11, have become #coronavirus breeding grounds. End of thread.

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More from @Aaron_Derfel

3 Jan
1) On Dec. 10, Montreal crossed the threshold by Harvard University experts for stay-at-home orders. But Quebec waited until Dec. 17 to send schoolchildren home. On Dec. 25, it shut businesses. The city posted 648 #COVID19 cases Dec. 10. By Sunday, it was more than double: 1,300. Image
2) The latest figures show #COVID19 is now surging far faster in Montreal than any other region in the province. The metropolis’s seven-day rolling average rose to 43.88 cases per 100,000 residents Sunday, well above Harvard’s 25-case threshold. Image
3) Provincially, Quebec set a record 2,869 #COVID19 cases Sunday, as well as a record 1,225 hospitalizations. Of that number, a record 179 patients were being treated in rapidly crowding intensive-care units across the province.
Read 9 tweets
2 Jan
1) Intensive-care units and emergency rooms in Montreal are beginning to fill up with a combination of #COVID19 patients and those with other medical problems, front-line workers told me on New Year's Day. In this short thread, I will explain this serious and growing problem.
2) “It is getting more challenging to find beds, that is for sure,” a veteran ER physician told me. “But I have yet to have a patient stuck so far. It is coming, though.” During the first wave, some overcrowded Montreal hospitals sent some #COVID19 patients to regional centres.
3) But in this second wave, those regional hospitals are full of their own #COVID19 patients. With cases and hospitalizations still rising and absenteeism increasing among health-care workers (because they’re getting sick), the acute-care system is now at the breaking point.
Read 8 tweets
1 Jan
1) With nearly two-thirds of the Montreal region’s hospital #pandemic beds now filled with #COVI19 patients, there’s a good chance the city’s intensive-care units will reach over-capacity as early as Jan. 17, according to the latest projections by a provincial health institute.
2) “For the first time, it is likely that dedicated (bed) capacity will be exceeded within the next three weeks,” warns the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS). At the same time, more and more health workers are contracting #COVID19.
3) Although Quebec on Thursday posted a noticeable drop in #COVID19 hospitalizations (down by 36 to 1,175), the number of ICU stays rose by 13 to 165. What’s more, the province set a record 2,819 cases, a percentage of which will turn into hospitalizations in a week or two.
Read 12 tweets
31 Dec 20
1) While Montreal reported a dip in #COVID19 cases Wednesday, the #coronavirus surged in regions outside the metropolis, underscoring the #pandemic’s cruel unpredictability. In this thread, I will review the latest trends in the city and the province.
2) What’s noteworthy is the extent to which the #pandemic is intensifying in two regions which had previously succeeded in controlling the contagion: the Eastern Townships and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The former posted 123 cases Wednesday from 73 the day before.
3) In Abitibi, #COVID19 cases jumped from two to six, and La Presse is reporting the latest numbers are 13 to be revealed on Thursday. Public health officials are concerned people in the region may have flouted guidelines on family gatherings over the holidays.
Read 9 tweets
30 Dec 20
1) For at least the past two days, the centre of Montreal has been virtually exploding with #COVID19 cases to an extent not witnessed since the first wave. In this thread, I will try to explain what might be going on in the city.
2) First, Montreal posted a record 968 #COVID19 cases Tuesday. The city’s seven-day average inched up to 43.03 cases per 100,000 residents. That’s 18 cases higher than the 25-case threshold set by Harvard University’s public health experts to recommend total stay-at-home orders. Image
3) For the past three days, Montreal has recorded daily #COVID19 cases in the 900-range, suggesting the second wave has not yet peaked in the metropolis. Outside of the city, the #pandemic may have plateaued in some regions of the province.
Read 9 tweets
29 Dec 20
1) At the current rate Quebec is vaccinating against #COVID19, it could take up to 8,522 days to achieve collective immunity against the #coronavirus in the province. In this thread, I will explain why the vaccine rollout will be a lot more complicated than some may have hoped.
2) I am basing the above calculations on comments that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-diseases expert in the U.S., made to the New York Times on Dec. 24, as well as an interview I conducted with Dr. Philippe De Wals, a member of the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec.
3) Dr. Fauci had this to say: “I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 per cent (of the U.S. population vaccinated). But I'm not going to say 90%." In another interview, Fauci suggested 80% to achieve herd immunity. Let’s go with that figure and apply it to Quebec.
Read 15 tweets

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