Dr. Labos cautioned that international travel and fewer travel restrictions could prompt a spike in COVID-19 cases in Canada, especially as people return from March break vacations.
Even as most indoor mask mandates are lifted in Ontario, one doctor doesn’t plan to remove his mask just yet.
Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based epidemiologist, said even before the COVID-19 pandemic he had to wear a mask on a regular basis, especially when interacting with his patients.
Now, for him, it’s become like an extra layer of clothing.
“Frankly, it costs me nothing to wear it and it provides an extra layer of protection,” Dr. Labos explained to The Sam Laprade Show on Monday, March 21. “And there are still people getting sick with COVID, so wearing a mask helps and there is literally no downside.”
“It’s mildly uncomfortable for some people but most people tolerate it quite well,” he said.
Dr. Labos cautioned that international travel and fewer travel restrictions could prompt a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, especially as people are returning from March break vacations.
“So it’s not inconceivable that we are going to see the importation of COVID cases and that that may fuel the surge cases here coupled with the fact that we’re also decreasing public health measure internally in Canada,” he explained. “So, I think it’s very likely that we’re going to see a spike in cases.”
If a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases develops, Labos said there is a lot of uncertainty as to how mild or severe those cases could actually be. Adding to the uncertainty, a new variant dubbed BA-2, a sub-variant of the original Omicron strain, leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
“That’s going to be the big question which is: is it different enough that it could cause us new problems?” he said. “Because if it’s very very similar, then in theory the vaccines are going to be equally effective against it, and people shouldn’t be re-infected with BA-2, so if that’s the case we should be in relatively good (hands).”
Dr. Labos said it’s unclear if there is a risk of BA-2 infection for people who have already been infected with Omicron.
You can listen to Dr. Labos’ full conversation below: