Covid’s sixth wave declining

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Maryam Amini

The hospitalization numbers in the past week show Covid’s sixth wave is declining in Quebec. Reports published on April 28 show 23 new deaths – but hospitalizations dropped by almost 50 patients; work absences by healthcare providers also decreased. Health authorities are hopeful that this wave will be over soon.

GAVI, the vaccine alliance, is an international organization responsible for vaccine distribution around the world; they have stated that every few months there will be a new variant of Covid unless the low vaccination rate in poorer countries is dealt with.

Mask mandate continues

Health minister, Christian Dubé has accepted the recommendation made by Dr Luc Boileau, the interim public health director, to extend the mask mandate in Quebec until mid-May. Boileau said that the decreasing number of hospitalizations is encouraging but because the new variant is very contagious Quebecers need to remain vigilant. He added that keeping the mask mandate in place for two more weeks might help prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Covid vaccination rates

The latest data shows that 99.26% of Quebecers have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine and 87.38 % have at least two doses. Health officials are recommending teenagers 12 to 17 years old, especially the ones with immunocompromised situations, get boosters shots.

Seasonal flu returns

After nearly two years of no other influenza virus circulating, it appears flu season has arrived, albeit months behind schedule. Experts say it’s rare for flu to circulate in April but warn it could create an extra burden on hospitals combined with the sixth wave of Covid. Unlike flu, with Covid there is usually a loss of smell; testing is the only way to know for sure.