Montreal needs a proactive lockdown to ward off rise in variants: medical experts
MONTREAL -- As parts of Quebec face tighter COVID-19 restrictions, calls are multiplying for Montreal to enter into another strict lockdown, too.
While some Montrealers can't bear the thought of it, experts say with other parts of the country already struggling to contain the more rapidly-spreading variants, the same is likely in store for the local region.
It's a question of whether to react now or wait until it hits, said cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos.
"When you start to see cases going up, those represent infections that happened between one and two weeks ago," he explained. "So if we want to be safe, if we want to be ahead of the curve, it might be a good idea to shut things down proactively, because looking around this country, we are seeing the situation get worse, and with the rise in variants, it's probably better to shut things down in advance."
Since Friday, a group of doctors has been pushing to lock down Montreal. They want non-essential businesses closed and schools returning to distance learning.
The push comes because doctors say they're now seeing younger patients with no pre-existing medical conditions being admitted to hospital.
"The [B.1.1.7] British variant is already there," said Dr. Amir Khadir, the former politician who now serves as a physician at Pierre-Le Gardeur hospital in Terrebonne. "We know that the British variant is much more contagious and that British variant is all over the place in Montreal island and in the surroundings. And we don't need to get our statistics high before implementing measures that we know we'll have to do."
Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted Monday that officials are keeping a close eye on the spread and noted that the situation in Montreal's ICUs "is fragile."
Quebec Premier François Legault has said he wouldn't rule out taking tougher measures if needed.
LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Should we have a proactive lockdown? Tom Mulcair weighs in.