'This has become a broken record,' says infections disease specialist on COVID-19 spiking numbers
MONTREAL -- Quebec broke the record for the daily increase in COVID-19 cases for any province across Canada Saturday when officials reported 2,038 new cases in 24 hours.
Quebec has broken this record many times, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy had another record metaphor in mind when he read today's update.
"This has become a broken record, unfortunately," he said. "We've seen this story in Ontario and Quebec now for the last several weeks. The problem is getting worse."
Quebec now reports 1,005 people are receiving care in the province's hospitals for COVID-19 and 142 of those are in the intensive care ward.
Sharkawy has watched with frustration as citizens scoff at public health measures and view the novel coronavirus pandemic as an inconvenience.
This attitude, he said, has caused infections to continue to rise, and health-care networks to be stretched precariously thin.
"There are too many people who are continuing to view the situation as a nuisance as a hassle as an inconvenience and don't recognize that what it's doing is leading to a public health crisis," he said. "It's taking much needed medical care away from people who need it for non-COVID related issues. It is pushing our system's capacity into a place that is not safe."
(The video of Sharkawy's interview can be viewed at the top of this page).
He said if the general population's attitudes don't change, the situation will only get worse in 2021.
"We've got to change our attitude, We've got to be a lot more responsible to each other," he said. "I'm predicting that we're going to see the worst month of this pandemic in January."
People's reluctance to wear masks, avoid gathering and be in close proximity with one another indoors will only drag out the pandemic more and ironically make it harder for those who feel health measures are an inconvenience.
"It's time that we make some very firm decisions about where we want this to be, how long we want this pandemic to go on," he said. "I'll tell you one thing, the people that are tired of it are doing themselves a disservice. It's going to take longer to get out of this pandemic, the restrictions will continue to get worse and they will be more prolonged in length if we continue to cheat."
Sharkawy said countries like New Zealand and Australia and cities like Ottawa have shown how it's possible to beat the pandemic by banding together and adhering to guidelines.
"They decided they were going to band together," he said. "They weren't going to make decisions that were risky at all. They were going to make some collective sacrifices and they're seeing the dividends."