As the province gets ready to re-implement its mask mandate, one Manitoba virologist says the next wave of COVID-19 isn’t comparable to the others due to one thing: vaccines.
“The vaccines have continued to provide strong protection against severe disease and against hospitalization,” Jason Kindrachuk said.
He also noted that vaccination doesn’t mean people can let down their guard completely.
Kindrachuk said people who have been inoculated can still contract the virus, so being mindful of symptoms and who they spend time with, as well as wearing a mask are still important. However, he reiterated, these are hardly new measures.
“We’ve done this before — it’s tiring, it’s exhausting, it’s depressing,” Kindrachuk said. “The virus is not done with us, so what choice to we have other than to certainly protect those around us.”
He said viruses don’t feed into a narrative we hope to follow, and is happy to see the province being proactive surrounding concerns of the Delta variant.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Piotrowski said people being proactive in their personal life could also ease anxiety surrounding the fourth wave.
“I ended up buying cross-country skis in August, as a way to prepare for the winter,” Piotrowski said.
She advised people to think small-picture and avoid comparing the situation Manitoba is in now, to how it was last August. Instead, Piotrowski said taking things one day at a time is an easier way to cope if they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
“Just take a step back and say ‘wait a second, there are a lot of things that I can still do that are controllable,’” she said.
Though Kindrachuk and Piotrowski both recognize the unknown can be frustrating, Kindrachuk said science is something to rely on.
“The vaccines have not failed — they have continued to withstand the test of time. They continue to withstand the barrage of variants thrown at them,” he said, calling the vaccines a silver lining making the light at the end of the tunnel (to the end of the pandemic) much brighter than it was.
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