Canadians aren’t taking any chances when it comes to the pandemic, as more people report wearing masks to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. A new survey by Leger and the nonprofit Association for Canadian Studies reveals that aside from heading off new infections, many fear that a second wave of infections may be as bad – or even worse – than the first one.
Among those who participated in the survey, over half responded that they had worn masks when grocery shopping, while 45 percent said that they had worn masks to go to a pharmacy. People also reported wearing masks to work, during walks, or when riding public transit.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said that masks should be required when riding public transit or entering confined spaces – an indication that Canadians are coming out of their homes and going back to work.
The survey also asked whether a second wave will hit Canada. Currently, the country has 98,958 confirmed cases and 8,064 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In response, 66 percent said they expect a second coronavirus wave to hit the country. Over a third of the respondents expect the second wave to be stronger than the first, while around 40 percent say that it will be just as strong. Despite their answers, more than half were comfortable to see restaurants, hotels and gyms reopen, as long as safety precautions are in place.
“Canadians are being extremely prudent and careful about how they want us to go into sort of this exit strategy of Wave 1, probably because they fear Wave 2 is coming soon,” explained Christian Borque, executive vice president at market research firm Leger. “By no means is this over in Canadians’ minds … Maybe it’s just Canadians being Canadians, being careful about everything.”
In Quebec, nurses and other health workers are pushing for time off this summer, as they anticipate a new surge of coronavirus infections in the fall. Health workers have staged a protest to appeal for their cause. Hospital workers waved placards that say messages like “dead tired,” in response to the challenges they face in Canada’s hardest-hit province.
The province has 53,485 confirmed cases and 5,015 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins. The provincial government has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to extend spring military deployment to support hard-hit nursing homes, where most deaths have taken place.
However, the request to take time off comes on the heels of a massive staffing crunch in the health sector. According to Quebec Premier Francois Legault, the province is in need of over 10,000 health workers, which he plans to recruit through a three-month paid training plan. (Related: Canada closes borders, rolls out aid as country scrambles to keep coronavirus cases down.)
In addition, Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann announced plans to provide healthcare workers with a two-week vacation before a potential wave of new infections hits in the fall.
“It’s going to be very important that these people are well rested to return in the fall, to help us,” she added.
Johanne Riendeau, president of a local nurses’ union in western Montreal, said that many in their ranks have seen their requests delayed because of coronavirus. Despite the new announcement, some health workers have yet to hear an answer to their vacation requests.
“The nurses are burned out,” Riendeau told the Epoch Times.
“We are not machines. We need rest.”
Learn more about the coronavirus outbreak at Pandemic.news.