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'COVID fatigue' wasn't planned for in pandemic modelling, one of Canada's top doctors says

Last Updated Nov 19, 2020 at 7:04 am PST

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

One of Canada's top doctors says COVID fatigue is real, and it wasn't factored into pandemic modelling

Deputy Chief PHO Dr. Howard Njoo says modelling didn't account for how human behaviour would factor into second wave

One of Canada’s top doctors says COVID-19 pandemic modelling didn’t see just how much human behaviour would play into the second wave, adding ‘COVID fatigue’ is real.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Howard Njoo said in the spring, modelling was focused on the technical aspects of the virus.

“Maybe one thing we didn’t take into account, and it’s something we’re learning about, that we’re all suffering from — ‘COVID fatigue,’” Njoo said.

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“We’ve been at this for many months, and so things which made sense, and everyone bought into, you know, wearing a face mask, you know, physical distancing, back in April, May… letting go in the summer, now we’re having that second wave and it’s tough.”

He pointed out the winter won’t make COVID fatigue any easier.

“But how do we get people to understand and appreciate that the situation now is just as severe, if not maybe even worse compared to what we endured in the springtime?” Njoo said.

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As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, Njoo added there is a certain appeal to the idea of a lockdown, but noted officials recognize there are other severe consequences, both social and economic.

B.C. is set to unveil on Thursday new measures to address the rapid spread of COVID-19. The province has been breaking record after record in recent weeks, with social gatherings being blamed for much of the spread.

In Ontario, the premier said new health and safety measures will be announced on Friday, and they will be aimed specifically at the province’s hotspots, Toronto and Peel.

As Canadians wait for a vaccine to be made available, Njoo added we need to stick to what works.