B.C. will have to live with COVID-19 until vaccine becomes available, says doctor

B.C. will have to live with COVID-19 until vaccine becomes available, says doctor

After months of effort trying to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the threat of a second wave is on the horizon following a rise of new cases in B.C.

Dr. Junling Ma, a mathematics and statistics professor at the University of Victoria who studies the spread of infectious diseases, says he isn’t surprised to see a surge in COVID cases once more.

“Right now with the restart of the economy, more people come back to work, more people go to restaurants and that increases the transmission in the population,” said Dr. Ma.

If a second wave does hit, experts point to an already alarming situation in Victoria that could get even worse.

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“More people will be on the street, sleeping rough,” explains Dr. Anne Nguyen, who started the Victoria Inner City COVID Response. “Typically if there’s an outbreak in a congregate living situation it may have to go on lockdown, so you’ll have more people on the street. It will be more difficult to access services.”

A second wave or not, Nguyen expects coronavirus to stick around for the long haul.

“Interestingly from a health care perspective, we’re thinking of COVID not so much as a second wave, but a slow burn which is that until there is a vaccine, which is likely a year to two years away. COVID-19 is something that we’re going to have to live with,” said Nguyen.

But there are some positive aspects. Ma says this time, it might be slightly easier to manage COVID because of our past experience with it.

“The good thing is right now the increase of the cases is much slower than the first wave we experienced, so that gives us more time to control the virus. So it really depends on how the public reacts to the situation,” said Ma.

Regardless of a second wave, health officials urge everyone to wear a mask in tight spaces, maintain physical distance and avoid hosting large gatherings.

READ MORE: Mask wearing to become routine as COVID-19 cases increase

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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