According to an epidemiologist the New Brunswick is teetering on a knife-edge as it tries to prevent the COVID-19 from spreading uncontrollably.
University of Toronto professor Dr. David Fisman said that New Brunswick’s current situation is similar to where Manitoba was last fall before the case escalated sharply after months of relatively few infections.
In an email on Thursday, Fisman said that he has been suggesting to people that New Brunswick is on a knife-edge right now and can go either way.
Manitoba, which once used to have some of the lowest infection rates in the country, that quickly became a cautionary tale as the cases rose by several hundred each day by the mid of November.
Fisman also said that certain factors have been hallmarked of big waves in places that previously had a low case count that included the spread of the Covid-19 in schools, meat-packing facilities, the long-term care homes, and amongst the highly mobile young people.
Dalhousie University immunology professor David Kelvin said that reducing the viral transmission amongst the young is the key to controlling the spread of the virus because the youth cases are often asymptomatic.
Moreover, on Tuesday Kelvin said in an email that the strategies such as pop-up rapid testing may further help identify the hot spots among young people.
He also added that more research may be needed to see what lies behind the New Brunswick increase to project where the recent rise in cases is now being headed.
And, added that it could be that New Brunswick is now in the early stages and will continue on the exponential increases in cases. However, it could also be that New Brunswick is just starting to level off, indicating that the cases developed because of socializing during the holidays have plateaued and will fall as socializing events subside subsequently.
The public health official in New Brunswick has reported that 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and over half of ten provinces have been placed at the red level of its COVID-19 recovery plan.
Fisman stated that he has found the province’s interventions lagging and added that shifting between the various levels of the recovery plan is not ideal when being faced with a sharp increase in the number of cases.
Fisman added that he thinks when people are hanging on to de facto COVID free status; it is worth pulling out the stops and having a short hard lockdown, the whole enchilada. It is a significant short-term pain but as Manitoba shows the cost of letting things spiral, it is far more painful.
The total number of cases in New Brunswick remains low at 132 cases per 100000 people but Premier Blaine Higgs said this week that the entire province could move to a lockdown if the current restrictions do not curb the spread of the virus.
The following report has been published as of January 21, 2021.