As fall and winter approach – a season when influenza and other respiratory illnesses abound – public health officials hope COVID-19 controls can prevent a severe spike in infections that could overwhelm the health-care system.
“The scenario that we’re in, and that is likely the best-case scenario for some time to come, is what’s known as the slow burn – where we continue to have sporadic cases and occasional outbreaks but we don’t get to the point where our health-care system is overwhelmed,” says Vivek Goel, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a special adviser to the president and provost who is helping guide the university’s COVID-19 planning efforts.
In episode 24 of his podcast on the pandemic, Goel – a renowned public health expert and founding head of Public Health Ontario, which was set up in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak – says the slow burn scenario will mean learning to live with COVID-19 for some time to come, as it could be years before a global immunization campaign is completed.
“We have to get back to our usual activities with the necessary precautions – staying home if we have symptoms, practising regular hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and wearing a mask when necessary and recommended.”
The COVID-19: What’s Next podcast is created by Goel in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn.
Note: The information in this podcast is current as of the posting date. Listeners should consult their local public health agency for the latest information in their jurisdiction.