Support for Atlantic bubble remains strong as Canada-wide case numbers surge
HALIFAX -- While other areas of Canada fight a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantic Canada continues to do well in terms of keeping cases under control.
But experts advise that could all change quickly.
“I don’t really think we’re going to keep zero cases,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, a medical doctor and clinician scientist with expertise in infectious disease and human immunology.
“We (Nova Scotia) did have a new case several days ago, but I do think that we can keep a very low number if people are very adherent, very keen to keep their bubble small.”
Even with the low numbers, many Maritimers feel people have become a bit too comfortable at this stage of the pandemic.
“I think there is some complacency developing, particularly in the gathering of large groups,” said one Halifax resident. “I think people are feeling somewhat complacent due to the fact that our province and the Maritimes have been so proactive.”
“I’ve heard people say they’re getting really tired of wearing a mask, but when you look at the news today and see almost 900 cases in Quebec in 24 hours, that’s pretty scary,” said another resident.
While the Maritime provinces reported no new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, the rest of Canada is a different story, with more than 1,300 new cases reported Sunday in Quebec and Ontario alone.
“It really is a cumulative impact,” explained Barrett. “How many people you see and how you see them. If you’re not masked, and you're close, it’s going to count as your bubble, and people have to remember that.”
While restrictions are being reimplemented in Quebec and Ontario, they continue to be lifted in the Maritimes.
Beginning Monday, residents of long-term care homes in Nova Scotia can leave the building to go see their families in homes, so long as the visit is pre-arranged.
No overnight stays will be allowed, and there will be no going beyond the Atlantic bubble.
While some opinion writers across Canada have been critical of the bubble remaining intact, many Maritimers say they hope it is maintained for the foreseeable future.
“I think there is too much risk involved in opening it right now, especially given the rising numbers in the rest of Canada,” said one resident.
“I’m hoping if we keep the Atlantic bubble, we won’t have to become as stringent again, because it’s affecting people's mental health.”