Quebec doctors call for masks to be mandatory in closed public spaces
A group of Quebec doctors are asking the provincial government to make wearing a mask mandatory in public places where social distancing is not possible. In a press conference at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) on Thursday, epidemiologist Dr. Nima Machouf said that face masks are an "essential tool" that will allow Quebecers to eventually reacquaint themselves with the activities and people who they've been distanced from. The doctors who spoke at the press conference all warned of an impending second wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall. Quebec is the epicenter of Canada's COVID-19 cases, and although the provincial government is opening restaurants and other public gathering spots at the end of the month, doctors are worried that the province is reopening too soon without appropriate guidelines for minimizing further coronavirus spread.
The group of doctors at the press conference recommended that masks be made mandatory throughout Quebec's school system, a demand supported by several of Quebec's medical associations. Dr. Machouf noted that masks are only an effective mechanism in stopping the spread of COVID-19 if at minimum 80% of the population wears them in public. Quebec has already surpassed 5,000 COVID-19 deaths and over 50,000 confirmed cases. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Quebec has declined over the last two weeks, but numbers may rise again without a policy requiring the wearing of masks.