COVID-19: How 4th wave has hit N.B. and N.S. differently and the lessons to learn from it

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The fourth wave of COVID-19 has affected the neighboring provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in different ways.

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While Nova Scotia has seen a slight increase in cases compared to the summer, New Brunswick is seeing an unprecedented increase in community spread, hospitalizations and deaths.

Active cases in the province pushed past 1,000 early last week – the most active cases since the pandemic began.


While there are a number of factors that can contribute to this, easing public health measures as quickly as possible may be a major one.

New Brunswick lifted COVID-19 restrictions, including gathering limits and masking mandates, back in July. The province previously aimed to vaccinate 75 percent of eligible residents before lifting the ban, but had not hit that goalpost either.

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To make matters worse, the province saw a slowdown in vaccination rates after the green phase was announced.

This was all magnified by the fact that the delta version is more easily broadcastable.

Last month, as cases continued to mount in New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs said he was “not very happy” about the situation and signaled regret for moving the province into the green phase of reopening plans.

“Throughout my life, there have been times that I would have done things differently and yes, could this be one of them? Backwards,” he said on September 24.

“Right now, we are reacting to the situation we are in.”

So, what separates the provinces?

Nova Scotia-based infectious disease specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett credits Nova Scotia’s success in keeping some restrictions, including a public mask mandate and border controls.

“And we’ve done some more testing, in addition to keeping some gathering limits and slowing to reopen some social and social businesses,” Barrett said during an interview last Thursday.

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“Basically, there was less opportunity for the virus to be transferred, and so it moved less. And when it was gone, we knew where it was. “

But she cautioned that what is happening in New Brunswick is not isolated, and that other provinces have also gone through their own ups and downs with the pandemic.

I think there are some cautionary tales in our country as a whole. Initially, Quebec and Ontario did some things differently – used fewer public health measures, removed them more quickly. And they saw a big wave three, wave four,” she said.

“(New Brunswick) hasn’t done that. They’ve done a lot more. I’d like to call it a Nova Scotia-style approach, and they’re seeing their curves flatten. It’s partly (due to) vaccination.” But they also have a little more discretion for their public health measures.”

Restrictions should be kept till Christmas

While Nova Scotia is currently in a good shape, Barrett warns that this is not the time to let our guard down.

Notably, the same precautions taken during Thanksgiving – which include limiting a gathering of 25 people indoors, and frequent masking in public places – must be maintained through Christmas.

“Then when we get to spring, we go through this next bit, we can talk about some really serious change,” she said.

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“We saw it in other parts of the country, in the world. And I think every expert on spreading the virus has said the same thing. So, I think in Nova Scotia, we’re still very open. We do a lot. People are able to socialize and see some family,” she said.

According to Barrett, the main thing is that children under the age of 12 will be vaccinated.

This is especially evident in Nova Scotia with an increasing number of school exposure reports, particularly in the central region, where public health has stated that there is community spread.

Parents of children who are not eligible for vaccination have been advocating for better communication with the province since the start of the school year. Nova Scotia has since resumed publicly releasing data on school exposure, temporarily closing two schools in Halifax and Dartmouth that had repeated cases, and grade 6 in pre-primary Send rapid test kits to the students of

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Currently, Pfizer has submitted preliminary data to Health Canada for its vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11.

The company has already asked US regulators to approve emergency use of its vaccine for that age group.

“This delta (type) of COVID-19 – unless we vaccinate people younger than -12 and we have higher immunity in our vulnerable vaccinated people, we can’t remove all public health measures like masks , a little savvy about huge gatherings inside and promoting vaccination with some testing,” Barrett said.

When New Brunswick could see a ‘major drop’ in cases

Meanwhile, Barrett said he believes it is going to take “a while” for New Brunswick to see a real “downswing” in its COVID-19 activity.

A state of emergency was restored on 24 September and circuit-breaker restrictions were brought in for the hot spots on 8 October, as well as Thanksgiving restrictions that weekend. The province also brought a proof-of-vaccination policy for non-essential businesses and a vaccination mandate for some provincial employees on September 22, including long-term care and child care workers.

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Barrett said the reform would have an incubation period of “several” two weeks.

“I think the people in New Brunswick are like Nova Scotians. They…

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