At his COVID-19 press update on Thursday, François Legault explained introduced the concept of natural immunity to the novel coronavirus. Gradual deconfinement in Quebec, he explained, would allow "people who are less at risk" to "develop antibodies and be able to become immune." If "everyone stays at home, there's no one else among the immunized people."
"We currently have a virus which is very powerful and the multiplication factor is between two and four," he said.
"If one person infects two people, both people infect four, eight, 16, 32, 64. This is called exponential growth, it goes very quickly."
Should half the population become immune, however, the multiplication factor is diminished.
"Instead of having one, two, four, eight, 16, we're going to have one, one, one, one, one. So you see, the situation is much more under control if we manage to have a part of the population that is immune," said Legault.
By contrast, "if everyone stays home, [...] we find ourselves in a situation where we have to wait for the vaccine, which will arrive in maybe a year, maybe two years. We cannot ask people to stay home for two years."
An extended period of confinement could also lead to a second outbreak.
"The worst thing to do would be to say to people: You all go out at the same time, in September or fall," he explained. "We could imagine, at that time, a wave that would be larger than the wave we have known for a month."
He said gradual deconfinement is "desirable for the health of our society."
The government is already preparing its plan for the reopening of schools and some businesses.
While there won't be anything opening any time soon, the government will present a gradual deconfinement calendar next week.
"We will not open anything until we have the OK of Dr. Arruda and his team. So I just want to be very clear there," stressed Legault.
According to Dr. Arruda, the virus could continue to reappear until a vaccine is widely available. While he's famously wary of projections, he estimated Wednesday the virus could be around until 2022.
"People who are less at risk, people under 60 years old, [...] there may be natural immunity that will prevent a wave. Then, the reason, once again, why we want to avoid the wave, is to avoid losing control in the health network," explained Legault.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 23 avril 2020 à 13 h, la situation est la suivante :
21 838 cas confirmés
158 995… https://t.co/mDuZEspHZq