"If we reached the same rate as last year, it's finished [...] we lift everything, there's no more lockdown."
Quebec kicked off its latest phase of reopenings on January 31 and it's going... well mollo. Though restaurants can reopen and Quebecers can once again host small private gatherings, gyms, spas and bars are still closed.
So far, the government has resisted calls for a full reopening calendar, saying COVID-19 numbers were still too high and the situation in hospitals too fragile to make further commitments.
But in a January 30 appearance on Radio-Canada's Tout le monde en parle, interim National Public Health Director. Dr. Luc Boileau offered at least some indication of how public health officials view the situation, stressing the importance of the widespread receipt of third COVID-19 vaccine doses.
With the booster, he said, "each of us diminishes our risk of developing serious illness [and] being hospitalized. Until now we have not had the same evolution we had last year for the second dose. If people are able to get their booster dose it will change the picture."
"If we reached the same rate as last year, it's finished," the director said definitively. "There's no more, we lift everything, there's no more lockdown."
Asked by host Guy Lepage what incentive there is for Quebecers to get a third dose when not even fully-vaccinated residents are exempt from lockdowns, Dr. Boileau pointed to the exceptional transmissibility of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, suggesting, like Health Minister Christian Dubé before him, that the choice is likely between vaccination and illness.
"If we're not well protected if we don't have [the two doses] and the booster, especially, we will confront the virus. It's inevitable."