'We've got to be proactive': What we have learned from COVID-19 and how it could prepare us in the future
WINNIPEG -- As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded over the last year, Manitobans, Canadians and people around the world have been able to learn more about the disease thanks to some experts in the field.
For those in Manitoba, Dr. Jason Kindrachuk, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba, has been heavily relied on to help provide some insight on the pandemic.
In an interview with CTV News Kindrachuk reflected on what COVID-19 has taught us about infection control and how this could better prepare us as a society for something in the future.
"We've got to be proactive rather than reactive," he said.
He said looking at viruses and diseases from the past, he had hoped society would be better prepared for something like COVID-19, but he feels like that wasn't the case.
"We see where even small mistakes can have massive ramifications. So, moving forward, I hope that we change that attribute of ours, but we certainly need to do a better job of being proactive."
Focusing on the near future with this pandemic, there are new concerns right now like the COVID-19 variants—two kinds of popped up in Manitoba, the B.1.1.7 first found in the United Kingdom and B.22.214.171.124 which came from South Africa—as well as a possible threat of a third wave hitting.
Kindrachuk said the thing we have to deal with most is complacency.
"We know vaccines are becoming available and I think that makes it very difficult because we have to try to be careful, but we also know that, hopefully, the end of the pandemic is right around the corner."
He said until everyone is able to be vaccinated, society as a whole needs to stay the course that they have been doing for the last year and be cautious.
He also offered some insight about our immune systems and those who might be concerned about what a year of isolation has done and if people could be more susceptible to other diseases once life gets back to normal.
"When we look our immune system, certainly, our immune systems have been built up over years. So the period of time where we have been wearing masks and doing this extra hygiene, that likely isn't going to have a massive effect on our ability to continue to stave off infections as they arise."
He said people will still have antibodies in place for things like the flu, but he added it is hard to know at the same time what the world will have to face next year.