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Increase in cases: are Montrealers suffering from ‘COVID-19 fatigue’?

Click to play video 'Increase in cases: Are Montrealers suffering from ‘pandemic fatigue?’' Increase in cases: Are Montrealers suffering from ‘pandemic fatigue?’
WATCH: It's been six months since the lockdown when public health officials imposed a series of rules, such as mask-wearing and a limit on private gatherings. On Monday, public health officials said the increase in cases is because some people are not following those rules. There is talk of 'COVID-19 fatigue' but as Gloria Henriquez reports, some say officials also have a role to play.

Washing your hands constantly, thorough cleaning and putting your mask on and off can get a little tiresome after having to do it for months.

“Of course, but you have to,” said Montrealer Mauro Affronti.

But not everyone thinks that way, and Quebec and Montreal public health officials say that’s leading to a big jump in new cases in the province.

Read more: Quebec at beginning of second coronavirus wave as cases jump, top doctor warns

While some are blaming the increase in cases on “COVID-19 fatigue”, others blame it on the rules not being clear.

“Sometimes they are contradictory but we try to do our part,” said Affronti.

According to Dr. Simon Bacon, a behavioural medicine professor at Concordia University, people can get confused when, for example, they hear adults have to wear masks and keep their distance but the same rules don’t apply for children in classrooms.

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Read more: Coronavirus: Montreal-area parent, teacher call for mandatory masks in Quebec classrooms

“That plays into my mind and sort of gives me a bit of the right to say or indirectly, the feeling of the right to say, ‘well, I’m not going to do this,'” Bacon explained.

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Bacon, who is part of a team conducting a study on people’s beliefs and behaviours about COVID-19, says what works best is positive reinforcement.

Read more: Montrealers urged to respect health measures, answer contact tracing calls to stem COVID-19 tide

“Most of the messaging the government has come out with is ‘you need to do these behaviours because if you don’t people will get sick,’ the kind of ‘you’re gonna kill the granny’ messaging,” Bacon said.

“In reality, what people want to see is that by doing these behaviours they’re doing well.”

MUHC Infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton says one person’s actions can go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus.

“This disease should be teaching us loads about how important it is to understand that we are all in this together, that we’re all connected,” Oughton said.

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Coronavirus: Sanctions possible for those who don’t follow contact tracing in Quebec, official says