This is not the end of the COVID-19 crisis in Canada, but it is the end of an unbridled crisis management in Ottawa – or at least an important turning point is reached.
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s chief public health officials formalized Monday: They no longer see the need to give Canadians daily updates on the spread of the pandemic in this country.
Like the virus, they do not disappear completely – and can return at any time. But the steady decline in COVID-19 in Canada, documented in a set of statistical updates also released on Monday, allows the federal government to officially downgrade its emergency management procedures.
A nation largely in the midst of reopening is going to have to wean from daily updates, health conferences and “we are going to get through” the assurances that we are used to receiving from the capital since March.
We still have to keep our physical distance from each other, but we will do so with a greater distance from emergency managers in Ottawa.
Trudeau ventured to talk about the lessons learned on Monday, perhaps signaling that his government’s attention to COVID-19 is moving from frightening forecasts to back thinking.
“There are certainly a lot of things we could have done differently,” Trudeau said Monday during his briefing outside Rideau Cottage, which will no longer be a daily task.
“Some things we could have done earlier. Some things we could have done a little later, “said the Prime Minister without giving further details, noting that there was initially no time in this crisis to do more than respond.
Now, however, Trudeau has said that an analysis of Ottawa’s reaction is underway. “These reflections, of course, are underway and will continue to be so that we are better positioned for a potential second wave,” he said.
Several weeks ago, as the number of viruses and deaths increased, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada said that Canada could not know when the worst would have happened in the COVID crisis- 19 until well after that point was reached. Monday may have been that landmark.
Dr. Theresa Tam’s presentation to reporters on Monday was also a reflection, as she and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, talked about the crisis in the past and even asked about the possibility of taking a break this summer. Tam said she could even take some of her own work-life balance advice and reduce the 20 days of work she recorded.
Like the Prime Minister, they weren’t talking about specific lessons learned, but when they talked about how the crisis unfolded, certain themes emerged, which will no doubt be part of any analysis they are currently doing.
COVID-19 has hit the most vulnerable people in Canada the hardest, revealing “social and economic inequalities,” said Tam. The worst epidemics have occurred in long-term care homes and retirement homes, hospitals, correctional facilities, meat processing establishments, agricultural settings and shelters.
The epidemic arrived on a global scale, but took place in a hyper-local way. Or, as Ottawa’s latest statistical modeling presentation said, “National trends reveal a series of regional epidemics.”
The best way to contain the spread of the virus, until there is a vaccine, is to improve contact tracing and screening. Progress has been made since March, public health officials said, but much remains to be done.
The chances of getting the virus are always simple arithmetic: the more people around you, the greater the risk. That risk has not gone away, despite all the discussions Monday about the ratchet emergency status. Trudeau spoke at his next briefing, which will soon be rarer, of how he developed the habit of wearing a mask in public.
The reduced emergency in Ottawa coincides with the start of summer, but it also corresponds to what has been evident for weeks: the public health crisis of the first part of this pandemic is now more of an economic crisis for most Canadians. Even if the Prime Minister and health officials step out of the picture, the continuing economic damage from the pandemic will remain in the limelight. Many of the Prime Minister’s pandemic aid announcements in recent weeks have revolved around long-term research: extending benefits and measures to those whose economic prospects have been devastated.
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Next week, in fact, as governments and politicians start another year after Canada Day, Trudeau and his Minister of Finance will release some sort of economic update, with a lot of white space on what’s at hand. budgetary horizon.
Crisis management as we have known it for about 111 days is disappearing, but not the crisis.
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