Why Canada Flattened the Curve – and the US Didn’t (Opinion)


Tam, who also sits on an international oversight committee for the World Health Organization (WHO), said “sex can be complicated” during the pandemic and safer sexual activity during Covid-19 involves “Yourself alone”.

The stern warning – echoed Tuesday by Dr Tam amid reports that people are holding large gatherings – “What we don’t want is for this virus to enter an environment where there is a high degree of transmission. , sometimes called super-spread. These are crowded and closed places where people congregate where they are not observing public health measures or where we need to help them adjust their protocols to better manage, ”she said.

“The hardest part is the private functions, the family reunions, where we have to make sure that we are helping the people in this country know what to do to minimize the risk. “His warnings come as Canadians begin to send their children back to school and prepare for another reopening of the economy. With fears of an increase in the number – the daily number of cases in British Columbia climbed to 121 on Friday from 80 in early June – Canadian officials are stepping up the pressure and warning of setbacks on openings if people don’t heed not the rules.

Coordinated, straightforward and straightforward public health messages and parental-type warnings contrast starkly with the United States, where per capita Covid-19 cases are more than five times what they are in Canada.

Perhaps aware of the need to speak directly to young Canadians as pandemic fatigue sets in and a more cavalier attitude sets in, Tam has not mince words – even if it meant breaking our national taboos. In fact, it was exactly the kind of straightforward, straightforward public health message that is lacking in the United States, but has helped to crush the curve north of the border.

“We need to do better at risk communication here in the United States. We know this virus affects every facet of our lives – from what goes on in the bedroom to the kitchen table to our social gatherings, ”Dr. Syra Madad, Senior Director of Special Pathogens at NYC Health and Hospitals, told me. “If you treat it like a taboo or preach abstinence, it won’t work. “

Huge contrasts in the numbers

As of Labor Day Monday, the United States had the highest number of cases and deaths in the world (over 6.3 million and nearly 190,000 respectively). And, in terms of the average number of new infections per day, the United States is currently in a worse situation than during Memorial Day weekend, when there were less than 20,000 new cases per day compared to more than 50,000. new cases on Friday. Currently, the trend of new cases was on the rise in 14 US states, 14 were continuing, and 23 were reporting lower numbers of cases (including the District of Columbia).

Compare that to Canada, where the daily number of Covid-19 cases is less than a quarter of what it was at its peak on May 3 (1,571 versus 247 on Monday).

That’s not to say we haven’t had our blind spots: neglect in long-term care homes, especially in Quebec where more than half of all deaths have occurred in such facilities, has been considered. as a national disgrace and triggered a coroner’s inquest.

There have also been outbreaks on farms in southwestern Ontario (near Michigan), where migrant farm workers are employed and work and live nearby.

Why Canada?

The truth about `` collective immunity ''

There are a number of theories as to why Canada has managed to flatten the Covid-19 curve much better than the United States. The first is that Canadians, who entered confederation with the motto “peace, order and good government”, are much more docile than our neighbors to the south with their attachment to “life, liberty and the search for peace. happiness ”- even if that means potentially killing others. by refusing to wear masks in the name of freedom.

“A lot of Canadians love the rules. If you are at the bank and there are three ATMs open, everyone is lining up behind a teller and waiting their turn to be called. We are, for the most part, rule-makers – – especially in Ottawa, ”Sarah Chown, managing partner of the Metropolitan Brasserie in Ottawa and local president of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association, told me.

It can also be argued that the federal and provincial governments have made it possible for Canadians to respect lockdowns and stay at home by offering them unprecedented and generous financial assistance from the start – including up to C $ 2,000 per month for Canadians without work, as well as more time. paying taxes and mortgage deferrals, allowances for the elderly and wage subsidies for businesses – all of this is a far cry from the limited amounts available south of the border. Even the media received a CDN $ 30 million document from Ottawa in the form of a broadcast fee rebate.

In total, Covid-19 measures helped push the federal deficit to C $ 343.2 billion this year and federal debt to over C $ 1 trillion for the first time, said in July l former Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau.

And all this on top of free public health care, including free testing.

“If compliance means personal or business bankruptcy, people will ignore orders such as lockouts. I suspect this is part of American history of Covid-19 in some areas, ”Canadian political analyst Yaroslav Baran told me.

The desperate 'pandemic' among U.S. veterans

From the start, Canada’s federal and provincial leaders prioritized science over politics and spin, evangelizing the importance of wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, and good hygiene for children. hands, promise to support widespread testing and contact tracing supported by the free downloadable Covid-19 exposure app. Even the recently concluded federal Conservative Party leadership race has been mostly online – having lasted much longer than expected.

And with a possible federal election on the horizon, Elections Canada is bracing for an increase in demand for postal ballots, all without controversy.

A key but painful measure to stem a possible Covid-19 contagion from the United States, the border was closed to all but essential travel on March 22. The shutdown has been extended until September 21, but expect pressure from the Trump administration – which is trying to project a return to normalcy – to open the border ahead of the November election.

Political bromances

Unlike the United States, where political divisiveness and legislative deadlock became commonplace during the pandemic, unusual political ‘bromances’ have sprouted up here in Canada, no greater than that between Ontario Premier Doug Ford of the Conservative Party and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland of the ruling Federal Liberal Party. Referring to his federal colleague with such laudatory terms as “incredible”, Ford seems to take every opportunity to praise their new bonhomie.

Through daily televised briefings – often broadcast simultaneously on the CBC’s national news channel – the pandemic has also turned previously unknown provincial health workers into celebrities in their own right, with Dr. Bonnie Henry in British Columbia, gaining international recognition with a flattering profile in the New York Times and a fan club on social media.

And throughout it all, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has remained at the forefront, filling the airwaves during the initial months of the pandemic with heartwarming daily briefings from Mr. Rogers, assuring Canadians that ” we are in the same boat ”and that the government will be there for them, particularly in terms of financial assistance.

Between friends

It has been said that Canada has no closer friend and ally than the United States. This sentiment was summed up in 1976 with a bicentennial gift book titled Between Friends / Entre Amis. It was an eloquent recognition of all we have in common, including the world’s longest undefended border. Here on Vancouver Island, we breathe the same wildfire haze, share the stewardship of the same endangered marine mammals, and watch the same stars and aircraft trails as our neighbors to the northwest of England. Washington State. Even the Stars and Stripes are in the spotlight in many places alongside the Maple Leaf.

But with the United States being the first Covid-19 hotspot in the world, I can’t remember a time when we were so grateful that we were separated.

America – among friends – come together so that we can end this Covid-19 separation.


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