The Globe has high praise for British Columbia's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last Friday, British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix gave a master class in treating the public like adults. It was a model for any government dealing with a crisis.
First, Dr. Henry walked viewers through the statistical models the province is using, and the reasons why the evidence leads her to believe the province may be on the point of getting the upper hand on COVID-19. Her explanations were clear and careful. There was no obfuscation or bluster.
After Dr. Henry had presented and analyzed the data on the spread of the virus and the public health measures taken, Mr. Dix itemized the province’s key resources – from ventilators to hospital beds – and measured their availability against three scenarios: a modest outbreak (South Korea), medium (China’s Hubei province) and bad (northern Italy).
It inspired confidence. Transparency does that.
A free and transparent flow of data will help win public support and trust. A lot is being asked of Canadians and without public buy-in, Canada will not succeed in bending the curve.
B.C. is an example of doing it right. Others need improvement. In Ontario, journalists are still digging up data that the provincial government should be releasing, and discovering information gaps that may prove costly.Dr. Henry does indeed lay her cards on the table. You don't hear public officials mentioning that Covid-19 will probably return, with a vengeance, in the fall, after lulling us into a false sense of security by receding in the hottest months of summer. You don't hear it from Donald Trump. You don't even hear it from our prime minister. Some of them, especially Trump, even portray it as a "one and done" epidemic.
A quick search of pandemics at the Centers for Disease Control or its counterparts in the UK and Canada, reveals that pandemics come in two, sometimes three waves, over a span of 12 to 18-months. The second wave is typically the most deadly. Getting the public to accept that and prepare for it is a Herculean chore and it will take time. What will our contagion look like this fall? How will our economy cope? What are the chances there will be effective anti-virals in sufficient quantities by the end of summer to blunt the impact of a second wave? How long before there's a vaccine?