During today's press conference, Dr Strang made a couple of statements that immediately caught my attention. It was when he was discussing COVID-19 outside the Atlantic Bubble specifically. I think it goes without saying, that it's absolutely imperative that our Chief Medical Officer is providing us with accurate, factual information and not exaggerating things to help justify measures at home.
Let's do some fact checking.
Statements made by Dr Strang during today's press conference:
1) "We're seeing the 2nd wave in other parts of the country, and that 2nd wave is worse than the 1st"
Fact Check - Claiming one period of time is worse than another period of time purely based on case numbers doesn't make any sense, yet that's what Dr Strang is doing. For anyone who disagrees, I simply ask what you consider worse - 5000 cases and 500 deaths or 10000 cases and 100 deaths? Obviously common sense tells you that the first scenario is worse, even though there are less cases, because the outcomes are worse. Let's look at the numbers. From April 1 through May 30, average daily new cases in Canada were 1357 whilst average daily deaths were 114. Since September 1, average daily cases have been 1139 (1468 since Sept 15) yet average daily deaths have been just 7.6 (10 since Sept 15). Since September 15, daily cases in Canada are up 8% compared to the worst of the first wave, yet deaths are down over 91%. Please also note that testing in Quebec is up by 50-100% compared to April and May and Ontario testing is up by almost 600% from April and nearly 300% since May, yet total cases are up just 8%. The 2nd wave is NOT currently worse than the 1st wave.
2) "It's much easier to control covid if you have everything locked down" - He is referring to measures we had back in March and April.
3) "We've talked to our colleagues in other jurisdictions, they are becoming overwhelmed with public health. If you talk to people in Ontario, they have had so many cases they have stopped contact tracing. The hospitals are full and the ability to provide non-covid care is becoming increasingly difficult"
Fact Check - As of today, 192 people in Ontario are in hospital with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 41 patients are in ICU, 26 are on ventilators. On May 7, Ontario had 1033 COVID-19 patients in hospital. On April 9, 264 were in ICU (that number was 220 on May 7, just to give you an idea of the sustained length of time that volume of people were in ICU daily). Up to 3250 ventilators are available in Ontario. As of today, there are less than 19% of the number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals as there were at the peak in May. There are less than 16% of the number of patients in ICU vs the peak and less than 1% of the ventilators are currently in use. Ontario hospitals are nowhere near capacity and will have no trouble providing care to anyone that needs it for any reason. Source 1 ; Source 2
I don't like to speculate on the motivation behind people's actions, unless it seems abundantly clear. There is no other excuse or reason for giving out this blatant level of misinformation by our own Chief Medical Officer, other than he assumes most will just take his words at face value, and as a result feel ok about the continued rhetoric around the restrictions in Nova Scotia. The more people feel the bubble is keeping them safe, even if the world is falling apart around them, the more they will embrace the actions of the current administration and the less they will question the decisions being made. When you have to resort to flat out lying about what is going on in other parts of the country, in order to justify the measures here at home, all credibility is lost. Something needs to change.