Dr. Tam has been doing #coronavirus
briefings for 12 weeks. @CPHO_Canada
has been remarkably consistent in both her demeanor (calm, professional) and her advice (cautious, evidence-based). As our knowledge of #COVID19
changes, so should policies.
On masks, Dr. Tam has said the same thing since day 1:
They do not protect wearers from infection, they can provide a false sense of security and, because of short supplies, surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for medical personnel. All this remains true.
said Canadians might want to wear a mask in situations wear #PhysicalDistancing
was not possible, she stressed that it prevented the wearer from infecting others and there was growing scientific evidence of asymptomatic transmission. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-tam-offers-new-advice-wear-a-non-medical-mask-when-shopping-or-using/
Critics of Dr. Tam argue there were reports of asymptomatic transmission back in January. True, but you don't change policy based on a single study. And imagine what those same critics would have said if @CPHO_Canada
had called for mask-wearing 12 weeks ago? "Hysterical..."
The role of public health officials is largely to tell the public things they don't want to hear. They will always be accused of acting too slowly or too hastily in about equal measure. On #COVID19
has largely been a voice of calm reason https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/04/02/canadas-top-doctor-voice-of-reason-in-face-of-uncertainty-over-covid-19-fallout-say-politicos-experts/242086
, there are a lot of "shoulda, shoulda" criticisms and whataboutism. We should have closed borders earlier. We should have locked down earlier. We should be like Sweden and keep schools open. Etc. We need to hold public officials to account, but also be fair.
On social media in particular, the comments about @CPHO_Canada
's qualifications feature a disturbing level of sexism and racism. Dr. Tam is a medical doctor with as much expertise handling infectious diseases outbreaks as almost anyone in the world. https://www.who.int/about/who_reform/emergency-capacities/oversight-committee/theresa-tam/en/
's response been perfect? Of course not. But anyone who says they could have predicted what is happening today with any accuracy, even a month ago is, at best, a revisionist and likely delusional. The proverb 'those who live in glass houses...' comes to mind
Changing your mind in changing circumstances is not flip-flopping and not a lack of leadership. It's how you do good science, and how we should shape public policy going forward - being nimble, not rigid. And recognizing #COVID19
is as humbling as it is challenging.
This thread isn't a response to any specific article or person. Many politicians and journalists have criticized @CPHO_Canada
. As someone who makes more than his fair share of unpopular comments, I would also vigorously defend the right of others to express those opinions.
I have received hundreds, perhaps thousands (I've stopped reading) of remarkably similar (read: conspiratorial) responses from bots and trolls in response to my thread on @CPHO_Canada
. That seems to be the modern version of flattery.
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