EDITORIAL: Broadening the COVID conversation

It’s important we broaden the conversation by offering up as much data as possible and empowering everyone to get involved in the discussion.

We rely on the expertise of public health, but we can’t shut out other voices.

Canada’s top public health officials have had a largely uninterrupted run at controlling large parts of our lives since the pandemic began in March.

But now more groups are stepping forward to make their voices heard and to try to take back some of that control over their lives and businesses.

We support that. It’s the right path forward as we learn to live with COVID-19.

To be clear, our health officials used their expertise to navigate truly frightening and uncharted terrain. A global pandemic of this magnitude has not occurred in over a hundred years.

Public health officials acted with the best information available at the time to make decisions about how to save lives, protect the vulnerable and flatten the curve. They are owed our gratitude.

What they are not owed, however, is for us to passively defer to them for all matters for many more months to come.

We’re all in this together, as the refrain goes. This means all voices matter.

Other voices are already coming forward in the form of various business associations and industry groups. They are lobbying for their sectors and voicing their opinions about how to move forward with a wider re-opening of the economy.

We saw this with dance schools in Ontario arguing their case. We’ve seen it with gyms and fitness centres in Quebec banding together.

After Ontario released more detailed COVID-19 data on Thursday, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce stepped forward to both applaud this development but ask for more.

“This is exactly the sort of information decision-makers ought to have in their hands to make informed decisions. It’s unfortunate this apparently wasn’t the case before now,” reads a statement the Chamber posted to social media.

“We are hopeful similar, and expanded, data releases will occur in other jurisdictions and on an ongoing basis. Full information is required to make decisions that accurately target COVID, while minimizing collateral damage to other health considerations and our economy,” they continued.

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