Quebec moves back under the fire of criticism

Guillaume Bourgault-Côté,

Marco Bélair-Cirino,

Marie-Eve Cousineau

22: 16

  • Quebec

“We’re listening.” This is the justification given on Friday by Quebec to explain his volte-face in the folder of statistics on the COVID-19, which will eventually be published on a daily basis. It has, in fact, just as the government regulates an ear: the concert of the critics was unanimous.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has always been transparent, has written the new minister of Health, Christian Dubé, in a short message announcing the change of position. We will continue to be so.”


The lack of transparency was precisely what many criticized the decision announced Wednesday not to make a single weekly review of the evolution of the COVID (cases, deaths, hospitalizations, etc.).

The national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, had argued Thursday that it was not a “decision to hide anything “, and that it would “be more stable “. “This is not because they do not publish [the data] that we do not look at “.

On Friday, he said that they have not “problem in back”. According to him, it is a decision “joint” of “governance” between Quebec and the public health. “I do entêterai not […]. The people have responded, probably more than what I thought, but there is no problem, the numbers are going to be there.”

And many more, have responded to a number of researchers and stakeholders. “They have done well to rétropédaler, writes Louise Potvin, director of the research Institute of public health of the University of Montreal. When you are sick, you want to see your doctor every day.”

Dr. Quoc Dinh Nguyen, who heads the committee of experts appointed by Québec to address the crisis in NURSING homes, also welcomed the change of direction of the government. “I think that the data [day to day], it is useful, he said. This can help them to make good decisions, and not just within the government. “

The epidemiologist Benedict Mass (University of Montreal) said earlier in the day that publish the data once a week would be “the opposite of transparency and in the public interest”.

“As a researcher, I [would be found] in the dark for seven days. I [would have] so more [been] able to adjust projections and trends in everyday life. We are approaching a critical period where the effects of the déconfinement could appear from mid-July: if there is a period in which [it is important] to have the data at the daily, this is it.”

Caroline Quach-Thanh, microbiologist-infectiologist at Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine, had also criticized the original decision, “especially in a context where we are in the process of déconfiner very widely”.

“In an era of open data, it is expected that the data collected will be published in real time and publicly, she thinks. Close the data access between two waves of COVID-19, [it was] irresponsible. “

She said she was a real need to access such data: they are used in particular to determine whether young patients hospitalized for extended periods may be granted a temporary leave of absence to be home with their family.

A mistake, said Anglade

On the political level, the head liberal, Dominique Anglade, has highlighted a trait that the minister Dubé had made “an error. It fixes it. It has declined.” It has asked the government caquiste put a lot of emphasis on transparency and preparation,” by the coronavirus to make a new offensive.

Ms. Anglade regarded as “unacceptable” the fact of passing the weekly data — so much that it was the “first decision” of importance, taken under the direction of the minister Dubé. “People have the right to know what is happening on a daily basis, so let’s see!”, she argued before the announcement of the turnaround.

According to the pq Joël Arseneau, the publication “figures for the day-to-day help to keep the spirit of the pandemic this”. “The virus is always there,” he recalled. The decision “ill-advised” to avoid the view of the Quebec data on the situation of the COVID-19 in Quebec, “a tool that all Canadians have the right”, was contrary to the principles of transparency “the most basic”. “And the argument was not defensible,” according to him.

For its part, Québec solidaire, was asked Friday afternoon that “the population [is] notified immediately if a change of the epidemiological evidence that the situation is deteriorating and that the contamination and death of resuming an upward trend”.

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