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Canada Mandryk: A year of COVID-19 has left us with many lessons unlearned

02:32  13 march  2021
02:32  13 march  2021 Source:   leaderpost.com

Mandryk: Moe offers shot in the arm amid doubts of pandemic handling

  Mandryk: Moe offers shot in the arm amid doubts of pandemic handling While there remain serious problems in Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 fight, Premier Scott Moe’s tone was one of optimism this week. A premier spinning good news isn’t exactly news. That’s what they do … or at least that’s what they do when they’re not blaming their problems on those “privileged” to work from home during this pandemic or the federal government as Moe has consistently done over Canadian vaccine supply issues. But this week our premier A premier spinning good news isn’t exactly news.

Ryan Meili wearing a suit and tie: Saskatchewan Party PremierScott Moe, and NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili during the October election Leaders' Debate where the pandemic response was front and centtre. © Provided by Leader Post Saskatchewan Party PremierScott Moe, and NDP Opposition Leader Ryan Meili during the October election Leaders' Debate where the pandemic response was front and centtre.

About the most surprising thing during this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic was Premier Scott Moe’s bizarre assessment that his government wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Nothing? Really? This unprecedented global pandemic taught us nothing ? There’s nothing that we could have done better up to and including demonstrating a little less hubris?

COVID-19: Canada approves J&J single-dose vaccine; Pfizer speeds up deliveries; Stay-home orders in Toronto area, North Bay to be lifted

  COVID-19: Canada approves J&J single-dose vaccine; Pfizer speeds up deliveries; Stay-home orders in Toronto area, North Bay to be lifted What you need to know, at a glance Canada will get an extra 1.5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this month as deliveries are “ahead of schedule.” Another one million doses — originally set to arrive in the summer — are now expected in both April and May Canada had contracts for six million total doses by the end of March, but with the accelerated shipments, will now receive eight million doses Canada can expect 12.8 million Pfizer doses arriving from April to June. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the fourth COVID-19 shot approved for use in Canada and the only one that requires just a single dose.

Sadly, while there was no shortage of good lessons to be learned in the past year, our politicians too often opted to learn the wrong ones.

Admittedly, this was destined to be a learn-as-we-go process.

While the NDP Opposition now appears to have little forgiveness for former Sask. Party health minister Jim Reiter in their allegation he lied about government preparedness , most of us are less inclined to fault government for not expecting what no one else expected.

That said, government should have at least learned how critical it was in unprecedented circumstances to remove as much politics from decision-making as possible.

That didn’t always happen. Worse, politicians may have learned that — even in a pandemic — there may not be all that many consequences for acting in partisan ways.

Mandryk: Same old health transfer griping a bad look for premiers

  Mandryk: Same old health transfer griping a bad look for premiers One supposes a return to federal/provincial bickering over health-care funding can be seen as somewhat of a return to normalcy in this country where most everything has been far too dominated by a pandemic for a year now. Alas, provincial leaders once again squabbling was anything but reassuring. Perhaps it’s because we all recognize the COVID-19 crisis has likely worsened the long-standing problems in Canadian public health care and there’s too much at stake to tolerate a return to childish whining. As suggested by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, catching up on postponed surgeries and other elements related to acute care will be costly.

Early on, NDP Leader Ryan Meili did attempt a more non-partisan approach, going back to work as a doctor , sending out videos on how to make your own masks and offering to serve Moe in a non-adversarial capacity that might have resulted in better, consensus-based decisions more acceptable to the public.

For this, the electorate awarded Meili’s NDP in the fall election with the same number of seats it had before. Moe — whose premier popularity numbers have him at a third-best-in-the-nation 57 per cent — got a fourth straight Saskatchewan Party majority.

Of course, the election result was more likely related to platforms and policies well beyond the pandemic. That said, it surely didn’t hurt Moe to continually point to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the problem — whether it was not delivering a federal budget or not delivering vaccines more quickly which was something we all could have anticipated.

Mandryk: Moe needs cautious analysis before COVID-19 restrictions lift

  Mandryk: Moe needs cautious analysis before COVID-19 restrictions lift As Premier Scott Moe approaches the first anniversary of the thing most likely to define his political career, he is faced with a difficult choice. It may be even more difficult than he realizes. Moe and his Saskatchewan Party government will decide this week whether or not to remove existing COVID-19 restrictions imposed on Dec. 19. Last week and again on weekend radio talk shows, Moe hinted that he favoured easing those pre-Christmas measures, largely because of progress made reducing the numbers since they peaked in January.

There has been an unfortunate penchant for Moe and other leaders to learn how easy it is to dump onto others decisions for which only politicians are responsible.

Why Saskatchewan chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab and his counterparts across the nation have become targets of abuse has a lot to do with politicians like Moe saying these are chief medical officer (CMO) decisions even though our public health acts don’t give CMOs unilateral authority to enact much of anything.

This consistently produced unhelpful, mixed and contradictory messages between the CMOs and politicians. Besides only serving to water down the credibility of public health officers, it also put Shabab in a potentially downright dangerous situation. He may not say so, but Moe surely regrets this.

Moe should also regret debasing the credibility of all doctors, including the 400 doctors who signed tempered letters simply encouraging him to consider more restrictions.

All of this has contributed to the emergence of anti-lockdown, anti-maskers as a political force, teaching all of us how easy it is to manipulate our cynical, Internet-dominated world and mobilize the ill-informed.

Kramberger: Are West Islanders gearing up for team sports during the pandemic?

  Kramberger: Are West Islanders gearing up for team sports during the pandemic? With pandemic measures being gradually eased by Quebec and spring approaching, there are more demands from the public to allow for organized sports . The province has already announced that extracurricular school activities can resume as of March 15, noting it would be beneficial for the physical and mental health of students who wish to engage in sports or social activities. This decision was made despite a quarter of recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Montreal being school-related. As well, a new measure in force as of this week requires Montreal-area elementary school students to wear pediatric surgical masks in the classroom .

The wrong lessons learned were often ones of half-measure. Saskatchewan did not immediately implement best practices like mask use. And it allowed bars, restaurants and crowded stores to stay partially open to placate critics. Another lesson of this pandemic is compromise isn’t always the solution.

Politicians needed every tool at their avail in the past year to deal with a novel coronavirus that knew no politics, no boundaries and no mercy when it came to our most vulnerable in long-term care . Another lesson we should have learned is unattended problems eventually catch up with us.

We should have learned outbreaks can happen anywhere — from remote northern communities to Hutterite colonies to larger cities. We were never nimble enough to deal with them.

As for what we could have learned in the past year, there are far too many lessons to count.

But our foremost lesson should be that we simply could have done better.

Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

COVID-19: Ontario to widen vaccine program to adults 75 and older; 74 new cases, one new death in Ottawa .
Ontarians 75 years and older can make vaccination appointments through the provincial portal beginning Monday Ottawa registers 74 new COVID-19 cases, one new death Province reports 1,745 new cases, 10 new deaths Canada now expecting total of 9.5 million doses of all approved vaccines by end of March, 36.5 million by end of June Ontarians 75 and older will be able to book appointments for vaccinations beginning on Monday, almost two weeks earlier than initially expected. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Friday morning, noting that half of Ontarians 80-years-old and older have already received a first vaccination, while 1.

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