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Murphy's Logic: Are we still following science when it comes to COVID-19?

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COVID-19 has now been with us for close to two-and-a-half years. It’s still making people sick, and it’s still claiming lives.

But just as the virus has changed - mutated to survive - our response to it has also changed.

In the early stages of the pandemic, a single confirmed case was enough to plunge our provinces into lockdown. Now, the last of the mandated public health regulations are being lifted, even as dozens, if not hundreds, of people are still testing positive every day. 

Mind you, we can’t really be sure of that because the data is no longer reported daily, as it once was.

Something else that’s changed is the apparent role of the medical officers of health in making decisions about the way to manage the pandemic. Where once our premiers were seated side-by-side with the doctors, religiously “following the science” in the interest of public health over politics, those same doctors are now seldom seen or heard at all as governments change the rules.

In a democracy, the decisions were always the politicians to make but in the beginning, it was clearly easier for them to let the doctors take the responsibility for tough measures and be given the resulting credit or the blame.

One now gets the sense that we are getting mainly political decisions, driven by considerations that may or may not be strictly scientific.

While it is the politicians’ right and responsibility to make such choices, the public also has the right to access daily case counts and mortality data to ascertain whether the decisions are producing acceptable results.

And those doctors whose opinions were once treated as gospel should be freed and obliged to tell us whether their counsel is now being listened to or overruled.

We need to know whether the politics of the pandemic has now trumped public health.

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