According to one of the state’s top infectious disease experts, the decision to end all COVID-19 restrictions at the end of July was false.
Horizon Health infectious disease expert Dr. Gordon Dau said in a public briefing on Friday afternoon that authorities underestimated the potential spread of the delta variant when it entered the green phase on July 30. I admitted.
“Of course, all of us in this room would agree that it wasn’t the right decision because of the evidence of a rapid increase in the delta virus in the state,” he said.
The Dow was adjacent to Public Health COVID-19 epidemiologist Mathieu Chalifoux, Interim CEO of Holizon Health, Dr. John Dornan, and Vitalité Health Network CEO, Dr. France Desrosiers.
He said the “look back” decision was wrong.
“The big question is, did we do something different? Was it the right decision at the time? It’s always hard to guess because many other jurisdictions made exactly the same mistakes.”
See | Leading Infectious Disease Specialists Say Many Other Jurisdictions Made The Same Mistake
He noted that other jurisdictions, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, the United States and the United Kingdom, have decided to lift restrictions that later turned out to be premature.
“There were many mistakes when you saw it,” he said.
Dow said it was not part of the decision to lift the emergency order and end public health measures, as it only advised the state “until July.” The Pandemic Countermeasures Headquarters to which he belonged was dissolved.
When asked about Dow’s comments at a subsequent press conference, Prime Minister Blaine Higgs said he still believed that the resumption was “the right thing for New Brunswick,” based on government information at the time.
Higgs told reporters that vaccinated visitors were already admitted to the state before the final transition to green, and despite the fact that people could get together, the restrictions were imposed. He said the end gave his family a summer “pardon.”
“I know it’s convenient to try to take a little moment here,” the Prime Minister said.
“Maybe there’s a lot of time in hindsight throughout my life. I think it’s different. And yes, could this be one of them in hindsight?
“But we must reiterate that the decisions we made at the time were based on the facts available, the circumstances in which our state was located, and how we proceeded. Hmm. It’s easy to look back at any time. “
Medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell warned that the number of cases would increase before the reopening on July 30, and said that the increase was expected at the end of the summer, Mr. Higgs said.
Chalifoux did not say on Friday whether the current number exceeds the expected increase.
“It’s growth, it’s happening fast, it’s overwhelming what’s happening now,” he said.
Dow said New Brunswick has one of the most aggressive approaches to COVID anywhere in the world with the goal of completely eliminating the virus.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, he said, these measures have succeeded in stopping seven different outbreaks.
“This, did we undertake this? I would say. I think most New Brunswickers agree with it. Yes, we did …. Now we are trying to do it. That’s what we’re pivoting to. We’re going to put this under control. “
Chalifoux said 35-40 new hospitalizations are expected in the next two weeks, but Dow has since led to “flattening this curve” with ongoing measures and new hospitalizations announced on Friday. He said it should be.
He also stated that vaccination alone could not keep the case covered and that some public health restrictions had to be maintained.
“Our public health measures are incredibly effective and should continue to rely on them as an important layer to apply with vaccination,” he said.
As vaccination rates rise, the state “may lose that layer, but I think the big lesson here is that we need to continue to have a lot of confidence and use in public health interventions.”
Following the briefing, Green Party leader David Kuhn tweeted, “Thanks to Dr. Dow in good faith.”
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