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'Definitely not ready for it, not even close:' uOttawa law and medicine prof on reopening cities

Faculty of Law and the School of Epidemiology Amir Attaran says testing needs to be "large in scope and very very fast," and that's not the case anywhere in Canada right now.
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A professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa can't believe cities and provinces are taking steps to reopen businesses and services before Canada has launched any kind of mass COVID-19 testing plan.

Amir Attaran says testing a lot more people at a much faster rate is the only way governments are going to be able to safely reopen the economy without suffering through a massive second wave of the virus.

"After you reopen, as cases pop up, you [want to be able to] quickly test and isolate the contacts of anyone who is found positive," he explains. "In other words, you want to be ready to play a great big game of whack-a-mole, and catch people and their contacts right away."

The Professor in uOttawa's Faculty of Law and the School of Epidemiology says Canada's COVID-19 testing, frankly, stinks.

"It's shocking to me that Canada, since the beginning of this epidemic, has tested only about 700,000 people," says Attaran. "In Germany, they're laying plans now to reopen and test 900,000 people each week."

If Canada isn't able to significantly up its testing game, the prof thinks we are entering "the disease casino" with all of the reopenings being planned.

Attaran says the only thing standing in the way of getting more testing done is the government -- he doesn't believe it's being prioritized.

"It's not difficult to test. Sure, there are always some challenges of logistics, getting the test personnel and the equipment together, but none of it is that hard to solve as Germany proves, as Norway proves, as New Zealand proves, as Australia proves -- places that have done a better job than us."

Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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