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Ottawa epidemiology prof criticizes government, citizens' COVID-19 response

"The message has been enunciated clearly: keep two metres' distance between yourselves and others," says Amir Attaran. "Why can't people simply do this?"
covid-19 virus coronavirus
COVID-19. Photo/ The Canadian Press.

An Ottawa professor of epidemiology has some harsh criticism of the way the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled, by both governments and citizens.

Amir Attaran, a professor in the faculties of law and the school of epidemiology and public health at the University of Ottawa, points to other countries that had much higher case counts and have seen their numbers of new cases sharply decline.

"Everyone knows it's better to tear off the band-aid than stretch it out and prolong the pain," said Attaran. "Well, we haven't torn off the band-aid."

Ontario has recently seen around 400 new cases each day, and Attaran thinks the province began easing restrictions and re-opening its economy too early.

"The approach we're taking of opening up while there is still active, high-level community transmission in Ontario is only increasing our pain," Attaran told Ottawa Today with Mark Sutcliffe on 1310 NEWS. "It's only making this thing last longer, it's only killing more of us, and it's our fault; that's the hard part to take."

Attaran's criticisms also include our individual responses to the virus, government restrictions and advice from health officials.

"I saw a large group of parents and children playing in the street, probably about 15 of them; was there any physical distancing going on? No," said Attaran. He argues that continuing to diligently practice physical distancing is critical to beating COVID-19.

"The message has been enunciated clearly: keep two metres' distance between yourselves and others. Why can't people simply do this?"

Jason White

About the Author: Jason White

Jason is an award-winning reporter at CityNews Ottawa. He brings about two decades of experience in news, with stops in Halifax and Toronto.
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