In the last edition of the Orléans Star, I penned an editorial giving Doug Ford and the provincial government an F- for failing to increase hospital capacity during the ongoing pandemic; for not distributing rapid testing kits provided by the federal government to the province’s long-term care homes and senior care residences; and for failing to provide adequate testing to properly measure the true number of asymptomatic cases in Ontario.
In the name of fairness, the same grade can also be given to Justin Trudeau and the federal government for it’s failure to provide rapid testing in airports and the mishandling of vaccine procurement and distribution thus far.
As far as the former is concerned, the federal government has so far distributed 21 million rapid test kits to the provinces.
The National Post recently reported that “the tests are here and they’ve been available for months.” – Here’s what an effective rapid testing campaign would look like if our health officials made it happen – Feb. 6, 2021.
Ontario has so far received 4.6 million tests, but have used less than a quarter of them.
The rapid tests are not meant to replace lab testing, rather they are meant to be used as a screening tool in senior care residences and schools for instance.
But one area that is seldom mentioned where they could be of immense practical use is in airports. Before the federal government imposed a travel ban to Mexico and the Caribbean, they required travelers to provide a negative antigen test taken three days before they returned to Canada. A rapid test provided on their arrival would be useful in confirming the earlier test, or weeding out possible positive results. Two negative results would allow them to return home without any delay, while a positive rapid test would require them to be quarantined while waiting the results of a laboratory test, such a protocol would allow them to lift the travel ban.
As for the federal government’s mishandling of vaccine procurement and distribution, the numbers don’t lie.
As of last Friday, the federal government had distributed less than 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines since Dec. 14, 89 per cent of which have so far been administered. The high water mark was 48,195 doses administered on Jan. 15. By comparison, the United States is already dispensing 1.5 million doses a day. If you consider we have one-tenth of their population, we should be administering 150,000 doses a day.
According to statistics being kept by the website Our World in Data, 18 other countries have done a better job vaccinating their population than Canada has, including countries like Romania, Chile, Poland and even Brazil.
Vaccinations are a matter of life and death for a lot of people, not to mention our economy. It will also be a matter of life and death for the Trudeau government if it doesn’t turn things around and soon.