LETTER:Restricting testing, case reporting a dangerous trend

Dear Jason,

In June of 2020, when Covid-19 began an inexorable rise in the U.S., then President Trump claimed the pandemic was an illusion created by an increase in testing. Mr. Trump tweeted that counting “makes us look bad” and so had asked his “people” to “slow the process down”.

To double down, at a White House press conference a week later, the presumptive leader of the free world told reporters, “When you test, you create cases”. Not to expand upon the reckless polarization and chaos such illogic kicked-off, but 824,000 Americans are now dead from this pandemic.

Closer to home… just days ago in Ontario, we suffered a record high 18,445 new Covid-19 cases as the virus ripped through the province. And Hastings Prince Edward Public Health was reporting an unprecedented 1040 active cases; and 371 overall cases in The County. In that context, the province’s Ministry of Education announced that Ontario will cease reporting cases in schools and childcare settings. And school boards across the province confirmed that the Ministry will no longer be collecting case numbers from them.

One can understand the potential stress this presents for parents and educators. How are responsible adults to make decisions about keeping children safe? Especially when children under five are not yet vaccine eligible? In addition, as of December 31st, PCR testing to detect Covid-19 in the entire Ontario population has been restricted. Is this retreat on counting to be a broader provincial trend? In the business world, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are quantifiable measures of performance to gauge progress, assess effectiveness, refine targets, and reveal insights for better decision-making… they are largely about counting. Let’s hope that Queen’s Park is not abandoning basic arithmetic!


Bill Roberts