A prominent physician and a key member of Canada COVID-19 Immunity Task Force said the World Health Organization (WHO) puts too much trust in the Chinese data on outbreaks and set back up the response as much as three weeks.
“I think they were a little too respectful. They know from SARS-1 that there had been problems with incomplete reporting,” said Dr. David Naylor CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Thursday.
“I think we lost two to three weeks and I think it is regrettable, and I think that will come to light when the review is done.”
Naylor, a former president of the University of Toronto and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, has been appointed to a federal task force charged with overseeing the coordination of national campaigns blood test to see how far the virus has spread and to estimate the Canadian immunity against the disease.
Another doctor in the task force includes Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Mona Nemer.
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Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos that while the WHO may have placed too much confidence in the Chinese data was released, the delay in getting information out does not result in the loss of “a large amount of time” in the fight against the pandemic.
“I do not think this is a huge amount of lost time,” he said. “People who say that it’s … really change the course of the outbreak is just wrong.”
Despite their missteps, Naylor said Canada does not have to re-examine its relationship with the WHO because it plays an important role in ensuring the global coordination of the pandemic. Instead, Naylor said that the agency needs to be improved through surveillance to ensure they can perform well.
“They are just too important not to be held to a high standard,” he said, “but it also must be supported and be a source of multilateral collaboration that protects us all. So, engaging, listening, continues to be responsible … and make it better.”
The failure of long-term care
Seeing how the Canadian government has responded to the pandemic, Naylor said there have been numerous missteps but he was reluctant to “quarterback chair” crisis because, he said, there will be plenty of time for that later.
But he said he had no reservation indicates a failure to protect the vulnerable, the elderly population in long term care facilities.
“I think that one thing that we missed out on was figuring out how to protect some of the most vulnerable population, it is a miss,” said Naylor.
“Right now I think the acute focus area for everyone should be homes, long term care facilities and seniors, it’s a big miss. And it should be repaired quickly. This is unacceptable, as the prime minister said.”
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