Moe 'almost dishonest' in touting improved COVID-19 numbers, Saskatoon prof says
SASKATOON -- On Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe announced the current public health order would be extended to February 19, citing a downward trend in daily case numbers of COVID-19, an increase in recoveries, a lower seven day average and lower active case count.
Kyle Anderson, a PhD and assistant professor in biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology at the University of Saskatchewan disagrees with Moe’s assessment that numbers are going down.
“It's almost dishonest to try and do that and say, ‘Look how much things have improved,’” he said. “There are more new cases coming out every day now than there were when we first started those guidelines.”
Anderson posted numbers on social media that show Saskatchewan has seen increases in incidences, average cases a day, positivity percentage, active cases in a 10 day span, and hospitalizations.
“Yes, it's down from that peak that we saw the first week after January, but that's sort of like going on a diet and saying ‘I started at 200 pounds, and then after I was on the diet, I went up to 240, and now I'm down to 210.’”
A survey (https://spheru.ca/covid-19/socialcontours/covid-19-results.php) done by the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit shows nearly 67 per cent of Saskatchewan respondents say current restrictions don’t go far enough to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday Moe said active cases were down to 2,655 and active cases were at the lowest level since Nov. 21 and down 40 per cent from a peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7.
Anderson believes the province should be more explicit about its strategies and targets when imposing restrictions.
“Is it that we're trying to flatten the curve, or is it that we're just trying to not overload the system right now, and right now it looks like we're just trying to go for not overloading things,” he said.
Simply implementing more restrictions may not stop those who are already breaking them, he said.
“That's where that enforcement part comes in, where maybe you can convince them through education, maybe you need to do it through enforcement, but just having more rules, blanket, apply to everyone, probably won't achieve those goals.”
On Tuesday the province handed down $14,000 fines to two Saskatoon establishments, Crazy Cactus and Crackers, as well as Stats Cocktails in Regina, for failing to abide by the public health orders.