The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis

Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’

This is part of a collection of columns on the COVID-19 pandemic that the CBC has prepared ahead of publication. The column in question is by University of Toronto’s health economist Dr. Jennifer Andrews.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers on how many people have died or how many people have been hospitalised or quarantined due to the novel coronavirus have been in the hundreds of thousands – most likely, thousands of times higher than the actual numbers.

In the United States, nearly 20,000 people died due to the virus. China’s death toll was 1.43 million – an average of more than 700 people per day.

In Italy, more than 100,000 people died due to a coronavirus outbreak that spread across Europe and Asia from Italy’s northern regions to the former Soviet empire.

That’s just in Europe and North America – where the virus has spread to more than 30 countries with more than 30 million people. The virus has spread to more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, according to the U.N.’s World Health Organisation.

But the figures for public health that matter to Canadians – for our overall health and well-being – are not that dramatic or that dramatic in most of the world.

What we want to know is where are the deaths due to the virus in Canada, and how far do the numbers from the pandemic in Canada compare to the numbers in other countries?

In the last week, the numbers from Ontario’s health department and the federal government have been somewhat reassuring for Canadians, with a bit under 12 per cent of deaths in total – in spite of the numbers in Italy, China and other countries that are much, much higher.

But, for some in my own country, the numbers are too comforting, and too quick to be accepted by Canadians as true.

On Friday in this column, I wrote how important it is to remember the pandemic is a health crisis, and one that will take a long time to sort out.

When you compare global pandemic numbers to Canadian pandemic numbers, with an average of more than 1,000 deaths each day in Canada, it is impossible that the pandemic will

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