Acknowledging that at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, Canada, we work, learn, and play on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh, and Squamish Coast Salish peoples.
Chapter 1 – Governmental Information Sources for COVID-19
These are the most reliable sources for information on COVID-19 in BC and Canada. The after-report from SARS in Toronto in 2003, chaired by Dr. David Naylor (Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto), laid the groundwork for the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the role of the Chief Public Health Officer (PHO) of Canada. Currently, the Chief PHO of Canada is Doctor Theresa Tam, and the PHO of BC is Doctor Bonnie Henry. Bonnie Henry has authored and co-authored many research papers on the spread of infectious diseases, particularly SARS.
Chapter 3 – How to Spot Bad Sources of Information
There are some good general heuristics for separating good sources of information from bad sources. There is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19, but that does not mean that the information we are getting is useless. It does mean that we need to be very vigilant when evaluating new evidence, and recognize that the decisions that we are making are being done under uncertain conditions, and we do not have the full facts necessary to make a perfectly informed decision.
Just because somebody is a doctor does not mean you should listen to what they say. For example, James Watson has a Nobel Prize for his role in the discovery of the helical structure of DNA. However, his views on race and sex are so ugly and scientifically wrong that the DNA research lab he led has disavowed his views. With regard to Dr. Oz, the acceptable mortality rate at the Vancouver School Board is 0%, not the ‘2 to 3 percent’ figure that Dr. Oz thinks is acceptable. At the end of 2019, I arranged field trips for a total of about 120 students to Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium, and the Vancouver Planetarium. I had to submit paperwork to ensure that the trips were safe and that there was first aid available. I’m not sure what would have happened if I had suggested that there would be a 2-3% mortality rate for the trip, so we should expect 2-4 students will die on the field trips.There definitely would have been a long discussion about my (incredibly poor) judgment and my future as a teacher.
With most countries under various lockdown orders, governments have to decide when and how to reopen public places. There is a fear that reopening too quickly with improper precautions could lead to a second wave of the outbreak. Mathematical models are used to estimate the effects of reducing social distancing.
Many countries are hoping that a vaccine becomes available that will allow their citizens to stop social distancing without fearing another wave of the outbreak. Unfortunately, the development of a vaccine is a risky, time-consuming, and frustrating process.