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David Staples: What measures will best get us through COVID outbreak? No magic answers, Hinshaw says

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It’s worth noting, as Hinshaw pointed out, that even at restaurants it’s often family, friends or associates in the same dining party who are giving the disease to one another. “It’s quite rare to see transmission between dining parties.”

Hinshaw is now being pressured left, right and centre, with online criticism of her increasingly hostile.

I asked her how she’s holding up.

“It is challenging, as with any public figure, to be a focal point for concerns across the spectrum,” she said. “I appreciate when people are respectful in expressing those concerns. It’s definitely more challenging when people are not respectful.”

Criticism comes from all sides, she said. “There are people who are very concerned we are not acting quickly enough and there’s other people who are very concerned about the measures that have been put in place. We have to acknowledge each other’s concerns.

“This is a very complex problem. There’s one single way through it … We have no magic answers. No one in the world has magic answers. All we have is each other and we have to be able to talk to each other and listen to each other to be able to figure out a path forward.”

If we were led by a public health official now promising us a magic bullet or drastic action, I’d be worried. There’s good reason to trust Hinshaw’s balanced and compassionate approach. And, bottom line, her approach has kept open most businesses and all hospitals.

Her main message now? Don’t be that one in 10 infected individual who goes out and about, including to work, after they come down with symptoms.  “I think that’s a big piece,” she said.

This sounds like a measure that will stop us from infecting friends and co-workers, which, again, is the real issue, a massive vector of transmission.

Perhaps more lockdown measures are also in order, but it will be a shame if that’s driven by people not altering their behaviour in simple ways that will benefit us all.



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