Although the vaccination pass will no longer be required from June 20, 2022 to board a plane or train in the country (but still for entry), and the federal government is also making vaccination compulsory for its officials (Who however, may be re-imposed), let’s paint the true picture of COVID-19 in Quebec.
the mortality rate
As of June 19, 2022, the cumulative data for all of Quebec is as follows: 15,462 COVID-19-related deaths () out of a total of 1,077,256 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (), for a calculated mortality rate of 1.44%.
This mortality rate is grossly overestimated, mainly (i) by including in the numerator deaths with and not due to COVID-19, which appear to be just as numerous, and (ii) by excluding asymptomatic or unreported cases in the denominator, infections many times higher than the reported symptomatic infections.
The real picture
What is the real portrait of COVID-19 in Quebec?
Official figures from the Quebec Institute of Statistics and the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), consulted on June 19, 2022, show the following health reality in Quebec:
- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no holiday fire or deployment of the 3rd May except for those aged 70+ during the first wave (April-June 2020) and shortly after the lockdown/lockdowns were imposede vaccine dose (January 2022),
- more than 90% of people aged 70 years who died with or from COVID-19 had two or more pre-existing conditions (),
- 69.2% of those who died were over the age of 80 (), bringing the median age of those who died with or from COVID-19 beyond their age.
- The number of deaths () compared to the number of cases () is 0.07% in people with no pre-existing condition, 6 times higher in the presence of one pre-existing condition (0.4%) and 98 times higher in the presence of two or more pre-existing conditions (6.9%), according to data last updated on May 2, 2022, and
- Between 0 and 5 people under the age of 40 (with less than one underlying condition) have died in Quebec since the pandemic began ().
The analysis of official government data has thus made it possible to reveal two of the main risk factors for complications and deaths from COVID-19 quite early: advanced age and the number of pre-existing conditions, especially obesity.
The threat of COVID-19 was very real, but was it of the magnitude we were told?
Especially since, according to publicly available data on the websites and about 2.1% of hospital admissions between Janah April 2020 and March 31, 2021 in Quebec; 20,616 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 out of a total of 986,607 hospitalizations (this figure was a 17.5% decrease from 1,195,554 hospitalizations in the previous year).
During the worst phase of the crisis, COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked at 5.9% of the total.
Has justified the pandemic reality described above:
- imposing such strict and global health measures, rather than targeted ones, to contain a threat targeting a known category of people?
- not considering the side effects of restrictive health measures as closely as possible?
- Exclude physicians from care and from any benefit-risk assessment of a medical intervention (COVID vaccination) in their patients?
- override the individual’s right to free and informed consent to an ever-experimental injection?
- to resort to mass vaccination of the entire population against a disease that particularly affects the elderly and sick?
- make vaccination compulsory for people who are young, healthy or at no risk of complications from COVID-19?
- Impose compulsory vaccinations on workers (including teleworkers) on pain of dismissal if they refuse?
- restricting the right of access to public places and impeding freedom of movement on trains or planes for people who are not “adequately” vaccinated, while injections do not prevent infection or transmission, but appear to facilitate contagion?
- that a government takes power by itself declaring and maintaining the health emergency and certain measures beyond the emergency period?
- not promoting the maintenance of good health through a healthy lifestyle?
- disallow or even encourage the use of preventive, early or alternative treatments, as other countries have done?
- Professionals and academics who are critical of health measures to muzzle under pressure from their professional association or their institution, under threat of losing their professional rights or their job?
- such intense, polarized and polarizing media coverage that sows fear, anxiety and division? or (xiv) denunciation, fostering the social exclusion of a minority of unvaccinated people and dividing society?
The uncertain and unforeseen threat posed by COVID-19 made it necessary to take precautionary measures, even though it was known before the pandemic hit Quebec that in Italy COVID-19 mostly affected the elderly.
The pandemic has naturally evolved over the months, prompting the government to review certain measures and adapt them to the current health context.
In some cases, however, it has imposed decisions that go against science (e.g. curfews) or have taken far too long, like lifting recent restrictive health measures.
This shows how important it is to depoliticize decisions that interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals, for example through a () in government, so that these decisions are based on scientific knowledge and are made more quickly.
A balance sheet is required
Despite the looming election campaign, in which political parties are likely to avoid returning to this dark period in Quebec’s history, we cannot do without a soul-searching or deep collective reflection to ensure that next time the use of measures is appropriate , is proportionate and appropriate to the threat, and can be adjusted quickly if necessary. It is important to avoid walking away in fear, as is the case every autumn when your nose starts to run.
An assessment of the management of this crisis, which has revealed the limitations, even the shortcomings, of our system and our democratic life is essential.
We owe it to many seniors whom we have not protected, as well as to those whose rights and freedoms have been violated for too long.
Patrick Provost, Professor at Laval University