GSL Associate Director discusses Quebec’s COVID-19 Response in Le Devoir

Horacio Arruda

On April 18, GSL Associate Director Patrick Fafard was featured in an article by Le Devoir, discussing Quebec’s COVID-19 response, and in particular, the collaboration between the public health leader National Director of Public Health Horacio Arruda and Premier François Legault.

In the article, Fafard explained that Canada has learned important lessons from SARS but that the current situation cannot be compared to SARS, H1N1, or any other viral outbreak in our lifetime. Speaking about the timing of countermeasures, he argued that Quebec acted well and on time, but that in hindsight, things can always be improved.

Lack of information on the virus’ danger and transmissibility in January and February will have contributed to the challenges Quebec is dealing with now and is reflected in the statements made by public officials at the time, Fafard elaborated further.

“What the authorities said about the contagiousness of the virus was true… at the time when they said it, with what we knew.”
– Patrick Fafard

Discussing the nature of COVID-19 restrictions, Fafard argued that quick actions were taken to maximize the public’s confidence in the crisis leadership. He explained that Legault and Arruda applied the “standard model” of government-public health leader relations, which bases political decisions on science.

To learn more about the standard model, read Patrick Fafard et al.’s 2008 study: “Contested roles of Canada’s Chief Medical Officers of Health”.

Read the full article (in French) here.

Fafard’s quotes were also picked up in this La Presse article.


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