Premier Pallister is wrong when he says no one could have predicted the speed and severity of the second wave
Premier Brian Pallister is just wrong in saying yesterday that "Nobody could have predicted the degree to which COVID came fast." He was referring to the speed and severity of the COVID-19 virus spreading this fall in Manitoba.
Contrary to what the Premier says, many people were predicting the Second Wave of the pandemic would be worse than the first. Historically this has often happened with pandemics in the past. In Manitoba in 2009 the H1N1 pandemic was worse in the second wave than during the first wave.
The speed of the pandemic was not a surprise. COVID-19 infections are well known to rise exponentially when adequate containment measures are not in place. In jurisdictions like Italy and New York as well as elsewhere we had examples of sudden explosions of cases when the spread of the virus was increasing exponentially. There was already evidence to suggest that the virus would be worse in winter months, and that spread would be faster as people moved indoors, particularly to low humidity indoor environments. To say that no one was predicting COVID would come to Manitoba and would spread quickly is wrong.
Furthermore, the experience from elsewhere showed that personal care homes were likely to experience major outbreaks if measures were not taken to prevent these. On May 22, Manitoba Liberals specifically called for vigorous efforts to protect personal care homes from experiencing outbreaks in the Second Wave in the fall. Our press release below specifically emphasizes various measures to protect personal care homes including increasing staffing levels, ensuring containment measures are in place and putting in place a well-trained rapid response team. In June and July when these measures should have been put in place, Pallister failed to act. The result - major outbreaks in personal care homes - was sadly predictable.
Manitoba Liberal Press Release May 22, 2020.