I is now some time since new COVID-19 variants have been identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. These new variants are more transmissible and therefore more dangerous, though whether they cause more severe disease is not yet certain. As Manitoba Liberals we continue to be concerned about efforts which need to be taken to prevent such new variants from coming to our province. We know that new variants have been detected in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. In Ontario a new variant has been identified in an outbreak in Barrie. Action to prevent such variants coming to Manitoba should have already been taken 10 days ago. As well, Manitobans deserve answers to a number of questions concerning these new variants and the Manitoba situation. Our letter below was sent January 15, and we still have not had a reply to most of these questions, although public health has indicated that as of January 22, there had been no new variants detected in Manitoba. The time to act to stop transmission to Manitoba was ten days ago. We need to know more precisely why Manitoba Public Health is not taking additional measures with respect to people coming from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to prevent transmission from these locations where the COVID variants have been identified.
Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March. South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory. The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions. This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14. Manitoba ( red line ) started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then. South Dakota ( blue line ) has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4. Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations