Damien Contandriopoulos, Authorea » 

By early summer 2021, some jurisdictions – such as Western Canada, the UK, many US states – decreed that the pandemic was over and that preventions measures weren’t needed anymore. Those decisions, explicitly endorsed and defended by public health officials, were announced while international evidence on the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the Delta variant showed that vaccination alone would not prevent further waves of infection. Like clockwork, those “reopening” plans (Bell, 2021; Lafontaine, 2021; Wyton, 2021) paved the way to a brutal 4th wave. A situation made worst by the fact prevention advice remained anchored in debunked theories about droplets and that few (if any) effective prevention measures – such as improved ventilation of indoor public spaces, advice on good masking techniques, limits on large indoor gatherings, etc.– were implemented.

In most Western countries, and in the majority of Canadian provinces, the COVID response symbiotically produced by political actors and public health institutions caused multiple disconnects: between the scientific evidence on COVID transmission and the public health sanctioned advice; between public health and governmental discourses prioritizing the wellbeing of the population and containment strategies focused mostly on economic indicators; and between inclusive discourses putting forward collective sacrifices for a common good and deeply inequitable interventions.

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