HARRIS: Stop the coronavirus incompetence

People wear protective masks as they sit and walk near an overlook at Ritan Park, in Beijing, China, on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Sure, coronavirus is Chinese totalitarianism’s gift to the world. But what is our excuse?

China’s COVID-19 truth suppression has condemned millions worldwide to misery, possible death and certain economic disaster. Infections double every four days. Our earlier INSIGNIS Strategic Research projections of 1.3 million Canadian infectees by mid-May are looking conservative.

But even allowing for Beijing’s malfeasance, Canada and the industrialized west have been criminally incompetent. Months into the crisis, U.S. interagency squabbling produced no reliable test systems. And Italy’s nightmare approaches Canada: a lack of ventilators will condemn many.

In Canada, much of this was avoidable. Since early February, conscientious researchers identified COVID’s fast exponential spread-rate. Yet media and their ill-informed commentators spent weeks downplaying what was so predictable. For weeks, journalists, fearful of being “irresponsible”, and unwilling to do math, nervously interrupted me during interviews, seeking reassurances that warnings were not “alarmist”.

Meanwhile, despite the evidence, Canadian officials lost crucial time. COVID-19 seemed just another exercise in the shallow finessing that is the work of lifer politicians and over-promoted technocrats.

In Ottawa, Canada’s senior health officer squandered precious time and resources campaigning against the proper, inevitable forensic medical focus on the contagion’s Chinese origins. We were instructed that avoiding “discrimination” was the priority.

The bankruptcy of senior Canadian officials is shocking. Weeks ago, scenes of medieval triage in Italian hospitals and elsewhere, of overstuffed cemeteries there, brought neither federal air access shutdowns from coronavirus areas, nor adequate medical supply buildup. And this, as the same government’s screening for rationed testing placed emphasis on candidates’ foreign travel history. Was identity politics keeping air-borders exposed? Could none of our governors multiply two times the number of infected every four days, to see what was – and is – coming?

When the catastrophic reckoning is over – and specialists with the fortitude to speak honestly, say it will take “many, many months” at minimum – Canada must have a different kind of reckoning.

We must demand formal, independent inquiries into how a country’s local, provincial and national leaders – not to mention hospital executives – could for years have spent Canadians into a chasm of debt while leaving us with a Potemkin health infrastructure incapable of dealing with an eminently foreseeable, death-dealing menace.