Opinion Letter from the Governor General about COVID-19

April 2, 2020

OTTAWA— It has been almost three weeks since the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 had become a global pandemic.

Since then, like everyone, you have been following public health directives. You are staying home, kids too. You wash your hands and the surfaces around you. If you develop symptoms, you isolate yourself completely and, if you need to, you head to the hospital. If you have to go out, you avoid contact with others. If you are providing essential work, thank you!

Every day, you watch the news updates and read the papers. And like me, you see that our leaders are taking concrete steps to support the economy and help those in need. Our public health experts are keeping us well informed, giving us the facts clearly and unambiguously. They are telling us what we need to do.

But these reports also put a lot of emphasis on the number of confirmed cases and on the number of deaths.

It’s concerning, and it’s normal to feel that way. The numbers are frightening, and in some countries, absolutely tragic. But the numbers also tell us something else. Something positive.

The numbers tell us that by doing more widespread testing — which is happening right across the country — we can track where the virus is, we can identify where outbreaks are occurring and use that knowledge to implement more targeted and more effective measures to reduce transmission.

The numbers also tell us that even though the situation is very serious, the vast majority of people who get the virus do not die from it. The vast majority of patients recover.

Finally, in a context where the number of tests increases, it is not unexpected that the number of positive cases go up as well. That doesn’t mean that things are getting worse. The more we test, the more we know what is going on, the better we can respond.

Countries are working together right now around the world, and by sharing their experience, they are helping others to fight the virus better. As time goes on, we are learning more about the virus, how it behaves and what needs to be done to counteract it and eventually neutralize it.

In these turbulent times, it is absolutely essential to stay the course, to not get discouraged, to continue to do our part. And to hold fast to news that gives us hope, to the lifelines that are all around us: people who have recovered, the stories of mutual aid and solidarity from every part of Canada, the courage and dedication of health care professionals, our collective resilience.

We are all part of the resistance against the virus. The fight is on!

Julie Payette


Media information:
Natalie Babin Dufresne
Rideau Hall Press Office

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