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As the World Health Organization (WHO) pleads with world leaders to end COVID-19 lockdowns globally, Quebec Premier Francois Legault instituted a full lockdown and curfew across the province.

Now the federal government is urging Quebec to ease restrictions.

Following the recent death of Raphael Andre outside a homeless shelter in Montreal – closed (somewhat counterintuitively, given it’s primary purpose to provide shelter) between 9:30 pm and 7:30 am due to COVID-19 restrictions, after an outbreak in December – Liberal MP and Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller is calling upon Quebec Premier Francois Legault to “be more humane”.

Under the current restrictions, those found in violation of the 8:00 pm curfew order are liable for up to $6,000 in fines.

Mr. Andre froze to death in a portable toilet, steps away from his neighbourhood shelter.

Do the current restrictions implemented on January 9 across Quebec make sense – or are we living in an alternate reality where political risk-aversion is running rampant over common sense and the Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a science vacuum?

As reported in a recent Washington Examiner article entitled “WHO official urges world leaders to stop using lockdowns as primary virus control method”, WHO special envoy on COVID-19 Dr. David Nabarro addressed leaders around the world, “We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method.”

Atlanta-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield has said, “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from Covid. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose…  than we are seeing deaths from Covid.”

On October 4, over 6,000 infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists signed the “Great Barrington Declaration” – calling for an end to the global lockdown and citing “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies…”

The signees recommend instead an approach they have termed “Focused Protection”, whereby protection is focused only upon those at highest risk to COVID-19… such as the elderly – who represent over 96% of fatalities in Canada.

In addition to running contrary to the WHO and thousands of medical and epidemiological experts around the world, lockdowns and curfews also violate Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees Mobility Rights to all Canadians, and Section 2 (c) Freedom of Peaceful Assembly.

Why the Draconian measures then?

The lockdown has been reported to be in response to the growing number of cases in Quebec, which are overtaxing the seriously underfunded provincial health care system.

Data from the Government of Quebec website however do not support the stated rationale, “For now, the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is under control in Québec…”

So, what are the numbers exactly? Is the province-wide lockdown supported by hard data?

Data provided by the Quebec Integrated Health and Social Services Centers (CISSS) update on COVID-19 across the Outaouais region, for example, suggest not.

As of January 19, the update shows the following active cases by municipality:

  • Gatineau – 169 (down from 233 on January 19)
  • Papineau – 44 (down from 61)
  • Pontiac – 5 (or less)
  • Collines-de-l’Outaouais – 20 (down from 28)
  • Vallee-de-la-Gatineau – 34 (down from 40)
  • To be determined – 5 or less
  • Total – 272 (down from 369).

To put this into perspective then, the entire Outaouais region is locked down, with an oppressive curfew in place, because 272 people are in quarantine with a flu-like virus.

Within the City of Gatineau, only 169 cases are active.

For those living in Collines-de-l’Outaouais the lockdown may be even harder to swallow. The area includes seven municipalities; Cantley, Chelsea, L’Ange-Gardien, La Peche, Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, Pontiac and Val-des-Monts. Spread over an area of 2,052 sq. km. with a population density of only 24 persons per sq. km., there are only 20 active cases at present – 0.01 cases per sq. km. Hardly a cluster.

More baffling still in Shawville, with only 5 cases across the Pontiac municipality.

The Government of Quebec website shows a total of 1,457 confirmed new cases province-wide as of January 23, with 1,327 hospitalizations (down 56 from the previous day).

CISSS shows a total of 1 active case hospitalized in Gatineau, at the Hull Hospital.

So… if you live in the Outaouais region and are currently suffering from the adverse effects of isolation or loss of income, if you are unable to visit your grandmother who is confined in a senior’s residence, if your children are prohibited from attending school, if your normal recreational and health activities have been cancelled, if your business is going bankrupt, or if you are simply desperate to go to a good restaurant or bar and commune with fellow humans… it’s all because 272 people are quarantined with a flu-like virus… about 0.07 per cent of the population.

Are COVID politics defeating science?

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