New COVID technologies don’t guarantee a return to normal: Freeland
There’s little doubt Canada is better prepared to deal with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with new tools and knowledge gained after the first wave of cases subsided. But when it comes to contact tracing, there’s still room for improvement, according to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Freeland said as new technologies and testing methods arrive, Canadians shouldn’t take these as an automatic go-ahead to return to business as usual.
“This notion that as we get new technologies available, we’ll be able to open up our economy more and live with COVID in a more open way. I certainly think that’s something we need to hope for and work towards,” she told BNN Bloomberg in a broadcast interview Wednesday.
“But I’d also just urge us all to be a little bit cautious about the notion that there’s going to be a single, magic technological bullet that allows us to behave completely normal while COVID is in our midst.”
Since the first wave, Canada has introduced the COVID alert app, which has been downloaded nearly five million times across eight provinces. The federal government is also helping to support efforts to scale up contact tracing capacity across all provinces.
But Freeland admits, with perhaps the exception of New Zealand, no country in the world has been able to fully operate their economy regardless of the virus-related technologies they’re using.
To avoid what Freeland calls “permanent economic scarring” from lockdowns, the federal government has rolled out billions of dollars in aid to individuals and businesses to help carry them through to the other side of the pandemic, leaving the country on track to top $1 trillion in debt within the next three years.
Freeland said the aggressive fiscal response is necessary so the economy will be able to “come back roaring faster and more effectively,” while acknowledging virus-related support measures are temporary.
“We understand there are limits and that a prudent government imposes restraints on itself rather than waiting for the bond vigilantes to do that,” she added.