As the pandemic rages on, experts say the Legault government is still not sharing important data that could help contain the crisis. Though its daily reports provide a general summary of recent COVID-19 activity in Quebec, the province isn't sharing some important details, according to a group of researchers, students, and activists called COVID-19 Resources Canada.
They say that the government's reports are missing more in-depth data on cases, the success (or failure) of contact tracing and models that estimate how many people are likely to get sick.
The group has launched a petition calling on the Legault government to release more information on COVID-19. It surpassed 950 signatures Thursday morning as its organizers say greater transparency is needed to earn public trust.
Protecting and saving lives depends on transparency.
COVID-19 Resources Canada
The petition posted on Change.org states that “confusing and inconsistent public safety messages, and missing or incomplete data undermines our collective efforts to contain and reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It's asking the government to release a daily breakdown of tests by region and age group, a better breakdown of cases in the province, the number and location of infected health care workers, and the projected dates when intensive care units could hit capacity.
It’s also calling for more decision-making transparency to let Quebecers know which experts the government is listening to and why, and greater community engagement with non-government organizations.
“Protecting and saving lives depends on transparency; unless Quebec's pandemic response is transparent, clear, accurate, and consistent, countless more Quebecers will fall ill, and more lives will be needlessly lost,” it reads.
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.
LIVE: Federal officials release updated COVID-19 modelling. Watch it here: https://t.co/9GAw2HW1Le
— Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)1627657714.0
"[The forecast] suggests that we are at the start of the Delta-driven fourth wave," Tam said.
However, she said the trajectory could change with rising numbers of fully vaccinated Canadians, as well as the "timing, pace and extent of reopening."
While some resurgence of the virus is expected as cities across Canada ease their public health restrictions, according to Tam, a rapid rise in new COVID-19 cases could mean that the country is reopening too quickly.
The updated modelling data showed that if Canadians increase their daily contacts with others by 25%, Canada could see at least 10,000 new cases daily by September.
Based on data from 11 provinces and territories, Tam said that from mid-December to July 12, only 0.5% of new cases were found in fully vaccinated Canadians. Unvaccinated Canadians made up 89.7% of new cases in the same time period.
In a July 29 tweet, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the province is in a "better position every day" to combat the Delta variant in Quebec.
The "Winning to be Vaccinated!" contest, organized in partnership with Loto-Québec, will be split into two separate contests — one for Quebecers aged 18 and over, and one for Quebec youth between the ages of 12 and 17.
Adults Aged 18+
From August 1 to August 27, the contest will offer a weekly draw of $150,000 in cash prizes among adult participants who received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, for a total value of $600,000.
A $1 million prize for adult participants will be drawn on September 3, among fully vaccinated Quebecers over 18 years old. But there's a catch — you must have received your first dose by August 3, and your second dose by August 31.
Youth Aged 12 to 17
For Quebecers in the youth age group, from August 1 through August 27, Quebec is offering a weekly draw for two scholarships of $10,000 each among those who have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, for a total value of $80,000.
For fully-vaccinated Quebecers in the 12 to 17 age group, Quebec will draw 16 scholarships of $20,000 each on September 3, for a total value of $320,000.
Who's eligible to enter the contest
You've received a COVID-19 vaccine in Quebec
You've had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID 19 and received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
You've received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine recognized by Health Canada outside Quebec and have had the vaccine recognized by the government
You do not work for Quebec's health or finance ministries (those who do are not eligible for the competition).
Official lottery rules will be released sometime before contest registration opens, which is scheduled for July 25. Participants can register by 11:59 p.m. the day before each draw through Quebec's Vaccine Proof Portal.
The account, which amassed over 500,000 followers since its first video last December, is run by three senior citizen influencers and the Quebec government. It's part of a campaign to "encourage the youth" to get COVID-19 vaccines and it's making use of TikTok — or, as it's called in @restepepe's bio: "TicTac."