Legault’s competitive pandemic posturing: Quebec v Ontario ICU numbers

But we’re not supposed to contrast pandemic fatalities because Quebec counts differently.

On Sunday afternoon, Premier François Legault drew criticism by tweeting a comparison of the numbers of Quebec and Ontario COVID patients currently in the ICU.

Legault and Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé have been competitive in the past when it came to the vaccine rollout — on Thursday Legault conceded that Ontario’s booster rollout has been superior to that of Quebec. But the impression that Legault is bragging about lower ICU numbers is in poor taste and a dubious indicator of the big picture of the pandemic right now, especially given that Quebec has just been Canada’s Omicron hot zone for weeks.

In Legault’s previous tweet, roughly 90 minutes prior, he warned against comparing the numbers of pandemic fatalities across provinces due to the fact that Quebec counts all COVID deaths without factoring in “excess mortality.” This followed news on Saturday that the province had recorded 96 COVID deaths in the previous 24 hours, just 2 short of the pandemic record of 98 in Dec. 2020.

“Beware of comparisons on deaths. Some provinces do not include deaths when the primary cause of death is not COVID. You have to use excess mortality.”

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