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Better data needed to address inequalities exposed by COVID-19: Njoo

Last Updated Oct 14, 2020 at 11:54 am PDT

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Dr. Howard Njoo says collecting better data can help in addressing inequalities the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed

Njoo says collecting data on race and ethnicity for health purposes has been neglected for a long time, but that changed

OTTAWA — Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says collecting better data can help in addressing inequalities the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed.

Speaking at a virtual public health conference today, Njoo says collecting data on race and ethnicity for health purposes has been neglected for a very long time but everyone recognizes its importance now.

Njoo’s superior Dr. Theresa Tam says having more granular data now, during the second wave of COVID-19, makes it possible to adopt more targeted approaches in different areas of the country.

But she says the fatigue that regular people and public health workers alike feel is presenting new challenges.

Tam says there’s a need for a fine balance between maintaining low virus transmission and at the same time minimizing the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Canadian Public Health Association director Richard Musto says all health and social services organizations should use demographic data to understand fully who is affected disproportionately by the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press