Between Jan. 26 and Jan. 30, Monir Taha, an associate medical officer of health with Ottawa Public Health, wrote a series of increasingly agitated e-mails to high-ranking Ontario health officials, outlining concerns about the federal response to the emerging threat of the novel coronavirus.
On the day before Dr. Taha’s first message, Ontario’s chief medical officer had announced a Toronto hospital was treating Canada’s first case of COVID-19. In subsequent media conferences, provincial and federal officials stressed the health care system was well-equipped to contain cases if more appeared. “The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low,” tweeted Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer on Jan. 25.
But Dr. Taha - and other health experts dotted across the country – weren’t so sure.