What Have We Learned from the First 100 Days of COVID?

Joining CUI host Mary W. Rowe for our ongoing series of candid conversations – What have we learned from the first 100 days of COVID? – are Kate Graham, CUI Director of Research; Allison Ashcroft, CUI Regional Lead, Victoria; Michael Redhead Champagne, CUI Regional Lead, Winnipeg; Catherine Craig-St-Louis, CUI Regional Lead, Gatineau; Robert Plitt, CUI Regional Lead, Calgary; and Kourosh Rad, CUI Regional Lead, Halifax.

 

5 Key
Takeaways

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

Diversifying our Data

While not everyone has contracted the disease, everyone has experienced the effects of COVID-19. Allison Ashcroft raised the question of the types of data that we are collecting and looking at all the impacts the pandemic has had on city residents. She used British Columbia (BC) as an example of this where over 400 people have died from drug overdoses directly related to supply restrictions from the pandemic.

Changing our Measurements

Michael Redhead Champagne suggested that we can no longer continue to solely measure the problems we are facing, but that we must also actively seek solutions. He challenged people to look at things that are working during the pandemic and learn how to build on the successes we have had. Michael also brought up how governments have revealed their capacity to support people in need during the pandemic and how they need to use this momentum to build systemic solutions to other problems Canadians face beyond the pandemic.

Solidarity and Resilience 

Neighbourhoods have demonstrated incredible empathy and solidarity in the face of COVID-19. Catherine Craig-St-Louis used women’s shelters as examples of community organizations providing more services to residents and leading the COVID-19 response. The nimbleness of the organizations on the ground has been an inspiration during this time.

The Capacity of Civic Institutions 

Civic institutions and the capacity they can leverage to respond to urban challenges like COVID-19 are where Robert Plitt focused his thoughts and reflections. The University of Calgary, for example, fabricated personal protective equipment and redirected much of their research efforts to aid responses to the pandemic.

Empowering Marginalized Communities

It is important to involve and empower marginalized groups into our conversations. Kourosh Rad brought up that systemic racism is still very alive in our communities. Being vocal over the next 100 days and not settling for bouncing ‘back’ to an old normal will be crucial in the weeks and months to come.