COMMENTARY: Theresa Tam’s critics are wrong on coronavirus border closures

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Earlier this week, rookie backbench MP and current candidate for Conservative leader Derek Sloan questioned the loyalty of Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, musing aloud if her loyalties were with China over Canada.

The underlying xenophobic sentiment is abhorrent, though that is not the point of this commentary. The crux of what Sloan said in both an initial video posted to Facebook and a subsequent email to supporters — that Tam was wrong on two specific issues: masks and travel bans — have been echoed by some conservative politicians and even some political and opinion journalists.

READ MORE: Belleville, Ont., MP Derek Sloan gets blowback for ‘racist’ comments against Canada’s top doctor

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The issue of masks has been covered extensively by health and science reporters, including in this excellent piece by Ed Yong in the Atlantic.

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The subject of universal mask-wearing to confer protection to the wearer, or to reduce asymptomatic or subclinical spread, is not, as some politicians and media make it seem, a clear black-and-white issue.

One of the more comprehensive looks at mask-wearing was done by science journalist Tara Haelle for Forbes,


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