Translating pandemic data into lessons learned

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13th August 2020

Eric Meslin

The Star


Eric M. Meslin is president and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies, and a member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation COVID-19 Impact Committee

This article is the eighth and last in a series exploring the long-term social impacts of COVID-19, written by members of the Trudeau Foundation COVID-19 Impact Committee.

Disasters and tragedies provide the opportunity to learn: hospitals conduct mortality and morbidity rounds to understand unexpected deaths; transportation authorities dispatch teams to determine why planes or trains crash; environmental protection agencies review spills and outbreaks.

Common to each is the need to identify errors, sometimes to find fault, often to recommend changes in policy or practice that will prevent or reduce the likelihood of a repeat in the future. Some of these recommendations are phrased as lessons learned.


Arguably, we have been at the COVID-19 lesson learning stage for weeks. Many assessments are now underway with more to come, a good sign of willingness to learn. But learning about something is not the same as learning a lesson that will be adopted.

Read the full article on The Star