OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says while there was “lots of laughing” after he uttered the words “speaking moistly” during a coronavirus update back in April, he has no regrets about coining the gross phrase.
The prime minister was asked to revisit the viral clip during an interview with Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese-Mirkovich on Wednesday. Despite his own initial shudder, Trudeau suggested the message behind his novel phrase has endured through the pandemic.
“I knew it was the wrong thing to say but at the same time if that message got passed, it’s a good message,” the prime minister said. “Don’t be breathing on people. Make sure we’re protecting ourselves in keeping distance.”
Trudeau held daily press conferences outside his Ottawa home at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was during an April 7 update when he encouraged Canadians to wear masks and to respect physical-distancing rules to curb community transmission of the virus.
Continuing his message, he had asked Canadians to avoid “speaking moistly” with others — a phrase so unexpectedly off-putting that it hit a chord with viewers, inspiring those more musically inclined to turn it into some catchy songs.
But despite the musical riffs of a public health message going viral, transmissions of COVID-19 have continued to grow.
Canada is currently in a second wave. The number of positive cases are now significantly higher than during the first wave as people increased their number of household contacts, exhausting contact tracers and health-care workers.
During the first wave, when Trudeau first said the words “speaking moistly,” approximately 345 deaths in Canada were linked to COVID-19.
Eight months later, at least 13,659 deaths in Canada have been related to the novel coronavirus as of Dec. 15.
Trudeau suggested he’s fine with his pandemic “speaking moistly” ad-lib because the long-tail message behind it still resonates.
“I’ll take the mockery if it’s saving lives and helping people get through this to any degree.”
While early shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have already made their way across the country to vaccinate health-care workers and long-term care residents, a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign for the general population is still months away.