Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 17, 2020
As COVID-19 surges in Canada, ‘half-hearted’ measures leave ICU staff with sense of ‘dread’: doctor
An Edmonton ICU doctor says the lack of a “definitive, clear plan” has left him and his colleagues with a feeling of “dread” that rising COVID-19 cases could overwhelm hospital capacity.
“We knew this was coming forever; we predicted it,” said Dr. Darren Markland, an intensive care physician and nephrologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
“Our epidemiologists knew it was going to be an issue, and now it’s here and following the predicted curves — and yet the measures are half-hearted and not effective,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.
COVID-19 case numbers in Canada have risen sharply this fall. After flattening the curve of the first wave in spring, the country averaged just over 400 new cases a day from June to the end of August. For the first two weeks of November, that number has climbed to a daily average of more than 4,000.
The second wave has been led by case numbers in Ontario and Quebec, followed by surges in Alberta and Manitoba. Provinces have introduced targeted restrictions to try to curb the spread, but with the exception of Manitoba have so far resisted widescale shutdowns similar to what much of Canada experienced in spring.
Dr. Ann Collins, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said the problem is that there hasn’t “been a co-ordinated plan to address what we’re seeing now.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada has “been looking at evidence on a daily basis about where to go and how to manage this pandemic … but I think where the breakdown has occurred is that that information has not necessarily been brought together in a collaborative way with levels of government,” she said.
“And by that I mean federal, provincial, municipal — right out to the health authorities in the hospitals.”
She said her organization is calling for “all governments [to] come together to come up with the best path forward to protect the health of all Canadians.”
“We need to protect the health and the ability of our front-line health-care workers to care for these patients and for other patients,” she said.
“Those people working in those emergency rooms, in those ICUs, they need to know that someone’s got their back, that they have hope.”
Markland said that Canada had already flattened the curve once, and could do it again.
“If we don’t start doing the right thing and being civil and coming together on this, we will see deaths and loss of family members like we have never seen before, at least in the last several decades,” he said.
“It needs to be done now.” (CBC News)
Around the world, new COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to mount. From Canada to South Korea, every country has responded differently — in some cases, quite significantly, resulting in vastly different outcomes. Curious how different countries are faring? You can chart and compare the progression for jurisdictions that have reported more than 100 cases using CTV’s interactive graphs through the link. (CTV News)