As we endure this lockdown, it’s important to think about the people who are still working and keeping things running. Thoughts must especially go to people working in health care and to others on the front lines who have to deal with the public. Thank you for your service. We should also think about the people whose jobs and businesses have been savaged by the virus and who will not be ‘made whole’ by the government. Lastly, the people forced to live in close proximity such as those in long-term care homes. They are in a precarious position thanks to the false economy of staffing through agencies.
Some good things:
Doug Ford – Since his attack on Pusateri’s, he’s becoming seen as everybody’s premier.
Thank you to Councillor Frances Nunziata, MPP Faisal Hassan and MP Ahmed Hussen for keeping us informed via your newsletters.
Air and noise pollution is down because of reduced road and air traffic along with industrial manufacturing. Vehicle collisions and related deaths and injuries may be down.
The sounds of nature are more evident.
If you are no longer driving to work, your insurance company may give you a break.
Crime may be down.
Civil order has been maintained and people are respecting stay at home and physical distancing orders.
Some bad things:
People are very ill and dying. Families are suffering. Many provinces including Ontario were unprepared despite advanced warning.
There is a severe shortage of the equipment needed to protect health care professionals. This video shows nurses in China preparing to face COVID-19 patients and the astonishing amount of protection required to keep them safe. Ontario is still scrambling to obtain adequate stockpiles of this equipment. By contrast, Alberta began buying PPE in December when they correctly anticipated the pandemic’s arrival in Canada. Where was Ontario’s Ministry of Health at this time? It’s no secret that during a pandemic, huge amounts of PPE and ventilators are needed.
There are too many public health voices across Canada. We need a nation-wide COVID-19 response. This would coordinate the actions, policies and purchasing from all areas of the country.
We applied little from our 2003 SARS experience in Toronto. Pandemic planning was inadequate and interventions ineffective because they were too late. We didn’t have testing at airports to identify those bringing the virus into the country along with early enough mandatory quarantines for all. Police have only recently started charging physical distancing violators.
People in charge of containment don’t seem to be up to the job. It’s great having health departments but one gets a strong impression of unpreparedness and playing catch-up. Take for example the mask debacle. We were first told that masks were ineffective and now apparently they ‘may’ work to prevent an infected person from spreading the virus. Perhaps scarves can be re-purposed. We’re still not testing enough nor are we tracking the spread of the virus intelligently. The other day, Ford was demanding that the province test more people. Perhaps he should have a word with the premier or the health minister.
Nursing and long-term care homes are sitting targets and their under-funding has cost many lives. Many of these institutions obtain support staff from agencies who save money by deliberately not providing full-time employment. Many agency staff are paid low wages, zero benefits and may be required to work in several institutions. This and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) have ensured that infections in care homes have spread rapidly. British Columbia stopped this practice weeks ago. Meanwhile, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is still pondering whether to do the same.
Local businesses are hurting. We should be supporting our local businesses so that they are around once this thing is over.
Some interesting things:
This is an Easter to remember and people will be writing about this pandemic for years.
COVID-19 and its effects will last for a long time; experts predict that there will be further waves of the virus.
It’s interesting that Ford is being a lot more honest with the people. Let’s hope that he is capable of learning from this pandemic and understanding that good government funding is vital when preparing for times like these. He should end the self-publicizing photo-ops of him carting boxes of masks. We have people for that and besides; it’s disingenuous to make political capital out of a tragedy you could have done much more to prevent.
We should copy what they do in Taiwan where the infection has been controlled with superb coordination and a lot less financial disruption. Taiwan has demonstrated that it is vital to set up an intelligent approach to tracking contacts of people with the disease and ensuring compliance with quarantine orders. Sadly, Taiwan is unrecognized by the World Health Organization for political reasons.
I occasionally go for walks around our neighbourhood in Greater Weston™ and it boggles the mind to know that in spite of the quiet streets, most people are home.
Cruise lines may never recover. Norwalk and other infections were always an issue on cruise ships as one’s fellow passengers could not be relied on to wash their hands to protect others. Experience has shown that while this virus is loose, cruise ships can not provide a safe experience either for passengers or the people in the ports they visit. Cruise lines are unlikely to get a large bail-out either since they are registered elsewhere.
Surgical type face-masks may become a common sight in flu season long after COVID-19 has gone. People in Asia know that face-masks work to stem flu-like diseases. At the beginning of the outbreak we were told not to bother. Now, the same people are saying they may be effective to stop an infected person from spreading the disease. At this rate they’ll soon be mandatory.
Update: Global news is reporting a massive COVID-19 outbreak at Humber Heights Retirement Home on Lawrence Avenue and Scarlett Road. Seven residents are dead and twenty-three residents along with fourteen staff are infected. Read more here.