Friday, March 13, 2020
Covid-19: How To Prevent Our Hospitals From Collapsing
The great Canadian cartoonist Michael de Adder drew that one seventeen years ago, during the SARS outbreak. But it works just as well today.
For it reflects what many people all over Canada are feeling about the latest killer virus, Covid-19, as it keeps ramping up.
Shock. Fear. Panic. Stunned confusion. Madness.
But as for me, I just hope Canadians can be made to understand one of the biggest lessons of SARS:
Protect our hospitals and health workers, or watch a pandemic turn into a living nightmare.
During the SARS crisis the virus was able to make its way into some hospitals, and as a result almost fifty percent of those infected were health care workers. Some departments and hospitals had to be shutdown over and over again.
If anything near the same thing happens with the much larger Covid-19 threat, the whole system could collapse.
And the best way to try to ensure that doesn't happen is by flattening this curve...
I know we have all heard that message over and over again, but it's so important. If we can't do what we absolutely must do, we really could see hospitals collapse like they already are in Italy.
The mayor of one town complained that doctors were forced to decide not to treat the very old, leaving them to die. In another town, patients with coronavirus-caused pneumonia were being sent home. Elsewhere, a nurse collapsed with her mask on, her photograph becoming a symbol of overwhelmed medical staff.
We could risk ending up in this Italian doctor's nightmare world.
“The war has literally exploded and battles are uninterrupted day and night. But now that need for beds has arrived in all its drama. One after the other the departments that had been emptied fill up at an impressive pace.
“The boards with the names of the patients, of different colors depending on the operating unit, are now all red and instead of surgery you see the diagnosis, which is always the damned same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia.”
“Cases are multiplying, we arrive at a rate of 15-20 admissions per day all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the E.R. is collapsing.”
As well as forcing doctors to make the most brutal of choices.
Today, Italy has 10,149 cases of the coronavirus. There are now simply too many patients for each one of them to receive adequate care. Doctors and nurses are unable to tend to everybody. They lack machines to ventilate all those gasping for air.
Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, will be left to die.
It's a depressing thought, but it doesn't have to be as bad as that in Canada, as long as we can act like Canadians should.
Flatten that curve, protect hospitals and health workers...
And they will be there for us, if we ever need them.
So if you think you have been exposed, don't swarm emergency departments or doctors offices. Call ahead, or call public health numbers to find out where you can get tested.
Practice social distancing, avoid crowds.
Try not to panic...
Try to cling to your sense of humour.
And remember, if Italians can sing about their predicament, dammit so can we...
Labels: Coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, health workers, medicine, SARS
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#FlattenTheCurve is definitely important, but arguably just as much is don't EVER vote for sadistic Cons who slash healthcare!!! Much of the "burden" is the result of cuts from the likes of Kenney and Ford. You're so lucky you still have Trudeau and his team, otherwise the results could have been a catastrophe of Trumpian proportions. Scheer would appoint a God Squad like Pence, and the coronavirus would be another gay panic. The "cure" would come in the form of conversion camps, body bags, and chocolate milk.
I hope you're doing OK, Simon. I'm really, really, really sorry about the impact that Covidfefe-45 and his staggering selfishness and incompetence is having on you guys up there. I hope Sophie gets better, and that Justin and the fam stay well, especially Margaret as she was with Sophie in the U.K. and is in the risk-factor age range. The response from the Trudeau-bashers to the news of Sophie's illness was just vile and unacceptable. As far as I'm concerned, these people should be permanently quarantined on an ice floe. You take care of your health, because Canada needs people like you to beat back the trolls and conspiracy theorists all the more so at times like these.
Protect our hospitals and health workers,
One of the best things I have seen
Well said, Simon. Words of wisdom we all need to adhere to.
Hi Jackie....I'm fine just a little tired. I had to do some stuff for my brother after he had to be quarantined after being exposed to the Covid-19 virus, while skiing at his fancy chalet in Switzerland. It doesn't look like him and his wife and kids are going to get sick, but I need a week in bed. As for my post, I decided to leave politics out of it because I want as many people as possible to get the message about the need to protect our hospitals and health workers. But I'll be back bashing the Cons as soon as I recover...
Hi jrkrideau....Thank you. After being out of the loop for about a week I wanted everyone to know what I consider to be the greatest challenge facing us. For unless we can take the pressure off our hospitals and protect those who work in them, we could face something similar to what is happening in Italy. We have an excellent health system, but no health system can survive if it's swamped. And we can all do something about that...l
.. Simon, the public was not told that COVID-19 had 'sustained surface transmission capability' .. why ? I don't know. But now we do know.. and that wearing a mask or being around groups smaller than 250 people is beyond laughable as far as not becoming infected. The City of Toronto is essentially shutting down, including 'all non essential public services'.. ie public libraries, rec centres, daycare.. you name it. The entire worldwide music business related to public performances, touring etc.. over for now.. entire Economies are collapsing. You yourself are likely to be infected, as will I. You are in the prime of life category.. likely will suffer mild symptoms.. 10 days maybe. I am in the extreme danger group.. haha.. 'old'.
The USA of course is screwed.. perhaps worse than any country on Spaceship Earth. That's on Trump, the GOP Party and Senate primarily. Its well documented why.
That aside.. this article is a 'Must Read' provides context re other pandemics as well.. And remember.. its about how rapid the contagion spreads.. that earns the 'pandemic' label - not the mortality or severity.
Keep on keepin on Simon !
Thanks for the post Simon, the strategy of reducing the Covid 19 spread rate in order to keep from overwhelming our health care system so they can save lives cannot be repeated often enough.
Although Trump tried to distort Covid 19 reality with 'hoax' and 'Dem plot' he had to abandon constructing the alternative reality force field for now but I suspect as time moves on the comrades and Cons will try again regardless of the number of lives it will cost in the future. Why learn from experience and invest in the future when it is much simpler to gain allegiance by blaming someone.
Netflix sent me a memo.....film Contagion is now airing!
I see the slogan "Flatten the curve" a lot and since I tend to work with data it makes almost instinctive sense to me but for those who do not I wonder if my analogy to rainfall makes sense.
If we get 60 cm (24 inches) of rain a year spread over 12 months then we have no problem. If we get 60 cm (24 inches) in 24 hours we are #%#@$#.
And this is what our health services are facing. If everything we can do will slow down the rain (i.e. flatten the curve) then we should be doing it.
Hi JD...Thanks. I hope that we can all do what is right. We have finally reached the stage where we are all in it together. If we all do what we must this pandemic could eventually be just a bad memory. If we don't it could be the worst thing we have ever known...
Hi jrkrideau....I think your rainfall analogy makes a lot of sense. Peak rainfall can cause floods, peak corona has the potential to cause an ocean of misery. And if frontline health workers are brought down it could be a holocaust. I am hoping that Canadians will understand that and modify their behaviour, or stronger measures will have to be taken...
Hi salamander....I completely understand how you and other older Cabadians are feeling. I am sick with worry over the seniors in my life. But I do want to point out that many seniors have come down with Covid-19 and lived to tell the tale. And if they can self isolate themselves this nightmare can for most still have a happy ending. As for Covid-19 having sustained surface transmission sustainability I wouldn't worry about that. Regular flu also can contaminate surfaces for a while which just means we have to avoid handling those surfaces or if we can't avoid touching them use a hand sanitizer or wash your hands as soon as you can. The pandemic has revealed a lot about the way humans have organized themselves and their economies, but I am very hopeful that it will help us to make changes we need to make, and am going other things give climate change the big boost it needs. So stay calm, isolate yourself as much as possible, and out of the darkness will come the light...l
Hi RT....Thanks. My worst nightmare has alas been a pandemic that takes out health workers so they can't help others. Or a hospital that is under so much pressure doctors must ration such things as respirators. I had a brief bout with pneumonia when I as a teenager, and I've never forgotten the panicked feeling of not being able to put enough oxygen in my lungs. To see a patient suffering like that and not being able to help them would kill me. As for Trump, his callous behaviour and murderous ignorance makes him in my opinion a candidate for the death penalty. I am a ferocious opponent of the death penalty, but for him not so much...
Hi Marmalade....I don't know if I could watch a movie like Contagion, I suspect it would be too real. So I am holding out for Death in Venice....
Ok people can you handle the truth? What is going down in Italy is comming here. Our cousins to the south are going to be a problem. Their society is built on daily results and these days no results are possible.
About 6 months ago I fractured two vertebrae in a fall. I am back to walking fairly well without a cane but for some reason today I was doing a bit of staggering (no cane) on the way back from the grocery store.
A woman noticed me clinging onto a handy cannon, hailed down a car, and the woman in the car drove me the two blocks to home.
Gee it's tough living in Canada.
1. I live in Kingston. Cannons are common.
Simon, I'm worried. The Con media seems intent upon sabotaging the government with Trudeau in absentia due to self-isolation. They completely ambushed Melanie Joly earlier this evening, and now the pundits are calling for Trudeau's immediate resignation while the most disgusting of trolls are spreading really ugly lies about Trudeau's marriage again. Why are people not listening to public health officials? That includes the border agents, why are they dispensing bad advice to returning travelers? Everybody has a TV, a phone, they know what they're expected to do so why aren't they following best practices? Who is keeping Trudeau in the loop?
Trudeau is expected to have another presser tomorrow, but I'm really scared for what may happen next. I hope the overblown reaction to Melanie's press conference is another "very online" thing (like the overblown online reaction to the Dion report) that doesn't lead to bigger problems for Trudeau and his team, or further panic that could backfire and cause lots more people to get sick.
This almost seems coordinated, just like the railway blockades. How is he supposed to fight a virus while under lock and key, if people won't listen to doctors and the other levels of government are working against him? It's like a political virus attacking the host!
So Justin closed the border but not to Americans, and the media is pouncing on him. Do they not get that he is walking an electrified high wire dealing with the tangerine tyrant, and he could severely punish Canadians by shutting down all commerce -- including food and medical supplies -- because he would take it as a personal affront?
I hate the media, I hate them, they really are the enemy of the people! This is a crisis and all they're doing is taking petty potshots at PMJT to undermine the government and sow distrust among the public! They're setting him up to fail and people will die as a result! Why not, instead of bashing the prime minister with their self-important opinionating and armchair quarterbacking, don't they do their fucking jobs and INFORM THE PUBLIC by reinforcing the more important message that he said today? EVERYONE STAY THE FUCK HOME!
Sorry to chime in again, but the incorrigible behavior from the media is really getting on my nerves. I think just like the most recent U.S. Democratic debate went off without an audience, Trudeau's daily pressers should be done from inside his house without any irritating reporters undermining confidence in the government. The ill-informed snark from the likes of Katy Simpson and Jen Gerson yesterday because Trudeau was late (probably because you know who "took another 40 minute conference off the top") was unacceptable. They didn't even bother to ask about Sophie's well-being or the kids or even his own. Utterly disrespectful. Put them all in a quarantine penalty box behind soundproof Plexiglass and don't let them out. To paraphrase a certain elephant in the bed, we need a complete and total shutdown of all lying press pundits and fake news toilet paper from the failing Globe & Mail and crooked Postmedia until we find out what is going on.
As the esteemed Resident History Major in Resident, with qualifications in that area from the University of Western Ontario Circa 1980 when degrees where handed out on sheepskin not toilet paper, I have to say other than our current anomaly
you would rather have a degree on sheepskin, and it would be worth more than a temporay relief. Wars last for years and mostly people of good skills recover. This may last 6 months at the most in the first wave, and then come back for few years as a announce. Remember West Nile, this is worse but similar. The media blow everything up into WW3 to sell stuff, and I think a few of them should test the first vaccine to see if it works. I work with many people who had their lives total destroyed by politics and war, and they are livin and lovin today after sometimes decades of struggle.
Now here is where I go off the map and dont believe anything you read. First this was a manufactured virus, so someone has the cure they are just waiting until the objective has cleared to give the cure. Second, its a fact that Aids drugs stop the virus cold. Why dont we know this? Aids drugs cost hundreds of thousand of dollars a year. So why not as a first step eliminate those patents, and save the planet??
Hi Jackie, I totally agree with your take. However its a sign that cognitive dissonance is real.
Well, how about that. New reports surfacing that a Canada/U.S. border-closure plan is being finalized, and could be released before the end of this week. A mutual agreement between the Canadian and U.S. governments needed to happen, and now it is. Those knee-jerk impatient reporters and "pundits" have egg on their faces now, but they will never retract or apologize for getting annoyed that Justiiiinnnn didn't dance according to their schedule. Media fail, they jumped the gun and shot themselves in the foot. Someone let Jen Gerson know that there are a lot of people who don't want to see another press conference without a resignation -- HER OWN.
IMHO in two weeks the USA will be the sequel to the lastest Mad Max movie.
Sorry again, again but if you're still reading the comments Simon, perhaps you could send out a tweet blast to your followers asking them to sign this e-petition calling for reforms of the media. Needs 500 signatures in the next 30 days.
OK, I know I'm being repetitive but I had to talk about the utterly shameless new low that the media in their Trudeau derangement syndrome has sunk to. Bob Fife just retweeted a Rupert Murdoch gossip rag with an intentionally baiting headline insinuating that Sophie "infected" Idris Elba with COVID-19. Fife is absolute tabloid trash and the Globe and CTV need to fire him immediately. I might actually send their editorial department an email demanding that they do just that. #CancelFife
Hi Simon and anyone who reads this. I'm sending this out not because I think you aren't taking Covid 19 seriously but I bet you know, as I do, people who think this is "just a flu". Please forward them the news link below. Anyone who thinks the coronavirus is "just a flu" needs to read what this "flu" did to an otherwise healthy, middle-aged man and the devastation it has caused his family and friends. All in a matter of two weeks.
Here in Montréal, we are also singing from our balconies and porches (old houses and especially blocks of flats have balconies here, Livia and I are happy to have two, covered with greenery in the warmer weather.
We also sang in little Parc du Portugal across a narrow little street from Leonard Cohen's Montréal house after he died (remember, this was about the same time as Trump's election).
And will be singing Cohen, Richard Desjardins (a "hard" country-folk singer from Abitibi, a mining region in central-Northern Québec, very popular here and very involved in environmental issues and solidarity with Indigenous peoples) and others.
20:00 (8 p.m. EDT, Montréal)
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