Saturday, February 20, 2021

2 Stories: A Doctor on the Covid Ward and Doug Ford


Toronto Life has an emotional piece written by an infectious diseases specialist who works in a Toronto Covid ward:

What differentiates Covid-19 is that it’s hidden, capricious. It’s also extensive in its reach and dangerously infectious, which makes it even more daunting and overwhelming compared to any outbreaks I’ve seen in the past.


The second wave hit Toronto hard and fast, as if we never saw it coming. But many of us did. The seemingly virus-free summer reprieve only increased people’s doubts and denial about the insidiousness of the pandemic. I knew that once people had a taste of freedom, it would be difficult to take it away from them—and that the second wave would be even more devastating than the first.


You might be fortunate enough to have an entirely uneventful shift in the Covid ward, where nothing drastic happens and you feel good at the end of the day. But the truth is, I haven’t had that experience very often during this pandemic. It’s been the rule rather than the exception that people will die on my watch. 


From the first wave to the second, I’ve noticed a shift in people’s attitudes toward the virus. There’s public doubt, a belief that the spring lockdown was an overreaction, that the first wave wasn’t really so bad. There’s an element of rebellion, and distrust in our public health officials, which is fuelling an anti-science sentiment. I think there’s even a growing resentment toward doctors and nurses and other front-line health care workers, because some people see us as reminders of the virus they don’t want to hear about anymore. Some people, mostly younger people, are thinking, Well, I’m young and healthy, so I’m going to be okay. Those people are trivializing the risks and consequences of the virus. That’s a punch in the gut to me, because I see the horror of those consequences up close on a daily basis. When I see a 60-year-old father or mother—someone who would have likely walked out of the hospital had they been sick with a conventional pneumonia—die on maximal therapy, without their family there to say goodbye to them, that’s a punch in the gut too. It pains and angers me to see people diminishing the threat of this disease.

Not exactly related, but obviously not unrelated, what the fuck is Doug Ford doing sitting on all those quick Covid tests???? Obviously, it's not just Ford. It's also his fellow conservative troglodytes Jason Kenney and Scott Moe as well. It's gotten to the point where Trudeau has thought about taking them back and giving them to pharmacies to administer.

The Ontario government has only used about 18 per cent of the 5.4 million rapid tests that Ottawa has sent it since November, even though Premier Doug Ford has called them “game changers.”

Health care falls mostly under provincial jurisdiction, and a move by Ottawa to send rapid tests directly to pharmacies across Canada has the potential to spark tensions.

Although many rapid tests provided by the federal government are still shelved in Ontario, the province has moved to purchase another nine million of them from Abbott Canada.

This pandemic has revealed many things about our society. First of all, it's that the banks run this country and our governments put the concerns and wellbeing of the banks ahead of Canadian citizens. Secondly, decades of neo-liberalism has severely eroded the capabilities of our state sectors (federal and provincial). [One example being the Progressive Conservative Mulroney's selling off of Connaught Labs. Now the heirs of that party are bloviating about how we don't have enough vaccines in Canada!]

Capitalism is a barrier to effective responses to public crises. Our governments are very tolerant of right-wing nut-jobs. They'll send the police to bash in the heads of peaceful left-wing protesters, when even the most violent of left-wingers do nothing more than break some windows. But these right-wing, anti-maskers with their super-spreader events, ... they're going to cause a lot more harm to people's lives and the economy. They should be treated as the menaces that they are.

The main thing is that our society doesn't want to have to change the way it does things. We're all waiting for a quick, scientific fix, like a vaccine, rather than do the hard work of a major public effort to isolate and destroy the virus through massive testing. Short, but effective quarantines/lockdowns. And, of course, we don't want to inconvenience the super-rich in any way whatsoever.

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