Since 1955, this is the world’s fifth pandemic. We have never responded to a pandemic like we have over COVID-19. In Canada, we have an emergency management process that we normally use in a pandemic. We have pre-written pandemic response plans.
The aim of these plans is to allow our leaders to rapidly minimize the impact of the new pandemic on our society. The purpose in writing these plans in advance is to ensure the government could rapidly advise the public of the scope of the new hazard, and publicly issue a complete written plan to address it. That way, the public can see the entire plan, see the phases of the plan, and all steps that will be taken. The public then understands their role in the plan.
The response to the pandemic would then be coherent.
The Canadian response
The Canadian response to COVID-19 has been incoherent, and constantly changing, with no plan. The focus on only COVID-19 case counts led to a completely flawed response, trying to deal only with the first pandemic goal, and failing. In February we knew that over 95 per cent of the deaths in China and Europe were in seniors, over the age of 60, with multiple co-morbidities. To date in Canada, over 96.2 per cent of our over 21,760 deaths have been in seniors, over the age of 60, with multiple co-morbidities.
That is over 20,930 deaths. It is likely thousands of these deaths could have been avoided, as over 80 per cent of the deaths in the first wave occurred in long term care homes. In June 2020, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that Canada had a higher proportion of COVID-19 deaths within long-term care settings than other OECD countries included in its comparison. At that time, deaths in Canadian LTCs from COVID-19 were at 81 per cent of the total, while OECD countries reported LTC COVID-19 deaths of 10–66 per cent of their totals.
This may have cost $2 billion, but could have saved over 15,880 lives, as to date 73 per cent of Canadian deaths have been in LTC homes. If we had acted to quarantine our senior’s long-term care facilities, our hospital capacity would not have been challenged, as 71 per cent of our hospital beds and 64 per cent of our ICU capacity continue to this day to be filled with seniors. As an emergency manager I am horrified. Every day the number of deaths in LTC homes grows, in spite of the society-wide lockdowns.
The public is blamed for not locking down hard enough. In fact, the deaths mount because our leaders continue to choose not to quarantine our LTC homes.
A science-based path forward
Release a comprehensive, ‘four goal’-based pandemic plan, showing what is to be done phase-by-phase, and what the public’s role is in each. There is no need to focus on how many people have tested positive from COVID-19 each day. End all talk of future lock downs and loosen social distancing rules. Guarantee to keep schools and day cares open, with relaxed social distancing like in Sweden.
Continue to vaccinate as vaccines become available, for the current strain of COVID-19. Our leaders make mistakes, and when they recognize those mistakes, we can consider forgiving them.
Source: Dave Naylor | The Western Standard