Curious about Everything

Category: Pandemic (Page 1 of 3)

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, is optimistic

Stephanie Taylor, CP »

“The curve is just bending,” Tam told a briefing Friday. She also emphasized how basic measures, like masking, should remain in place to avoid another surge in the winter.

Tam said it’s promising that more than 80 per cent of Canadians eligible to receive a shot are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however, there are still some six million eligible Canadians who are not properly immunized.

In her statement today, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada said »

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,651,236 cases of COVID-19 and 28,141 deaths reported in Canada. These cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date, while the number of active cases, now at 41,549, and 7-day moving averages indicate current disease activity and severity trends.

Updated surveillance data show ongoing regional variation in disease activity, but overall, public health measures re-applied in heavily impacted areas have slowed acceleration of the epidemic nationally. The latest national 7-day average of 3,745 new cases reported daily (Oct 1-7) is a decrease of 14% over the previous week. Unfortunately, hospitalisation and critical care admission trends, primarily involving unvaccinated people, are still elevated, nationally. Together with prolonged hospital stays this continues to place a heavy strain on local healthcare resources, particularly where infection rates are high and vaccination rates are low. The latest provincial and territorial data show that an average of 2,513 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 1-7), which is 2.5% higher than last week. This includes, on average, 769 people who were being treated in intensive care units (ICU), 3.2% less than last week and an average of 38 deaths were reported daily (Oct 1-7). It is hoped that maintaining strengthened control measures in heavily impacted areas will begin to reduce severe illness trends and ease the strain on the health system in the weeks to come.

Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Katharine Smart » Some province are gaslighting health workers

Dr. Smart says there’s a feeling of hopelessness among health-care workers that their governments are not listening to them as they try to manage the pandemic.

Stephanie Taylor and Laura Osman, CP »

The president of the Canadian Medical Association says provinces like Alberta are “gaslighting” health-care workers over the toll the COVID-19 crisis is taking on the health-care system.

“What is happening in the world when we have governments unwilling to listen to the people doing the job?” she told a news conference on Wednesday.

The doctors organization joined with the Canadian Nurses Association to hold an emergency summit Tuesday with health-care workers discussing how to move forward, as COVID-19 cases climb in parts of the country, pushing health systems to the brink.

Together, they called on governments to address staffing shortages across Canada through better retention and recruitment efforts, as well as provide “immediate relief” to those working in COVID-19 hot zones.

The organizations also want governments to commit to protect health systems from collapsing by bringing in public health measures needed to prevent further spread of the virus, and empower school boards to do the same.

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Merck is selling a government financed COVID-19 antiviral back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make

Merck is charging the U.S. government $712 for a potentially revolutionary COVID-19 antiviral. However, it only costs Merck $17.74 to produce the durg, meaning Merck is selling at a roughly 40 times mark-up.

Merck acquired the rights to the drug – molnupiravir – from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which licensed it from Emory University.

Molnupiravir was developed with US federal government funding on two months prior.

Sharon Lerner, The Intercept »

A five-day course of molnupiravir, the new medicine being hailed as a “huge advance” in the treatment of Covid-19, costs $17.74 to produce, according to a report issued last week by drug pricing experts at the Harvard School of Public Health and King’s College Hospital in London. Merck is charging the U.S. government $712 for the same amount of medicine, or 40 times the price.

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The year public health lost its soul

Damien Contandriopoulos, Authorea » 

By early summer 2021, some jurisdictions – such as Western Canada, the UK, many US states – decreed that the pandemic was over and that preventions measures weren’t needed anymore. Those decisions, explicitly endorsed and defended by public health officials, were announced while international evidence on the transmissibility and immune evasion capacity of the Delta variant showed that vaccination alone would not prevent further waves of infection. Like clockwork, those “reopening” plans (Bell, 2021; Lafontaine, 2021; Wyton, 2021) paved the way to a brutal 4th wave. A situation made worst by the fact prevention advice remained anchored in debunked theories about droplets and that few (if any) effective prevention measures – such as improved ventilation of indoor public spaces, advice on good masking techniques, limits on large indoor gatherings, etc.– were implemented.

In most Western countries, and in the majority of Canadian provinces, the COVID response symbiotically produced by political actors and public health institutions caused multiple disconnects: between the scientific evidence on COVID transmission and the public health sanctioned advice; between public health and governmental discourses prioritizing the wellbeing of the population and containment strategies focused mostly on economic indicators; and between inclusive discourses putting forward collective sacrifices for a common good and deeply inequitable interventions.

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