Thursday, April 01, 2021

Not Alone

On Saturday, Ontario will go back into lockdown -- because Bruce Arthur writes, the Ford government can't do what is required:

Half-measures are how we got here. Ontario has taken the approach of poorly explained restrictions that exhaust the finite patience and trust of the public, but which only slow the pace of growth rather than actually stop the spread. This government has not understood that the best route to a healthy economy is public health, and that the longer you wait for decisive, sweeping action, the bigger the mess at the end.

And now the bill is coming due. Wednesday morning Ontario hit a new high for COVID-19 ICU patients, at 421, with case counts still rising at more than 2,000 per day. That number will continue to rise, because there is a two- to three-week lag between infection and the ICU, so a rise in cases is already baked in, and escalating ICU admissions are baked in behind that, which is one reason playing to hospital capacity — which this government was still doing early this week, boasting of field hospitals and ICU beds that may or may not have qualified staff — doesn’t work.

Four weeks would buy some time for the province’s shambolic vaccination program to deliver on increased supply. But over four weeks cases, and ICU admissions, will almost certainly keep growing for two of those weeks.

“A three-week circuit breaker could bring the cases back below 2,000, and it could result perhaps in a maximum in ICU at around 800, if we do it really well,” said Dr. Peter Juni, the scientific director of the province’s independent volunteer science table. “But we would need to go really hard. It's a combination of being smart and really stringent with the measures, distinguishing clearly between essential and non-essential, making sure workplaces are safe, at the same time being really smart about vaccinations. There's a lot within reach if we do it properly.”

But we continue to not do things properly:

“The answer is an answer that nobody wants to hear, which is you limit all non-essential activity,” says Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist and modeller at the University of Toronto. “And we know it works. The thing is, it works while it’s in place, and once you relax it, cases are going to go up again. And that’s why the more structural changes, like paid sick leave, are so important, and why we keep finding ourselves back in the position that we are.

The bottom line for Ford is that it costs too much to do the right thing. He's not alone in that conviction.



Anonymous said...

The irony is that handling the pandemic properly would have cost less than the merry-go-round Ford's got us on. Shut down all non-essential business, restrict regional travel, and get case counts to single digits so that track-and-trace can work - then you can talk about reopening. You can then take your time with vaccines in the knowledge that the population is safe.

Instead, Ford's approach has cost businesses millions in opening, closing and reopening costs. Allowing restaurants to open outside dining with temperatures in the single digits is a cruel joke. This only encourages restaurants to set up yurts to give customers some warmth, which defeats the purpose. Better to support owners and workers through a temporary closure. Business locations that fail to protect workers, such as Amazon and the meat packers, should be temporarily shut down and fined heavily when their negligence leads to outbreaks. Enough is enough. Ford's half-measures just leave people questioning whether lockdowns work at all.


Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Cap. I can add nothing to what you say.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Ontario is Rob Ford's brother's daisy. "The people of Ontario, the Chamber of Commerce; the people of Ontario, the Chamber of Commerce..."

We have our own foolishness to show us that vacillating is disastrous, helping neither core constituency but harming both. Even more dramatic examples are abundant in the southern states, especially Florida.

From what I've read the Americans now consider themselves in the throes of a "fourth wave." Third wave, fourth wave, fifth wave - who's counting? How long before a variant emerges that is resistant to the vaccines? Some experts are predicting we'll be getting vaccinated again with second-generation drugs next year.

Politics confounds effective action. Our premiers weigh the political consequences of lockdowns and that influences how they respond to the medical threat. What a balls up!

Lorne said...

My sense of this entire debacle leads me to two conclusions, Owen. One is that our province is unmatched across Canada in its breathtaking incompetence in dealing with the pandemic. The other is that far too many people don't have what it takes to either understand the severity of the crisis or to act with the necessary maturity and self-discipline to contain it.

Owen Gray said...

Dr. Fauci continues to repeat the mantra, Mound. This is not a matter of politics. It's a matter of public health. But our leaders continue to view the pandemic through a political lens.

Owen Gray said...

It seems more clear with each passing day, Lorne, that what's missing in this situation isn't intelligence but character. It takes character to make the hard decisions.

Trailblazer said...

O my, how the smug have been exposed.
Twas a mere six months since we Canadians scorned the USA and UK for their approach to Covid.
What was not calculated was Canadian selfishness and greed.
Listening to local radio here on the west coast I hear platitudes to covid intermingled with adverts for intentional travel and memes supporting exceptions for one group or another.
Long gone is 'we are in this together'

Go to the 2.18 mark.


John B. said...

So they paid Rick Hillier $80,000 to train for the job and now he's a "phone call away". How reassuring. Now we can wait and see whether Doug has anyone on his remaining staff who knows what to ask when they make the phone call. Of course, that guy probably already asked for a layoff.

the salamander said...

.. Full Disclosure - The Boss & I both got the needle AZ - both via Pharmacy. She got hers uptown & mine at Michael Garron - a 6 minute walk and the hospital was cray cray hectic, but approx 6-8 rock solid pro's were watching for dazed n confused like me & had me organized no time flat.. Bing bang the needle - go sit in the corner 15 minutes & sent me packing. Hoho.. Dr Michael Warner blows past me ! Head of ICU - I do not say hi.. but have interviewed him several times. He has bigger fish to fry..i.e. an overloaded team & overloaded ICU.. He has death warrants to sign off on too. I have never been in a hospital that busy crazy flooded with healthcare staff on a mission. I have been in almost every major teaching hospital in Canada & many in the USA - but I have never seen anything like this.. Even with SARS. This hospital was known as East General - my son arrived there ! Right now it is action central & aside from being complete champs is providing amazing outreach for Seniors & school children - all while an astonishing major expansion is under construction.

We watch the news.. Boss is a real channel flipper.. So BBC, PBS, CBC, CTV fly by, rapid fire & she has talk radio on 24/7 plus her fave baseball & football on a transistor radio from 1955.. so yes.. we 'keep up' - saw the Jefferson salamanders march across the Oakville road they close so they can perform sexual uh .. well you know.. with each others.. offspring may result if we don't build a warehouse or condominiums there..

Via Twitter - I get a flowing river of info to filter. Via Facebook I get a lopsided flavor of friends & family dealing with the calamity & conundrum Covid presents. My healthcare filters are turbocharged. I wrote, directed, shot, edited the videos that Canadian pharmacists watched to become certified to inject customers. Have to say the nice lady that banged me with the needle was as gentle as a veterinarian in a box stall with a Clydesdale .. she was that good, that fast, she was that efficient - we 'small talked' for 13.5 secs and I blew the scene. A woman took possession of me.. I sat in the corner under watchful eyes.. Was released .. That AZ dosage arrived via ms Anand.. Trudeau's Min of Procurment. She ate Doug Ford for lunch the other evening re vaccines. Watch out for her.. Her star is ascendant !!

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, TB. There are lots of Dark Knights. Selfishness knows no bounds.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect Hillier quickly took the measure of the man he was working for, John. He understood it wasn't wise to hang around.

Owen Gray said...

My wife and I haven't received our shots, sal. But the people who are 80+ around here have. They say things went quickly and efficiently. That said, we are still a long way from being out of the woods.

ffd said...

All I can say is grab your shot right away as soon as you are eligible. Later on you will be competing with younger age groups for appointments and it will probably be a lot harder. Also by then many of the wait-and-seers may have stopped waiting and seeing and go for their appts.

If you are not in an eligible group, you might still be able to get vaccinated. There are reports of vaccine being left over at the end of the day, so it is worth phoning around in mid pm to say you are available though in the wrong age group. I would not advise this if people in the eligible group were all eager to get vaccinated but many are not. So I have not the slightest compunction about other groups grabbing their opportunity as fast as they can. Vaccine is like gold at the moment and wasting it leaves me speechless.

Owen Gray said...

My wife and I have booked our appointments at the local community centre, ffd. We hope there won't be any problems.

Anonymous said...

The Provinces have far to much power and are trying to out do each other....when they could at least try what the Atlantic including Newfoundland has done. But there is an attitude of “ I know best” while everything is going to xxxx in a brainless wonderland.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. Please initial your next comment.