We Can’t Go Back

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  • Milena Forte says:

    thank you for this thoughtful summary Josh. I wholeheartedly agree.

  • Jessica Uninsured American says:

    _ Health insurance tied to employment.
    _ Availability tied to profit. (See, e.g., the closure of rural facilities.)
    _ Private equity firms and investors making decisions about medicine.
    _ Ranking who “deserves” treatment. (Poverty as a character flaw; a person with disability has a less meaningful or successful or productive life; all the -isms and -phobias racism abilism classism sexism xenophobia homophobia transphobia etc.; pre-existing conditions and lifestyle choices are the reason for all sickness; undocumented immigrants cheat the system; the elderly have already had a full life; etc.)
    _ Violence perpetrated against medical personnel.
    _ Indifference to prisoners’ health.
    _ Surprise! Unexpected or out-of-network billing.
    _ Medical school = massive debt.
    _ Health aides making minimum wage.
    _ Pricing: opaque maze of individual rate vs. adjusted vs. write-offs, deductibles, OOP maximums, uncovered prescriptions or procedures, co-pays, preferred providers.
    _ Unaffordable prescription medication.
    _ Lack of school nurses and counselors.
    _ No cohesive medical records system across geographic, insurance, and provider lines.

    …we could do this all day

    • Mary Molloy says:

      One good thing this pause taught us is to rely on self and family. The test of mental health is to be able to able to live with ones self in peace. I believe that was a theory of the philosopher Pascal. It is very strange that many people expect the government to do so many things that our immediate ancestors could do for ourselves. We seem to be devolving instead of evolving.

  • Wendy Nicklin says:

    Well said Joshua. Regarding virtual care, I assume research is underway to evaluate the impact of this shift. The majority of the shift is absolutely right and long overdue. However there are likely situations arising in which the virtue approach is not appropriate or results in delay of the appropriate treatment which a face-to-face assessment would have enabled. Sound evidence-based guidelines regarding virtual care are fundamental and I expect we’ll see these evolve.

  • Denyse Lynch says:

    Thank you for highlighting that all of us have/will have our emotional, mental, physical, psycho-social and spiritual make-up affected by Covid-19. Our lives have been turned upside down, inside out and we will/can “never” be the same normal. Importantly, we will experience & find ways to address our unique way of grieving for our losses – be it loved ones, friends, jobs, etc. i.e. “what used to be”. Whether we currently acknowledge or, are consciously aware, these abrupt upheavals will profoundly impact us all. Though I have not lost a job, have a home, am healthy, I have lost dear loved ones and friends. I was unable to say goodbye. It hurts deeply knowing they died alone. Every day I awake and repeatedly realize “oh, yes, we are still in the midst of this storm, unable to see the horizon or, land ahead.” It is disorienting, unbalancing to say the least.
    In the midst of it all we must support, treat ourselves and others kindly, with compassion. We have not been to this strange land before. I believe we will move through this time and eventually be better for it, as it will reveal what is really most important for us and our society.

  • Carole Bazinet says:

    Very interesting

  • Aurelia Cotta says:

    I think when we say “back to normal” that what we mean, is back to some semblance of a normal rhythm of life. As in people get up, showered, dressed, go to work, have 3 meals (not all homemade and not composed of half a jar of nutella)
    A normal where we go to ERs and get help on time. A normal where we get cancer diagnosed and treated on time. A normal where family MDs are all open and renewing messages. Many just completely closed, and won’t even renew psych meds online, won’t monitor or change dosages for people who need changes.
    This is especially important for kids who need a sense of routine.
    E.g. after the earthquake in Haiti, the first thing aid groups did was set up schools again, even if they were outdoor schools sitting on the grass. They could also feed kids, keep watch while parents rebuilt homes, get vaccinations done. It was critical for children’s health and sense of well being to do that.
    Here, before covid19, we recognized that home was not always a safe place, with parents who could afford to provide 3 meals a day and space and a “stay at home mom” and devices for each kid with high speed internet and we had Schools and community services set up to help for that reason.
    Now? We’ve entered some bizarre backwards world that thinks all homes are safe for all kids. A world that thinks an army of June Cleavers have suddenly shown up, who can cook, clean, homeschool the kids, pay for endless internet, do speech therapy and ABA therapy all on our own, all while holding down full time jobs, either out of the house, or working from home.
    We also have an army of scientists advocating keeping schools and daycares and camps closed—even though we have solid evidence from the genetic progression of the disease that for once, children are not getting extremely ill, and children are not spreading to adults. Adults are giving it to kids! CDC announced that Covid doesn’t spread on surfaces, and that it’s almost impossible to spread outdoors, certainly not in chlorine filled pools. Instead of celebrating all that news, we’re denying the evidence completely, and keeping kids locked in homes, playgrounds closed, schools closed, daycares closed, and annoyingly camps closed even though Camp counselors are teenagers or 18-24 and no risk at all.
    Correction: we aren’t even gathering evidence on kids in Canada, we are denying the evidence from every other country.
    However, we are still keeping the long term care homes open and admitting new patients, all the time, even though we also have proof that’s a death sentence.
    So yes, Josh, I would like to go back to normal, a normal where science matters, and risk is realistically calculated.


Joshua Tepper


Joshua Tepper is a family physician and the President and Chief Executive Officer of North York General Hospital. He is also a member of the Healthy Debate editorial board.

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