Dealing with COVID-19: An open letter to Canada’s prime minister and provincial and territorial premiers

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  1. Shawn O’Rourke

    Thank you for thoughtful, common sense approaches to moving our society forward. The next wave is common sense balanced with scientific evidence.

  2. Phil

    I find the points in this letter too generic to be of use.
    Surprise given the caliber of the authors.
    I wish there were more concrete and practical recommendations.

  3. Dana Haas

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this in writing and articulating that we still have choice in our own risk tolerance and the importance of the broad social determinants of health! We must restore common sense. The toll on family economics, physical and mental health has been staggering. I agree that there could have been more direct, practical suggestions in the letter, that the government could implement, such as a statement example that could be made public about true risk, public health statements that would support people’s right to live normally in social contact, and statements about the concrete steps that health agencies will take to protect the vulnerable. The administration of medical assessment, diagnosis and health care by phone call or virtual visit only, has to stop now!

  4. Barry Braun

    Finally! A more targeted perspective which focuses on the vulnerable and high risk circumstances and communities. However, the economic consequences above are portrayed solely as employee based. The real economic consequence is the effect that “broad brush” strategies have on the economic engine of the country; small and big business. Strategies must not retard the ability to keep the economy flowing. Coping strategies need to favour employers by enabling business to institute practical measures which permit the economy to function as close to 100% as possible, reducing all other social economic consequences. Finally, health care needs to be able to more quickly scale to meet spikes, surges and unforeseen circumstances, and employ proven and available short term treatments in parallel with vaccine development. Waiting for the perfect solution, or overlaying heavy-handed and restrictive “one-size-fits-all” measures are not realistic or viable, and generally result in unintended (usually negative) consequences.

  5. K. Kowalchuk

    This letter fails to address the significant number of Canadians who, because of the pandemic, have not been able to be seen for serious health problems other than Covid-19 . Many family doctors are still not seeing these patients. ER visits, when they occur, are aimed at quick fixes that don’t really address what is going on. People are punted back to their homes, anxious and without diagnoses. Many Canadians, especially Ontarians, are understandably worried about health matters unrelated to Covid-19.

    Calling needed cancer and cardiac surgeries “elective” sure hasn’t helped matters. What is the government planning to do about these significant backlogs?

  6. Louise King

    First, I would like to address the statement that, “…many Canadians have become fearful of COVID-19 …”. This is very true, however, our southern neighbours seem to be less concerned thanks to their president! Look where this has got them! There is nothing wrong with healthy fear of a highly contagious deadly virus! We do not yet know the long term impact of this virus for people who contract it. Examples of other virus long term effects are polio and post polio syndrome and chicken pox and shingles.
    As much as there is, “recovery”, many people are left with long term damage of the kidneys, brain, lungs and nervous system.
    Yes there is an impact of this pandemic on the mental health of people, but let’s be real: how could there not be? It is a pandemic. Let’s give people tools to cope rather than a Pollyanna approach where we inform Canadians, “… about their true level of risk from COVID-19.”
    As I said before, a healthy fear is a good thing. It’s akin to walking across a mine field. Does one run or does one pick their way carefully?
    What is interesting to me is that this article is written by a lot of people that held positions and not present holders of public health and experts in their field. To have a real conversation about this pandemic and the impacts on people, let’s get some others who are actually practicing as well as a diverse group of practitioners in many fields such as child and youth counsellors, social workers, addiction counsellors, teachers, psychologists,
    as well as personal support workers and nurses.
    Sincerely Louise King

  7. Ronald Worton

    While the recommendations are very generic they might well form the framework for further work to add detail and specificity. What I like most is the concept that we must move away from shutting down everything to prevent transmission and begin a new paradigm of (i) targeting support to vulnerable populations and (ii) focusing efforts on strategic testing and contact tracing to prevent spread following the inevitable flare-ups, while recognizing that life goes on.

  8. cathy miller

    My wish is to see the government take a position on overall health. To each people how to use nutrition to keep our bodies strong. No Dietitians but Nutritionist advice and teachings would be so great to see. many prevenative oils, herb,s and so many substances that are available in health Food stores really do help to keep us safe. WE need more grass roots information – not just vaccines and drugs.

  9. henry Borkowski

    The fear of covid is real, but its greater that there’s no one, especially in the political section of the Ontario government, who are interested or capable of actually following the recommendations given. I worry that a letter such as this will be the excuse used to further the needs of business at the expense of the vulnerable. The last word on reopening measures should not be in the hands of regressive agenda driven politicians.

  10. Robin

    The Government’s approach to Saving Lives in Long Term Care Homes is doing the opposite.
    Isolation is causing more harm.
    Thousands of attempts to get this acknowledged.
    Orders 95/20 and 77/20 will go on forever with Bill 195
    Seniors have not had a hug for 119 days and their average lifespan in LTC is 500 days… 119 with the impact of isolation is more like 240 day… they are dying from giving up their will to live and it’s being reported as old age.
    Next phase that will come out is by appt only 30 mins per week to hug… 1 week after the end of State of Emerg
    We *know* there are issues with Long Term Care…by banning Family then none of it will get reported and there will be No inspections.
    Seniors in LTCH’s Need Help!

  11. Bois Marufi

    Finally, some cool minds speaking out. Why so late? Whole public health textbook interventions were ignored, panic prevailed.

  12. joy cline

    Thank you for this clear, easy to understand, very well written article and the good suggestions on managing Covid 19.

  13. David LeBreton

    Finally some accredited professionals who have it right.

    I’ve forwarded your letter to the EOHU who has recently mandated the wearing of masks in all public places when the incidences of COVID-19 in our region doesn’t warrant it.

    Hopefully they’ll head your advice as my opinion doesn’t matter.

  14. Mairi Luce

    I agree. Let our children return to school, work place’s should open but we need to follow all protocols put forward through Public Health.

  15. Izabella

    Truthful not politicized measures would be very appreciated

  16. Loretta Leonhardt

    As we continue to move forward, I am asking for even a stronger stance to come against fear based shutdown/lockdown. Never in my life have I battled such depression and loss of hope. I was so lonely during the lockdowns and am so afraid of going into it again. I am 62 and am responsible for my own health. I would prefer to live the life I have than hide away. I feel like I am wearing a burda when I where a mask – such a loss of identity as well as the inability to use my senses to judge others wearing a mask. I am so worried about our economy and all the people out of work! So much collateral damage with this stance the government has taken. I am also afraid of a rushed vaccine that could have long term side effects. Please do more. Write the Provinces and the Federal Government – I want my life back.

  17. Christine

    Thank you for speaking up for the people. We love this country because of our freedoms to critically think, speak and choose. It has felt like communist tyranny this past six months with no science to even back it. We will never irradicate viruses…our focus should be on how to support our own amazing immune systems which includes living life, human connection, healthy lifestyles, etc. Let’s not surrender our freedoms to fear. Support the vulnerable and allow the rest to live and choose. Thank you!

  18. Jill

    Thank you for sharing your reasoned and ethical approach to the COVID 19 pandemic response in Canada. Prior to this pandemic, Canada had a pandemic guideline, the CPIP, which is a risk assessment/risk management approach similar to your approach. (I suspect some of you were involved in the development and/or updating of the CPIP)

    The CPIP has an ethical framework that is lacking in Canada’s current pandemic response. According to the CPIP, public health measures during a pandemic must be flexible, evidence based and proportionate to the risk of viral infection to all members of the population. Restrictions must be imposed only to the extent necessary to prevent foreseeable harm. Public health planning must consider both the benefits and harms of public health measures to all members of society.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO, Canada abandoned the CPIP. Our current pandemic response guidelines ( See: Government of Canada: Guidance for a strategic approach to lifting restrictive public health measures) do not take into account the harms of lockdowns to society and the economy. Its time for Canada to return to the CPIP.

    Several New Zealand public health experts have formed a group called COVID 19 Plan B – On their website they post Covid 19 news, pertinent data and science on COVID 19, and webinars from international experts in public health and infectious disease. Any chance you could start something similar in Canada? We desperately need to hear more from you and other experts like you.

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