Despite pandemic-induced grueling work schedules and stressful work environments, nursing programs have never been as popular. In Ontario alone, applications to registered nursing (RN) programs rose 17.6 per cent from 2020 to 2021.
COVID-19 has exposed the longstanding frailty of our health-care system. The truth is that every flu season, our hospitals burst at the seams. Hard-working health-care workers have held the system together so far. It’s past time to create the system they deserve.
Some argue that since Omicron is less severe than previous variants and all Canadians will likely be infected eventually, why not “let it rip” and be done with it? But there are three fundamental problems with this approach.
Many infectious disease practitioners pivoted from HIV to COVID when the pandemic struck. Now, some of them are sharing their views on what we’ve learned, where we’ve repeated mistakes, and how we can move forward.
Nurses hold the health-care system together, even as many are suffering from burnout and leaving the profession. In this photo-essay, nurses speak about the little things they carry with them to stay motivated and connect with patients and colleagues.
We may need to close schools for short periods of time when the spread of COVID-19 gets out of control, since doing so decreases community mobility and, by extension, transmission. We should also be wary of the narrative that schools are not significant sites of transmission, which might be more politically advantageous than scientifically accurate.
We should not rule out school closures, since even though the short-term consequences of COVID-19 on children generally appear to be mild, they are not always benign – and no-one even knows what the long-term effects are. Furthermore, transmission does occur within schools, which can endanger not only schoolchildren but the broader community.
We should never have closed schools because there is no compelling reason to do so. Not only are children at very low risk of developing severe COVID-19, but schools are also not significant sites of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Closing schools violates two rights safeguarded in the Convention on the International Rights of the Child. By infringing these rights, we have caused serious harm to our kids, despite the fact that schools never posed a serious danger to kids or the community at large.
Schools should not be closed due to COVID-19 because children are at low risk of serious harm from the disease and do not spread it to others to a significant degree. In fact, closing schools causes far more harm to children than it prevents.
Many parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children. But choosing not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice, but rather a choice to take another, more serious risk. In fact, it could be one of the most important health decisions parents will make.
Life hasn’t gone back to normal – it’s moved to another new normal. So how can we support our kids in this new phase of the pandemic? One way is to ease up on academic pressures. Instead of getting our kids caught up, we need to catch up with our kids.
Health advocates are raising alarm that infants in Nunavut, and especially Inuit infants, face grave risks as a potent respiratory virus – deadlier than COVID-19 and influenza – re-emerges after a one-year hiatus. Health officials now fear serious outbreaks in Canada’s North.
Pediatric emergency departments are seeing record numbers of visits since some families can’t see their family doctors or go to walk-in clinics. More patients mean longer waits, hindering care for some children with emergency conditions.
Vaccines must be mandatory in all health-care settings in order to protect patients, protect health-care workers and prevent future health-care worker shortages. Furthermore, hospitals are temples of science, and we need to make decisions based on science – such as mandating vaccination.
Vaccine mandates will lead good health-care workers to be fired, thereby exacerbating systemic inequities – and all for a rationale that appeals to patient safety but which does not always stand up to scrutiny. We also can't allow vaccine mandates to send the message that we no longer need to use multiple complementary infection-control measures.
Vaccinations should be mandatory for all health-care workers because they will keep vulnerable patients safe. We know this from our experience successfully mandating vaccination among staff in long-term care. Furthermore, vaccine mandates should not be blamed for staff shortages in the health-care system.
Mandating COVID-19 vaccines amounts to a passive and insensitive infection-control measure that does not address the real drivers of COVID-19 infection. Moreover, it deviates from the core principles of public health, eroding trust between public health and those it serves.
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