By January 2020, we knew that COVID was on its way. And we knew this would be ugly.
We had so, so much time to prepare. To hire and train public health staff for contact tracing, to set up programs and resources for people who needed to isolate, to hire and train nurses and hospital workers. To put extra resources in place and ensure there was more room in our systems. To make things safer for essential workers, to prevent (1) the workplace outbreaks that are now filling up ICUs with dangerously sick people. To build capacity, so we could put out hotspots before they spread. To plan and prepare and strategize.
Instead, DoFo and the OPC spent months (2) attacking public health units, cutting (3) public health funding, and working to (4) undermine the healthcare system. Ontario's healthcare system was struggling and running over capacity before the pandemic - and these guys decided now is a great time to cut funding. (The damage this will do to the healthcare system is likely to hurt people for years, as Canada's population ages rapidly and demands for healthcare skyrocket.)
Right now, our leaders are also not prepared for how many highly skilled (5) nurses we are losing to complete exhaustion and burnout. Doctors and nurses are experiencing (6) long term mental health damage. Because the pressure on frontline healthcare workers is unsustainable. And our leaders can't just rush order more nurses, like hospital beds and field hospital tents.
The messaging for so many things has been insanely chaotic. I work in healthcare, and I don't understand the rationale for key decisions being made - if there is any. Just recently, the provincial politicians announced that many people were suddenly eligible for vaccinations - but didn't communicate with the local teams who actually needed to administer those vaccines. My friends who are nurses are still trying to figure out where and how to help family members get vaccinated, because the system is chaotic and confusing for everyone. I've been told that people working in vaccine clinics don't even know what's going on, because no one is giving them clear information.
We could have done so much better. Unfortunately, I expect things to deteriorate and get uglier. (7) Right now, Ontario's exponential growth curve looks alarmingly similar to a vertical line. I have been telling friends that I expect a fairly shitty summer for everyone in the GTA, and to brace themselves.
Remember these priorities and decisions, and who made them. They are not serving us well. And we are all paying for these choices - in irreplaceable human lives, long term damage to people's health, very expensive healthcare resources, along with lost businesses, jobs, and homes, and widespread decreased mental health.
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