We are at a tipping point. COVID-19 cases across Canada are surging past the rates we saw in the spring. In many areas the health care system is near or at capacity, and front-line workers are doing their best to save lives – 246 days into the pandemic.
Physicians across the country are alarmed. We are facing a crisis.
The measures being taken to mitigate the virus are not sufficient. The strength of the economy should not come at the expense of Canadians’ lives. Right now, our health care system – and everyone who works in it — is getting the short end of the stick.
In the past week, Canada has reported an average of 4,000 new COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths per day.
We are calling on our leaders to show political resolve as we continue to battle COVID-19. The only way out of this crisis is to be guided by the advice of public health experts. There is only one valid path before us: One that is evidence-based and informed by our best public health advice.
With case numbers on the rise this week, Alberta physicians called on the government to impose a “circuit-breaker” immediate two-week emergency lockdown. Hundreds of Saskatchewan physicians penned a letter to their government describing ICUs at capacity and argued that the battle against COVID-19 is being lost. Physicians in Manitoba and in Ontario continue to push their government to implement tougher restrictions.
Unfortunately, the measures before us are difficult but necessary to reduce COVID-19 cases.
Last spring, we asked all Canadians to follow public health measures. We said we’re in this together. We must continue to adhere to this mantra. While we, as physicians and health workers, do our part, we must demand that our political leaders do the same — by prioritizing health above all.
Dr. Ann Collins
President, Canadian Medical Association