Canadian Medical Association

Despite the fact that many countries are loosening lockdown restrictions, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of looming flare-ups of the COVID-19 virus. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has identified five critical issues for governments to address to ensure Canadians are prepared for a potential second wave of the pandemic.

  • Continued development and dissemination of clear, consistent public health messaging
    Many Canadians have been closely following public health guidance to help flatten the curve, and their adherence to these measures is as important as ever. The CMA encourages public health officials to continue to ensure that clear, consistent messaging is provided for Canadians to follow.
  • Greater access to testing and early contact tracing
    Access to testing is fundamental to identifying cases quickly, and early contact tracing is needed to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. Proactive strategic testing of essential workers and susceptible populations is particularly important given that some individuals who contract the virus remain asymptomatic. Access to widespread testing and capacity for contact tracing are yet to be sustained.

“Now is the time to take stock of lessons learned over the past four months so we can avoid a potential second wave. This will depend on our ability to follow public health guidance, implement key measures like contact tracing and testing, and how quickly we respond as a society.”
— Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president

  • Better protection of health care providers’ physical, mental and financial well-being
    Despite government efforts and an increase in domestic production, ensuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers remains a challenge; clearer guidance is also needed on its appropriate use. Another rising concern is the health and wellness of front-line care providers who’ve been working non-stop for many months, while facing unique risks and financial hardships. 
  • Better protection of marginalized and susceptible populations
    Some groups have been disproportionately affected by the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, including residents of long-term care homes. Marginalized populations have also been adversely affected and will need greater access to health, social services and resources.
  • Support in resuming and providing timely access to health care services postponed during the pandemic
    During the pandemic, a significant proportion of health care services, such as surgeries, procedures and consults considered “nonessential,” were delayed. As these health services begin to resume, support will be required to ensure Canadians can receive timely access to care and not face an increase in already lengthy waiting times.

“The reality is that we need to get used to living with COVID-19 and we have an opportunity today to minimize the impact of a COVID resurgence, including potential loss of life and economic hardship.” 
— Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president

Other key emerging issues that will need to be planned for and receive dedicated resources include immunization — vaccines not only for COVID-19, but for influenza-related illnesses that traditionally surge in the fall.

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