20 Episode results for "Andre picard"
Health columnist Andre Picard gives a COVID-19 update
"I'm tired host of ideas in this age of click bait and shouting ideas is a meeting ground for people who want to deepen their understanding of the world. Join me as we crack. Open a concept to see how it plays out over place time and how. It matters today from the rise of authoritarianism to the history of cult movies. No idea is off. Limits ideas is on the cbc listening. Or wherever you find your podcasts. This is a cbc podcast. I have never been as worried about the future as i am today. Today's variant count is the tip of an iceberg. By the time the confirmed case counts are big enough to shock us. It will be too late to do anything we will be in a third wave as bad as anything we've been through thus far that dr. Eileen davila toronto's medical officer of health sending a warning about the possible impact of covid variance in canada's largest city. There is concern across this country. About how the variance will affect the cova curve. Andrea card is the health columnist for the globe and mail under good morning. Good morning. it's a stark warning from dr. Eileen davila issue right to be as worried as she is. Do you think. I think as she said she said. It's deceptively dangerous the barium so i think we should be worried. I think we have to balance off against some good news. We can't just always be depressing. You know the reality is cases are down by about two-thirds in canada since early january. So there's a lot of good news but there is this really dark cloud on the horizon variant. And we just don't know at all turn out. So i think she's right to to look to other countries have the third wave was again as she said much worse than the previous two so we have to be concerned that that could happen. But it's not a foregone conclusions. I'm always finding that balance is always difficult. The d- optimistic Lights at the end of the tunnel announced in the last couple of days is this idea. Government data came out yesterday suggesting that two thirds of canadians could be vaccinated by july given. What is not happening right now. Which is a widespread vaccination campaign in this country. Do you think that something like that is possible. Oh there's no question it's possible once you know over lacking is the vaccines we have the ability to vaccinate a lot of people. We do it every year. We can vaccinate a million people a week during the flu season with a lot of effort so we really put our noses to the grindstone. We could easily double that so if we have the vaccines we can do it. there's no real barrier to that but the question you know it's just been the slow arrival of the vaccines. It not wasn't unexpected. But he really is going to ramp up. And i think the challenge is going to shift from ottawa buying the vaccines too in the province. It deliver on all their promises. Take to get them into people and do you believe that. The provinces are ready to do this that that that the infrastructure is there so that when the vaccines arrive you know. The switch can be flicked in a way we go. I think the desire is there. The ability is there. And i don't think it's his easiest flipping a switch so there's going to be just as we had with the the purchaser vaccines. There's gonna be hiccups. there's gonna be problems We in the media are going to jump on them. But i think overall it's going to go well. I think there's no reason we shouldn't be doing it when we hear things When we hear pretty concrete plans like we're going to vaccinate people in their cars at canada's wonderland that's good news. It shows that there's a lot of preparation going on. We know that fewer people are dying in long term care in canada because of the vaccine in the meantime though there's news this week about an inquiry in quebec looking into deaths in long term care in that province particularly at the herron home. What's happening with that inquiry. Unfortunately that's been suspended the the owner of a home of the home. That's at the center of this inquiry. A put forward a motion legal motion saying they wanted it suspended because they said a public inquiry at this time would poison the jury pool so they think that would They may be facing criminal charges. So they're worried about the not getting a fair trial now to me. This is a preposterous argument. It's something that's been settled in law. Many years ago i Decades ago covered the creature inquiry and this was a debate. It went all the way up to federal court and the federal courts will. Of course you can have an inquiry Even if it does result in criminal charges inquiries don't set criminal blame and if you take this argument to its conclusion its logical conclusion. Essentially means that we couldn't have any public enquiries because there's always the risk of of criminal charges you know the reason we're having inquiries it's because there was a -rageous behavior so of course prime me have been committed just in the last minute or so that we have do you worry and i know you have a book coming out a long-term care we'll talk about when it's released but do you worry that as more of vaccinated as we move through this we could forget about the death and suffering long-term care that was so shocking to us in the earlier stages of this pandemic. I think the danger is always that that we have short memories in the public policy field. Whether it's long term care whether the way we treated the homeless we've done a lot of good things during the the we've been forced to react to long standing problems that we can't allow ourselves to just throw up our hands and and forget these things when we get the virus under control. Thanks to vaccination and other measures andrei. We'll speak again in the meantime. Thank you very much thank you. Andre picard the global males health columnist for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on the rising third wave in Canada
"This is a cbc podcast. New modeling shows. That candidate is on track to see a strong resurgence of covid. Nineteen infections variants of the virus and the easing of some restrictions prompted candidates. Chief public health officer. Dr teresa tam to implore over the weekend for people and provinces to take stricter and stronger measures here to parse out the precautions and the spike in numbers as globe and mail health columnist. Andre picard hundred morning. Good morning what do you make of dr theresa attack issuing this warning over the weekend. Well it's sorta the same old story right. We hear this over and over that Cases arising so the only way to to slow that down with new measures but it's becoming harder and harder for people to listen to that they're just getting fed up so it's a constant battle between the the virus and the vaccination and our our patients. I guess getting fed up also perhaps confused. There was a photo circulating this weekend of a field hospital being erected in toronto at the same time as an announcements being made that he will soon be able to get your haircut inside the hair salon to the barber. Barbershop or people right to be confused. yeah serious confusion. There's contradictory messages. There's you know you have to be prepared so we do things like field hospital in case of the worst case scenario at the same time there's pressure on governments. Don't open up People have been cooped up for a long time. Businesses are still suffering things like haircuts. They become an image but not that great a risk in the grand scheme of things but descendant message that life is getting to normal and maybe people will take more other kinds of risks. So it's really hard to get that balance rate especially for politicians get the pressure from all sides. Are we walking towards another lockdown. Do you think well it. It almost seems inevitable given our history the first two waves we saw that we hesitated as stated then it got so bad. We had to do it. So the big question with the third wave is can we keep it to a ripple By staying locked down to a certain degree are we going to let it get out of control before we locked down. But i think there's probably some measures coming. The question is when and how effective they'll be people have characterized this and we've talked about this before as a race between the vaccine and the variants there has been a relatively low uptake on vaccines in some jurisdictions. Toronto reported on friday that there was something like thirty thousand unfilled vaccination spots this week. What does that tell you well. There's again mixed messaging there too. You know the there's good news about vaccines. We've administered more than five million. Now we're gonna get another three point. Three million doses this week were up to doing one hundred and fifty thousand shots a day. So there's lots of good news on the vaccine front so when we see things like unfilled spots. The question is what what's happening or people hesitating or do they just don't know. Are the rules confusing. And i think it's the latter. The the rules seem to be different everywhere. People are not sure if they should go out they see pictures of Older people with mobility issues waiting in line for two hours. That's a turnoff. Says all kinds of reasons. But i don't think it's hesitated. I don't think it's fear that i'd seen. It's just people aren't sure so they're they're waiting. There have been real stories around the complications as well in the registration systems in the various provinces and territories. I mean a year into this d. Scratch your head wondering how we ended up in this situation. How it's not more streamlined. And smoother for people to sign up and get the backseat backseat. We've all been waiting for. It's very very frustrating. I think unfortunately it's like many other things. It's like the problems in long term care. It's very structural. So we you know for years. We've been talking about the lack of vaccine registry the lack of electronic health records. All these things are biting us in in the wrong place. Right now That's what's making it more difficult to do simple seemingly simple tasks like vaccination so all these structural issues. These normal things that should be in place aren't an it makes our job massively more difficult. You could imagine that this will be the subject of reports. In months and years ahead there was an auditor. General's report on canada's cova preparedness released. Last week It was described the preparedness or lack thereof as an utter failure. What did you make of that report. Well i think you know. We didn't distinguish ourselves. We know that but these reports. I think they're always difficult. It's always easy to be critical in hindsight. It's interesting that dr theresa. Tim who's very laid back really fought back on this one chief. She pushed back and said no. We did what we could based on the information at the time. So that's that's the biggest shoot. If can you put yourself back in that exact spot. But i think some criticism is warranted. The question is wind. Should we be doing this you know. Is it useful to have the auditor general criticizing the public health agency at a time when the third wave is coming along the does that undermine confidence i think think these issues are are complex. But i think it'll be years before we get a full picture of how well we actually did. In the meantime. I mean in your paper theresa. Thomas accused of defending the indefensible today. So what kind of position just briefly. What kind of position does this put her. In as we're still not even out of the pandemic well puts her in a very difficult position. And you know the criticism. A lot of it is warranted. But it's what you said. Is it useful at this point and Does it undermine her her voice that this important time is the third wave coming. We'll talk again. Andre in the meantime it's always good to speak with you. Thank you very much. thank you. Hundred picard health columnist for the globe and mail for more. cbc. Podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on Quebec's pandemic curfew
"Throughout the nineteen eighty s strange phenomenon was sweeping north america. They were in a panic and like people in a panic. They want solutions allegations of underground satanic cults torturing and terrorizing children. The thing is there were no satanic cults preying on children and nearly thirty years later the people touched by it. All are still picking up. The pieces isn't a work of fiction. This is a work of history satanic panic available now. This is a cbc podcast. Starting next saturday they'll be a curfew from eight. Pm to five am during four weeks so after eight pm we won't be allowed to go out in streets except for work. I know those measures are tough for our mental health but we have to balance that with this situation in our hospitals. This thracian is very serious. That's while ago quebec's premier announcing cova curfew the first for canada. The only exception will be for those heading into or coming home from work. The globe and mail's helmet. Andre picard is here to talk about these lockdown measures and issues. Andre good morning. Good morning we are not familiar in this country with covid curfews. They're happening elsewhere. But this is the first in in canada. How effective do you think it'll be. The first in a in a whole province are been little curfews in indigenous communities here and there and of course you mentioned around the world absolutely. It's hard to say how effective it will be It really depends on enforcement. It defends depends on buying and the early response seems to be mixed People have their doubts about this because there's some tough talk as we often get from the premier but there's many many exceptions to this rule so essentially expand under this lockdown. I call it a semi locked down for a couple of months and nothing really changes now. Accept this curfew. And then other rules have been loosened so people don't see this as a really dramatic change the see it. I think more than euro-taste. We've been talking about schools and the schools will remain open construction. Essential construction will continue. Does it seem right to you that that's happening. The ski resorts for example can stay open. Well it's awesome like an to French grammar programmer has a lot of rules that it has an exception to every rule and this curfew has so many exceptions that it's hard to keep track of There's gonna be professional hockey. Who's going to be skiing. There's going to be All kinds of things we had stores closed for two months. Now and now they're going to be allowed to do curbside pickup so for as many things we shut down there's reopening so it's not it doesn't seem like more strict which is sort of the message the government's supposed to be convenience. Do you think that other provinces should look to this approach. Whether it's it's this kind of curfew or even stronger. I think they're going to have to talk about it. Because other provinces ontario in particular has the same problem as quebec but worse quebec a month ago had fifteen hundred cases a day. Now it's up to more than twenty five hundred cases a day. That's that's a big jump in in a short period. An anti-terrorist Case numbers rising even faster hospitals are really really stressed in those two provinces. They're really on the brink of the you know having to do dramatic stuff. Open field hospitals We have more in interrupts now etc. So this is something has to be done. Curfews have worked in other countries but the only worked where they're real curfews where they're very strict one of the things about quebec striking is. There's not really any limitations. On travel you know in melbourne. You couldn't go more than five kilometers from your home once a day In connect you can still go shopping. Five times a day you can drive to the ski hill etc. There's all kinds of exceptions. That don't make this look like a walk down or a real curfew measures like this are necessary in the race to get vaccines into the arms of canadians. There's been a lot of criticism about the distribution of vaccines. You wrote a column saying that. Keeping vaccines In storage waiting to be used as a bit like having bags of peas in a freezer. How would you assess the rollout of the vaccines from provincial governments across this country. I think there's two aspects of the story one is The vaccine that we have we should get into people's arms as urgently as possible. That hasn't been done. Our clinics were closed or cut back during the holidays etcetera. We should have been doing this as a priority as something. Urgent and were gency. Wasn't there so that's an issue. We have to use the stock that we have the second part of it and the provins. It's been right to criticize over out. All over this is there's just not very much stock. We have very few vaccines in canada. So what's going to happen in very short order is we're gonna zero vaccines and we're going to be waiting for new shipments to come in and that's a different problem but it's an even worse problem one of the other problems that governments are facing. Is that some members of their own cabinets have been traveling this winter internationally and it's not just certain politicians. What else have you been tracking. When it comes to traveling abroad. We all politicians are traveling. We've seen heads of public health programs of hospitals to the elite or trade links. But there's also just a lot of ordinary people traveling so again you go back to quebec. Back is has a get tough curfew. But thousands of quebecers are traveling to cuba Birds are going to florida so again. It's this mixed messaging. Are we really locked down or we really taking this seriously or if we have a little bit of money can we just take off and enjoy the sun and when we come back a lot. Big big story beck was that you could apply for this federal aid of a thousand dollars or quarantine now. The government in reaction has cut that off travelers. But that's sent this message early on that you know there's really no punishment for breaking the rules so we're not taking this seriously then or seriously enough. I don't think we're taking it seriously enough for people. Think well this doesn't apply to be don't conduct again time and time again. This emphasize well older people elders over sixty five. They have to stay in their homes. They're really endanger. And i think part of the message that's heard from younger people as well. It's only old folks who had risk so we can do. What as we like. Andrei good to speak with you as always and we will talk again appreciate your time this morning. Thank you thank you undercard. Goba males health columnist for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on the AstraZeneca vaccine
"Hi i'm josh. Block host of uncover escaping nexium from. Cbc podcasts. I pull back the curtain on the secret of self help group that experts call a cult and follow one woman's heroic journey to get out. The podcast was featured in rolling stone magazine and named one of the best podcasts of two thousand and eighteen in the atlantic. Listen to uncover escaping nexium on. Cbc or wherever. You get your podcasts. This is a cbc podcast over the past few weeks much has been made around the safety of astrazeneca's vaccine against covid nineteen health. Canada has assured canadians. There is no need for concern at this point in time. Based on the information that has been reviewed by health canada. There is no Safety concern with the detroit bombali recipient but we're actively looking into the issue not everyone sees it the same way. Several countries in europe have suspended the role of this vaccine. After cases of blood clots in people who had gotten the shot and now some canadians are refusing to take the astra zeneca vaccine on top of this. There's now concern that we are heading into or perhaps already in a third wave of covid. Andre picard is the globe and mail's health columnist. Andre good morning good morning. How concerning is it to you that these european countries have suspended the astrazeneca vaccine rollet. Thanks not overly concerning know. It's not a bad thing. To err on the side of caution especially when you have alternatives. They have a lot of vaccines of different sorts. So it's not a great concern scientifically. I think that the communications aspect does a little bit scary. It's hard for the public to sort all this out. Tell me more about that because there are questions as to whether this is about science or politics or some area in between i'd say probably some area in between so you know when new vaccines roll out we watch very carefully for for signals. That things could be going badly and when you have a drug that's been used to right now there's been four hundred million vaccines vaccinate a in a done for corona virus very large number of orch short periods. All kinds of things going on to try to figure out are they caused by the vaccine. Is it just. Haphazard is a chance and it's hard to figure out those signals from the noise. And i think that's what scientists around the world and regulators around the world are trying to figure well and you talk about regulators health canada yesterday that it's the same proportion of blood clots that would be expected for the population outside of vaccination campaign. So do we know if there is any causal link between those blood clots and the vaccine. The doesn't seem to be so the consensus. I think the larger consensus. I know it seems to be about the normal number. But there's these little concerning things that The people who are getting these blood clots tend to be young They're happening in little spurts Some countries have many more per capita than than others. So it's hard to all sort out but overall it probably is just normal. Noise is just normal number of klotz. You know when you get a vaccine protects you against virus. But it doesn't protect you against the other bad stuff than cookbook can go on in your life and it's hard to to sort that these kind of fear is actually quite common and the almost never panned out so we have to try and keep that context in the midst of it in the midst of of this pandemic. How do the suspensions of the vaccine campaigns in those european countries impact the coffins that canadians have in this vaccine or. i think. There's no question that it scares the public. They're not sure what to make of this We really have to think about how these regulators communicate with the public. It's not normally. These are groups that meet in back rooms and have scientific debates and now the whole world of the spotlight of the whole world is on them. So they're little musings that they would normally make that. No one pays attention to have now been blown up into headlines around the world so it's a very different context for their communication. What should be done. I mean the uk. Prime minister boris. Johnson has said that he's going to get the Astra zeneca vaccine and you're tweeting about leaders. Getting that shot should our prime minister. Get get the astros on we although so really difficult cultural political issues right so in canada. Do we want our prime minister to be a leader and got the shot i are we going to denounce him for queue jumping. There are different responses in different countries. I think in canada. Unfortunately we have a fairly hyper partisan a reality right now. I think the prime minister would probably come out a loser if he got vaccinated before his time in the queue. You know based on age. So it's hard i think is very different in the us. We saw the leader's gonna be among the first to get vaccinated but a different cultural context. You're suggesting that perhaps all of the the leaders of the major parties in this country could get the same shot. Yeah i think that would at least prevent them pointing fingers at each other. It would be a nice symbolic gesture. If the five leaders went and lined up and got their shot Would be a nice photo op too for the media. Let me just ask you one. Final question about the hesitancy issue. We talked about this yesterday on the program about vaccine hesitancy particularly within the black communities in this country and and how community leaders are trying to address this. What you have to tell people to to calm the concerns that they might have. And how should that conversation unfold. To be honest with people we have to say. It's okay to be worried. It's okay to have questions but overall the bottom line is that the benefits far far outweigh the risks. So i think that's the message we have to get. I think especially with many racialized. There's good reasons to be skeptical the way they've been mistreated in the past. They've been lied to Used as guinea pigs. There's a lot of baggage there and we have to address that baggage and not just say. Oh these groups aren't being good citizens by not getting vaccinated. Do we have to understand this stuff and we have to work at it slowly. Let's talk about where we're at In this pandemic it seems as though we're moving through it slowly perhaps not quickly enough for many people and there are worries about a potential third wave. The ontario hospital association said this week. The province is heading into its third wave The provinces science table said that. We're already there. What is the third wave mean. Well third wave means. There's going to be a rise in cases so we're already seeing that we're seeing that in many provinces ontario alberto. Catch sean. see earl seeing their cases creep. Backup now the question is not whether having a third wave that seems like we are because of the variants. It's fueled by these new variants but the question is how big is the wave can be so. I think that's the real known question or have a sense of that in the next seven to ten days is this just a little ripple that you know we don't have to worry about or is this really another wave like we saw in the spring and back again in the fall. What do we know about how vaccines work against those variants in particular variant for seen in the uk because that seems to be the dominant one being found here in canada. Yeah we don't know exactly indications they don't work quite as well but the the that Vaccine the variant from the uk that originated in the uk. The the b one one seven vaccine seemed to work fairly well against that much more concerning is the other be one three five one which originate in south africa. The next seemed to work much less well with that one in return to see a little bit of those cases in canada but you know now in ontario the dominant strain is that Be one one seven the uk strain so this is changes the game a little bit. But i think what it does it makes it all the more urgent to get vaccinated quickly because if if the virus spreading it doesn't matter what the variant is not spreading so that that i think brings some sense of urgency to rolling our vaccine. I spoke with major general danny four town earlier this week. He is in charge of canada's role at of those vaccines and he said that he believed this country would be ready for when the large shipments start to arrive within the next few weeks. Do you think that. The provinces and territories are ready to to really wrap their vaccination programmes. Well one has to hope so. There's certainly at this point. There's no more excuses allowed ride. We've been talking about this incessantly at the vaccines are coming. They're coming we better be ready. And we'd better not mess it up in the meantime you're seeing again this possible third wave. You're seeing some provinces starting to loosen restrictions in bc. They're allowing outdoor gatherings of a words of ten people for example doctor. Bonnie henry the Provincial health officer speaking about some return to normal in time for the summer the atlantic bubble could be rebuilt and reconstituted and folks in that bubble are also looking at when people from outside of atlantic. Canada could come visit because tourism is so important. What's the risk in moving too quickly while all of what we've been talking about is still swirling around well. The risk is ultimately that how big debt nextwave will be this. Acceleration is not going to stop the spread entirely. What it's going to do is mitigate it and the more we open up the more difficult mitigation becomes in. A one of the numbers jumped out at me. Yesterday was bc. Yesterday had as many cases of quebec. So i you know the when they start talking about loosening up you have to say well what's going on you know. Are you really ready to open up under these circumstances but as as far as part of that also just about the public mood that a year into this. We're in a different space than we were a year ago. Oh there's no question that becomes with each passing day j- passing week. It gets more difficult to maintain restrictions to bring in new ones. It's politically a very difficult place to be. And you're trying to find that balance between giving people more freedom but not allowing the virus to run rampant and you know i personally think when we're vaccinating we do have to reward people in some way. You can't just say you've been sacrificing all this time we've been telling you vaccines are solution. And then say well. Nothing is going to change. We have to find that balance of of reward but mitigating risk. Just finally i mean so. Many of us are looking for optimism. are you seeing optimism. A year into this well. The optimism is the vaccines are working better than we ever imagined. A cases really are getting controlled in many countries even in canada and canada. I think one of the most optimistic things is what's finally happening. In our long-term care settings there are virtually no new cases there. There is a day last week. The renault deaths in these homes. And that's this is. What's been fueling are pandemic candidates. So that really is a a source of optimism. Unfortunately it came at a horrific costs but it is something that gives us. hope andre. Great to talk to you as always thank you very much. Thank you andrea card. The globe and mail's health columnist for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on new variants and vaccines
"Hi i'm josh. Block host of uncover escaping nexium from. Cbc podcasts. I pull back the curtain on the secret of self help group that experts call a cult and follow one woman's heroic journey to get out. The podcast was featured in rolling stone magazine and named one of the best podcasts of two thousand and eighteen in the atlantic. Listen to uncover escaping nexium on. Cbc listen or wherever you get your podcasts. This is a cbc podcast. We are just two weeks away from the official start of summer. Do you feel like it's time for a vacation. We may not be getting off to sip wine on a parisian toronto anytime soon. But the rock maybe within your reach getting newfoundlanders in laboratories vaccinated is the key to return to a more normal sense of life. A big part of that involves the reopening of newfoundland and labrador to travel. And i'm so happy to be able to announce that plane today as early as july. First when roughly seventy five percent of people over the age of twelve are vaccinated with at least one dose and there are low covid nineteen case count numbers and low hospitalizations. We are excited to lift the travel ban and welcome recreational travelers to newfoundland and labrador even without invitation on the table. There may be reason to hesitate before you get on the plane. Andre picard health columnist with the globe and mail. Andre good morning do you think the carrot of being able to travel across this country go to beautiful newfoundland and labrador for example is enough to boost vaccination rates beyond where they are in this country already. Well people are certainly eager to travel. There's no question about that. Were close to that. You know magic. Seventy seventy five percent. But i think the the big question remains what happens if we don't get there. What happens if the resurgence too so i. I think we're gonna see these opening ups but they're going to be very cautious a lot of people. I think it'll be very leery to travel. There'll be a small number. They'll be really keen. Minutes can be interesting to see how it unfolds. One of the reasons. Why people might be leery as you say is because of the news regarding the delta variant. This is the very end that was first discovered in india. What are we starting to see when it comes to this variant where we know that. It spreads more quickly. It seems to be a little more Harmful that people suffer a little more. So this what we're seeing throughout the pandemic. We had corona virus classic. You know the original. And then we had the alpha which bush about twice as likely to spread and then this one is twice as likely again. So it's getting more potent as it goes on so that's concerning We saw in britain. This delta variant has gone from non existent to the dominant strain in just four weeks. So there's a real risk in a real worry that this is going to happen in canada's well what do we know about why this is unfolding that way in britain they had been under pretty tight lockdown for a long time and then this gradual sort of easing restrictions. The next one set to come a few weeks time. Why is this happening now. This way in the uk was a couple of things at play. One is this is more transmissible. So that's concerning. And they're still that fairly large pocket of vaccination people so all these delta. Vaccinations are happening in the unvaccinated. And in those with just one shot. So it's sort of bringing about this discussion. We have to speed up the second shot to lessen this. But there's that you know even though we have we're getting close to over sixty percent vaccinated that's still forty percent unvaccinated so the real risk that this can take off in that significant minority. Tell me more about the second dose and how that could be sped up we know that in some provinces there are different rollouts than other provinces in some on. -tario seems rather confusing to some people in terms of who can get the second dose in when and how you can book it and what do we about how that's unfolding across the country. Yeah that's a you know we're seeing a repetition of when we had the the first doses who gets it in what order and we're having that discussion a new with the second dose and you're right in ontario as always there seems to be confusion. Even the health minister was confused. She gave some information. Then it turned out it was incorrect. But the question is essentially you do the same thing as the first round. You go for a frail elders in long term care essential workers to target neighborhoods z. These debates were never really resolved the first time round. And we're having them again and is the sense that if we are able to speed up the second doses that this will mean people have compared this again to a foot race between the the variance and the vaccines that will be able to keep that delta variant bay. Well the less you know the less Disease that's in the community. The the lesser the risk of it spreading. So that. that's why the second dose is is key to make sure there's fewer people they're not vaccinated and then the second part of this is we we know that you know the delta variant. It's only seems to protect about a third of the time if you only have that one dose that hikes. Quite considerably with two doses. So there's two things at play there that are all the experts are saying. We really have to accelerate the second dose especially now that we have a lot of vaccine. How cautious do provinces need to be right. Now we've talked about the you know the marshmallow test before. Nbc movie theaters are going to be reopened gyms as well increasing gathering sizes there is all of this swirling around while while the reopening is unfolding so how cautious do provinces need to right. Now do you think having nobody really knows. It's one of those things that if you do it wrong. You're gonna beat. Look terrible in retrospect. But we don't know we know there's a seasonal effect. It's good that is summer so there's less spread of illness. So that's good but if you go a little too quickly you risk having explosions of cases. I've just reading a case this morning about a hospital in rural finland where one hundred people got infected. Seventeen died i in an area where there's almost no covert that. It just happened to be this variant. So there's this risk of real and i think You know we're kind of rolling the dice in some cases when you have big events like a calgary stampede. We just don't know how that will play. Stampede is a ways off. I mean hockey. Were already seeing fans and stands twenty five hundred montreal for The game six matchup against leaves hundreds in toronto. Winnipeg as well and one of the reasons why that's happening. Some people believe is because we're looking south of the border and seeing in the united states you know. Tens of thousands of people in the stands for sporting events. Are we trying to keep up with our neighbors to the south. Do you think. I think there's definitely some covert envy going on. There's no doubt to if you if you're a hockey fan and you watch back to back. Twenty five hundred people in montreal and then twenty five thousand in las vegas. It was quite shocking to see this to see a whole bunch of people yelling and screaming. Not a mask in sight. I think we can look at that and go. Whoa if only we could do that but i think canadians are a little bit more cautious. But there's definitely pressure to to do things differently to open up and take some risks as a lot of. Us states have done and to be fair not necessarily with horrible results. Just one final note on on the hockey piece. We learned yesterday that the federal government has approved travel exemption for the stanley cup playoffs. Nhl teams can cross the candidy us border with a modified corentin if we allow this for professional sports teams. What message does that send to ordinary canadians. Who are trying to get across the border. Well i think it's gonna get a mixed reaction again. I think some people are going to be really angry. We know the folks pushing for family. Reunifications are very angry about this and probably rightfully so a lot of people are gonna say. Well it's fair because they are in this bubble there no one is probably no one is probably tested. More than hockey players get tested every day. They're going to be tested coming into the country out but this notion that you know they were given a national interest exemption. That hockey is somehow special You know are they as important as truckers and then giving us our daily goods. I think that's a debate. We have tap society wide but It seems to be a done deal. This is still on the vaccine. Shoot the prime minister is headed to the g. Seven meetings in england at the end of this week and there were a number of initiatives that have been on the table about covid. Nineteen one of them. Is this idea to vaccinate the entire world by the end of twenty twenty two. Boris johnson the uk prime minister so that that should be a global goal. In what ways do you think the candidate could step up in order to achieve this. Well you know. There's a lot of talk and veered. It'll actions so we know the g. Seven health ministers last week pledged a lot more money. Two point. Four billion dollars but didn't really pledge vaccine. So it's this you know. I think it's a real moral imperative. How much vaccine are we going to share. And we're not doing it. We've administered about one point eight billion doses around the world now and only point. Four percent of those have been in low income countries. So this is really a global dilemma. And it's a real bioethical challenge. And i think there has to be less talked about this and there has to be some real commitment to do it but realistically the way we're going now we won't have the world vaccinated tool at least twenty twenty four. What is it. I mean if you take a look at the united states the us through the white house announced that it was releasing millions of doses of vaccines. They have a lot more Than we do. But we have purchased or at the very least secured you know several times more doses than we need what should what role should candidate play in that with. The question is how quickly we enor- we just going to be selfish about it. If i can. Just put it bluntly uh-huh question. Do we have to vaccinate everyone in this country twice before we donate any vaccines to to africa for example. Had that's the trade off. And i think are the canadians are probably quite split on this. I think a law would like to see us be more generous and fair and others are thinking. Oh we have to take care of our own. I i. I don't think this is an issue that any politician can win on. Does it put canada's decision to take vaccines from the kobe pool in the mad scramble a few months ago for a vaccine in a different light. I think that's always been a bad decision. I think we should contribute to kovacs. I don't think we should be withdrawing for from it even though we're legally allowed to and i think that sends a wrong message. Canada prides itself on being generous citizen of the world. And i think we have to put our our vaccines were both is not just our money now andrei to speak with you as always thank you very much. Thank you undercard. Health columnist for the globe in mail for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
How a health reporter does her job when every story is urgent
"I'm going to start by just admitting it. I used to be a reporter and I have no idea how the hell I would do that. Job Right now in clear used to work in a newsroom. Too so I think you know what I'm talking about. Yeah and I'm with you. I cannot imagine doing that job right. Now there's just too much to handle. The story is everywhere and I don't know enough about it. I don't have the experience I would find it impossible to sort out. What's critical from what's just really important to what's also important and what's probably still important but it can wait because everything else is more important. There's just there's too much information. There's too many sources and there's too many angles to cover. Yeah and never mind all the information I mean everything is constantly changing and being a newsroom. Is a tough job in general. But I'm so impressed by what newsrooms are doing across the country right now. I mean the beauty of this podcast is that we just do one story. We find one person who can hopefully give us the proper insight or some inside knowledge or the big picture context and we talked to them and hopefully they've done the impossible job that I just described and and we benefit from it and that's one story. Yeah and I mean think about it. I don't I don't think our listeners even realized that we just do one story and we try to find a one person to talk about that one story and even that can be a challenge. Don't you agree? We go back and forth across our list of topics every day. And right now it just feels like every one of them is urgent and I'm not sure how to Parse that except to go to the people that do know what's important and what can wait and so today we're GonNa go to one of our favorite guests who we haven't talked to in a while because she's been insanely busy. I in her beat which was always an important one is probably now the most critical reporting job. There is and so. I'm hopeful that she can kind of help us sort out. What the defining stories of Colvin Nineteen Canada Shaping? Up to be what? We'll remember about this time when this is all over. And she's also hopefully gonNa tell us how the hell you can stay afloat in the middle of the storm and so we'll do that right after Claire. I know we just talked about the impossible job. You get to do that for one minute and give us the most important stuff going on right now. He definitely not the same as the hard work done by journalists following this twenty four seven but we do our best to keep you. Informed may not know when restrictions will be eased in Canada just yet but Justin Trudeau is now saying that it'll be done in a phased approach and he also says it's not gonNA happen anytime soon. We are having ongoing discussions with the provinces. At this point we recognize that different regions of the country are at different places along the evolution of their covet nineteen curve. We're GONNA make sure that we try to stay coordinated as best as possible but those discussions are ongoing about how we're going to reopen the economy It's just it. It's going to be a while. Still Cherno also address long-term care homes and senior facilities which as we know have been hit especially hard across the country he says the government is talking to provinces about staffing shortages. And what needs to be done and one thing happening in Quebec that show has pointed to is a salary. Top up for employs a many of the crises at these facilities have just been worsening over the past few days. Anson Place Care Center in Harrisville Phil Ontario. For instance has now seen nineteen deaths related to cove nineteen and seventy three of the one hundred and one residents have tested positive for the virus a couple of provinces have now ramped up testing. Alberta is now testing for anyone who has symptoms including fever runny nose sore throat cough or shortness of breath and New Brunswick is also expanding its testing criteria. So now anyone who has two out of five symptoms can be tested as of Tuesday evening over twenty seven thousand cases of covert nineteen in Canada with nine hundred and fifty two deaths Jordan Heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Carly weeks is a health reporter at the globe in Mail and she must be incredibly busy right now. I carly hi there first of all. Just how are you doing these days? Well Yeah that's an interesting question for all of these days. I think we're all to varying degrees dealing with a lot of inconvenience. Some people are really suffering. So we've been working from home my husband and I for for several weeks with our toddler which is has many challenges when you're trying to do journalism on a daily basis and breaking news files that will wait until nighttime or anything like that. So it's it's it's a struggle but you it doesn't take long. I mean I'm talking to people all the time who are responding to this hospitals and working on the front lines so it puts it in perspective. You know that We're lucky enough to be able to stay home and actually have jobs right now. So it's all relative. Yeah and I mean from a journalistic perspective one of the reasons. We wanted to talk to somebody whose beat is normally. Health is because there are a lot of people whose beats aren't normally health who are now covering this because it's the only story. Yep what would you say has been the most challenging thing for you to navigate in terms of there just being so many angles to this and so much information out there and figuring out what to cover this an interesting question? I think there's a there's a number of things that have emerged as big challenges and in one of them you sort of touched on the fact that everybody is now sort of an expert in this and everybody wants more information all the time. So what we've seen happen. Is that some less than credible stories and experts have emerged who were kind of distorting the picture. Maybe of what's going on you know. There are some a couple of prominent people on twitter who've emerged as sort of media experts and more so in the United States that are being quoted all the time but a lot of the studies that they're citing and the things that they're saying aren't necessarily rooted in truth and there's so much of this sort of misinformation being people throwing around things that aren't true and social media's obviously playing a role in this and we're trying to every day just tell people what they need to know press public health officials on what's going on and what's going wrong with the response so we're trying to deal with not falling into these minefields of of bad information and and Science. That's coming out. That just isn't even credible but at the same time trying to figure out what are the most important points and what might be missing one of the things. That's become really clear is that we really have a problem with information sharing in Canada and that sounds very very boring. What that really means is that for the most part most of us don't have a very good idea of what might be going on with. Covert nineteen in our communities emerged as a theme in places like Ontario in Quebec which probably not coincidentally are also facing some of the largest outbreaks in the country and they're facing some of the largest struggles in Canada to get them under control. They're not very good at telling people what's going on in that's become a very big challenge from a journalistic standpoint just trying to even get the most rudimentary information out to people that they really need to know about where the brakes are. Who's dying? What would they need to know? I wanted to ask you about that because I see these numbers every day. I've just decided kind of because it's not my job to pick one source and use that as a benchmark day today but I see You guys at the Globe and people at the star and other publications around the country kind of parse these numbers so you're getting one number US Ontario as an example from the province and then Health reporters are just reporters are going out to individual public health units and they're adding up those numbers and they sometimes don't add up and it just leaves me as as an observer feeling Like I'm not sure who's telling me the truth or even if there is a an agreed upon basis for a case it's very strange it it didn't feel like there's this This bit of paternalistic theme that team urge you know we. I've been tuning in more so to the Ontario press briefings because there's been so many problems in Ontario. Frankly and you often get this response. Well you know. We're not doing a certain thing. Because that's not necessarily. That's not what the evidence says. But then the premier will say but that is actually what we want. I mean yesterday was a good example We had the premier calling for more testing people in long term care homes and minutes later one of the chief public health officers in the province. Said we'll know that would be wasteful. There's people that are contradicting each other. They're they don't appear to be using the same sort of evidence bars that they are in provinces like Alberta and BC. That have been really proactive. And gotten this information and these outbreaks largely under control as of today So there is a lot. It's raised a lot of questions about why there is this. Lack of transparency is that they're not collecting the information themselves that they have timely access that they're concealing things Because basically what we're finding out as reporters were having to go to thirty four public health units in Ontario. And ask them what's going on in your area and they're telling us and then it doesn't match up to what the provinces saying at all so it undermines or risks undermining faith in the system at a crucial time when we need more than ever to trust in public health. How do you go about figuring out which experts to trust on this And maybe you have sources that you've cultivated for a long time but I know From my perspective for some of the experts that that we've interviewed who we've had on before and trust them they just talk about armchair. Ap's or people who like you mentioned are now all of a sudden showing up on twitter and pitching themselves as sources and ending up articles. And how do you fact check that in real time? That's a it's a really good question. And it's it's emerged as a really important one particularly because Canada's not facing one uniform outbreak we have regional outbreaks that are going on that look very different and so we have to take great pains to not only get people with credible good solid information but people who can speak to experiences in various parts of the country because when I interview someone in Toronto the information that they're giving me is very different from someone in Alberta and that was the experience I had just a few days ago Alberta. They're already sort of approaching this idea of. When can we maybe start talking about opening our society backup in Toronto and Ontario? Were not nearly very so when it comes to sort of fact checking these sources and and you know getting the right people on the phone you know. There are a number of people. I I've been lucky enough to be a health reporter for you know over ten years so there's a number of people that I know and trust and I've talked to them before and they've held senior positions For a long time and they know they're stopping some of the people we talked to. You regularly responded to the SARS outbreak. They know what this looks like. They deal with pandemics all the time and Other people some of them are sort of new to me but they've come up because they are. You know on the front lines now. They're sort of becoming the new leaders who are responding to this. You know in real time in some of the big centers where we are seeing a lot of cases and so I think one of the main things it comes back to journalism one. You Never WanNa talk to just one source You need to get multiple people talking about the same thing and I think it does become clear quite quickly who is credible. And that's really one good way to fact check because if one person is telling you something and it is so far out from what others are saying and it doesn't make any sense with what the data is showing or with what other public health people are saying. Then you might WanNa start raising some questions. Is this person. Is this person's expertise really All all that it's cracked up to be and it be that they're ahead of the curve and they know something that we don't but I find that talking to multiple people reading as much as possible is is a good way to root out. You know who's giving good information who might not be well if parsing misinformation and getting reliable numbers is kind of one of the main narratives. What else is emerging in your mind. As one of the bigger story lines either in terms of where we've really succeeded or where Canada's really struggled to contain this What are we going to remember about this time? Yeah well I think that a particular narrative has started to emerge the last week or so. We haven't seen Our hospitals overrun. We're not seeing the type of surge that there was in New York City or Italy and I think there's already this pushback that started a lot of people are are starting to question. Why are we staying home? Our economies to a halt so. I think that there's a lot of people may come out of this thinking. This thing was all overblown and all of this was unnecessary. And I think that. That's very misguided view the reason why were our hospitals are being overrun is because most of us are staying home and doing all of the things that public health is asking us to do right now. The other part of that narrative though the the really concerning part and it's just starting to emerge more and more is that are vulnerable communities are really at risk and we don't seem prepared or have a great way to protect them and I'm particularly talking about you know seniors living in long term care homes people who are living in group homes people who are disabled People who are homeless people who are addicted to substances. We're seeing more and more of these pockets of people who are testing positive showing up sick and the would include you know newcomers to Canada people who have English as a second language. Anyone who kind of is maybe marginalized in some way. I think what's becoming clear is that we've done a great job of protecting. A certain portion of society may be people who are able to stay home and work from home and all of those sorts of things and follow the public health directives. And then there's this other group who maybe they live in in housing situations where continuously exposed to others or. They're working in jobs for minimum wage and they have to keep showing up and they don't really have any options and they're being exposed to other people or again with long term care and other sort of at risk group homes There's just so much spread that's going on there and I think what's going to come out from. This is that we need to really do such a much better job of protecting those vulnerable groups in our society. And we really aren't doing that now at all. Can you tell me a little bit about what is going on in long term care facilities? Because you an what I guess was a team of reporters from the globe across the country put together like the scope of it and it was pretty staggering. Sagging is is a very apt word for this so and again. It's very difficult to get information from some provinces but we basically did across countries scan of what the situation is and what's very clear is that long-term care centers are the epicenter of outbreaks in Canon of covert nineteen in Canada. They are in some ways. You know some of the people. These homes are sort of sitting ducks you know. There's IT reflects longstanding problems with the way that these homes have sort of been the way they've worked in the way Can you explain that a bit? Yeah so I guess. There's a number of issues short term issues and then longer term issues the short term. Right now we know. A lot of staff members who work in long term care weren't given masks and gloves and people who had symptoms for covert weren't getting tested right away and oh it turns out that seniors who are sick and old and living in homes don't have the same symptoms as everyone else and they manifest differently and so basically there was a number of red flags that kind of just made it so that there's all of these different outbreaks and illnesses popping up across the country. We we now have hundreds of facilities like hundreds of facilities with outbreaks and hundreds of deaths as a result and it's causing our overall mortality related to Cova in Canada to Terai so a lot of concerns there longer term issues. This is something that's been going on for a long time. Seniors in long term care facilities die every year from things like the flu and we kind of accept that as a given. You know that that they're going to die and flew seems particularly hard on seniors. And I don't think any of us have done a very good job or at least most of us haven't done a good job of asking why that is. Why is it that seniors in long term care facilities our meal multiple people in one room? You know why does the province continue to allow that? We know that. That's a huge risk for spreading infection and in fact. That's one of the reasons why hospitals have largely for both for the most part moved away from that. There's still some room sharing hospitals which is a problem as well but I was on the phone with someone the other day and night. Infection control expert. Who said the funny thing is that hospitals you would. You'd think that hospitals would be sort of a scary place to be right now during the midst of a pandemic but it's actually long term care. Facilities Hospitals know how to control the spread of infection but in long term care facilities. That's not happening much or very well. At this point for the most part and you know in some provinces they've taken over the staffing a long term care facilities and others like Ontario. They're still resisting doing widespread testing of residents and staff. And so it's it's a real mess over the place and it speaks to the need for institution wide change. Is it too late for us to do anything in the short term the could help right now? I mean you mentioned that. It's already in hundreds of homes across the country. You know you never WANNA say it's too late. I mean. Unfortunately there are homes that where there's like dozens of people have already died and there's more of that have been testing positive. A colleague of mine. Andre Picard wrote a column last week I think it was actually saying if you have a loved one in long term care. Get them out now if you can. And he faced a lot of blowback for that but it turns out as usual. Andre was right I mean I mean it's such an impossible situation for people to be in but that being said there is always hope for turning things around and you can look at some successful provinces and figure out what they've done and how they were able to manage that spread so province like they moved very quickly to take over the staffing these homes because they knew that the staff members weren't necessarily getting the training they needed the funding models weren't necessarily in place to to incentivize the homes to make sure things were being done properly making sure. Everyone had the gloves gowns and equipment that they needed so there is things that can and should be done and I do think that there's a way to turn this around. I think that one of the things that's emerged from health experts is that we need to start looking at places that don't yet have outbreaks with no positive cases and focus on those as potential hot spots anywhere could have could have a potential case. And let's do more testing. Let's test people without symptoms? Even something that's been floated you know get. Everyone tested all the time as testing becomes more available and these people are vulnerable. Why aren't we doing these things to protect them when you see a governments respond to these kind of questions do any of them give off a sense of taking a more long-term view on this Because like you said it's been a problem for ages or is it just now about putting out fires and we'll worry about the rest later. I get the sense overwhelmingly that it's about putting out the fires you know we're in crisis mode. Let's handle this crisis right now. And then we'll maybe deal with it later and I think the concern there is that you know if you only take the short term view. Perhaps none of these things will be changed. I mean these longstanding issues need to be addressed. Take something as simple as room sharing in a long term care home. You know these homes would need to be refitted redesigned. It's not an easy. Ask to just fix that overnight. But the province every province has the power to mandate those types of changes and it would take a lot of political courage and will to actually get that done. I think that the the benefit or the you know if there is one to the situation is that there are certainly it does appear to be more political will to do things now. I mean we've seen all kinds of things happen in such a fast time. Line that we have never seen before I mean for instance now in you know doctors are doing more telemedicine in Ontario. That's something that we've talked about for. You know years and years and all of a sudden it was done almost overnight with the snap of a finger and we're all seeing our doctors. Virtually you know we can do these things and they. They should be done. They need to be done. We need to protect those people that can protect themselves as a health reporter for more than a decade. Like you said. Does it frustrate you when you see These kind of things that we should be doing in clearly we can be doing only happening now when there are so many lives at stake. It astonishing you know and and it sort of speaks to this idea that everything that public health officials or government leaders thrown at you before really were just a lot of excuses. I mean certainly. There's things that are very complicated and would take a lot of time in legislation to change and you know doing things on the fly is not necessarily a great long term strategy to run a country but it does speak to this idea that we can be a lot bolder and make these changes happen things like you know making those long term care institutions safer places Prioritizing the health of seniors and making sure that people are going to be safe where they live we do have the ability to do it. And I think that there's going to be a number of changes that come out of this. I mean a lot of people will be permanently changed as a result of this and hopefully one of the changes that can come out of this is that we do place more of a priority on public health. We've chronically underfunded our public health offices. There's been a lot of high profile cuts to public health and in a crisis situation. Like this you start to see just how vital those connections are how well you fund. Public Health can really make a difference at a time like this. I mean places like South Korea have been able to flatten the curve and keep disease at bay for a number of reasons but one of them is that they have a lot of people available. Who are able to track down new cases. Make sure they're staying isolated. I mean you can't contain this disease. If you don't fund the people on the front line who are going to stop it you know isolate make sure people are staying home if they're sick and so we need to really do a lot more to fund the things up front to prevent these illnesses. I mean this is not a surprise. The reason why the movie contagion was so sort of precedent is not because You know the people that wrote it were sort of like fortune tellers. They just talked to some infection control experts in epidemiology. We knew this was going to happen. It was just a matter of when and we'd still didn't really prepare for it. Vat is an optimistic note to end on Carly. Thank you for helping us today. Thank you so much for having me. Carly weeks is a health reporter at the Global Mail and that was the big story for more big stories. We have a website. You might have heard of it. The big story PODCAST DOT CA. They are all there. They are also all in your favorite podcast player of choice on apple on Google on stitcher on spotify on podfather. Whatever you WANNA use and of course if you would like to chat anytime gets up on twitter at the Big Story F. P. N. Finally if you WANNA send us a video clip or a voice recorder memo for us to play at the end of these episodes you can do so by sending it to the big story podcast. That is all one word all lower case at our DOT ROGERS DOT COM. Thanks for listening. I'm Jordan Heath railings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Canadas slow drip vaccine rollout
"Hi damon fareless host of hunting warhead from. Cbc podcasts in. The norwegian newspaper fiji hunting. Warhead follows a global team of police and journalists says the attempt to dismantle a massive network of predators on the dark web winner of the grand prize for best investigative reporting the new york festivals and recommended by the guardian culture and the globe in mail. You can find hunting warhead on. Cbc listen or wherever you get your podcasts. This is a cbc podcast. Hello i'm jamie west. So far. canada has received more than four hundred and thirty thousand doses of the covid nineteen vaccine and as of thursday only about forty five percent of those doses have actually gone into arms. Those numbers are sourced from the covid. Nineteen canada open data. Working group made up of public health. Experts and data scientists from the university of toronto and the university of wealth governments across the country have been roundly criticized for not deploying the vaccines. They started to get in mid-december quickly up. Prime minister justin trudeau. Said this about the slow roll out on tuesday. i think All canadians including me are frustrated to see vaccines in freezers and non arms. That's why we're going to continue working closely with the provinces to deliver vaccines to the provinces and to support them as they need it in terms of getting a more vaccines out to Vulnerable populations and frontline workers as quickly as possible. All of this is happening. As ontario reported a record breaking case count on thursday more than three thousand five hundred cases and quebec prepares to enforce an overnight curfew. Starting saturday to slow the spread of covid nineteen. Today i've got two guests with me who've been watching vaccine closely globe. In mail health calmness andre picard and christina sakhar scientists who works with covid nineteen resources in canada which helps a health professionals access information. This is front burner. Move hello to you both. Thank you so much for coming onto the show today high. Jimmy hi jamie. So before we talk about the vaccine rollout. I just wanna know how it works here. So essentially the federal government is delivering the vaccine to distribution centers across the country and andre. Big picture here against a global backdrop. How would you characterize the job that canada's doing. I think big picture. It's a middling job we've been very slow to vaccinate to use the stock that we have and the other part of the equation is we. Didn't we don't have very much stock now. So it's kind of a double barrel problem but we're doing much worse than many countries in the world unfortunately christiana we hear governments at various levels. Say that the pfizer and moderna vaccine have been hard to transport because they need to be stored at colder temperatures between negative eighty and negative a sixty degrees but other countries other states in the us they made it work right and you think that the logistical challenges around transporting the vaccine. Really explain this flow. Roll out here. One of the major challenges was definitely transport of the vaccine. Considering the temperature especially the the pfizer vaccine needs to Kept at however If we look at even just some of our own provinces one of the strategies that they took was to actually have the vaccine administration sites In long term care facilities and. That's one of the first places that really needed the vaccine right now. I'm during our canadian. Rollout kubeck will receive four thousand vaccine doses in the coming days may monetize geriatric center which has already recorded. Dozens of deaths is at the very top of the list. We did not have that happen here in ontario however did see recently that in ottawa. There's a pilot project where the pfizer vaccine will be rolled out to or transported to long term care facility so we can have some vaccine administration happening in those facilities. Andre it does seem like an and please correct me. If i'm wrong here but it seems like the focus in canada has largely been on hospital sites delivering the vaccine. And does that need to change. Your candidate has really done most of its vaccination in hospitals read than long term care homes. There's been some of that around the country but that's really been the focus. I think that's just largely a refresh reflection of our system. Our system is very hospital. Centric and so. It's not too surprising happened like that. Should it be like probably not public. Health has a history of doing mass vaccination and they should probably be in charge of this rather than hospitals. And the real problem. I think is not the site six center. I think the problem was one of politics as do just seem to be. A lack of of political will a lack of urgency in this and. I just don't understand why that was the case. Andrei talking about public health and their history with mass vaccinations. Yeah i'm thinking about new york. Here is well. I know in new york. County officials are angry. They're saying that. Years of planning for mass vaccinations using local public. Health departments is essentially being pushed aside by the administration of governor andrew. Cuomo whose retain control of the vaccination program and lake. What's happening here is having hospitals administered. And why though is that happening. Why are we not leading on public health on on these institutions that have histories Doing this yes. Our public health does have quite a glorious. History of vaccination goes back to polio these mass campaigns of polio vaccination even when we look at pandemic influenza h one n one in two thousand and nine with more than a million vaccines a week and this was all done by public health. So you have a good question. Why isn't it being done like this. There's no question. Public health is hurting. They've been kept a lot over the years but can they do it. I think they have the ability to do it. Maybe we could have done this differently with the volunteers. Many healthcare workers that when we heard that to the clinics were shut down. Said that's crazy. We'll volunteer volunteer day and night. Just tell us and again. I don't think i don't understand why the coal was Why didn't we tap into the resources we have. And i just wanna be clear heroin. We're talking about public health. What are we talking about. It is this is this. Your family doctor. Is this your pharmacy. Well in this case. I think vaccines down. The road may be able to be done by family docs and pharmacists between can't with these very technical vaccines that need to be kept in ultra freezers. We have to do them at some centralized location but the question is who is to put those shots into your arm so it can be a family doc. It can be a pharmacist. Can be a paramedic a public health nurse. Any number of people were qualified to do this and always have to do is as many countries around the world has done is setup. Clinic set up a structure and then get the people they are and they're more than happy and more than qualified to do it christiana. Who who else could be doing this. I was thinking of Medical students. I know people have been talking about the possibility of training medical students and in california. They seem to be allowing dentist to start administering the vaccine. I think even before we go and reach into students whether there are medical students are nursing students. Doing this even giving the access to the people who are already licensed and qualified to do it and giving them the access To do this within whether it'd be the hospital settings and removing issues around privilege and red tape So some of my Healthcare professional colleagues have mentioned reaching out to hospitals and seeing that they would want to. They would like to volunteer but being given a lot of red tape around whether or not they can actually assist in administering vaccines and i think. That's a huge issue right now especially when there's so many who are willing and ready to do this but when it comes to bureaucracy Having that sort of structure in place that hinders instead of helps with vaccine administration is an issue so beyond that having students being able to teach and train medical students and nursing students to do this as a great option. But i think we already have a vast resource in the current healthcare professionals who are qualified and licensed but are just not being able to help with the administration of these vaccines. I wanna look outside of our borders and talk about what other countries are doing so as of january seventh canada had vaccinated about a half of a percent of our population. And so you know as andrei you were talking about at the beginning of this conversation. Sort of this middling response. We're currently around tenth in the global race. Even though you're one of the first countries to approve the vaccine. But i wanna talk about israel because they have managed to vaccinate seventeen percent of their population about one point five million people and andre. What exactly is israel doing differently here. Well i israel has been held up as an example because they did everything right. So what did they do. They ordered early. Canada ordered quite late. It's vaccines they paid handsomely for their vaccine so they were willing to pay a premium to ensure they get a lot of supply early. It's very organized. health system. Israel has an excellent public a universal healthcare system. It's a four. Hmo's that administered the whole country of super organized. And i think they just made it a political priority. Said we're gonna do this. We're gonna pull out the stops and we're going to do it and israel as we know has a really long reputation for dealing with crises. The when they have to do something to can do really really quickly. They mobilize and they released set the example for the world in this case there are drive. Vaccinations some clinics run. Twenty four seven digitized medical records in israel me notifications of appointments or online or by text. Canada is not ready for that. I do want to note before you move on. Because it's important that palestinians in the occupied west bank and in the gaza strip will not be vaccinated by israel of responsibility that some aid groups believe israel shares with palestinian officials. I i know that the military is also playing a really important role in vaccinating israelis and christina. Do you think that the military should be brought in more here in canada in arizona. For example the national guard is being brought in as well in terms of vaccinations. I think like andre said. I think israel did a phenomenal job in terms of mobilising Mobilizing the pieces that needed to be mobilized in a timely manner and if bringing in the military to do so would be helpful than yes but i am basically i'm at a point where whatever strategy Or whoever is the best strategic lead on this Needs to be the person leading this. I think right now we've had so many delays and missteps in preparing for this rollout that i'm quite onshore of is actually a well qualified to do this andre. Do you have a sense of who you think. The best person for the job would be well. You know we made a big deal of the fact that we appointed these generals in canada. There's a general running the canadian aspect. There's there's a former general in alberta so these are people who are experts in logistics. So this is why we have generals right. So they're the right people to do it now. The question is do they have the power to do it. So i wrote a couple of weeks ago in a column when the Rick hellier was appointed in ontario. I said he's going to be in for a nasty surprise. And that's borne out. Unfortunately because when joe general tell someone to do something given order it gets done. That's how it works in the army in civilian life. When a general gives an order somebody sets up a committee they talk about it and they water down etc and i think he's probably extremely frustrated. He knows what needs to be done. He knows we can do it. And we're just not doing because the politics is getting in the way. So how do how would we fix that. would we bring in. You know the rest of the military edge to report to these generals like what's the answer. I think the simple answer is get out of the way. It's a very common thing that's needed. In our healthcare system our health care system is very micromanaged by politicians and it should be administered by administrators. So they say to recuse earlier. You're in charge. Do what you have to do. And we'll sign the checks. If that was the case. I can assure you that all these vaccines would be in people's arms if you've ever run logistics at all to. It's a nightmare when you have a large operation. You're getting twenty four forty eight hours notice before we get the shipment as a way to vaccinate more people. Several provinces are now distributing the first dose of vaccine without reserving the second dose for people so for example Many who got the first dose of the pfizer biontech vaccine in quebec won't be getting the second dose in the coming weeks as initially planned. And what do you think of this plan. Kershaw to delay the second dose. What are the pros. What are the cons and spend a little bit controversial. So some of the pros. I mean the main pro to giving the vaccines and in delaying the second dose. Is that the sooner that more canadians have. Vaccines in their arms is the better the hopefully the sooner we can reach herd immunity is also the better for the entire country. The conto this is of course depending on the length of the delivery of the second dose. Because we do know that the first dose of each of the vaccines Needs to be boosted by a second dose and there's only a specified length of time for a delay now delaying that Too much longer than that can actually start to make. The first does a little bit irrelevant So we want to make sure that although we are trying to do this in a timely fashion and get everyone vaccinated. We're also not doing it to a point of not being able to get the second booster shot in arms Quick enough as well ray. I know that something. This is something that is happening in the uk but in the united states Dr anthony fauci has said that this is not something that the us is doing even though they could he could see the argument for it. He just doesn't doesn't think it's worth it and thinks that the optimal coverage if you do it the way that you're supposed to twenty eight days for the major no one twenty one days later for the pfizer wine you know. I can't help but feel here that there is this like incredible lack of nation that we're seeing In this rolled out in the response here and and especially when you look outside of canada's borders in italy fifteen hundred temporary circular pavilions will be set up in the country city centers in the uk. They've recruited volunteers. Lifeguards airlines staff to help. And you know christiana. I know that We've been talking about sort of systems here but but y you know. Why is it that we're not seeing this kind of imagination here In this country. Excellent question jamie. And i have no idea why maybe hundred until you. Why but Currently our healthcare professionals are not Who are qualified in license and have the ability to administer. Vaccines are not even given access to do so within. You know certain that they might not currently have privileges at than we are definitely not going to see. The kind of ingenuity that other countries are doing well. I think it goes back to our larger hill system again. This is just a small part of it. This vaccination campaign and the reality is our health system doesn't value in it doesn't reward innovation so it's not surprising all that we're not cnn vacation here like we're seeing elsewhere you know. Why don't we do drive through. Vaccination i think this innate small c. conservatism. We're gonna do the the path of least resistance. Were always going to be cautious. And what is the result. The ultimate result is always the same. It's middling results video response. I hate to hear those answers from you both But is there anything that you like. Is there anything that you're seeing in this country that stands out to you. I'm justin ling host of the village from. cbc podcasts. for years men were vanishing from toronto's gay village the community had always suspected a serial killer. And in the end they were right called a podcast that transcends true crime by the new yorker and recommended by the atlantic and esquire. Find the village on. Cbc listen or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey parents if you're looking for some screen free family fund will. You're saying home. Check out the story store podcasts. From cbc kids and cbc podcast new story store. Shorties are released every week. These short original and hilarious stories fit anywhere near day from breakfast to bedtime story store available on smart speakers. or wherever. you get your favorite podcasts. Well i think the provinces are starting to really pick up their socks. I think they got a lot of criticism and justifiably so For you know. We were one of the countries in the world to approve this vaccine. We did our first. Vaccines december fourteenth really early. But then we just kinda lollygag for a while. So i think now. They've realized the urgency of this on -tario did ten thousand vaccinations in the day. That's a good start. They have to just keep building on that. So i i liked it. There were finally taking this seriously. But i wish it had happened. Two and a half weeks We're we're ramping up and again there's no one in the country that's Vaccinating ten thousand people a day. I went to look ahead now. And talk to you both about supply so andrea you mentioned ontario ramping up to ten thousand. A day and on wednesday on -tario premier doug ford despite being criticized for the slow roll out and still having you know. I should note something like half the vaccines Still sitting in freezers he. He said repeatedly that ontario needs more vaccines and andre. You also mentioned earlier that israel had done an excellent job You know ordering early and and sort of paying these premiums and is there a scenario here in which the next stage of this could be pipeline. Problem could the provinces like essentially catch up. And then we do run outta vaccines and then we would be heading towards a supply problem. I would say it's one hundred percent certain that we're going to have a problem in very short we know that Is that solvable. Probably not at this point it goes back to. We waited late to order. We tried to make up for it by signing a lot of contracts. We've signed contracts with seven different manufacturers. For about four hundred million doses. Now the the question is when will those doses arrive in. It's not going to be quickly. I i wonder if I could ask you both to reflect on what you think. The next six months is actually going to look like considering everything that we've discussed in what andre just mentioned especially around the supply issue I think one of the most important points though that we should make to the public is whether or not you have been vaccinated is for people to continue to follow a public health measures for people to continue their masks. Continue with physical distancing continuing to stay at home if there ever so privileged to do so especially if they're sick and continue to wash hands and not mix within households. I'm definitely sure we're going to continue to see Our situation that we're in right now be extended for Several more months I don't see us being able to be out in about normally within the next six months. So i think we all need to hunker down and realize that very probably gonna continue to be in this current situation. All right andre final word to you. Well i really hate to say this. But i think that all the indications are that the next two three months are actually going to be the worst of the pandemic yet. So i think there's a lot of dark days ahead but the late at the end of the tunnel is back scenes getting vaccines into people that realistically only gonna start on a large scale in the spring and the summer and what we have to recognize about vaccines is that they are not a strategy their long term strategy in the short-term we just have to do the same old boring stuff that we haven't been doing very well that's the real challenge and it's gonna get harder and harder. We're going to have some harsh measures coming down in the country. Lockdowns curfews even more severe than we've seen and it's to be really frustrating for people because it's going to take time for those have an impact so dark days ahead but we hang in there. I think by the spring things are gonna get much much better. All right A sort of hopeful note to end on Thank you very much t. Both we're very appreciative. Thank you the duke before we go today. Some news on the aftermath of the capitol hill riot democratic house speaker. Nancy pelosi has called for us. President donald trump to be removed from office for what she called inciting sedition the gleeful desecration of the us capital. Which is the temple of of our american democracy and the violence targeting congress are harz that will forever stain our nation's history instigated by the president of the united states. That's why it's such a stain in calling for this seditious act. President has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people pelosi along with senate democratic leader. Chuck schumer are calling on vice president. Mike pence to use the twenty fifth amendment to remove trump. They also said that democrats in congress are prepared to act if pence does and mentioned the possibility of impeachment. All right that is all for this week. Front burner is brought to you by. Cbc news and cbc podcast. The show is produced this week by image. Burchard elaine. Chao shannon higgins and allie chains are sound design was by derek bandai and matt cameron. Our music is by joseph shabbat in a bloomberg sound the executive producer of front burner. Is nick mccabe locos. And i'm jamie thanks so much for listening and we'll talk to you next week for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Vaping sickness: what we know and what we don't
"I'm trying to winter and I'm almost law welcome to chosen family. Every second week we talk about art sexuality and identity with a special guest usually queer here but not always I completely struggled coming out to my parents as a comedian being in the entertainment industry for a Middle Eastern. People is unheard of affecting change requires requires people to shake it up listened to chosen family wherever you get your podcast. What sign are you by the way area. Of course I love it. This is a CBC podcast. Hello I'm Jamie. Do you have questions about vaping because I have a lot of questions about vaping and I guess that's not too surprising. I mean it's huge. According to the University of Waterloo half a million Canadians tried an e cigarette breath and then there are all these reports now of people getting sick a Canadian in London Ontario who ended up on life supports visual was using e cigarettes cigarettes and hundreds of cases in the United States five hundred thirty people now including eight. That's from vape related factors. They had no idea what was going on inside until they put me into medically induced coma eighteen. My lungs are like a seventeen year olds so so what's causing this and why now I mean. Wasn't this supposed to be safer than smoking today. We're going to try and get as clear a picture as possible about vaping. I'm I'm joined by Andre Picard Health reporter for the globe in Mail. This is from Printer Andre. Thank thank you so much for joining me today. So I'm a bit confused by what's going on here. What is actually making all these people sick and I think that I need to start the beginning to really understand this and so you know maybe some people listening have tried vaping. I think most of us have probably seen people puffing on what looks like a USB East Egg. But can you explain to me. The logistics of how vaping actually works yeah so cigarettes as you know. Smoking is Lighting Tobacco so combustible bowl product and then breathing in smoke vaping is heating up liquid with the coil usually battery operated and that predisposes vapor you inhale the the differences between smoking and vaping smoke versus vapor. Each of these things have chemicals in them small cast Paul Bunch of chemicals be perhaps a little less and unusually with vaping they add things like flavors in those are a big issue of debate now okay and I want to get to that in a moment when we say vaping we're not just is talking about nicotine through this liquid right like this vague juice juice were also talking about vaping we'd and that can be done in an oil or you're like just by stuffing a bunch of weed into vaping device a married about that you can put any number of substances in the liquid so the issue is heat. The liquid decreed read vapor and it can be nicotine can be watermelon flavor it can be. THC can be it can be any number of things and DAB is like really concentrated form of of the okay. How popular is vaping right now because we're hearing all these stories from teachers who say that they have teens in their classes. Who are essentially intially smoking these Easter grits under t shirts in class? Do It right in your Fisher washrooms outside in class if they can get away with it all I just want the teachers not looking just and then just blow it in their shirt lease the rim of April sometimes yeah it is commented does happen yeah yes so it is very popular with teens about roughly one in five high school students vapes or twenty percent quite high but one in twenty adults veep suits fairly popular okay and I know one kind of staggering statistic that I read recently was at this company jewel which makes the cigarettes in the PAS that you put in them like a very popular company. They're gonNA make more than three point four billion dollars in sales this year yeah jewel is immensely popular especially with the young people because they looks like a USB keys or three the easy to high low maintenance etc and one pod is the equivalent of the nicotine in a pack of cigarettes two hundred puff so you can really get addicted quickly. That's the problem with that product. Okay Okay University of Waterloo professor. David Hammond Studies the public health implications of vaping if you're worried about your kids vaping this is probably your nightmare product. This generally has two or three times the nicotine concentration of other e cigarettes. It's so high in fact that they couldn't sell this version in England where they have limits on the nicotine content and these statistics that we're talking about are they generally statistics around e cigarettes the nicotine nicotine e cigarettes or are. We also talking about vaping. We'd or teats see oil here. Do we know how popular that is. We don't really know 'cause you know in most. US states is it's not like candidates who it's illegal so people are reluctant to talk about it. Statistic are complicated to weed through okay so we know essentially these are enormously popular particularly among young people though it's a little bit unclear you know how many people are using it for easy. Gretz at how many people are using it for being we'd but nonetheless very popular her I want to talk to you about these related illnesses that we started seeing. I understand like for me watching the news. This all started happening over the summer. This is when let me really started to see them. Federal investigators are trying to get to the bottom of a recent outbreak of lung illnesses that could be linked to vaping symptoms include coughing shortness of breath breath and fever. You know these things are increasing every day. We're hearing more and more about it and tell me about what was happening well. The first report came out in the summer so I think it's a issue of quantity so if you have enough people doing something you start to see trends towards same thing when smoking started. We didn't realize it would make people sick until there is enough of a critical mass that you you start seeing consequences of any products with vaping these is probably occurred earlier but we're seeing them and people are spotting patterns now and the pattern seems to be emerging his young people. Almost all young men have vaping. THC So cannabis product and then buying it on on the black market so that's a big issue so the issue seems to be Bootleg Products some kind of adulterated substance in the vaping liquid. That's causing them. I'm to be ill and that's what the doctors think is making them. Ill The vaping of THC or DR THC oil. Is that what we're talking about it. It could be oil. You shouldn't be vaping oil so if there's oil in your product. It's probably a bootleg product is mainly done a good thing to start off with so that's problematic but the outcome is this fairly rare form of pneumonia pneumonia. What pneumonia means is your lungs filling up with liquid and in this case what they're seeing these young people is not only liquid but globules tells a fat and that indicates that there's some kind of product in there that shouldn't be so initially we talked about vitamin. E acetate so something that's used commonly in in vitamins but you shouldn't have it in your lungs so they said this a few young people but we've been cautioned that this isn't in everyone so that's probably not the source but is an example love. There's some kind of chemical reaction going on that's causing it seems this rare form of pneumonia you mentioned before vaping sort of THC THC oil my understanding is we also have this recent case from London Ontario where young person in high school suffered severe pulmonary illness so this pneumonia that you're talking about us on life support for a little while after treatment meant and examinations from Middlesex County doctors all signs pointed to one cause other related issues at the only only issue that was identified was the e cigarettes but apparently he didn't use cannabis oil but was a fairly heavy vapor of nicotine based products six people getting sick from the nicotine based products as well yes there's been one good study published so far the US very small study but it had good data the data eighty four percent of the people who got sick vaping teach but sixty one percent of them were also vaping nicotine so we don't know is the short or answer. The Canadian case in Canada. Were a bit obsessive about privacy so we don't really know a lot of detail. We're told that he didn't fake teach. You Know Young. People don't always admit this either now. My understanding is easier. That's been around since the mid two thousands so why are we seeing all of these illnesses now manifest well again. It's a question of critical mass so yeah it's been it's been around more than a decade but the numbers are really picking up and when you have large urge numbers you have patterns so it's the same with any drug scandal that emerges it always takes time and to have a large number of people before you can spot patterns. It's probably some people got sick ten years ago but you have this large number and were able to spot them now. Don't forget most people who vape especially initially were heavy smokers so if you have a lung disease at because of your years of smoking it's not the vaping so there's all kinds of complicating factors in here and the other one is this market have become so so profitable profitable that there's a lot of bootlegs stuff so vaping can be not as expensive as smoking but can be expensive so people turn to the Internet and they buy products that are maybe Cabela's quality but it's possible. The people are also getting sick not from bootleg products right. It's quite possible. We just don't know okay. I we often hear the term popcorn lung when people are talking about vaping an. Is that what we're talking about here. this isn't popcorn lung popcorn lung as something something they talked about for a long time when beeping was coming in warning that if you breathe in chemicals this is going to happen to a new study by Harvard University reports more than seventy eighty five percent of flavored e cigarettes contain die Esa Teal and the chemical has been linked to the respiratory disease phenomenon that happens around factories that condition first appeared in workers who inhaled artificial butter flavoring from microwave popcorn. This isn't exactly that purdue sort of it's the warning warning the public health people were making five and ten years ago that bad stuff is going to happen when you put chemicals in your body okay okay in in the United States. Donald Trump has now announced a ban for the flavored e cigarettes which I imagine is something that companies used to market young people. Paul vaping has become a very big business as I understand it like a giant business at a very short period of time but we can't allow people to get sick and we can't have our youth be so affected. Do you think that this is a good plan. Is this the answer well. You know the whole issue of banning things. I'm not a big. Fan Of prohibition never works. Regardless of the substance history tells us it never works so the issue is how do you regulate. We have to remember that. Vaping is technically technically illegal for all these young people are getting sick so that's the regulations not working now right because they're under the age of leaving out or nineteen depending on the jurisdiction so this all illegal stuff so you make it more legal will change things probably not it'll push the more to the black market and property even more dubious products so that's that's probably not the solution now. Should we regulate flavors. Probably it's probably a good idea clearly. They're meant to attract young people. Companies companies like jewel. I think they've already withdrawn a whole number of flavors because of lawsuits for each cigarette flavors that experts say attract kids mango go cucumber cream and fruit and we'll sell them online only so the issue is will that stop kids from being attracted to this or are they addicted to nicotine of the flavor is just something else and like many questions regarding vaping. We just don't have any idea a coalition of Canadian health. Groups is demanding Ottawa. Take take urgent action on e cigarettes doctors say they've seen enough. It's time to treat vaping like smoking ban. The ads get rid of flavors limit. Mitt nicotine levels and slap on the health warnings facing has become a public health crisis and we need action now another thing I I wanted to talk to you about is the trade off your because the argument. UCF ADS for vape shops and companies is that vaping actually safer than traditional cigarettes and it's easier on your lungs to switch was easy. It was a no-brainer rarely but now that I look at people who spoke dude really still will doing that. You notice an alternative that right. You don't have to do that and so is that true. Do they have a point here. Even though we are seeing all these people getting sick from this well this the point of a lot of debate so this is a huge debate in the public health field. I think there's no question that smoking is the worst thing possible so breathing in articles of combustion and is bad. We know that we've known that for many many years. Whether it's from barbecues our forest fires cigarettes combustibles are really bad for your lungs so so we know that vapor less harmful. It's just essentially heat so in theory vaping should be far less dangerous and harmful than smoking. The complication comes in when you start adding things we start adding a flavor well. What are the chemicals in that when you combust chemicals change when you heat them up is that what's causing you put in things like Acetate. Maybe that's gonNA cause you really serious problems. It's again. None of these issues are simple but on the surface. I think the message that has to be delivered is if you smoke. Dan vaping is going to be a better altern but if you don't smoke or you you don't vape you shouldn't start vaping and does this same argument hold for marijuana like is it easier on your lungs than smoking a joint yeah. It's exactly same argument. Is that if you void the products of combustion if you have steam instead of smoke that's going to be less less harmful so yeah that applies to anything. Ichi Nicotine you know you can just vapor flavored water but nobody does it right but I have never heard of anybody going to hospital with acute respiratory illness from smoking too many joints great and we've not heard of people going to hospital for acute respiratory illness for cigarettes but that doesn't mean they're good for you. I think this acute issue is about about an adulterants so the issue is dealing with the adulterants. I think we're paying a little too much attention to the acute to not enough to the long term consequences and wire teams drawn to vaping. That's the issue that fascinates to me. I think no one predicted. This vaping was marketed. It's this alternative to cigarettes. We're going to get these smokers and we're going to get them hooked on our product. You would have guessed the teens would be attracted to a bunch of steam coming out of their mouth. Nobody in a way I can totally see it especially when you add Adler watermelon flavor to it I mean these are one. You know nicotine isn't isn't itself addictive and to these things look cool. They look like puget ristic finger at S- and if it's just steam doesn't matter so the issue is we've learned that well. It's not just steam something else in there. Maybe the flavors themselves officer problematic so we have to address these issues as they arise right and you're saying that there needs to be a focus on the combination of things that are in these right now and what may be causing these acute acute illnesses but I am struck by the fact that the scientific community has still been saying for years now that we don't have the research to know definitively. What the effects of vaping are you mentioned in this as well particularly because we're adding all of this stuff to these vape pens like flavors or other kind of chemicals but come in December. It's going to be legal to sell cannabis oils. vaping edibles will gradually hit store shelves. The new government regulations require all products to have extensive warning warning labels similar standards will also be put in place for cannabis extracts and topical given the lack of long-term science on this and the uncertainty boat is long-term effects. I'm wondering why Health Canada Greenland this for sale where like it's the philosophy of legalization is the philosophy Las Vegas harm reduction so the reality is people are going to smoke. They're gonNA veep and how do we I. I believe the role of public health regulators is to in foreign people and make it less harmful. People are GonNa do all kinds of harmful stuff they drink they smoke the drive too fast and the job of public healthiest healthiest lessen the risk of hurting themselves. I take your point but if I push back on it for a moment we started this conversation. You were talking about how popular popular these have become for teenagers rate and I have to wonder if they didn't exist if we never created them were like they were never sort of. Widely available with teenagers have smoked instead. You know it seems to me that in this day and age there's so much education around smoking that young people actually aren't taking it up like we're actually not giving them this option to do something better than smoking because they probably wouldn't have taken that up in the first place. Well a surprising number of teens still smoke. It's gone steadily down over the years but the last numbers are pretty stubborn. We have this notion. Oh kids are anti-smoking. They are you're but a fair number smoke almost as many as vape to be honest so the question is the big question with teens is if they get hooked on nicotine from vaping will they turn to cigarettes regret when they're more available or cheaper or whatever so. We don't know that there's some evidence again. It depends how you read on the statistics slight evidence a little little bit of an uptick in smoking people immediately blamed that on vaping but if you look at the data it goes up and down a little bit over the years. It's almost within the margin of error again. I don't think the impact of vaping on smoking last year you wrote a column thing concern about e cigarettes was hysteria Daria. That's the word that you used in the call him. Do you still feel that way. Do you feel like we're seeing a hysteria right now. Yes yes so eight deaths from vaping true four hundred eighty thousand smoking desi year in the US so it's a question of proportion. Let's keep our focus on what's really killing. I think people I'm not saying I've never said that. We should encourage teens to vape. I saw an analogy recently which I love which is that smoking is like jumping off. One hundred floor of a building vaping is like jumping out another floor of the building. We just don't know what floor yet right so. That's I think the message we have to get to teens Eh. This is fun. You know gives you good buzz but long-term. You're not gonNA feel very good. It's GONNA cost you money. So the same arguments we've made about smoking. We have have to make them about vaping. You can't scare teenagers into good health. You have to try and reason with them and be patient and try and give them the information to caused clause themselves less harm I know you've made this point several times in this conversation that vaping is still safer than smoking but I am wondering you know since we we don't have this long-term scientific data on this. Is there a scenario in which you know five or ten years from now we could potentially find out that it's actually like jumping off the two hundred floor of a building. I suppose both of them would be very dangerous would probably go you but you know what I mean. Is it possible that it's going going to be more dangerous than smoking because we just didn't know at the time the effects of mixing these chemicals and vaporizing them you of course forced. It's possible you know a lot of people say maybe the new smoking when smoking game in one worried about it was you know great cool lose weight etcetera and over over time we saw you know the consequence long-term so with vaping. We've had this acute illness which is worrisome but small the bigger. Worry is what is the long term impact and we don't know but I think we have at this point operate on the information we happened. The information we have is is no question that smoke is more dangerous than Steam Vapor Vapor so I think we have to operate on that. Knowledge now adjusted iffy changes over time okay undercard. Thank you so much for this conversation. You answered a lot of the questions that I had about this issue. I really appreciate it. Thank you mm-hmm so just a I know to say that Health Canada sent us a statement for the story they said the government of Canada is concerned by the reports of vaping related illnesses as well as the increase in vaping by Canadian. You and they say they're working with their. US counterparts as well as provinces and territories in other news news a quick recap of Monday on the federal election campaign trail the Liberals and the MVP focused Monday on making drugs more affordable for you making sure sure that no Canadian ever has to choose between paying for groceries and paying for medication seniors could go into the pharmacy and use their health card not the credit card. We're talking about a national Pharma Care Plan here. We didn't episode on this. You can find it in our feed though the liberals were criticized for a lack of details most notably how much this is all gonna cost. Meanwhile Andrew Scheer took aim at homeownership. He vowed to review the so called stress test or financial bar that first first time homebuyers have to meet he says it's having an unintended consequence making it too hard for people to get a mortgage at because his latest initiative has so many hoops to jump through so many terms and conditions you and almost all the Canadians had supposed to help don't even qualify he also said Conservative government would allow people to take out a thirty year mortgage twenty five years is currently the limit so visit an attempt to get those monthly payments doubt that's offered today. I'm Jamie Awesome. Thanks so much for listening to front burner and few old tomorrow for more C._B._C. podcasts go to C._B._C. Dot C._A. Slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on living in limbo with COVID-19
"Come journey across the globe in an immersive storytelling podcast with film maker Salim, Russian Walla on pin-drop from tat this season checkout musicians trying to save an indigenous language in Lima. What happens to the Tourism Paradise Rapanui also known as Easter Island when people stopped showing up and explore what it means to start a black utopia, you can listen to pin-drop wherever you get your podcasts. This is. PODCAST SASKATOON THE LATEST CITY cracking down on its nightclubs after multiple outbreaks of covid nineteen were linked to clubs forty nine of sixty three guests who attended recent wedding and Calgary contracted covid nineteen. These sorts of super spreader events are happening all across this country in this week from Quebec British Columbia provincial case counts are smashing records. Andre Picard is the global health columnist Andre Good Morning. Good Morning Prime Minister says when it comes to the situation cove nineteen, this sucks. Do you think on this matter? The Prime Minister speaks for many Canadians. Yeah I. think that's a pretty good blamed assessment. That's I. Think a lot of people feel good summary. Why are we? It feels like we're in, we're stuck in some ways. People have taken efforts. We were told to socially distance. We're told to wash our hands. We're told to wear masks in yet in many parts of this country side from the Atlantic but the case counts continue to go up why are we stuck? Yeah we're just stuck in this limbo of you know we wanted to have a life that we wanna lock down a bit and we I think we can't decide how harsh we want to be and we will looking maybe it won't get as bad as elsewhere I think it's A dangerous period where it could go out of hand really quickly, we've seen this in European countries and appeared where it's not cases are not going down there climbing up a lot in the West or to stuck at about one thousand cases a day and Ontario and Quebec and. I think it's concerning time because we just don't know how it's going to turn. There are still these sort of as they say, super spreader events I mentioned the the sixty three guests who attended a wedding in Calgary forty, nine of them contracted covid nineteen. There's a wedding north of Toronto for cases linked to that. Why are are these superstar super spreader events still happening do you think? I think there's two reasons one the social one is people are still gathering. So all of these things are about gatherings. They're breaking the golden rule of Covid, which is always talked about the three zero. So avoid crowds in close contact in close spaces. So weddings, funerals, thanksgiving parties, barbecues that stuff is to be avoided, and that's where all of these cases are happening. That's why in Canada case are going down because we continue to meet, and then there's the biology we're learning a lot about this bug. About this virus and we're finding out that it spreads not evenly spreads very unevenly soon, clusters. cluster-based condemning we're learning more and more than that. Opens our eyes to how we have to do things differently. You wrote in your column about another see and that's cluster busting what is that? Yeah cluster busting is figuring out where these events happened. You know we know that most people who get at Corona virus spread it to other people. That's the good news. The bad news is there are ten to twenty percent of people infected are super meters. So they infect a lot of other people. So wedding fifty people infected out of sixty who attended that's quite striking. That's a real super meter we have to find out who those people are and we do it by contact racing a little. Differently instead of looking to, Oh, I wonder who this all the people were. This person was in contact with you try and find were there's people infected in their close circle and if there were a couple, they knew really zero in on that person and say this is a a super meter and we really have to track down there context a lot of attention being paid and you're talking about large events a lot of attention being paid in the province of Ontario to the MPP muster Hoff who Released on social media, photos of an event that he was out. There were forty people or so who were there None of them had masks on in this photo the photo was subsequently deleted. He's apologized a couple of times but what's the effect? Do you think of those mixed messages when you have government officials who say don't do this but then there are photos of them doing just that. Judging from what I saw their action on social media like a slap in the face to people are being told by the government you know being lectured and hector every day where your masks stains high don't get together and then a member of the government does this and she really does feel insulting. So it's you know to be fair lots of people are doing what he did, but you're in a position of responsibility you have to act like a grown up not to. Be flippant about these things. We had a conversation earlier this week on the program with three residents of long term care and they talked about what they had been through in the last several months and the the balance between physical health and mental health and really felt as though from their perspective that we had not been dealing as much with their mental health instead focusing on the physical health, how do we as? Calling it a second wave but as case counts continued to in many parts of this country and people are looking at long-term care how do we ensure that those residents aren't just physically healthy but also mentally healthy. Well we have to get that balance right and we didn't get it right the first time around. So what we do, we have to provide aid to families we have have to limit contact we don't eliminate context it's finding that balance have one or two designated caregivers. Teach them how to do p. families will bend over backwards to see their loved ones. They'll do whatever it takes. We know that. So let them do it. You know it's again it's a mixed message families are locked but in some provinces, workers can still work in three years four facilities. It makes absolutely no sense. So get you know get some fairness in there and yes, recognized that the virus is dangerous the toes `isolation and loneliness and not having an advocate when you're in a new institution, some of those things just finally and briefly are behind the what seems like some sort of support behind this great Barrington Declaration, which is promoting. So called herd immunity this week the Chief Medical Officer in Alberta Dr Dena had to a post criticizing that declaration what does that say to you but how people are are feeling about this pandemic right now? Well I think it's Kennedy comes from frustration I. think that that declaration in particular is really a thoughtless when you get right down to it, it's just saying essentially let old people die. Because the economy matters more than people and I don't think most people think like that I think Canadians certainly don't think like that and there was a counter publication that Jon Snow Declaration which I think state sat very eloquently I. Think we have to be careful of this. False dichotomy of the is either our health or the economy the fast track to getting the economy going to get rid of this virus as much as we can. But in some ways, as you say, it does speak to that frustration and fatigue. Absolutely, the fatigue is real it's GonNa get worse. Christmas is going to be this year harsh harsh winter is coming for all of us and we have to bear down and you know help each other out as much as we can. That sucks. The Prime Minister says Andre Good to speak with you as always. Thank you. Andre Picard Global health columnist. He has been with us over the course of this pandemic and will continue to be here on a regular basis for more CBC podcasts. Go to CBC DOT CA slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on COVID-19 variants, vaccine distribution and masks
"Hey parents if you're looking for some screen free family fun will you're staying home. Check out the story store podcasts. From cbc kids and cbc podcast new story store. Shorties are released every week. These short original and hilarious stories fit anywhere in your day from breakfast to bedtime. The story store available on smart speakers. or wherever. you get your favorite podcasts. This is a cbc podcast. You're listening to the current on. Cbc radio one. My name's matt galloway. After warning on tuesday that new travel restrictions are coming while the prime minister made good on his word announcing that airlines including west jets on an air transit have cancelled all services to the caribbean and mexico. Starting this sunday through to the end of april he also announced mandatory quarantine for three days for those returning to this country. While they await test results they will have to pay for that quarantine On their own prime minister suggesting could be upwards of two thousand dollars all of this in an effort to encourage canadians to stay home and specifically not hit the beach during march break as this pandemic fatigue that many people are experiencing hits new heights in the meantime covert and these new variants keep spreading. There are questions as to whether the masks we're wearing or doing enough to protect us and there are fights over vaccines route and distribution at home and abroad. There's a lot going on here to walk us through. It is global mail health columnist. Andre picard andre. Good morning good morning. Tell me about these travel restrictions as you understand them. What difference do you think they will make in curbing. The spread of covid nineteen here in canada. I think a lot of this symbolism. we're doing a lot of stuff. Now that's not getting a lot of tension. There's not a lot of being forced. So i think the message from the prime minister is listen. We're cracking down now. We hear you. People are tired of people going off to the sun There's a lot of symbolism here as you know. The pandemic in canada really took off after march break last year. So the message is here. Nobody's going away from arch break. We're shutting down all the sun destinations. And then there's some little bit more stringent measures about people returning three mandatory days. Inn hotel hotel. Are we thought that was going to be fourteen by. We have is three mandatory days inn hotel and then fourteen days in quarantine which already exists. But they say it's going to be enforced more stringently. Now who's thinking of traveling from march break. We're in the midst of pandemic it's gone on for months and people are tired but are people really thinking of taking trips to the caribbean go. Inland beach in jamaica somewhere. Well sadly yes if you go to an airport Big airport toronto montreal. There's big lineups for these some destination. Flights big newspaper ads advertising. There's great sales so people are saying. Hey why not so. There's mixed messaging it there. You go go go. And then don't go so i think there's some clarity now and prime minister giving credit to the airlines thing you know. They're doing this voluntarily. But i think that was long overdue. They've been responsible for quite a number of months now. What about travel within this country. We were speaking earlier this week about one of the new covert variants that has berry ontario kind of ground zero for that and speaking with an infectious disease. Specialist invested roadblocks in some. Be put up so that this variant is not spreading to other parts of the province and perhaps other parts of the country should there be more restrictions on travel between provinces as well the mandatory quarantines in the atlantic region and in manitoba. Yes we've had. The atlantic bubble now is cracking down on Travel from other provinces other pro- provinces are mulling. Dc's talked about it l. berta has ruled it out That it's too complicated. So i don't think it'll happen but i think the message again is don't do it. We're going to give you some grief even if it's not official so you know if you take province like manitoba there's literally only four roads into the province pretty easy to regulate same with new brunswick nova scotia those things easier to regulate ten -tario quebec bc. It's much more complicated. Lot more route so i. I think there's going to be more messing about. Don't do this but not formal measures so much of this is about these new variants and it's not just one. It's not just a very from the united kingdom people are talking about one from south africa perhaps from brazil as well. How concerned do you think we should be about those variants. I think the variant dark concerning. There's lots of evidence that they spread more readily. So that's the big concern. They don't seem to be more deadly. But if more people are catching corona virus is going to be more people hospitalized more deaths. It's sort of follow. So i think it is concerning particularly concerning because this coming at a time where things are going better. Our case numbers are coming down pretty sharply and then we have this black cloud coming. Well maybe they're gonna spread a lot more quickly again and the numbers could shoot even more dramatically than we've ever seen. Are you encouraged by that of the numbers coming down such as you see them. But i think we're in this kind of paradoxical time where there's this really good news but then these threats. It's hard to be too optimistic. But i think we have to also not let this get us down too much is the reality. Is the old fashioned stuff works. You don't wearing a mask physical distancing not gathering in crowds washing our hands. All that works against every ten. That's what we have to stick to. I think it's a back to basics. time again. Are the masks that we're wearing working. There has been concern and particularly in europe around. The cloth masks perhaps not offering adequate protection against these new very so. Do we need to change up the masks. That were wearing a mask no matter what it is is better than no math. But yes. there's a movement towards a candidate is now recommending a three ply masks or a little more a little thicker mask the. Us is calling for double masking so there are a lot of movements to have better masks. We don't have standards. Those are overdue. We said you know when you're buying one in this store you don't know what you're getting. How good it is so all of this stuff is evolving. But i think for the public the messages. Wear a mask trying to wear a better one if you can. But the other stuff has to be done as well. All of this is being done to try to win the foot race against these variants and we essentially run the clock until the vaccines are widely available. There is a lot of anxiety around whether these vaccines are going to be widely available in a short period of time there are delays with the rollout. There's this disagreement between the eu which just approved astrazeneca and that company talk that the european union wants to restrict any attempt by astra zeneca to move vaccine doses manufactured there to other countries presumably countries like canada if we ever proved that until the the supply obligation for the member states are met. How worried are you that the contracts that we have Might end up being violated because of what people call a vaccine nationals. I think the vaccine nationalism is a concern. But i think it's a short term one equipped kind of in this fear and panic long because there's not much vaccine coming off the production lines. That's gonna be resolved by email. So it's i think for the next couple of months there's gonna be a lot of stressors I don't think we should get overly concerned about whether we get thirty two hose and doses today or forty two thousand. That doesn't matter in the long run. It's still everything points to by the end of march. We're going to have everything we were promised. Which isn't enough. That's about six million doses. But where you're going to get a little slower we're not gonna get it in the same order. So there's all these technicalities i if we keep our eye on the long game with vaccines and that's what axioms are about Getting this done in the long term. I think things are looking not near as bad as they seem in. The daily news headline. Well let's talk just before. I let you go. But the daily news headlines said at the beginning. When i introduced there's a lot going on you wrote a column about how we should in some ways interpret all of this conflicting news and you quoted quotation of mindfulness. Saying you can't stop the waves you can learn to surf. What does that say to you. Yeah i quote from john cabot cigna's in this. Mindfulness guru in the message is really just go with the waves. Go with the flow. You can't all the things you can't control. Don't worry about those. Do the things you can control Stay at home where your mask. Don't often go off to a caribbean back. They -cation do that stuff and the other things will have to take care of themselves. I think it's that. Keep your eye on the long ball and hang in there. Things are gonna get better. I in a pretty shorter andre. We'll take your optimism great to talk to you as always thank you thank you. Andre picard the global males health columnist for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
Andre Picard on migrant workers and COVID-19 spikes in the U.S.
"Hi. I'm Dr Brian Goldman. If you haven't heard my new podcast the dose, this is the perfect time to subscribe. Each. We answer your most pressing health related questions and right now we know you're grappling with covid nineteen on those we bring in top experts to answer your questions about the corona virus and post some of our own. Get the latest evidence in a way. That's easy to understand by subscribing to the dose. It's your guide to getting through this difficult time. You can find the dose wherever you get your podcast. This is a CBC podcast with supply of medical oxygen is not the only area where covid nineteen of course has exposed shortages and inequities candidates temporary foreign worker program is also being reviewed now after the deaths of three migrant workers from corona virus, and the rising number of cases on Ontario farms in the south there. Andre Picard is global sales health columnist, and he's been with US each week over the past three months to talk about all things covid nineteen related. He is in Montreal Andre. I've been listening for the past number of weeks, so it's a pleasure to speak with you this morning. You had a chance there to listen to our our two guests to discuss the problems with medical oxygen. I'll. I'll. Maybe I'll just start there. How concerning is it to you? It's it sounds extremely troubling. Well, it's just one of the big problems on the global scale. This is becoming really a global pandemic. And million new cases a week and they're happening mostly in oil resources setting so really basic medical equipment like oxygen is in short supply, and that's why we're gonNA. See the death really sore in in the coming weeks and months unfortunate. Let's talk about the surge cases in the US now there's a somewhere near thirty or more states that are reporting an increase in cases, It is you know obviously troubling for Canada. What do you make of it? Well, it's shocking. What's happening? You know forty thousand new cases a day, and probably more that aren't being detected and it's just. It's a result of poor public policy. People just saying we're going to reopen the economy. It's no big deal. This real denial that there was a problem and the US is going to be heavy price for it, and as we know, we always say when the elephant next door sneezes. We get a cold and this is going to have a dramatic impact on Canada. Not only trying to protect ourselves from the pandemic surging. But also for our economy, because the the the idea of opening up the the border within a couple of weeks as to be unthinkable. Now given what's going on there yeah I was talking to epidemiologists yesterday. WHO said it could be a year before that border is opened up in any real way without be too crazy or or is that? Does that sound about right to you? I don't think anything too crazy. In terms of public policy we're in. We're in a new world, and we don't know where this is going, but it's not going anywhere good. Let me. Ask you about masks because the. Debate around masks has sort of taken off over the past couple of weeks, and there are now more and more Canadian. Cities that are requiring mass making the mandatory in indoor spaces. Kingston would be a good example. Where do you think that is headed? And if we move in the direction of making them mandatory? Is that the right thing to do? The Prime Minister yesterday didn't seem to move in that direction. He explained why he uses one, and he talked about how he believes Canadians will make the right decision. SWITZER conflict issue. It's not a panacea to wear masks. There's the scientific debate to be had but I think the bottom line for Canadians. We we just need really clear rule also tell us. Every indoor space where a mask that's not a very difficult message to that's the message. We should be condemned if you WANNA. Get into the debate about mandatory. At Canada's tradition culture is not to mandate things. We don't even have mandatory vaccination. But we have high vaccination rates comedian follow the rules, but make the rules clear that that's what I think we have to do with I. don't care what people think about masks just make the rules clear and people will follow them so every indoor space all public transit. Let's stop you know pussyfooting around with this and have clear rules. Although enforcement is difficult, I mean you know they are mandatory on public transit? They're handing out the the masks here in Ottawa. But how do you make driver responsible for making sure someone is wearing the mask. Will enforce some of these difficult, but that's why you just I think you have to do it as a your civic duty. You know it's hard to enforce people keeping their dogs on a leash, but everybody doesn't because that's the rule Canadians rule forwards, and that's good, and the two percent of people don't follow the rules well. We have to live with that, but you know. I've stepped for many many months down. We're not GONNA police our way out of this. We're going to get over to this by having clear direction by coming together in with as a society and I think ninety nine percent of people are willing to do that if they know what to do. Let. Let's talk about the issue I talked about up the top there, and that is the growing number of cases Ontario farms in particular with the with the temporary workers, and now the provinces decision to say that workers has positive, but are asymptomatic can continue working in this has exposed how vulnerable certainly these migrant workers are. What should be done better though to protect them? Well, again, on -Tario is a puzzling. You're a public health response in money ways, and this is just another example. We knew that migrant workers were a high risk group. It's almost if you wanted to dream up way of impacting people, you say let's have people do manual labor in close proximity and a hot indoor space agree now you can imagine a better way to to spread illness, and then put them in night at night in dormitories together, so it's a perfect storm for disease spreads, so we had to address the underlying conditions. British Columbia British Columbia. Put a lot of workers in hotels. Make sure make sure no one was infected. They don't have a problem. That Ontario has once again. It's Ontario not doing any planning. Not being not looking forward being talked, we'll just being reactive. Once there's a disaster and there's a disaster. There's hundreds of migrant workers who have been infected and full died already. It's just it's horrible public. Public Policy. What do you think that is? Though because there was fifty million dollars put on the table by the federal government to help with that very thing to help quarantine migrant workers when they got into the country, so I mean maybe British Columbia had to add money to the program to protect people, but there were certainly money available. So so, where is the is the problem there? I don't think the money was a problem I. think the it was having rules enforcing them which British Columbia did and Terro. Didn't it's. It always comes back to the same thing. Have Clear Messaging have follow up. Make sure people follow the rules and we. We know how to limit the spread of this disease. It's not. Rocket Science Infectious Disease We know how to stop this from spreading and the last thing we should be doing is creating conditions to facilitate. Well. You you write today about the outbreak in Kingston stemming from a nail salon. Now now I think there's twenty seven confirmed cases and hundreds who have been asked to quarantine, and in that case you have you see lots of positive signs of things. Don't tell me how you evaluated. What happened there? I think that's an example of we're going to have. This is the new normal for Canada for the months. Maybe years common is these little outbreaks linked to Nails too long. We have one in Vancouver in a strip club. Calgary. There's a condo breaks. We're GONNA. Vote these little outbreaks, and we have to learn to live within the key thing is to react really quickly, and that's what keeps them did well The medical officer of health was very transparent. He said here's where this happened. If you've been depends nail salon, go get tested isolate yourself so very clear about the source very clear about what to do, and then he for followed that up with actions, saying listen through sprayed happening in indoor businesses, mandatory masks indoors, so everything was done right in reaction to this, so a really good example of how public health can be done well. All right so in spite of these outbreaks though we did get the new modeling data from a federal public health officials yesterday that shows that cases are on a steady decline obviously that that's good news for all of us, but I do wonder as these outbreaks pop up, and especially as we're seeing some of the numbers around younger Canadians on the rise. Whether you know whether there's a certain laissez faire happening right now whether you know you heard Dr Tam. Talk about it's still out there. The pandemic is still out there, but whether the people have become maybe too comfortable. Yeah, I think there is a fair bit of complacency and. I think natural that you're going to see that in younger people especially, so we have to. We have to be vigilant about this. We have to be careful about how we reopen I. Think some of the reopening has happened a little too quickly. In some parts of the country we have you know the the curve is going down with going down really really slowly. Still have a few hundred cases day in Canada, who still do a terrible job of saying where these cases are happening. Kingston was refreshing and then it said listen. In ailsa Salon Calgary said this condo in these village. There's a spread that that's have to do now is be really clear. If people information to protect themselves, the young people. Maybe we have to change our messaging a little bit to them They're not scared as easily maybe have to. Limit, clubs etcetera a lot longer than other things and again their lessons from other countries on thirty seconds. under Picard. We see that the airlines now have moved back to no physical distancing as of July first he. It seems like that could lead to all sorts of problems. So. We you know airplanes are not the you know. It's something that we're very fearful, but they're not a big source of spread that the air circuit despite what we think, the air circulates pretty well. People are stationary. There masked so there's you know there's not we shouldn't be overly worried about planes, but I think we should be overly worried about Well we're just going to get back into making money. And as a matter of the risk is higher, so I think we have to find that balance I'm not sure we've found with the airlines parents. To. Leave it there. Thank you so much good to speak with you. Undercard Gmail health columnist for more CBC. CBC PODCASTS GO TO CBC. DOT CA slash podcasts.
Should We Presume Consent on Organ Donation?
"Hey, it's Jordan, and I've podcast for you. Commons is Canada's most popular podcast about politics last season. They tried to answer the question. How corrupt is Canada this time around. They're investigating our national addiction oil the currencies and featuring host Arshi man is called crude. And it's about Canada's relationship with the oil industry. The good the bad the ugly and the weird you'll find Commons wherever you get your podcasts. So go check it out. I am not an organ donor. I didn't know that. I thought I was I support it. I think it's important that when I'm gone, I help him ever. I can somewhere along the way either missed signing a form or I said, no where I'll do it later because I was in a hurry or something. Anyway, I checked and I'm not and this combination of public support without a follow through is not exactly unique in Canada. Which is why what's being proposed right now. And may soon become law in Nova Scotia is so important. No, this is soon to become the first area North America to adopt presume consent for organ donation under the proposed law almost everyone in Nova Scotia would be considered potential organ donors, unless they opt out presumed consent might not save the life of everyone on waiting lists and Canada right now, but it would get us closer. Why hasn't it happened? It's being proposed a few times and kind of like me, and maybe you and actually becoming a donor just. Never quite gets done. So what kind of obstacles still stand in the way of passing? What would be the first Bill of this kind in North America? Why do people resist even though they might publicly support? Organ donation how big an impact with this actually have and does presumed consent even matter if you haven't had a critical conversation. I. Jordan, heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Andrea Picard is the health reporter for the global mail. He's covered organ donation in candidate extensively. Tell me what's happening with organ donation in Nova Scotia, and how big a deal is this. Scotia is proposed something called to presume consent. So they would presume that you want to donate your organs in less. You say otherwise that gonna flip on its head the current approach we have it's a fairly big deal. It hasn't been done many places in the world. It certainly hasn't been done in Canada. It's been done only in a few European countries. So it's a big deal. I think symbolically more than anything else. What is the current organ donation rate in Canada, I'm assuming it's low or Nova Scotia wouldn't be trying to flip this on its head. It depends on who you ask. But it's about eighteen point two donors per million. So that's it's actually fairly high when you compare globally, but it's quite low compared to say a country like Spain we have about half the rate. How great is the need. What are the wait lists like in Canada? Well, that's what's driving. This kind of approach is we have really a lot of tremendous waits for people. The real desperation. Currently I looked there's about forty six hundred people on the weightless across. Canada for an organ about half of those are for kidneys. And then the rest are, you know, heart Liber lung and a lot of people sadly die while they're on the wait list every year, and even though I say forty six hundred it's huge number it, really understates the number of people who who need organs because we simply just don't put them on the wait list because there's until they're desperately in need because there's no point how come it seems like so many of us, and I just did an informal survey around the office today because we were going to be talking to you so many of us support organ donation, but when it comes to it, we actually so I don't have my name on my health card as an organ donor, which is insane. Because I obviously support it. And I thought I did and I did that to a few other people, and I've found the rate was like forty percent of people who thought they were organ donors. We're actually organ donors. Well, the actual stats is polling shows that about ninety percent of Canadians agree, they think organ donations. Great thing. They do it and about twenty percent, actually. Fine. So we're actually registered organ donors. So there's a real disconnect between the idea and the act, and that's that's the gap. We have to feel how does that happen? I think it happens because as you said a lot of people think, oh, I I must be an organ donor. And I'm a good person. You know, I think I said that when I signed my driver's license, but we we don't make it easy in Canada. So there's these steps depending on the province, it can be very easy or somewhat difficult. So some provinces you can go online and do it. Some you have to sign your health cards. I'm it's your driver's license. Some two separate form. So the kind of mishmash of rules around and the those who argue for presumed consent say it would be a lot easier to just presume everyone wants to do it. Because that's what the polls do it. And then those who don't want to should have to to make the effort to to withdraw to to say, no, I don't consent has there been a lot of opposition to what Nova Scotia's doing. There's a lot of philosophical opposite. Missions. So people say, you know, this violation of rights a lot of provinces have talked about this. Then decided not to bring forward laws because there's a feeling that'll probably violate the constitution. I I don't think that's clear, you know, there's been rulings. You can't have presumed consent for paying your cable Bill. But I think when it comes to organ donation, it's a slightly different legal argument. So I think would probably stand up, but I think it'd be would be a tough thing to to go ahead with we'll see if Nova Scotia actually follows through they have in fact promises in the past not done it. So we'll see what kind of obstacles are still in the way before this actually becomes a presumed consent province. Do you have to pass the law? And then the big one is there will undoubtedly be a court challenge. So that that's the big one is this constitutional under Canada's law. So so we don't know the answer to that. What are the arguments that would be made in that kind of a situation when people oppose presumed consent or? Mandatory organ donation what kind of arguments did they rely on a boat to if the right to decide what to do with your body. So very similar arguments to assisted death. You should actively agree to something to an act even after well, you're not quite dead yet. So you should actively agree. So there has to be consent. And we we shouldn't presume things like that. We shouldn't presume people want an assisted death. We shouldn't presume they wanna give away your organs. They should have to state it in a in a very concrete fashion. So it's a pretty straightforward legal argument. The question becomes then where it gets blurry is is this in the greater public interest to to assume this and then to force people to withdraw. So you know, it won't be ever mandatory. Even if this passes because you will have the right to to refuse and even a country like everybody points to Spain's being us at presume consent since nineteen Seventy-nine. But even there about fifteen percent of people sign a registry and say, they don't want to donate. So that you always have to have that outlet or won't there's no hope of it being constitutional. What does the healthcare community in general think about presumed consent? Will I am assuming they think it's a step in the right direction. But would they prefer mandatory? I think we'll know one can't be mandatory. That's not gonna happen be. There's always going to have to be the right to throw. I think the the medical community like everyone else's is divided on this legally. I think what people would like ideally is that we just have more voluntary donation and more importantly, you know, I I've always argued it doesn't really matter what the law is. It's a whole about systems. So in Canada, even people who signed their donor cards organs get wasted. We have they call it in the medical field that conversion rate, so the number of potential donors, and remember there's very few very few of us are going to die in a way that we're brain dead, and our organs can be harvested, very small number to start with in candidates about three thousand people out of four hundred thousand people who die year. So it's very tiny. Percentage less than one percent. But in Canada only vote a quarter of those people actually a sixth of those people actually their organs get donated. So that that's where the problem lies. The problem is not in the signing our cards. The problem is in converting the the organs that are available and getting them into people. And that's an issue about how you ask the family. It's about do you have surgeons on staff. Can you get your, you know, Canada's a big country? Can you get an organ to a person who needs it? We in a very few hours while it's still good for transplant. So there's a lot of technical issues that are I think much more important than than whether we have presumed concentre a you mentioned convincing both people to sign their cards. I guess initially. But also convincing family members. What are some of the myths or or misinformation that people typically have when they think about this. What are some of the things that stops them from doing that? Well, the big one the big missed out there as well. You don't you're just gonna unplug by loved one. Because they've got these good organs, and you wanna? You know, you want to use his heart even though he has a chance of getting better. So that's that's the big one people think that we're going to kill someone to harvest organs. And you know, the rules are really clear and a lot of failsafe methods in there to make sure someone is brain dead. We have rules in Canada. Now they've been slightly made easier that you can actually use organs from people are not brain dead. But who have their heart is no longer functioning you can still use other parts of their body. And that's that's important. But I think that's the big myth is. I think we over so medicine, generally, and people think that, you know, someone who has had a traumatic brain injury is gonna miraculous miraculously get better, and they're not. So that's to me. That's the important thing. You know, this is to have these discussions with your family as with all these really emotional issues. It snowed about the law. It's about people spam. Lease consenting. I think that's all important, even if we have a law, and we know this from other countries, even if there's a law, and it's pro. Zoomed that you're gonna give your organs, and you know, some one of your family members is throwing themselves over the body saying no don't do. It. Don't do it. They're not going to drag you away and do it. You know, there's always going to be barrier. So it's important to have the family on side. So we should to me we should discuss this stuff. Hey, if I m I know you don't like that. I have a motorcycle. But I've ever if I ever crash it, please give my organs, you know. And you remember we we just had the anniversary of the Humboldt disaster, the bus crash, and you know, one of the one of the players in that tragedy had had that conversation with your family so happened, and he became, you know, this well known Canadian hero forgiving all his organs, and so many families had a discussion just because of that that the donation rate in BC, for example, almost doubled overnight really as if that one gesture from this this young man, so that that's what it takes. It takes the public discussion. It's taking away that that fear that people have. You know, people don't like to talk about death. And I think it's you don't it's going to jinx them. I'm going to die. If I talk about giving, my organs, but I couldn't hear you. That's not the case would little do it. Make it easier on your family. If you if you are in that condition are there any campaigns going on or is there anything that we've done in the past? That's been proven to move the needle on this. Because it strikes me that we just, you know, as you mentioned, the disconnect is between the number of people who say, they support it and the number of people who will actually go and get it done. Yeah. The one thing that moves the needle. We know this is that is win tragedies occur. So this humble to is a perfect example. You know, Ryan he's become known by his first name. He made. This gesture I it it moves people. So you have to make it personal for people. That's what moves the needle no matter of bureaucracy set new forms in the mail. So I think that's the key one is to have these stories. So the media plays a big role. And the second part is just make it easy. You know, I talked before about there's too many. To this. Make it easy. Have the discussions make this part of our everyday conversations that that's what will change thing since we began being able to do these transplants relatively successfully what's the trend been like in terms of organ donation because I just wonder if you know over time, you actually see more and more people opting in or if we sort of have our baked and attitudes in it hasn't really moved in general, obviously. Yeah. So we've only been doing transplants depending on the organ, but since about the nineteen sixties some of them not till the eighties. So this relatively new medical technology and the trend the reading portent trend is just demand. So no one ever dreamed. We would be doing thousands of transplants year, which we do. It's almost routine now to do things like kidney transplants. So we just there's just not the number of people does number donors vailable and the other side of the equation is we've done tremendously on public safety. So car crashes the number of people injured in car and motorcycle crashes down dramatic. So the input is much less that they need is much greater, and and that's why you see these huge weightless. So there's some good news hidden in this bad news. You know, we often talk about I've mentioned Spain a couple of times, everyone sport. Oh, if only we had the organ donation rate of Spain while Spain has an polling number of deaths on highway they have a lot more organs because a lot more people die needlessly. So that's not exactly the way we want to solve this problem. So increasingly what we're having these technological discussions. So now, we can people are growing organs in pigs that can be transplanted into humans. And and we're very close to that. There's parts of pigs that we transplant now like heart valves, and they won't be long before we can grow livers, and and maybe even hurts in in animals and not have to count on people dying. So are we going to raise past the need to get this rate up from around twenty percent, then hopefully, but it's not gonna happen overnight. This is gonna be decades. There's a lot of ethical issues that they. There's even religious issues, if you, you know, if you don't believe in using if you're kosher or do you wanna pig heart, others complicated issues in there with all these technologies? So it's that's not gonna happen overnight. But it is a longer term. Hope you mentioned that this kind of varies province to province. Are there? Any other provinces that have come this far? And are there any other provinces that might sort of pick up on this soon? Everybody talks about it. So before the last schedule and election Bradwell had promised that he'd pestle off. He got reelected. He didn't he left? So these things these discussions come and go, but no one's actually implemented. It yet actually Nova Scotia came the closest they introduced a Bill, but it died on the order paper during election earlier as someone who's seen these come and go a few times. What do you think about Nova Scotia's? This is close to happening as it's been so far. Do you think we actually get through this? I think it's quite possible this legislation passes. I'm not convinced. It will make a difference. So I think that's the more important part. I think it's more important to have more technical, you know, more practical stuff on the ground, teaching, nurses. How to make the ask the old important asked to the family. You know, I've written many stories on this over the years. That's the key is knowing how to approach the family in this time of great grief, and and tragedy and to talk to them about listen, you can make a difference. You you've lost your son, but you can make a difference to eight other people you can save their lives. Literally, those discussions are really powerful. And they make the difference between donation and not donations. So just having the the presumption that someone will give their organs it's not not gonna make that any easier, and it's not going to change the having the input from the family. They may not have veto. But you still have to have them on side. And when you say changing the law itself won't make much of a difference. That's because of the numbers game. And also because you still need the permission of the family, I presume. Yeah. Do you need it, technically? You know, not theoretic not theoretically. But I think practically you're still going to need it. And it's it's the issues on the on the frontline. It's you know, how many organ donations are done in Nova Scotia in a year only a couple of hundred it's a very small number maybe this'll boost the availability of a couple of organs. But are they to have the technical ability to get them into people that that's where we have to invest when you change change a law. You there's a lot of follow up to do. And that's really what we haven't heard about yet or the investments going to be there to back up this philosophy. Do we do any training specifically about having that tough conversation that you mentioned, well, that's the difference between the hospitals that have really good conversion rates than those that don't those who have dedicated usually it's a nurse who does this, and they have very very successful organ donation rates. So we do some training and where we do. It's very successful. And for the most part, we don't. Unfortunately. And just finally for our listeners because I was kind of interested to hear this as well, even if you have signed your card and your down as a donor, you still need to have that conversation with your loved ones because they'll still be ultimately the ones between you, and and those organs getting to someone who needs them. Yeah. You have to have that conversation because one we have terrible electron records in Canada. Somebody nobody knows that you've signed your card as I said before your loved one is throwing themselves on your on your body is they're not going to drag them out and your organs. It's practical stuff. It should be a willing loving donation, regardless of what the law, thanks for this Andre. I thank you. Andre Picard health reporter at the global mail. That was the big story for more from us. We're at the big story podcast dot CA with all our other episodes. You can even search him. You can contact us. You can suggest the story idea, and you can find us on social media at v big story. F P N or at frequency pods on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. We are as always wherever you get your podcast. You would love a rating and a review show us. You love us or tell us you don't thanks for listening. I'm Jordan heath Rowlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Andre Picard on rising COVID-19 cases among young people and reopening
"I'm Dr Hillary McBride. Let me, take you. Microphones rarely go into my therapy office. It's where my clients hurt. He'll and ultimately thrive. You're going to hear private conversations that we rarely ever have with ourselves. Let alone share with others. Welcome to other people's problems. Maybe along the way, you'll discover that other people's problems are a lot like your own. Season Three's out now. Subscribe on, CBC Listen Or wherever you get your podcasts. I. told the court them wrong to. From you? Use, one small man and giant. We'll cut. But I do say official. That I'm roughly right now. Uncover season seven. Dead Wrong, asked killed pit bull, if they maybe not. Available on CBC. Listen and wherever you get your podcasts. This is a CBC podcast. Sports isn't the only thing that's changed since this pandemic. Days of doing anything without worrying about social distancing or wearing masks for some people seem like distant memories. Lot of people are still following the guidelines. A lot of people have loosened. The guidelines somewhat Andre, Card is the global health columnist. He's back to talk about cove. Related News and those guidelines Andre Good morning to you. Good morning we've been living by this two meter rule. It seems like for months and months and months now there are places though like the UK Fed are revisiting this and as of the fourth of July. It's going down to one meter is a good idea. I. Don't think it's a good idea. It's just confusing I. If you look around when we go around towns I don't think he'd. People are exactly two meters apart where we had give ourselves some levity there, so I think we should just train. Keep rules as simple as possible people more or less respect them and I think that's easier you know. The UK is doing this at an odd time. They're one of the hardest hit countries in the world. Quebec is actually. Has this weird thing now where it's two meters for adults and one meter for children? I don't think these. Little changes are useful. People talk about with the way to stop the spread of the virus. One is distance. The other is wearing a mask. We were speaking on Monday with a family physician Dr Jennifer Kwan She's part of a growing chorus calling for mandatory masks in many public places. Is that the right approach? If we're going to look at loosening some of the rules, do we need to impose other ones when it comes to how we get around in public and what we wear in public? I think whether it's mandatory or not. That's we can have that as a societal, but I think it's really important is to make the rules clear, and that's that's what's wrong with masks now. Should we wear them in stores well, sometimes, sometimes, not outside sometimes sometimes. I think we just need some really. Clear guidance from public health officials, I'm not a big fan of making things mandatory I think public health is all about convincing people to do the right thing from with making it mandatory. WHO's GonNa? Enforce it. It's GonNa fall on the the poor schmo is at the door of the grocery store. Right? Who's going to get yelled at and abused? As we see in youtube videos from the US so that there's problematic issues with making it mandatory, but we should, there should be a societal You know this should be good civic. Behaviors to wear your mask especially indoors. Part of this it seems like is because we're now in summer. It was easier when it was cold and miserable in March and maybe April. Now it's summer and people are trying to figure out what they're going to do. How they're going to get out whether they can go on holiday vacations, you hearing groups like to them. promotion groups the CEO of Air Canada and others saying we should loosen restrictions, maybe cut down on things like quarantine to help boost tourism and save these industries when you hear those calls in the midst of what we're still in right now. What goes through your mind? Well I understand this balance between. We want the economy going. You know we want people to have jobs. That's important to our health as well and we want to protect their safety from this virus, so there is a trade there. There is a balancing, but I think one of the last things we should be doing is opening up. The US border international border. That's one of the fastest ways to. Allow the virus to spread again. So what we in the US, so I think these calls by the tourism industry, or are largely misplaced and I little self hindered. I think what the right about is I think we should be easing the domestic restrictions. We should you know people need to get out being outdoors. We don't as much much safer than being indoors, so let's have people travel around our beautiful country and seek places that sometimes we we can't see. Tourists The vamps and the gross mourns, beautiful parts of Canada so let's encourage that kind of travel. If we'RE GONNA loosen up, but I think the the international travel that's going to have to wait quite a quite a time. We're seeing a part of the reason why people are concerned as you're hinting at around loosening those restrictions as we're seeing a rise in infection rates particularly among young people. We were talking about that earlier the programs week people under the age of twenty accounting for something like fourteen percent of all new covid cases in Canada in the last week. How concerned are you about that? Not overly concerned. That's sort of a mixed blessing. A part of it is because the rates are following falling older people. You know we had this devastation in people over eighty and long-term care and we're getting some control over that, so that means the proportion of other people is going to go up. It also means we're doing broader casting. There's some good news there, but I think the. The bad side of that equation is it means that it seems to suggest young people are taking this Nada seriously they're going out more, but on the other hand. They're also getting tested more, so there's. These data always have mixed message in your. In Montreal and Quebec. The province said that it will stop providing daily cove nineteen updates and do so only once a week. Is that a good sign? I think it's puzzling. A bubble and I think it's very bad politics and I think it's just a bad bad approach. You know this. We've under student. This pandemic many things one of the is the importance of data. The data is going to be collected. It can't be posted every single day. premier doesn't want to do a press conference every day after one hundred days. That's understandable. We don't necessarily need to hear all that. Blah Blah Blah from the politicians, but there's no reason to not publish the numbers. I think it's really. An ill thought out decision and I think it's going to backfire on Quebec happening at a time when things are actually going really well in the province. Are really low every day and what we're going to have instead of instead of forty fifty cases today we have an announcement of three hundred and fifty or four hundred cases in a week. People are gonNA. You know it's going to give the things are getting much worse, so you just bad across the board. What do you think we've learned? We're six months into a along hall of this, and and what one hundred days since pandemic was officially declared. What have we learned about herself in this country? Do you think in that time? Well I think we've learned a lot I think we've learned both check. Out of we need to fix some things pretty fundamentally in our society. The way we treat our elders the way our cities are constructed, so I think we've learned some really important societal things I think. We've learned about that all of us have very different rich perceptions. You know from this nothing through to I'm never going to leave my home again. I think it's it's taught us a lot about. How we look at the world and how? We interact with each other, and there's a lot of good in that, but there's a lot that's it's difficult. We're learning to to behave differently with each other especially in public. What are you going to be watching for as we head into summer? Well. I think I wanNA watch how governments react I think there's really a different approach that shaping up and we can learn from European countries Asian countries. They've got a jump. Start on us and what we're looking for now is we know there's going to be outbreaks people? The economy's opening up. People are getting more is going to be outbreaks and you should be is. How are we going to control them quickly and I think that's the real future of if this pandemic is to figure out. How to snuff out fires that come up rather than just keeping people all locked up. I think I probably see this every week. When we talk, we have to learn to live with it instead of living in fear of the virus and I. Better you have been a voice of reason and very thoughtful and generous in in your analysis of this season ends on Friday and I'm going to be off for a couple of weeks. I just wanted to say. Thank you for for what you've offered us and me as we have made our way through this, thank you under. Well, enjoy your Willard holiday I don't know if that it's well-earned but I'll take it anyway. Thank. You would be well. Andre Picard is the Global Mail health columnist as a regular part of our ongoing cove and eighteen coverage here at the current for more CBC podcasts. Goto, CBC DOT CA slash podcasts.
How we can fix elder care in Canada
"Hey it's jordan. Claire and steph and ryan and i have been making the big story for two and a half years now and some of you have told us what you think of it but not enough so we are running our first ever audience survey. What topics do you love but topics do you hate. What do i need to talk about more or just shut up. About what direction should we take this show in next. You can tell us in the survey which is found on our website. The big story. Podcast dot ca. Once you fill it out we will select five totally random people and send them the big story tote bags. These are extremely limited edition. We made them just for you so head over to the big story. Podcast dot ca and. Tell us what you think. One year ago today. This whole thing officially became our life code. Nine thousand nine can be characterized as abundant for the first time the world health organization declaring the outbreak of covid nineteen a global pandemic. The past twelve months have proven that no part of our society was equipped for what was to come. They've also proven that some parts of our infrastructure were already just a single problem away from disaster and then the problem came and the disaster followed many disturbing stories from many other long term care facilities across the country at living center. Forty three residents have now died from covid nineteen during this outbreak. One hundred and geraldine stringer has been locked down the virus racing through her home. She hasn't been allowed out in five weeks. I've been very loan and at least one residents from a private care. Home in montreal have died in the last month. What we found was horrific conditions. Were disgusting when you look at the number of covid nineteen deaths in this country. Nearly half are the result of seniors. Who were in some type of care facility. Who died because it's not fair to say that canada's long term care facilities and all our other elder care programs should have been completely and totally prepared for a once in a century pandemic but if that system if you can even call it a system wasn't already and shambles there's no question that lives hundreds maybe even thousands of lives would have been saved and so now one year later. What have we learned about how we care for our elders in this country just. How badly did our lack of care and lack of resources cost us. Who or what is to blame for it and beyond blame and grief and loss and horror stories. How fast can we fix this. Because we can fix it. We just have to do it. So where do we start. i'm jordan. He's rawlings this is the big story. Andre picard is a health reporter at the globe in mail and the author of neglected. no more. The urgent need to improve the lives of canada's in the wake of a pandemic. Hey andre hi. Why don't you start by telling us where this book came from. You know. i've read that it was written during this pandemic but was it started an inspired by covid nineteen or. Was this a topic that was that was in your mind Before our world went to hell. I would say it's inspired by covid. Nineteen so a lot of things you know. The pandemic sean a light on a lot of failings in society and i think it really sean the brightest light on the failures of How we treat our elders so it came out of that have written. Several books is approach to write books about cova. And i wasn't interested. I think the the best covert book will probably be written in ten or twenty years. So i was more interested in writing in something that it exposed so i thought elder care is a topic i've written about for many years. So this perfect opportunity to to wait into that will before we get into Exactly how covid has exposed These flaws and and what we can do about them maybe. Can you elaborate a bit on. How the system. Our pre pandemic was failing our elders. First of all it's not really a system so it's this loose collection of of different services for older people So long term care we know about. Its these homes private and public homes. That are have some manner of oversight provincially or municipally says a lot of those then. There's seniors facilities more retirement homes which have even less oversight and in total those have a four hundred thousand people living in them so a lot of people live in these institutional settings. And then you have the homecare sector which is not really funded by medicare but partly funded by medicare mostly funded out of pocket so again not really much oversight and then you have the whole all. These older people living in the community living with very little money. You're retired. you have the old age benefit which is very minimal. And they don't have hosing etc. They don't have services they end up going into a lot of these homes by default because they just can't shovel the walk anymore. The house is too big little mundane things. Send us into this this cascade of care that we don't really want so well before the pandemic there is a big problem was a real lack of coordination and services and then this virus came along and it just you know it was the perfect storm for attacking seniors especially those living in this institutional setting. You know often. Three four bid rooms People moving in and out bringing the virus in so just Was a disaster. From the beginning to end of this spending. You began that last answer by saying you know. It's not really a system. Is that the problem at the heart of this. That we're just not organized. That's part of the problem. I think the problem is even more fundamental. i think the problem is almost philosophical. One that we don't value elders the way we should you know. I think everybody individually loves. Their mum loves their grandmother suspects older people. We honor veterans every year but our our policies just don't reflect that our policies are are quite eight just From beginning to end and you know just a good example of it is people end up in these homes by default. It's i call it in the book. Elder apartheid you stop making a wage. You stop having money. You're older you start having some mrs off. You go to these home. Never to be seen again. Is that a lack of care. as a whole or or lack of respect or maybe empathy. I'm not sure. But you know one of the things that i've heard so much during this pandemic and not always from people on the right or the left but when we talk about reopening were in another round of or we talk about concerns about businesses staying afloat and how much risk is enough a lot of people talk about the death rate and they say you know this virus only really kills old people and there's a whole lot of there's a whole lot of weight behind that i hear that offered. I've heard day after day. And i find it really insulting for one thing to older people and it's also wrong The reality is yes Older people die That's normal we're all going to die but the numbers are just through the roof. So your normal long-term care home would have to three. Maybe four desa month. If there's two hundred people living there during the pandemic one hundred deaths in a month this is totally off the chart. So it's not it's not normal in any way that people are dying and it's especially not normal that they're dying the way they are abandoned. Not enough care often. You know just lying in their feces because the homes are overwhelmed. This this has really gruesome horrible stuff. That occurred and we shouldn't excuse it in any way shape or form. It's not pleasant to think about or talk about and especially if you're you're not connected to it and you don't see the reality of it but maybe for those people could you give a sense of the scale of covid act in those homes relative to it in the regular Population like out of the canadians. Who have died during this pandemic from covert you know what percentage of them have been elderly people in these care homes essentially a shocking number. It's been just over. Twenty two thousand cova deaths in canada and more than sixteen thousand of those deaths have been in these institutional facility so long term care home seniors residences. So that's up around eighty percent so it really is a a pandemic that has just ravaged the elder care community. But that doesn't mean we should excuse it. We shouldn't just say it's because they're old. It's not it's because we failed to care for the because they're older will for those of us who don't have a parent or a loved one in one of these facilities. Do you think that that those canadians really get What happens in there and what the conditions can be like and or do we just hear about it when disaster strikes. I think people don't have a sense of it. I think a lot of but we don't want to know we want to turn away. No one wants to think of their parents being in these facilities. I would say to people get ready because we're all going there right. We're all getting older. The population is aging. And that's actually a good thing. We should be celebrating the fact that we live much longer. We live better but at the end of life we need more care. So that's a reality that our system has adapted to that we haven't wrapped our minds around totally but but we're all going there and that's probably the single most important reason. All of us should be interested in this issue. Now the homes themselves. These are not bad places a lot. There's a lot of good care a lot of well-meaning people a lot of great workers but it's just the the way it's structured. It's just perfect for the spread of illness for neglect because they tend to be off of the city. They're unseen their large facilities because we get economies of scale. We save money. We put people for to a room again just to to counter nickels and dimes to save a little bit of money. All this is done. I think it is sort of a well intentioned way in a backwards way of thinking but it's just not the way people should be cared for. It's not dignified It's not a personalized care. It's like this assembly line where the workers have to do x. number of changing of of continents pads per hour etc. Not the kind of care. People want or there's interaction and and respect. The big story will be right back. But i i'm going to tell you about another podcast that i think you'll enjoy in the first season of heaven. Bat terror gene stevens explored a bizarre movement that started in toronto in the early nineteen nineties now in season two of having been tearing gene tracks the toronto blessing all the way to bethel church in redding california. What goes on inside bethel's bewildering school of supernatural ministry. How much political influence does bethel wheeled and during this pandemic why are its most high profile leaders so intent on defying public health orders. Learn more about america's most unusual church and subscribed to heaven bent at frequency podcast network dot com. Or wherever. you get your podcasts. So tell me how you went about digging into this book. Which i imagine must be different from others. You've written because i'm i'm guessing that you weren't allowed anywhere near a long term care facility during the course of the pandemic and how did you. How did you hear stories. How did you get them. And then how much of the reporting was more systemic than than anecdotal from other books. Normally you're right. I would be in there. I'd be all over the facilities getting cooler. So one way to do to deal with is shorter book. This book is only two hundred pages. I don't have the normal color i would. Have you know describing the facilities. But it is a book. That's really focused on people. So i found a lot of people. And i tried to. I took a deliberate tact. Where i didn't take the worst case stories. I took sort of the normal. Here's person having a pretty good goal vet there in a nice home but they've been transferred home five times he couldn't get home care but they don't. They're not dying of poverty or anything. So i tried to get sort of middle of the road people just to show even for those who have money even for those who are well educated who know how to maneuver system it just becomes overwhelming so the book is all each chapter is tells the story of one or two families or workers and just their daily reality seen some cases. I ask them to go the home. I sort of asked them to bring the ipad and show me around so you kind of With all our pandemic journalism we've adapted to this and that was one way of doing it as somebody who's reported about elder care many many times even pre pandemic what has surprised you about the past year and and in reporting this book. What what really stuck out. Well i think what struck me is. How people are still very hopeful that the how the families are very forgiving of what's going on. I think the families who live this often their loved ones are in these facilities for for years. They understand that who should be blamed. They don't blame the workers you know. The workers are totally overwhelmed. The workers are well intentioned sore lot of the owners so i think people are frustrated with the policies and the failings of politicians to address. This i think. I was really surprised by the sophistication of the of the discussion. People understand what's wrong and who should be to blame and that that's really interesting and fascinating. It's not these new york responses people really think about this. They've put and they understand. You know some of these policies like locking them out from combs. That was devastating. People are literally dying of loneliness if these homes the families understand why that was done but they tried to practical solutions and they were frustrated by the unwillingness to to meet them halfway. I'm glad that you mentioned blame. Because i think For a lot of people who you know again may not even have a personal stake in this but will obviously as their family members are. They themselves age. You look at some of the images and stories that we heard from these places and you can feel enraged and you can really want to find. Who's responsible for it and i think over the past twelve months. I've heard a ton of different explanations from the federal government to the provincial government to the for profit system to lobbyists and you know former politicians being on the boards of some of these places and. I don't know where to assign that blame if we want to blame people. There's a lot of blame to go around. I think nobody escapes it. Even individuals in society. I think we hold some of the blame for just turning a blind eye to this. We've written about these failings for for many years. All of us share the blame. There's been writing the book one hundred fifty reports written over the years how to fix the system so in the book. I don't think we need another inquiry with very few exceptions. I don't think we're going to see people going to jail or anything wasn't criminal. Act was just nick systemic neglect so every report. That's written always blame the system so my conclusion in the book is i say quite bluntly well-fixed the damn system then that's worse. We should put our energies not looking for trying to figure out what went wrong. We know that already not trained to blame people. Sending people to jail is not gonna fix this. Let's spend our time and our energy actually fixing the system. Why hasn't the system been fixed. And what will it take to do it if we've already had a hundred and fifty reports saying this is what's needed. I think we'll take the public saying to politicians. And saying to policymakers we want our laws. We want our spending our social programs. We want them to reflect our values. So i think it's ultimately about putting our values into force. I think everybody respects elders in society. And i think they want that reflected in policies so i think the willingness is there now politicians Let's be real about this. Politicians lead from behind. They'll do whatever the public is willing to tolerate. And i think the public is saying do this now so i think there's a real opportunity here. How do we take advantage of that. Opportunity in this consume Like a monumental task to your point earlier. There isn't even really a system to fix right. Like where would we start. Yeah so that's one of the biggest barriers as people think it's overwhelming so i try and make the point in the book that it's not. Everything is doable. Everything is fixable and in fact. I always stress that we have a lot of good care and all we have to do is take our successes and scaled them up. And that's that's pretty easy to do. So i have chapters There's one about Sunnybrook veterans center in toronto which has spectacularly good long-term care great facility. We do it in canada. We've done it for decades. All we have to do is make other homes look like that. We have great homecare agencies. Well let's replicate them. Let's not Bringing in new ones that are not as good. Let's replicate our successes. So i think i don't think it's as overwhelming as we think the other argument it's going to cost too much money. I don't think that's true either. we've shown during this pandemic we've spent what four hundred billion dollars in cova dade what's another five billion to fix long-term care system. It's it's peanuts in the grand scheme of things in it'll have lasting value. It'll pay off the reality. Is we spend a lot of money now. And we spend it on mediocre care so if we spend it a little better we get more value for money. We're not talking about a lot of extra money but there is some money. Required after decades of neglect. We can't hide that but it's not a this is not an unfixable problem. It's very fixable. And it can be fixed in the short term. If we're going to create a real system you know that presumably has standards that can be applied across the board. Does that mean the end of the for profit lt model. I like cancer. That question to as one i say. If we didn't have for profit homes would be great loss. We don't need them. Their countries that have no for profit homes that have great care other countries with a lot of for profit care. They've great care. I think that's issue is just a distraction too. Simplistic solution to a complicated issue. I think the one that people the owners that we have to get out of this system are essentially the the slum landlords these companies that are just really real estate companies. Their patients their residents are just treated like widgets that bring monthly income. Those are the ones we have to get rid of. And they're a very small number but beyond that it's about you know we have to recognize every for profit. Every public every nonprofit home gets the same amount of money for care so they're getting the same starting point and the problem with the four prophets becomes the real estate part of the equation. Which is something different than the healthcare. So i think this is a complex issue and we if we just had the simple answers like oh get rid of the for profits. Everything will be fine. It won't be fine. We have a lot to do beyond that. And the final thing i say about that is. I always laugh when i hear that. Oh you know if we just nationalized the homes. Everything will be fine. I don't know of any other part of the Of our daily lives where people say. More government is a solution. I just don't see that as as magically solving anything having more government speaking of government how much of fixing this would rely on the federal government and the provinces working together To make sure that the funding is adequate that the care is adequate. And what is the likelihood of that because we've seen a lot of buck-passing between the two levels of government during all of this past year. Yeah i think there's no question. Governments different levels of government municipal provincial federal. They have to cooperate to fix this but we have to stop using our constitution as an excuse for failure. And that's what we're doing in this case there's no barrier constitutional barrier to fixing this governments can sit down and agree to take a practical example. We're talking these days about standards of care so people are lobbying. Let's get a minimum of four hours of hands on care for every person living in a long term care facility. That's a reasonable goal. Easily doable probably requires a little bit of money from ottawa. And then for provinces to do it all you have to do is sit down in a room and sign a piece of paper. Here's how much money you'll get if you do this. Here's what will happen. If you don't do it you'll be take this much money away. That's a pretty simple thing to resolve the nets every one of these problems we have. That's how we have to do it in a very focused manner Find the financing. Find the proper regulatory approach. And it's all doable. But we can't do what we do now. There are some provinces for example. British columbia has a law that says every person gets three point three six hours of care daily but they only fund about two point five hours. So you can't do that. There has to be logic in the way we both fund and regulate and they have to be connected so we can't have these fantasies where we say. Oh yeah everybody's going to get four hours of care and then only fund three. That's not going work. Speaking of things like hands on care. One of the things that i wanted to ask you about is if fixing. The whole system does seem overwhelming to a lot of people in your reporting. What are the practical things. Like hands on care that we could start implementing tomorrow if the will was there for that would make the most difference. Yeah i think that question is important one. Where do you start. You start where the biggest problem exists and the biggest problem right now is staffing so healthcare is all about people caring for people. We don't have an adequate number of people we don't have the right people delivering care both in the community and in facility. So that's where we have to start so start with the standards of care guarantee a minimum of four hours. Interior has done this. They've said they committed to it. They'll they've said it will cost one point. Eight billion dollars not overwhelming. But they've said they're going to do it in two years to what would i do. I would accelerate that. There's no reason we can't do it this year rather than two years. So there's a really practical solution to a really big problem. That's where you start and then you build from there Another big issue is infrastructure. So we've got these old homes look like prisons. We should really have homelike facilities so you start phasing them out. I in the book we should make. Judicious use of the wrecking ball. Get rid of some of these old homes where so many people got infected because they were just built for the spread of disease and start replacing them with smaller twenty thirty bed homes and do that gradually but it all takes investment takes planning but most of all just takes a commitment to do it last question andrea and this is a weird one to ask but given everything that we've seen over the past year and you know how sad enraging it's been Are you optimistic. That because of all that there might finally be The will for change on this. You know as you look beyond the pandemic What do you think yeah. us journalists. We don't tend to be very optimistic types. But i i am optimistic. I think you know if sixteen thousand dead doesn't make us fix this. nothing ever will. I do see this as an opportunity. I also am optimistic. Because i think our politicians have recognized this and i think more importantly i think the public wants this fix. They see it as a priority. I do all these been doing. All these book related interviews lots of them with call ins and there's just a passion for it. We got to fix this for my mom and my grandmother and we have to fix it for me. I i've been really inspired by the young people who've taken this issue to heart and said yeah we gotta we gotta get this done before i get there and before. My grandmother gets any sicker. So i i think the the almost perfect storm is there to to cash in on this opportunity so we we should do it and we shouldn't let it pass. I hope you're right andrea. Thank you for this interview. Thank you for writing that book and and thanks for your hard work during the past year. You've been an incredibly valuable voice. It's much appreciated. Thanks for your interest. Andre picard health reporter at the globe in mail and author of neglected no more. That was the big story for more from head to the big story. Podcast dot ca. You can take our survey. Tell us how you feel about what we've been doing for the past year. You can also talk to us and tell us where you've been for the last year at the big story f. p. n. on twitter you can email us the big story podcast one word lower case at rci dot rogers dot com. If you like this podcast and you don't already follow us on your podcast platform of go do that. You get every single episode. I want every last one of your downloads. Thanks for listening. I'm jordan heath rawlings. We'll talk tomorrow.
Should Canada implement a shut down to combat COVID-19?
"This is a CBC podcast. Hi I'm Matt. Galloway this podcast from March twelfth edition of the current W JOE has been assessing this outbreak around the clock. And we're deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of in action. We have therefore med the assessment that Covet Nineteen Camby. Conducted is as a pundit. Well they finally said it to the world. Health Organization is calling cove in nineteen a pandemic. That means it's too late to contain but the stret- the spread can still be slowed down. If people are willing to change their behavior whether that will happen though wasn't entirely clear from these reactions we heard from Canadians. People should just continue to live their lives. Wash your hands. Keep your wits about you but you shouldn't really change your your day to day at being does not change anything in my life. I understand that is killing people but what does the flu so I think people just need to kind of calm down a little bit? Well we've been concerned before they could call the pandemic officially so were extremely careful. We came on the train from Kingston. We brought our clorox wipes the press is overblown it. I don't think it's going to be that big. Everything is normal. I haven't done anything differently. I still be the same way. Wash the same way. I mean not wash my hands so much but I do wash the dishes so not entirely sure that washing the dishes counts but anyway the WHO is urging countries to take urgent and aggressive action to slow the spread of Cova Nineteen. That's what Andre Picard. Would like to see here in Canada. He's a health reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail. Andre Good Morning. Good morning what do you think when you hear those voices people who say there? Aren't that the. Aren't that concerned that this has been overblown. And they're not changing how they live their lives. Well there's a full range of opinions out there and those are among them and I think people are GonNa realize when it hits home how serious it is so it's easy to ignore. We don't have a lot of cases in Canada yet but the question is when are we gonNA try? And bring in some action to mitigate it before it gets worse before we become Italy and to your point And the headline of your calling yesterday. Shut it down. What do you mean when you say shut it down? I mean we have to move from this notion that we can contain the virus. Stop it altogether to the realization that we have to mitigate the damage. It's going to do so we have to recognize it's going to infect a lot of people and the question is more when they're they're going to get infected rather than if and we have to really you know you're you're GonNa hear the expression lot flatten the curve in the days to come and it's about that it's about making the number of people infected grow more slowly so that our health system can handle it and so you say we don't want to become Italy. What needs to be shut down it everything in Italy seemingly a shutdown right now well only because they waited too long. So WE'RE AT A. We have a small number of cases. We know they're going to grow quite a bit in the days to come. That's almost unquestionable. So what we do. I think what we have to do is get you get rid of you. Ge- gathering so I'm not saying corentin mandatory We live in a social democracy. We have to count on people to be responsible but you know we can do without a few hockey games for the greater. Good of our. Our health We could probably do with a few weeks less school To make sure that kids are out there in huge numbers in high schools with a thousand two thousand kids spreading this virus. So it's doing things it's getting rid of crowds. It's social distancing is that we go about our daily lives but do them a little differently Stay little far away from people when you talk to them just practical stuff like this is not the end of the world as we know it. It's just adjusting to this new reality for a little bit of time and again. Why do that now? Why take those steps now when It seems as though what's happening around the world Is much more severe than than what's happening here in Canada. Well you have to pick the right time to to pull the trigger right so it's nobody knows exactly what the right time is. We knew we know. Italy waited too long Denmark has done exactly what alias done. The only have four hundred cases so they've decided shut all schools No gatherings over one hundred people allowed so the question is not. If we're GONNA do this. When are we going to do it? So I'm sort of air. I'm saying err on the side of caution be prudent Maybe we should be doing this in Ontario NBC now or the most cases and then do it elsewhere as it spreads but let's try and rain this in as much as we can and that if you wait too long it'll be too late exactly and you know it's because you know how the virus spreads it's one person has it the infect to those to infect to others it's like this drop of water in it ripples out so you want the drop to be smallest as possible in the first place last night the US President Donald Trump imposed what is essentially a travel ban From Europe is that do you think going to be? Effective travel. Bans are not effective. They make people feel better but they don't you know people on planes or the least of our worries through easy to track They're not kept together for that long. It's not like a cruise ship as so that's a minor issue. I if I think for Donald Trump. It's really a distraction. The US is a disaster in waiting. They're doing very little testing. We have a good idea that they're probably thousands of cases there that just we don't know about yet. Planes are are not what we should be worrying about. It should be domestically spread community spread. And that's what's happening in Canada. We're starting to get cases of community spread We have one in their nursing home. We have one in a daycare this morning. We WE SHOULD START GETTING CONCERNED. All should start acting all of that said. Do you expect handed follow suit? We're going to be speaking with Christopher Nolan. The deputy prime minister coming up but you expect candidate of follow suit With what the president announced yesterday whether it's effective or not. I don't think Canada's going to go with the travel ban. I think we've been very smart on that. We've followed the evidence the. Who has not called for anyone to have a travel ban? But I think I think the government has made a good argument itself for social distancing We had the Health Ministry yesterday saying this as a national emergency and a crisis and we had the chief public health officer making a twitter thread a really good argument for why social distancing is necessary. And now it's just a debate about the time. Why do you think if it's necessary epidemiologist or saying this wide? Do you think it is that the schools universities daycares haven't been shut down across this country. I think it comes back to what I said. I think it's all about timing. When are we GONNA do it? you know there are people who say well you heard people in the intro saying oh it's nothing less not worry but there's also a lot of people out there saying why didn't we do this a month ago when it started in. Wuhan and the reason is you have to be able to maintain this so you have to do it at the time where it's going to have the most impact it's also would have huge disruptions if you close schools and daycares and universities again. We're seeing this in parts of the United States where people's lives are thrown into turmoil. Because of that is that one of the reasons why perhaps governments aren't moving as swiftly as you would like to see them. Yes you have to worry about the turmoil but it's a trade off. What's the turmoil going to be if we have five thousand extra infections? So it's a tradeoff and the turmoil. I think we have to prepare for it and we have to offset so take a South Korea. South Korea closed all its schools fitted opened emergency daycares for the children of essential workers with small classes at Denmark. Is doing something similar? It has Denmark has a twenty billion dollar program to compensate people. Workers and business candidates announced a billion dollars at Denmark's much smaller countries. So I think we really have to to step up the investment and recognize this having such a huge impact on the economy. We have to share this burden over the collectively. Just briefly before I let you go. Chinese officials are saying this morning that they think this pandemic will be done by June. And they're already seeing changes within that country which seemed to be a an unimaginable. Perhaps a couple of weeks ago. How long do you think this will go on for You know the American the Great American philosopher. Yogi bear always said. I don't like to predict make predictions especially about the and I think with this virus. We just don't know I also China say they're worried about People from the rest of the world bringing this virus back into their country. Now there's it it's really shifted. This is exploding outside of China. China's gotten control but they've taken drastic Measures that we could never take in a democracy. Andre speak with you thank you. Thank you Andre Picard Health reporter and columnist for the Globe and Mail. He was in our studio in Montreal. There shouldn't be any people to close. We're not going out to eat or not going shopping involves. We're not going where there are a lot of people for universities. There's some things where you need in class time. We need hands on experience. I mean I sing in a choir. Anyone that's traveled is not to come for fourteen days. No you have to get out you have to live. You have to meet people get out there and enjoy life and don't think about it's shuttered all down or don't think about that line between panic and caution is a tough one to navigate and a pandemic Steven. Hoffman is a professor of global health law and Political Science York University and Director of their global strategy lab. Stephen Good morning to you. Good morning what do you make of what Andre Picard was just saying? Is it time to shut it down? Well it's hard to disagree with Andre. He's one of the best in the business that being said. I agree with his advice. The idea of shutting it down gives the impression that we're talking about a lot more than actually went. Andre just recommended it. Would it gives that impression of shutdown border shutdown? All schools everywhere. That's not the way public health works and that's not the way it should work. Public Health needs to be a much more precision focus. It has to be based on the actual facts on the ground that are going to be different community by community. And so the kinds of things that Andre did talk about social distancing rethinking whether we whether we do need to go to that conference or Can Employers if it does get worse. Can they enable workers to work from home those sorts of things? Yes we should be doing now. But we're not yet there when we should be shutting it down. I'M GONNA use that phrase that he referenced which is flattening in the curve which means that you lower the immediate impact that it's not that giant spike that this is kind of more manageable because it's played out over time and over a larger population in some ways If you do if you WanNa get to that point. When do you have to take those steps where you have to have? More extreme social distancing well flattening. The curve is indeed something. We're going to hear more about because it saves lives right after the healthcare system is overwhelmed. It's not gonna be able to respond as well as we'd like the challenge though is if we react to early if we overreact it can actually be just as dangerous as under reacting and the reason for that is it's not just that Shutting Down Schools for example is a disruption. It is but also think of for example. The many doctors nurses health professionals who have kids and suddenly they find that their kids are no longer in school. We might actually find quite a lot of doctors and nurses unable to go to a hospital if they're having to worry about their kids or examples. Many countries have started to impose travel restrictions. That makes it more difficult for trade to get through. It makes them difficult for medical supplies to be transferred or food. And so it's really important that we don't underestimate the downstream consequences of doing some of these measures under it was talking about timing and to a lot of people. That's the thing I mean you hear from epidemiologists who say the same thing that if we wait too long. It's too late that by the time you know where the viruses the viruses moved on somewhere else. How do you get the timing right? Well they it's it you never really know in the process important thing though is to base decisions like that based on the best available evidence and real time data. The good news is that in Canada. We have a fantastic system for public health where public health authorities are actually looking at the data in a very granular way and trying to make those kinds of decisions. As of now public health authorities in our country have not said that a a mass Quarantines or those kinds of approaches would be good because they probably would not be effective contact. You don't worry that you really by the time that they make that call. It's going to be too late. Well that's That is always one potential. But I even more so worry. That many countries around the world have overreacted too early causing too much disruption and actually undermining the public health response in the process. What countries would be in that basket? Well China's one good example. I mean there's unprecedented mass quarantine of Wuhan and other cities like we've never seen before in public health. That's a lot of people who tried to flee that city who didn't have access to schools. Some people were bolted into their homes. That's not the way to do a public health response to an outbreak. Italy's similarly China initially. It was focused on the northern part of the country and of course when people are forced to be in a place that they perceived to be at greater risk to themselves. It's just human nature to try to to flee and so we saw some very natural reactions from folks which actually were counterproductive for public health. What would you say to people who were on the edge of spring break in a lot of places across this country? What would you say to people who are rethinking? Travel plans right now. Is that the right thing to do. People should be taking stock of whether they should be traveling or not ultimately. That's an individual a risk assessment. So it's based on not only their individual risk profile for example. We know that people who are older are more at risk of getting severe symptoms. But it's also based on where people are going is their healthcare system. Do they have a social safety net? Where they're going to such as friends or family as well What would happen if there's maybe a quarantine imposed there are countries that are reacting in ways? That isn't logical. And so as a result you might. WanNa think about. We'll migrate. I going to a country where the response will be appropriate or might there be an overreaction that could affect me. Who DECLARES THIS PANDEMIC YESTERDAY? And that sounds scarier. Where does fear fit into the equation in terms of how we react to this? Well I've been saying that we're actually dealing with two outbreaks here The first is an outbreak of the virus that causes cove in nineteen. The second is an outbreak of fear. Misinformation stigma and some racism. And I worry that actually the consequences of that second outbreak. The outbreak of fear might actually end up resulting in more harm than the virus itself. How well I say that because When we when we're looking at for example the recent. Us government decision to Shutdown travel between the US and continental Europe that is not motivated by the science. That effort will not help it will. It's more much much more likely to hinder the response. And so that's an effort that's being taken either for politics or at a fear or both. It's probably meant to provide some reassurance. The public that the US government is taking action. The challenges that action actually makes it more difficult. Stephen Thank you. Thanks Steven Hoffman. York University Global Health Law and political science professor and director of the Global Strategy Lab. What we've seen it in China in Italy now in Denmark schools in some of the first places to close as a cove nineteen spreads nearly forty countries or enforcing some sort of shut down right now. One of the big mysteries around this virus is that it seems to be affecting children less than adults though a child in Calgary and a daycare there has now tested positive for covert nineteen doctor Luis. Maria Favila is a pediatric immunologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary Dr Good Morning to you. Hi Good Morning. What goes through your mind when you hear but countries completely shutting down schools and daycares. Yes I agree we even in the in the sense that I I need. We need to trust her public health. Authorities in in In going by the information is coming on a daily basis in accessing information on on a local basis and also on the sense of entire country and and I think accordingly but but I agree that we would have to be measured in in the sense of Bev affecting risks and benefits of taking actions to such that. What do we know about how this virus actually affect children so yes so You know from from the information from from China. Which is the the country? We've we've had it has had the most gators in of course has gone for the for the longest time we know that For the majority of the cases are adults the ones that are getting a at least sticker sicker and then from that information for example at the end of February. We know that only around two point four percent of the reported cases for children which is a very small amount. It was something around thirteen hundred but even from bad number only around point. Two percent of these kids were getting severely thick. So that's only about three on those Almost fifty thousand cases back in the end of February. So right now. They're more around eight. Eighty one thousand cases so comfortable to four children if if we still go through that the six point two percent. Do we have a sense as to why that is often with respiratory illnesses? We'll hear that they affect the elderly and children. It doesn't seem to be the case for covert nineteen. We don't know the second episode yet. I know that biologists and epidemiologists are trying to understand just recently. There's there's the difference. We know that it's happened before in other other. Similar Corona virus outbreaks like SARS and merce where it it also seems to affect mostly adults and the elderly and and spare in in terms of severity of the symptoms as spare kids. And we're learning more about by knowing this information we're known more about how the viruses sales go through into our system. But also how are you in providing this type of different ages For example even with the amount of inflammation inflammatory response. Though we we we mountain against the virus may be different between kids and adults and we know that the severity of deceasing to be the Overt inflammatory response to that missing is throwing against the virus in particularly in the elderly and inflammatory response. At least two more of the more your symptoms and require mental more intensive care. We have just a minute left. I want to ask you two quick questions. One is if a child isn't showing symptoms. Could they still be spreading cove in nineteen again? Yes that is something that we don't we don't know yet so the role of of children may play in this transition for. It's not not fully known. I know that the w choice looking carefully at that. Add to this date. It seems that those with symptoms seem to be the people may spreading the virus. So we don't know much about eighth into matic carriers which children could be playing a role in just finally given all that we don't know. Is there a point at which you could imagine? A full shutdown of schools and daycares would be considered. I think Old All options are being funded at the moment and that's at risk and benefit will be the most important. I know that the public health authorities are plundering every every possible situation At this point I know The world can we're GONNA save from UNICEF has a habitual guide them to schools and and and how to keep keep safe and also how to prevent the transmission in school spend end of of obstacles. There are guidance that are coming up everyday. I appreciate your insight into this doctor. Thank you thank you very much. Maria for is pediatric immunologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary for more. Cbc PODCASTS GO TO CBC DOT CA slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on the return to school
"I'm Malaysians Lyle and I'm Herman the Rudbar and we're the hosts of inappropriate questions. Did you lose weight? How are you doing? How'd you get pregnant? We talked to people who have been asked these questions. We ask where these questions come from and be darned some more respectful with been curious. So whether you've asked an inappropriate question or been asked an inappropriate question, gum get inappropriate with us. Inappropriate questions is available. Now you can find it on the CBC listen APP or wherever you find podcasts. This is a CBC podcast there has been many challenges around the world in virtually every reopening I mean there is no democracy on earth with some exception really that hasn't had challenges getting children back in and I think that's an admission that we have to be flexible. We have to be evidence base and we have to be listening. That's Terriers Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Friday admitting that any plan to get. Kids back in school has to be flexible. September is just a few weeks away and provinces are scrambling to put plans in place that will keep kids safe and make parents. Happy. Entrepreneur is the global males health columnist. He was recently awarded the own Adams Award, the highest award from the Canadian Medical, association available to a non physician, and he's been joining US each week to talk about covid nineteen morning Andrea. Good morning it seems pretty clear that have kids safe in the schools there needs to be proper ventilation physical distancing avoid crowded indoor spaces were getting information out of many of the provinces now about their back to school plans, how what do they look like? Well they're kind of all over the map, but I think what's lacking is the you know this is our plan and we're going to go forward You know there's a lot of confusion among parents we keep hearing. Oh, we can't do this weekend do that, and it's not really clear what the provinces are doing. You just have to give a clear plan, and of course, as the minister said, have some flexibility if it doesn't work out but you have to do something and and move forward at some point when it comes to flexibility I mean, what have you seen about the plan B's for example, if a class gets cova are we going to see? Classes quarantined whole schools quarantined. We know the answers to that. Well it's been a load of eight years about that. Unfortunately. So that's an important part of it. I think we have to acknowledge. There will be cases hopefully, very few, and if we're GONNA react quickly, that's what's really essential is to know what's going to happen and probably the ideal is to be able to quarantine a class and that's why people like myself. have been quite obsessed class size think class sizes really the the key element keeping the lowest number of keeping kids in cohorts that really allows us to to nip any spread in the by if there is a case, there is an awful lot of fear. Andre from parents about how this is all going to look at what what do you make of that? Well I think you're right. I think it's almost an overwhelming amount of fear at this point and I think a lot of that is driven by under the unknown this. Constant change plans. We're not sure we can't do this and I think people have to realize that there's probably no better time than now to get kids back in school in Canada were doing really well, I hesitate to say that almost WanNa, knock what we are doing really well, community transmission rates are really low. So this is the time to figure it out to get kids back to school see how we can do it because it really risks in the fall getting worse. So let's let's keep the risk into in some context. The the rates are well below what? Countries around the world suggest our a threshold for being safe for return to school, and they use measures like what are the number of daily cases per hundred thousand population what's the positivity rate? So of all the tests, how many come back positive and in places like Canada and Ontario it's less than half of one percent. So it's not a huge amount of. Corona virus in the community and that's really good news for getting back to school. There are parents though who just don't want their kids back in the classroom right now and and so what kind of options do you think are fair and reasonable for them? Well I. think that's really important. parents do have an option that they have that outlet and the outlet is distance learning. You don't do e learning and that's great and it's great to have. That option will have to recognize that a lot of kids don't have that they have parents who are in the central work they don't have good. Internet. Have five other siblings. So we the school has to be available especially in terms of equities especially for poor kids. Kids who don't don't have Internet at home that that exists. So let's let's not forget that Yeah. Sure. Some people have the privilege of of staying at home and that's great at maybe they can lessen the load on who's going back to class but that can't be the sole approach there is there are concerned parents are saying we should not be opening up schools. This September. We should be delaying at the very least is is does that concern you or is that legitimate? Why think there's it's legitimate to a certain point we have to I don't think we have to rush the return to school. We have to get it right rather than doing it quickly but I think it's unrealistic to say kids can't go back to school for how long forever we know the coronavirus is going to be with us for for many years. That's that's the reality. So we have to do this for their for their mental health for their socialization for their learning for equity there's all. Kinds of reasons to allow parents get back to work all kinds of good reasons to open schools that, yes, we have to put the the emphasis on safely and the other part of it. I think when you say we can't go back to school is what our kids doing. Now it's not like they're locked in their basements in a bubble they're interacting and they're at least in school they'll be interacting away where we can when track their movements Laurie if there are cases. So there's all kinds of factors. And could you give us the latest update on on what the studies are saying on masks should kids be wearing them? What about the teachers What are you reading right now? Yes. Unfortunately. There's an inconsistency in the rules around Canada but what age mask should be worn, etc I think the the growing consensus is that children's spread corona virus just as readily as adults we didn't think that two months ago, but that seems to be the consensus now. So we have to treat them like adults so they should be wearing masks in. Situations where they're interacting especially indoors where they can't distance. Now is the debate about you have to wear them in class all day and I think different countries have different approaches. Depends how strict your cohort is. So if you have a country like, Denmark at very small cohorts, they really don't interact with other people. So they don't have masks in class. Most of Canada. Now, they're saying kids over the age of ten to be masked all day. We'll see maybe at a certain point if the community I transition fall even further, you loosened that rule that's an example of the flexibility and then briefly Andre I mean I hate to deal in hypotheticals but but if cases start to climb again in in across Canada. At what point? Do we shut down schools again? Well I think that's why you need these these markers you have to say if community transmission exceeds a certain number group at Harvard that it's more than twenty five cases per hundred thousand population. That's when you shut it down. But this they shouldn't be mistreated parents this should be set. At the get go and we know if it gets to that rate were closing down the school and I think that's a really important thing for giving people comfort and. Diety as well. Audrey, thanks as always for your analysis. Thank you don't Andre Picard is a health columnist with the Global Mail and he's in. Montreal. For more CBC podcasts. Go to CBC DOT CA. Slash podcasts.
National call-in show: How concerned are you about schools reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
"The theatres have closed, but the show look on play me podcast is thrilled to present a new series. The show must go on featuring provocative productions from some of North America's most acclaimed creators for the stage sit back and experience. From chilling thrillers to Gut, wrenching dramas to arriver in comedies each month experience the exhilaration of theatre from the comfort of your own home plenty available wherever you get your podcast. This is a CBC, podcast? I feel pretty excited because I get all my teachers again and get a my friends but I a bit nerve just to. Always have concerns but I do think it's safe for them to be here. I think they'll thrive. It's where they're supposed to be if I wake up one morning and I have symptoms what is that going to mean for my students biggest fears that we've done this for nothing if people still getting sick The end of summer always comes with some back to school butterflies for teachers, students, and parents but like so much of twenty twenty this first day back is different. How are you feeling about back to school if your house is like our house that question was the subject of much discussion, this Labor Day weekend and in the days before a students across this country returned to school whether in class at home or a mixture of the two, we are opening our phone lines and turning the show over to you good morning I'm Matt Galloway, and this is a special back to school edition of the current no easy answers. In some parts of the country this will be week two in others only a few more sleeps until that first day back wherever you are school will look different this year and there are a lot of unknowns. So today we're dedicating our entire show to our back to school series no easy answers and we want to hear from you. Let us know what questions are nagging you how confident are you about schools reopening? Are you sending kids back have? You decided that the questions are too big and you don't have enough answers. So maybe you want to keep the kids home at least for now, the number to call is one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three parents, students, teachers we want to hear from you. How are you feeling about back to school? Again? One, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three we will start with one family's difficult decision in British Colombia. This is where I work out at my house. It's great little. Room and there's separate entrance my clients come in from that side and I do manicures and pedicures and lack seen. Eyelashes, nine name is Harper. And I am nine years old and I'm going into fourth grade. Nicholas I'm seventeen years old I'm going into twelfth grade. And March when. This all happened I was really sad that don't get Cima friends anymore and I miss school. My name is Tony. Beauty Studio in my house that I opened up seven years ago and I work fulltime now I used to work Saturdays but I stopped doing that because the kids didn't like that. So I do work Monday to Friday I'm grateful that I have a business I love it. It's amazing but it's hard because I have. A lot of responsibilities with the kids in schooling and working and all that amount. So? I would say sort of my stance on school starting again is I. I'm not like Kim like I don't think it's a good idea I don't feel safe and like a lot of my friends don't feel safe because they close the schools down when there was just under a million cases globally and now there's billions and the reopening it. And I don't see the smartness in there and I know that they're trying to keep students on track. But you're still no matter what going to be in a confined space the it's a pretty scary thing that the open it back up to be honest were hoping that we can all do online schooling and not go back to school he signed up for the apprenticeship program so he was going to be. Sort of school one day work one day school when they work one day and we still were days away from starting school. Don't even know what that's. GonNa look like that. I'm just really excited to go back to school because I really wanted to see my friend again and it's much easier to learn their with nicholas being seventeen he and he Wears, masks wash his hands. He's aware of that but. I was not wanting to send my daughter to school. I was not heard still being so little I didn't want her to go back. This is an emotional hard time hard because being a single parent working fulltime. I don't have. The ability to just say, okay, we're going to get home schooled and I'm not going to work and I'll just teach you guys or I'm GonNa hire someone. I. Can't do that. So we just kind of made the decision. To Send. My daughter back and my son back. Not Not happily. And you have those people who are like well, the chances are super slim and you know this is like what the government's saying it's it's so low for kids I would die with my kids going back and if they got sick. Just. The thought of it makes me a little bit crazy. Sound familiar, Toady Annapolis, and her kids live in Ladner British Columbia and Picard is the Globe and Mail's health columnist, and we have been lucky enough to speak with Andrei regularly throughout this pandemic and we're very fortunate. He will be with us as we open the phone lines to hear from you in just a few moments. Hundred morning. Good Morning. Thank you for taking the time to Do this. This is important in part because I think a lot of people would have never expected that when schools shut down for suddenly in March, we would be in this situation with this anxiety would you have expected? Not really we thought you know there's going to be a pandemic and it's going to be intense and then it's going to pass and we're gonNA live happily ever after but it's something that's going to be much more lingering. It's going to be with us for years and we're really learning to to live differently in school is probably the biggest test to date by far and it's really you're right the anxiety for a lot of people is really off the turns and so are we as a society ready to send kids back to school? Well. I don't think there's a yes or no answer. It's what unfortunately one of those it's complicated answers. So it depends where you are you know I think the single biggest factor we have to keep in mind is how much a corona viruses in the community. If there's none, there's no risk. Now the the risk is very different around candidate we have different rates. So that's the number one factor by a long shot, and then there's our personal risk tolerance. There's what does the school look like you know do we have classes of forty or do we have classes of ten? Those are big. Big, issues can kid social distance. How did they get to school is a on a bus system by bike. So there's a multiplicity of factors and that's why it's. That's why you hear this story we just heard parents are just so anxious don't know what to do because there's so many factors that go into the this calculus that is never going to give us satisfactory answer to your point I mean across the country, the rates are different that families in British Columbia were hearing the rates are creeping up there. Perhaps creeping even the right word you've written about this in the globe this morning. And, most students like those ones are going to be back in school in person not doing remote learning but actually back in the classroom, are you concerned about that? Well I think we have to be concerned but I don't think we have to be alarmed. You know the reality is we have to learn to live with this. There are going to be cases and they're going to be cases in school, and we just have to think about how we're going to deal with them. How do we prevent outbreaks rather than individual cases? So if we take Quebec, for example, they've been back for a week ten days. We're seeing a few dozen cases, but the good news is we don't seem to have any outbreak. So these are sporadic cases. In in essence, the same number of kids are infected. Now as before they went back to school it's they're just in a different setting. So we have to take all these things into consideration. The exiled is being felt by parents, but also by teachers, they are on the front lines of this return to school. Lindsay Brown is a great eleven and Grade Twelve English language arts teacher in Winnipeg and head of class. This week Lindsey listen back to some of their messages to students last spring. Everyone I want to reassure you that my number one priority over the next few weeks is that you take care of yourself you take care of your families and just make sure you're healthy and safe. So, when we just heard was part of a message that I sent home to my students just before we went into lockdown in the spring. We will find a way to make this work. It's pretty uncertain right now, just know that I am here for you. I will find a way to support you getting back to school this week I most excited to see my students I think that was the hardest thing was talking to a screen and having them talk to me on a screen and I know that for a lot of our families, they had multiple students at home trying to learn remotely and maybe only one device between them have you check out the class website I'm going to be posting. So normally my classes would range from twenty. Four to thirty students this year, the students will be attending in person every second day of the School Day Cycle. Our classes have been capped at fifteen students per class, and so they'll be with us one day at home learning working on independent assignments or connecting with their class virtually. So that will be there in person one day and at home the next email addresses on there. But so all of my students will be wearing masks those that don't have them. We'll have them provided to them I'll be masked I. Think I'm also going to be wearing a face shield just to add an additional layer. Of Protection, for myself, I suppose there's always the worry that there will be students who for whatever reason decide to defy public health orders and I. Think this is where conversations about. Critical Literacy and critical thought are going to be really important so that students are not deciding to leave their mask at home as an act of rebellion. So I don't doubt that there will be some students that have been listening to conspiracy theory videos on Youtube will also have to have conversations about people who are in romantic or sexual relationships and what those rules and understandings need to be in order to keep everyone safe things like vaping things like going to parties are going to be A. Additional risk factors, and so we need to talk honestly and openly with them about. Their decision making so that they can make those choices for themselves in a way that's responsible. Another thing that I find myself wondering is, what will I do if? I get sick if I wake up one morning and I have symptoms, what is that GonNa mean for my students what is that to mean for the substitutes? Are we going to have enough people to cover those classes is going to put my colleagues at risk if they are asked to cover for classes of somebody else and they have to break into a different cohorts I, I worry about the implications. And how people may be put at additional risk but I also know that it'll be a battle for me to tell myself to stay home because often as teachers we will joke or we did before all of this, we joke about how it's easier to just go in with a cough and a cold than it is to plan for an entire day. When you're absent Andre Picard Teacher Lindsay Brown, there is a few to pick at one is that idea of schools being prepared to deal teachers who get sick? Do you think schools are ready for that? I don't think schools are entirely ready for that because we know that in a lot of parts of the country, there are chronic shortages of teachers already. So how do you feel Ian that's a just a difficult thing in a normal world and we're not in the normal world anymore. Then the question of substitutes, a breaks, this notion of having a bubble. So one of the big things about schools is what train keep people in bubbles limit their contacts. But what happens when you see constantly bring people into that bubble it defeats the purpose. So there are a lot of real challenges I. Think school boards have really really made a lot of effort but I think they probably started quite late at this We kind of wasted the summer in Canada really not discussing this, and then we're doing a flurry of activity and trying to figure out what to do on all these really complex questions at the last minute and the other issue is the issue around teens and trying to get teens to play by the rules when they're meeting New People and there are the questions that Lindsey raised around parties in vaping and intimacy. How do you get teens to to play by the rules? Well. It's never easy. Right anybody WHO's had teenagers in their house snows that they they're not rule followers. So I think we have to realize there's not going to be perfection. So the the ideal is to try and get everybody wearing their masks to social distance, etc. some are going to do it a lot better than others teenagers are going to be a challenge university age students. We don't talk about them enough, but there are a huge challenge as well. So these are all things we have to do to adjust to A. Different people react differently in society. There are adults who are. Really badly to we can't just say it's all about young people I think young people are getting a disproportionate amount of blame and worry when there's a lot of people being cavalier at all ages. One of the reasons why we wanted to do this have these conversations right across the countries because this is the discussion from coast to coast to coast in Winnipeg but this is a team that's playing as I say everywhere in Canada. Dwight lava league known as Butch he's. Head Custodian at the kindergarten to Grade Eight island lakes community school. Here he is preparing for the first day of class. Two days ago this was a workout facility. With special flooring. The flooring. And locate furniture throat the building and set up for I believe sixteen students in this classroom. Every classroom band rooms music rooms are being converted. regular classrooms gyms are being used for storage and classes. Community rooms are being used for classrooms library. Every every available space is being used for classroom now. That we can social distance and have at least six feet between each student. Cleanup has been a lot different than any other we have ever done. Changed all filters throughout the system we've adjusted our air intakes we've done our all our venting has been cleaned pressure washed vacuums whatever needs to be done. All classrooms have been sanitized doorknobs. All that sort of thing will have to be done bathrooms on on a on a regular basis as used we have to go and clean them wiping down, setting up a hand sanitizing stations throughout the school. Areas in the hallways directing traffic around everywhere. We have been doing in the division is shutting down all the you water fountains. The only thing will be the auto bottle fill stations. Philip regular bottle of water in probably fifteen seconds. I've been here for thirty years. We used to have students come help us. They'd be like our little student apprentice. We'd keep them busy for a while while the teacher was able to deal with what she had to deal with in the classroom. That will not be happening anymore just because of the safety aspect. Biggest fears that we've done this for nothing if we get all ready to go and we're up and started and people still getting sick in the building then what do we do do we do we shut down the school? Do we shut down parts of the school? Do we just shut school period across the province? That's that's the unknown, and that's what's got everybody worried that big unknown got everybody worried and a few moments we'll get to your calls. We want to hear about your concerns as well as your hopes for this most unusual school year the number to call one, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, again, one, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three people have called this an experiment or a gamble in terms of opening schools. There's a strong push behind it to talk more about that joined by the Economist. Armenian. Zine arming good morning. Good morning that why do we need kids back in school? Well. Having a safe place for children to be is not only what's good for the kids and certainly there's a huge part of that. But it's also that the economic crisis that is close on the heels of the health crisis. Will simply accelerate the longer. This goes on you know mom's contribute forty percent of their family's incomes according to economist. Jennifer Robson and families with children are the biggest block of purchasing power in Canada. And before the crisis hit household spending was the biggest driver of GDP growth. It's it was around the order of fifty seven percent of the economy. So, if you knock out the ability of MOMS like Tony and other MOMS to be able to contribute to their families economic wellbeing, then you're going to see. Two things happen. First of all the economy's going to go into a longer deeper economic contraction. and that'll be because some women who have been able to continue working not be able to continue working. and. It will mean that There's you know the other part of this is that child poverty he will accelerate and this was one of the small victories of the last few years, and that's problematic for the longer term because we're going to be really relying on these kids as the population ages and they're not getting a good education and they're going to be really struggling with hunger and shelter as well. We've got a real. Terrible problem coming down the Pike you and I have spoken over the course of this pandemic of that she session and the fact that women are being disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis that we're in right now in addition to that health crisis. Is your sense that governments are doing enough to given what's at stake here for women particularly. But but for everybody in the workforce, our government's doing enough to support successful school reopenings. Absolutely, Not the biggest success story has been income support but now that we're talking about reopening and we are reopening. We have as an Andre said, we've kind of squandered a few months here in figuring out how to safe reopening opening and butch said, it might be all for not have done all of this shutdown and yet we don't have national protocols for what to do when people get sick and schools and you know it's not just school child childcare to. and in the childcare sector schools are at least publicly funded. There's no payment at point of contact but in childcare centers, we treat it as a market choice and there are tons of childcare centers that are shutting down they are shuttering, they're opening up partially they're not gonna be able to survive because of lower user fees and higher costs, the costs that Bush outlined and what has to be done to make sure it's safe and to keep class sizes small, which may not even be happening in two of our largest labor markets in Ontario and Quebec even though those are the two jurisdictions with the highest number of cases. So we have got no national strategy on. How to deal with what is a national problem? Even though as has been pointed out, there's localized a higher rates of infection, but we don't have a strategy for that area, those areas either so as I've been saying I mean I think, I, use the term she session with you in Martin and one of the shows and as I've been saying for months now there is no recovery without a she coverage and there is no she coverage without childcare and we are losing childcare capacity not dealing with the situation that speaks to the exile that so many people are feeling across country and what we want to hear from listeners this morning Armenian great to talk to you as always. Thank you. Thank you matt. Is An economist and the Atkinson Fellow on the future of ours is what she is saying squaring with what your feeling. That's what we WANNA. We WanNa hear from you hundred per card has been joining us over the course of this part of the show and he'll be with us this morning as well. Here's some of your calls and answer some of your concerns Andre just very briefly do you think that the economic factor here is driving this grand reopening of schools? I think it is in large part in and it should you know it's really important to to have people working for people to work. They have to have childcare. They have to have kids in school and you know that's really essential to a functioning society and it's important for children's health or mental health, etc. Salata reasons to do it, and that's why it's so important to do it well, and that's why we want to hear from Canadians. The CBC news is next, and then we want to hear from you how are you feeling about back to school? Are you sending the kids back to school to have a choice because as I was saying so much of this is about being able perhaps to get back to work and to do that you need childcare. Are you doing homeschooling one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three again the number to call one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three or you can tweet us at the current CBC I'm Matt? Galloway this is a special back to school edition of the current no easy answers your calls coming up on CBC Radio One. Good Morning I'm Matt Galloway and you're listening to a special back to school edition of the current no easy answers. Boring the Corinthian I'm excited to see my new teachers. In. My class getting back to school this week I am most excited to see my students i. think that was the hardest thing was talking to a screen. Bitter the safe one percent get sick. That's okay. But to talk kids, I would die with my kids going back and if they got sick Just the thought of it makes me a little bit crazy. Here we are six months after schools closed abruptly life turned on its head for children and for all of us in some way, and now still in the midst of this pandemic. Opening, it is a big experiment the goal to give children a return to normalcy and education, and to let parents get back to work all of this at the same time as we're trying to keep our kids and our community safe. There are a lot of unknowns though a lot of fears as well. How do you feel about heading back to school? We WanNa hear from you. We're taking your calls all morning long and the lines are open, one, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three again. Eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, have you like the kid we heard earlier on have been counting the sleeps down to return to school because quarantine has been boring. Do you have apprehensions about school during Cova? What is this going to mean in terms of return to school for your family for your work for your health and what are the questions that you still have there are it seems more questions than answers when it comes to this return to school give us a call, one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, or you can tweet us at the current CBC. How do you feel about back to school? Some schools across the country have already opened a number of them get set to open tomorrow or later this week and some in the weeks following. And so for students and parents and teachers and administrators, there are a lot of issues at play and that's why we want to hear from you one, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, and I have a couple of guests with us this morning to help take your calls Andre Picard the Globe and Mail is health calmness. He has covered just about every aspect of this pandemic and has joined us regularly throughout he is in. And Ray Watt demand and is an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. Thank you both for being here this morning. Thank you Ray Watch. Given where the numbers stand right now how much risk is there in sending kids back to school. Oh you start with an easy question. It's the big question is the big question I mean there's always going to be risk. What are the thresholds? It's unclear. Harvard has a couple of metrics they have published. One is if you're incidents, rate is a twenty five cases per hundred thousand population than your safe to open all across Canada were below that threshold but is that the right threshold? I don't know the idea is to have the community caseload as low as humanly possible. Before we opened those schools and other metric is look at the number of tests that come back positive percentage and Harvard tells us. That number should be less than five percent and across Canada it's about less than two percent even in the hot zone areas as it were. So where where probably we can be given what we have. So if we're GONNA open, I think now is the time people are looking at your sections That are already back in class, of course, Quebec ahead of the curve in many ways when it came to opening schools in that province at least forty, six schools have recorded at least one case of covid nineteen since they reopened. What should we make of that ray? What? It was expected. We're going to see cases parents have to brace themselves for this for me. The second half of that communication is important part is, what did we do after the case was detected? Was it suppressed? was that ember extinguished before became a forest fire. So as the weeks and months unroll, we should not panic. We hear about cases in schools we should take some some confidence if the second. Half of the message is that case was detected, but it was suppressed before became a genuine outbreak. So let's just brace ourselves for this recurring news that's going to be part of our reality for the next few months. Andre Picard you have a piece in the global mail. This morning saying that the curve isn't flattening it's creeping upward. What's going on that is leading people perhaps to let their guard down. Well. I think there's just a lot of pandemic fatigue. You know we've been asked to make sacrifices for going on seven months now and it's getting terrorism It's Nice Oh you know it's the the dog days of summer. people are trying to get their holidays in they want to go to bars they WANNA have fun. So there's all these dresses in society and we want to drain live our lives and I, think we see that reflected in the in the rise in case numbers are you concerned than that's what's happening in the community will ultimately lead to cases appearing in school that people are having the backyard. Going to Karaoke that's going to manifest manifest itself with cases in school. Well there's no question that schools are part of our society. So yes that's and I've said this all along the big factor is always the same one is if there's no transmission in the community, then there's not going to be any in school. So they're very interlinked and that's why we you know Dr Deehan mentioned the Harvard Metric That's a really important one. How much covert is there in society and that really makes it easier to input schools or harder if their numbers to. We're asking the question into simple one, but it has a lot of nuance to it. How do you feel about back to school the phone lines are open, one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, again one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three Haley Chang lives in Toronto and is going into grade five Haley good morning. Hey It's Matt in Toronto. How are you? I'm I'm well thank you. Did you have a good summer? Yeah. I was going to go to Taiwan to visit my aunt and my grandmother, but I couldn't because of colluded because it's not safe. So I did some camps is in my backyard and I hung out with my friends social distancing. Excellent. That sounds like a great summer. It sounds better than mine. I didn't do any camping at all. You're lucky. How are you feeling about going back to school? I feel pretty excited because I get to see all my teachers again and I get to see all my friends. And because I haven't been to school since March but I'm a bit nervous too because of the pandemic. But I'm feeling pretty safe. I think I'm going to be safe at school. Let me ask you about the time since school. What's it been like? It's been pretty. loan me, and like I haven't been saying like all my friends I haven't been in a group and talking to them a lot but. I'm having a good time with my family. You Miss Your friends though. Yeah. Has it been kinda boring being at home all the time. But I have two younger brothers so I hang out with them a lot. And they're fun to be with. What's the most fun thing that you've been doing in your time off? Like. Talking to my friends like on zoom or like in an APP called Messenger Kid. You said, you're excited to go back to school and part to see your teachers what do you like the most about school? I like that they give you education and I like that. I get to see my friends a lot. This is going to be different kind of school year than than the one that ended in March how do you think school is going to be different this year? I think because everyone has to wear masks everyone has to social distance and like we have to put San Sanitizer. Really often and Yes. Do you think it's going to be hard to socially distance from your friends. Walk because I kind of US really WANNA. Hug them when I see them again. Going to be hard to remember not to do that. Yeah. You said that you are nervous as well. What are you most nervous about? Out Because if I get sick. I love to see my grandparents and I see them really Austin. But I I. I can't do that if I get sick and I'll miss them. Yeah. What about the mask wearing a have you been thinking about wearing a mask all day. And what do you think about that? I think I. Ain't GonNa get you. To that. Because I've been to a camp already, but you have to wear a mask all the time. So I think I'm kinda getting used to it annoying. Aren't they? I mean there's a lot of cool masks. I have a bunch of different ones did do you have some neat masks that you can wear at least? What's your? What's your favorite? My favorite one is this like. Little color. It's like it's the color of the ocean and I like the. Shit, what would you say to other kids who might be getting ready to go back to school and like you? They're a little nervous about this what would you say to them? Out Say. Be, careful be safe and I hope you have a great school year. I hope you have a great school year to Haley have fun. Yes, great to talk to you. Thank you very much. bye-bye. Ten year old Haley Chang kids who want to hear from you. If your parents say it's okay you can call us one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three also want to hear from those parents teachers. Administrators educators off the number to call again one, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three. It's a special edition of the current. No easy answers. How are you feeling about back to school? Undercard Globe and Mail health columnist Ray Watt. Epidemiologist in Ottawa, Andrea and a piece in today's paper you talk about the concern that a lot of people have around outbreaks in schools or at the very least an increase in cases in schools I was in your town in Montreal last week and that was the topic of discussion as students were heading back to school. In the piece you talk about the difference between an outbreak and single cases. Why is that distinction important? Well because we have single cases in society, so kids are getting infected now not in large numbers, but that's happening and what we really want to. Eliminate were we not able? I don't think at this point to eliminate the spread of krona buyers entirely, but we can limit outbreaks. So if you have one kid in school, the response of the school is really important because you don't want to suddenly have twenty or fifty or hundred kids. So that's really essential. So. What we're seeing in Quebec been back seven to ten days schools in in Quebec is that there's about forty nine schools that have one case there's a a parent group says, it's eighty four schools, but regardless, it's a relatively small number given. There's more than three thousand schools and they all seem to be single cases. So it's we're not seeing a situation where you know in Quebec City we know there's a Karaoke bar seventy three people were infected in one bar. That's what we don't want to happen in school so that the response rate import, right what the end and. What would be considered an outbreak I? Guess this is one of the questions that parents have is if if there are some individual cases in schools, how does that escalate or does it escalate? So I think the definition that most public health units are using is if there are two cases and that are linked epidemiologically that counts as an outbreak. So they've got some from the same source or from each other if it came an individually from outside, it's not sitting outbreak is just independent cases but that's some technical nonsense cares about what we care about is what are the procedures put into place to prevent those cases from becoming genuine outbreaks, and that's where the mask wearing the distancing the communications really come to bear. So I've been watching carefully what the communications plans are across the country and I hope that more investment and attention is paid to that. Of this unfolding plan because getting parents on board depends on transparency and proper communications. I think that's beginning a short shrift most part up 'til now I want to get to the calls but just the next stage in that is what happens if there isn't outbreak, do you Send the kids in the class home. Do you send the entire school home? What what? What what unfolds then? This is where it's important to have the cohort INC approach with small class sizes and individual cells or groups of classes separated from the rest of the school staggered hours. That kind of thing that way we can take out that one cell cohort, send them home for one or two weeks. As we investigate further that way the the school system can keep on rolling. If there's cross-contamination, you run the risk of having to shut down the entire school for a couple of weeks but most of the school boards, the plan is to be. Able to take out one class, two classes to investigate while these situation continues to unfold. But yeah, a some point Some students will have to be sent home for one or two weeks. It's ray what ended he's an epidemiologist in Ottawa undercard Globe and Mail health columnist joining us as well. My Name's Matt Galloway Special Edition of the current how are you feeling as we head back to school one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three is the number to call. Anna. is on the line with US ANA good morning. You are a teacher in the province of Ontario. How are you feeling about heading back to school? Well I was feeling great I teach three four in the Grand Eerie, district, school board and Brantford I had my whole classroom set up. All of my first day at school gets on the children's desks may tags books. Everything ready to go I spent all summer programming and most of the parents do or thought that I was going to be their child's teacher. However. Last night I just was informed that my position is lost because the now merged my class, we'll be dissolved in my class and they're merging it with other classes in the school to make larger class sizes and I should also add I have. The highest will almost the highest seniority in my school and a ten year contract like permanent contract. So what does it? What does that mean? Your position is lost and that they've dissolved the class can you explain what those things mean? Sure. So they thought our numbers were low at our school because some students had chosen to go online. So they've merged classes to make larger class sizes. Given students who have chosen to go online the option to return back to school at different points through the year. Now, if our schools duffers go up because those online students have chosen to come back to person learning, then there's a chance that I might get my class back. In the meantime, what happened see had this whole class set up you're going to be teaching. A class that you had been preparing for what happens now. Well for me my situation is I have. French, qualification. And because they're classic merged, we lost a teacher that teacher was the school French teacher because he had the lowest in your body. Now because I have fsl qualifications I am now forced to teach French to almost the whole school grade four or five, six, seven eight, and also be teaching the special needs class. Now, my exposure just goes way up because instead of teaching my lovely little grade, three, four class that I've been preparing for and have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on now I have to. Up my exposure to more than half of the school and teach French. So what I decided to do because I really don't want to do that is. I think I'm going to declare voluntarily I'm going to declare myself surplus and teach online. Now if I could add to that. I asked if I teach online. What grade will I be teaching and no one is able to tell me so hr has no idea what grade I'll be teaching I could be put an eighth grade I. I've never taught that before. So I'll be I could potentially be learning. New Material, new curriculum every single night of the week everyday preparing lessons trying to scour the earth for all these reasons, and it's just a nightmare and to find this out last night two days before the students walked through the doors. IS UNREAL AN UNFAIR To be put on your plate and and something that we're hearing from other teachers and across this country I appreciate you speaking with us this morning and good luck in whatever unfold in. Thank you. Very much have a great day here. You Anna is a teacher in. Ontario. I should mention we did invite the education ministers, foreign -Tario and Quebec to join us today to talk with the return to school both of them declined to speak with us this morning I'm Matt Galloway, this is a special edition of the current no easy answers. How are you feeling about heading back to school? You can reach us at one, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three or tweet us at the current CB see hearing from some of you on twitter Chris in Toronto wrote as parents of seven and four year old both of us being working professionals. We need school to open as soon as possible. The longest march break ever needs to come to an end. Think a lot of parents probably feel the same way Russian. Lawson of Ottawa wrote I'm anxious about my sixteen year old going back to school. We've just recently brought my eighty two year old mother to live with US having to balance physical safety with my teens emotional health. She struggled emotionally in shutdown and need school I. AM anxious for sure again, one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three is the number to reach us on Sharon Angie. Connecticut is the principle of Dennis. Franklin. Cromartie high school in a Thunder Bay. Sharing morning to you. Come morning. How are you feeling? About heading back to school and you just tell us I I just a little bit about about the school that you're the principle of. Okay. So dentist Mardi high school here in Thunder Bay. Our students come from the remote flying community someday north turned four communities so they don't have. Access to high school and their communities. So they come into thunder bay to dense chocolate commodity north to get their high school education and so given that with school getting set to open up how are you feeling? or axes frustrated done We've talked to delay on Friday. We are to make the announcement again that we were delaying our school reopening were supposed to open on Tuesdays But now we're going to have to delayed for another week another opening on the fourteenth and what will you be opening as I mean there are these hybrid models and in class and then online what what is school going to look like free? Online for the first quad master a why do you need to do that? Well, for one thing, we cannot guarantee safety for our students if they were to come out and do in in person learning because they have to board and homes. We have to find boarding homes for them. At the time they come out we have to make sure that we have a home that's ready to take them but because of corporate that is. Proving to be very difficult and we don't have. The means to make sure that would provide whatever safety measures. We talk about the digital divide in this country where there is high speed Internet access for some but not all. What are the challenges that you and your students will face with online learning? The most basic thing we don't have done. Books we had ordered months ago they still have not arrived. So they are our students don't have access to devices and they do not have. To reliable internet in their home communities. So in order to kind of China and on on come up were applying for them. We wanted to see about setting up learning centers in their home communities. Having them. Providing a safe place for them to be able to do the work right now, a lot of the homes as I'm sure you're aware of we'll have to homeless up north overcrowded. You'll being able to an F. you have siblings and they're all trying to get on internet use their schoolwork I. It makes it very difficult. So what does what we're trying to do is trying to set up learning learning spaces and these in these communities, but the community themselves, they do not have There's overcrowding in the home school overcrowding and workspaces. You know. So they're looking at things like renovating churches some you know things like that. Then gymnasiums and charges set up to learning spacious very difficult very challenging. Just say it's frustrating I was gonna say I can hear it in your voice in the last minute and a half or so that we have how did look how does this happen? Where where should the funding have come from to ensure that you're not in this bind? See is federally funded school where Private School we do get some resources from the province. And for instance, they were able to order US some provide us some pe- But we still do not have the financial commitment from the government the announcements that you that I'm sure you're aware of therefore the communities. But since we're offers your, we don't qualify for those through the cracks. Yes. Very. Much. So where's that going to leave your students I mean you're a leader in the school and you care about the students concerned about what's going to happen to them in this seven plus weeks where they're going to be learning online or perhaps not learning online because they don't have the tools to be able to learn online. Yes, I'm very frustrated and we're we're trying to do our best to support, the parents that community leaders, and of course, our students we are engaging with them online and you know this coming week, we'll be doing a variety of. Activities just online for them just to in. Just trying keep everyone's hopes up right. I. Wish you the best of luck you're in a really difficult situation at school is important for all students but those students that you help lead. Really need your attention. Thank you for joining us and good. Luck. For. Sharon Andrew. CANOVA is the principle of Dennis Franklin, Cromartie High School. It's a first nations high school in Thunder Bay Ontario. We are taking your calls this morning on a special edition of the current no easy answers and the reason that we call the series that is because On the face of it, there are no easy answers. What happens in this back to school scenario in the midst of a pandemic whereas you heard perhaps the technology isn't there for online learning and some students are concerned but going back, some teachers are concerned about heading back into school and parents feel as though they're forced into this bind where perhaps. To get back to work, they need to send kids back to school. You can let us know your thoughts one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three. How are you feeling about back to school? One Eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three, I'm Matt Galloway. This is the current where back in ninety seconds stay with us. I'm now. Host of ideas in this age of Click Bayton online shouting ideas is a meeting ground for people who want to deepen their understanding of the world. Join me as we crack, open a concept to see how it plays out overplays. And how it matters today from the rise of authoritarian is into the history of cult movies. No idea is off limits. Ideas is on the CBC listening or wherever you find your podcasts the theatres have closed, but the show logo on play me podcast is thrilled to present a new series. The show must go on featuring provocative productions from some of North America's most acclaimed creators for the stage. Sit back and experience everything from chilling thrillers to Gut wrenching dramas to a reverend comedies each month experience the exhilaration of theatre from the comfort of your own home clammy available wherever you get your podcasts. Hi I'm Matt. Galloway. You're listening to a special edition of the current. No easy answers back to school edition. We have a couple of guests with US Global Mail health columnist. Andre. Picard in Montreal epidemiologist. Ray what. In Ottawa and we want to hear from you. We are going right across the country over the course of this morning asking what seems like a simple question? It's not how are you feeling about back to school? This is the start of a school year like no other in the midst of a year like no other and so are you excited? Are you worried? What's your? Fall going to look like what are you doing when it comes to going back to school? You can call us at one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three or tweet us at the current CBC and on the line from Toronto is Joanne Personal Joanne Good Morning Good Morning. How are you feeling as a parent with a child heading back to school? While I think I meant by this frustrated as the teacher and the principal we just heard from I have a daughter who's heading integrate nine. Intellectual Disability and she has a she was given the same schedule as all the other high school students. In Toronto which is every other morning. in Class F, and then the rest of the time. So it's to to morning two or three mornings a week in school and the rest of the time. She is online She doesn't learn online she doesn't she she learns differently she need one to one support she she requires her peers and modeling from her peers and you know while I am absolutely you know I'm concerned of course about this about the virus I am at this point very concerned about her mental health and her social health She's been out of school like old children's since March by she doesn't connect online through social media with with peers she she actually you know she spends a lot of time with me and she she just really needs to be back in school learning all day every day you know sort of. The the things that she needs. Yeah. Anyway. This is really hard and I work fulltime post-secondary teacher I work full time at home. So you know she's spent an awful lot of time in in April May and June on Youtube. And so in that situation, I mean, again, this is the situation that a number of parents find themselves in you work fulltime. She's. Extensively doing online learning even those you know the of the day or the second day when she's not in school, you might not have time to be able to help her out with that online learning. No I can't I mean I I took part of lead my my on my job is very accommodating and gave me a sort of a partial leads relief in May and June, but I can't continue to do that I. Mean I'm a I'm a single mom and you know even having someone come into it. So here's the other thing if I were to ask someone even appear to come into the home to facilitate schedule is such that it's a four day schedule. So every week is different. So one week it's Monday, Wednesday Friday the next week is to stay Thursday. Throwing a statutory holiday or a P P A day, and it'll changes again. So I anyway. I'm I'm as frustrated as as the teachers and the principals I have at this point I have no idea what school would like look like and it starts a week today. What does just before I? Let you go. What are the answers are? What is one answer that you would want to get from? We'd hoped to speak with Minister of Education in Ontario and he declined to speak with us this morning. But if you were able to speak with him or those who are in charge, what would you want from them? Yeah. So so I do know in the end, the other board, the school board in Toronto that she could be in single classroom with a small cohort. All Day, every day but I was told there wasn't a funding for that. and the funding that is for that goes to the high risk areas in the north east and north, west end of the city, which, of course, they need it. But there's also other you know high needs and and you know the the reality is my my daughter needs to be accommodate. along with other children with other intellectual and physical disabilities and and I I really feel that she along with others are being lost mess I mean. Because, they're a smaller group and not necessarily a you know, maybe a less vocal group. I am not really sure about it's you know I think there are solutions making larger classrooms and collapsing like the last teacher. It's like Oh my goodness need smaller classrooms and get to be get creative. I. Wish you the best of luck. This is a really difficult situation in the worst thing as a parent that that you can think of is, as you say, when it comes to school, your child gets lost in that system join. Thanks. Thank you joined personal as a parent in Toronto. Andre Picard. Health. Columnist for the Globe and Mail is with us this morning Andrea how prepared do you think our schools for students? With special needs given the circumstances that we're all in right now. I think you just heard from the parent I think they've been forgotten. That's quite correct that There's a lot of kids with so-called special needs with learning disabilities some physical disabilities who need to accommodations in school, and they have been forgotten especially in these complex scheduling issues that you just heard about. It makes it doubly doubly difficult to head on you know online learning is not for everyone it's not a panacea. Particularly difficult for kids with learning disabilities. So there's so many issues that we should have spent more time thinking about in tackling, and as we've talked about, we've just left everything till the last minute and people kids are being left by the wayside as a result grey what an epidemiologist in Ottawa. Is there advice that you have for parents of students? With, special needs. Boy I have no advice since appleton's infuriating this is. This crisis is also an opportunity and the opportunity has been squandered the opportunity to have made investments in long term educational care for US students. So I'm a big fan of saying spend the money now on small class sizes on additional educational care on special attention, special needs kids in low income areas. This will pay dividends in the future long beyond when the pandemic, because over, we still have time to do these things society but as far as advice for individual parents go. There are lots of resources online find resources in your community, create communities and networks of your own ultimately. Unfortunately, it's falling more and more on the individual citizen to soft organized to fill some of these gaps that the state has failed to fill. Unfortunately, that's ray what do Nand and he's an epidemiologist in Ottawa my name is Matt Galloway. This is a special edition of the current. No easy answers, how are you feeling about heading back to school one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three is the number. It's kind of national conversation taking your calls right across this country one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three. You can tweet us at the current CBC. Susan Wang is on the line from Montreal Susan. Good Morning Good Morning Mark thanks for that thing to laney cows and pigs are me how are you feeling about kids heading back to school? Fiery worried. What are you worried about? It's a complicated issue. I think I followed that the I came back. So I followed the becoming into county. Almost every kind and the for the open school, I can't stand like as a gun into. Opening, businesses and they wanted appears to have the patient normal agitation. But yeah but like even like a federal or provincial all the gun into beat Dad, the secondly is calming and for the virus thing. Too. Much. On knowing that so I think like to ask the parents. All blades the. Send to back to school ask cycling not to read the responsible. You don't have the option in Quebec of online school unless unless somebody's sick, right. Yeah. That's the problem like a by the law as we don't have like the people are from. Medicine we have to send back to school. Like I what we can see from the Education Minister or school board. We cannot see did tell procedure. What about happen? The kids got sick example if there is at. At take in school the class because they were taking their kids back home. To do the tasks and they will not. Cause the the the the personal who close to this kid. And that? That's all what I have after who take care about the clock who take care about. At this school at. PS and how do the digging faction? There's no detail. About that and the government only ensure like we kind of. To the medical people like. Most of. Family that that imposible those. Walk was just GonNa say these are the questions that so many. Parents I think across the country are asking themselves. We have so many people who are trying to call I'm going to let you go to try to get to as many calls as we can, but Susan Good Luck and thank you. Susan Wang parents of a two children in Montreal. As I mentioned, we're getting some notes on social media that people are having difficulty getting through because so many people are calling this is an issue that touches so many people across the country. So do keep trying to get in touch. You can reach us at one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three or tweet us at the current CBC SEAN is on the line from Orangeville. Hello Sean. Hi. How are you? Doing really good. How are you doing great you're going into grade eight this correct. Yes all right and how you feeling about heading back to school. I bit nervous. I'm going to school this year but your overall pretty good. So why are you going to a new school for Great Eight? Well my family decide for me and my brother that it wasn't a four government plan going expert wasn't safe so. We're thinking about doing online then Kinda realized might. Benefit from the social aspect going back to school so. Family Cyber going back to private school was here and in. So you're leaving the public system and going into private school. Yes I am what do you? How do you feel about that? That's interesting. 'cause my mom's a teacher and so it. Goes to the kitchen. So I, think it's I think our decision for her. A bit nervous. Yeah. But for you and for your family, this was a decision that was made because you don't think the plan that's in place right now as a plan that's going to keep you healthy. No the. All the scene is like wear a mask and here could use your Omega fix a problem. My school on the cloth eight, which is like I think. Like three one third of what my class is usually. and to have proper ventilation. So I'm going to be nice proper social distancing What are you most nervous about in terms of going to new school grade eighth grade? I'm just kinda nervous because like great eight like migrated you. You already know you have your friends there. You've been at school on time. You know everybody is like it's completely new book and like it's so far off until like your school, your elementary school career. Do you know anybody who's going to the school. No You sound like a pretty social guy. So I think you'll be okay but it is something It'll be adventure certainly Sean you talk to you. Thank you and good luck. I. Thank you very much. Then you sean great student in Orangeville terrier. Andre. Picard. Are you concerned that there will be a lot of families like Shawn's who say that what is being offered in the scenarios in in public boards across this country is leading them out of public education. Or I think there's a real concern that there's an undermining of public education people who can afford it are flocking to private schools. We know that people who can afford. It are doing online learning they're creating their own bubbles with the tutors, etc. so what what the real risk here is this growing inequality public schools being even further decimated and I I think that should concern everyone in society what's The answer to that? Then there's a long piece in the Globe and Mail this weekend about that and about how this breaks down on racial lines and class lines what what's the answer to prevent something like that from happening Well the answer is to invest properly in education you know this notion, we have to have smaller class sizes. Why are people going to private schools because they perceive it as safer because the class sizes are smaller, there's no reason we can't do this in our public schools you heard earlier, you know that. This is this is an essential element, not only for a safety but for better learning I, think we know the countries that are doing best with the back to school. They had small classes beforehand and they have even smaller classes. Now, this is so essential to good learning to integrating everyone across the society regardless of class race ability, etc. All of this stuff is so fundamental at such a good investment in. Our health and the the pandemic I think is creating an opportunity that were maybe missing to to fix stuff that's been problematic for longtime Andre Picard as the health columnists with the Globe and Mail we're taking your calls this morning. How are you feeling about heading back to school the number is one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three Mike's on the line from Ottawa Mike Good Morning. Hi There Matt You. It's a bit like looking into the future. Your senior kindergartner child went back to school in the French Catholic system last week. Yeah. That's exactly right. You went back to school on Thursday and so how's it being for him and for you? Well. We were very much looking forward to it. our main concern really was You know he's a bit of a shy kid so we were. Looking forward to him. Yeah. Going back to school for his you know mainly social development and is emotional and cognitive development, and the thing that we've found that or bit worried about is that. He's he's gone to the classroom We knew he'd have to wear a mask to get to the classroom and maybe in common areas in the school but our understanding was for kids that age that he would be able to take off his mask in the classroom. and. The thing we've heard now is that they're really enforcing mask wearing in the room so. Bit worried about him like reading the. Of other people when they're speaking because at that age are still learning that. She's also very shy. We're a bit worried about him not talking too much and the other thing is you know as a boy, he really needs to to run around and be active and and they're encouraged to stay in their seat and just sit there all day. That's what he's telling US anyway and we're bit worried about not liking schooling more. Do. You understand the position that the schools are in in terms of all of those rules and regulations that they need. They're worried about cases appearing they're worried about the community spread, and so they need kids to you know as many people as possible to wear a mask, but also to eat as. Best. As possible to try to continue to physically distance from each other. I totally understand that but I thought that the whole planning of reopening the school. Was designed to To prevent the spread. By creating cohorts by keeping kids together and not mixing between classroom. So I thought at least in his classroom able to move around and do what he needs to do so that they can keep his attention to to keep the focus on play based learning, which is my understanding, is that the curriculum at that age is based on so that doesn't seem to be happening. So I'm just worried that for for boys at that age, it's going to be difficult for them to keep lighting school. How does he feel about I? Mean it's only early days but how does he feel about being back in school? Well, you're right. It's it's only been two days and he's already telling us that he you know he hates wearing the mask all day it hurts his ear and so we're trying to find you know better fitting masks and stuff like that. But also he really doesn't like sitting at his at his seat all day he he's. He tells us that all he's doing is learning and not playing you. and. Saying you know you learn by playing but Anyway he he's he's not having a good experience. I hope it improves for them. Mike is good to speak you. Thanks for your call. Thank you one, eight, eight, eight, four, one, six, eight, three, three, three. How are you feeling about heading back to school special edition of the current as students? Some are already back in school as Mike Son is and some are heading back to school this week next week and in the weeks ahead maybe in class maybe online, maybe a mixture of the two denise in Timmins is on the line with US Denise Good Morning Good Morning. You have four kids heading back to school. Yes. I do I have to in the English sport and I have to in the French board. After a long break are you happy to get them back to school or how are you feeling? Well. Safety I'm happy with them at home. But We all have to get control routine of working to pay bills like buddy across the world. My husband works fourteen days and four. Haute. I've also picked up a job hopefully that I'm able to day shift to be home for the children when they get off. And able to make sure they get on the bus with to me. This is perfect. My dilemma is, is there buses are out for them? And I also questioning the issue if I mean, they're still flus nurse still cold, it may not be the corona, but as a child gets sick as a sickness or whatever it could be chicken pox that could be whatever. Children. Carrie. How does this affect our whole household? This all my children have to stay home. Does my husband have to stay someplace else when he does come home on his fourteen days. Myself, do I have to stay home 'cause I mean somebody has to care for these children. I have a babysitter in place, but it doesn't make up for the issue of what's the testing GonNa be when my child does go back. And I want to know what kind of testing they have. Saliva testing and they also have the one that they put in the know which I'm against because it will irritate the brain tissue. In the back and I don't want my children. Having, that layer busted and to your point I mean, I'm GonNa, ask our epidemiologist guests in just a moment but I mean, you know this with four kids kids. In the winter your sniffles and coughs and fever, and it's it's it's all just part of of you know being in school with a lot of other kids. What happens if kids have those symptoms and they're not cove symptoms but but they might be conflicted with Cova. So. How do I go about this? Like how do I? Let's say it's just cold like how what do I do this? Is there still a test for them to go back? Do I have to keep all my children home if one full sick Let's ask our epidemiologist, denise. Thanks for your call. Thank you, Ray. What do you? What advice would you have for denise or other parents who might be asking those same questions again, you know kids can be a bit like a you know a germ factory when they head off to school or daycare and they come back with a sniffle and everybody's got the sniffles in this situation different than in years past. This right. There are lots of unpacking that question. First of all, that's addressed the brain tickling aspect of the KOGA SWAP test. That's that's not true the Swab does not touch your brain stem at all as get through tissues and bone and all kinds of things before that's an issue. Thank you for addressing the. Second of Yes. Symptoms are critical here. So we know that this is an ACM to matic pandemic and that children are more likely to be a symptomatic, which is why the school openings can be so problematic however, if you have symptoms like a runny nose sneezing or coughing your more lucky to project droplets further, so you're more likely to be a transmitter of the disease. Right started say symptomatic people are not transmitters but. People are more likely to be transmitters. So he try to keep symptomatic people out of the school possible. So have to monitor their kids for the coughing sneezing, keep them home if they can. But if you've got a common cold, you've also got some coughing sneezing going on, which is not Govan necessarily. But if you're a covert carrier Ason dramatic and you have the common cold and you're sneezing, you can still project those droplets further complicated, get his which yeah which is why it's important to. Keep the symptomatic people whether it's an adult or a child out of the school system. So what does this me? It means unfortunately that this has to be a society level endeavor employers have to be on board with allowing their employees to take some days off if their kid is sent home and half to be taken care of. So yeah this is copycat very quickly and I hope governments are incentivizing employers to allow workers to take time off to care for the children to must remain home. The, we're hearing. The thing that people are concerned about is that at that feels a bit like a house of cards that you could have somebody who has a low grade sniffle or cough for weeks at a time are they not going to be able to go back to school? What happens to the parents who then need to be home? Are they going to be out of work? Do you understand the dilemma? This could force upon parents absolutely and I'm. Not sure what's going to happen. So right now, the rules across many boards as if you've got symptoms keep your kid at home, but you have symptoms for a long time. That's right. So we have to have a lot of testing the way out of this is a lot of testing and I'm hoping that we're going to deploy more testing capacity in schools when those rapid tests comes measure the saliva test that's going to help a lot. So I'm hoping healthcare. Can expedite that into our classrooms faster and try and squeeze one more call into this half hour. Lane is on the line from London. Ontario Elaine Good Morning Good morning, how are you feeling about the return to school? Well, my concern is on the other end. that. If a kid is left, told I probably will have grandchildren then it's always been my practice to get to the school, get their work to get them to get it done. I do not have a work computer. is going to be available. And you'd be called into service and you wonder because the kids are going to be needing to do that work online whether you'd be able to help out or how you'd be able to help that. I could do it very well I with an education assistant before so I don't think I have any problem. It's just that it's just the technology. Yeah. So there'd be great for and I fully believe that they should put the kids back to March. That, they they they like they everybody's kids back to, March. They've a heck of a lot of school. So you don't start with a new academic year you rewind and pick up where you left off and That would be a great need. That's an interesting idea. I haven't heard a lot about that but people are wondering how much was lost in those six months. That's interesting. Lane. Good luck. We'll try to get some answers out of your question. Thank you. Thank you very much. Andrea Picard health columnist, the globe how prepared do you think schools are to switch between online and in person learning if if somebody sent home is that going to be possible as the system flexible nimble enough for that yet. Well Flexible Nimble or not words we use in describing Canada's education system. So I think the to that would have to be a definite. No but that being said I think it varies tremendously and I think that's one of the frustrations of parents is that the rules are very different from one school board to the other the organization is very different. The rules are different at there's a real I thinking the whole show what we've heard the word frustration over and over again because of that parents really want some clarity on what are the rules what happens when somebody's infected How often do I have to study at home? It's just not clear at the schedules are. From Week to week, it doesn't make it easy. It's almost makes it impossible for a lot of people to work and yet school starts or has already started for many students We'll hear more about this as we continue to move across the country in the meantime that brings us to the end of the. Program Ontario Quebec and Eastern nunavut thank you to all of you who called in or sent tweets. We know that the phone lines have been jammed. So I appreciate your patience and trying to get through. Thanks. As well to ray what do an in epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa, you've been very generous for the last couple of hours appreciate your time Global Mail health columnist. Andre, Picard is staying with us. We hit the central time zone next. This is great. We're kind of moving across the country from time zone two times timezone speaking Canadians about the return to school. If you WANNA, stay with us and hear more of the national conversation around heading back to school, you can tune in with the CBC listen APP. Tomorrow on the program we'RE GONNA. Bring. You a documentary I was in Montreal last week as school began their hung out with some parents who are heading back to school with their kids walked to school with some was in the house from a safe distance as people were getting ready and you'll hear the concerns and the excitement that was in those households. That's tomorrow on the program. We'll also talk about supporting young people with mental health concerns as they returned to school in the pandemic my name's Matt Galloway. Thanks for listening to this special back to school edition of the current. No easy answers. For more CBC podcasts go to, CBC. DOT CA slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on why we need a philosophical change in elder care
"Around the world more than eighty women have accused peter nygaard of crimes ranging from rape to sex trafficking. If far exceeds jeffrey app he far exceeds bill cosby seeds. Anything that i think are worlds as seen. So far a pattern of predatory behavior spanning half a century nygaard denies it all but now he faces criminal charges. Just a poor man. He would have been jailed decades ago. He hid in plain sight. Evil by design available now on. Cbc listen or wherever you get your podcasts. This is a cbc podcast. Last spring the start of this pandemic a disturbing and shocking picture emerged elderly canadians living in long term care. Were dying in alarming numbers but it was more than the numbers that conditions in the homes were often abysmal as well when the military was sent in to facilities in quebec and ontario. They documented filth. Force-feeding cockroaches abuse and patients left in soil diapers for hours. Here's ontario premier. Doug ford in may of last year. I think it's appalling. I think it's disgusting. What has happened. Just the dignity dignity of these patients in long term. Care not being cleaned. It's so disturbing when i when i read this. It was hard to get through. It was the worst report. Most heart-wrenching report i've ever read in my entire life. Andre picard knows that suffering all too well as the global is health columnist. He is covered the crisis in long term care during this pandemic and long before and like millions across canada. He's also felt it personally. Andre cards. New book is neglected. No more the urgent need to improve the lives of candidates elders in the wake of a pandemic andrea. Good morning. good morning wanna talk about the book and just a moment but we are just coming up on a year of this pandemic. where do you think. We're at in the course of our journey if i can put it that way through covid nineteen. We're at a really important point where there's a lot of hope on the horizon but there's also these potential dark clouds you know there's the variance. There is the people slacking off once they get to see people getting vaccinated. So we're at this point where we really have a chance to finally get control of the pandemic but where we also have the risk of losing control again and seeing another wave which i think would be even more devastating. We know that each subsequent wave is worse for a whole bunch of reasons. There has been so much angst and hand wringing about the rollout when it comes to vaccines not coming fast. Enough are the systems in place to ensure that people can get the vaccines. It opens up alberto and the website crashes. People can't get through. What do you make of of how vaccines been rolled out now that they are starting to arrive. Who you know what's been painful. Let's be honest. it's been difficult. But the fact that their websites or crashing. It's kind of a good sign. It shows that people understand the importance of vaccination and they want it and those are good things but we have to have a little bit of patience. We have to recognize that the whole world wants these vaccines that canadians want to. And it's gonna come slowly. It's going we're going to have to take our turn. We're going to have to be patient and none of those things are easy after year. Be locked up. We've been talking on the program of but how to prioritize Who gets the vaccinations i. Who's at the top of that queue and obviously age is a huge concern but there are many other groups who were saying that you need to look at those who are on the frontlines if i can put it that way. Restaurant workers People working in grocery stores obviously those working in hospitals with patients but also teachers for example. How should that be worked out. How do we go about figuring out who should be at the front of the queue. It's never going to be done right. Let's be honest we can't please everyone. I think you have to do the simplest way. And i think that's going by age and the other solution of course is the more vaccines. We have the fewer of these discussions. We have to have. But i think practically we have to look at who has been harmed the most who's most at risk and that's almost strictly aged base as we start to stand back and look at what we have learned over the course of the last year. One of the real reckonings that we have had obviously is what unfolded in long term care. How surprised were you to find out what was going on. In long term care homes over the course of this pandemic. suddenly. I wasn't particularly surprised. I was appalled. I was shocked. I wasn't surprised you know they. We had created this perfect storm of conditions for the spread of the corona virus respiratory virus. The most shocking thing is how. We didn't raise the ramparts immediately back in january february because anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge about i infectious disease or nursing. Homes would know that these are sitting ducks. Some of the reckoning is already happening in ontario. there's a commission in that province looking at what unfolded in a long term care. Doctor david williams the chief medical officer of health says in many ways he was caught unawares by this sort of a story that gets played over and over again. You know we had these wonderful reports about sars in two thousand three you could literally take those reports and changed the dates and change the numbers and we could republish. We have learned virtually nothing. So why was he shocked. Well i guess. He didn't read his sars reports. I i i just can't explain and quebec. The coroner has postponed an inquiry into a long term care. Home where more than forty residents died of covid. Nineteen there's consideration. Perhaps of laying charges against the owners once that inquiry is back. what do you think will be revealed. their crime. I think we'll just have the same revelations that we always get. These homes were unprepared. They're understaffed the infrastructure is poor. The ownership was totally out of their depth. So all the things we know over and over again. Just get repeated inquiries. I i for one am sick of reading these reports because they all say the same thing they all have the same conclusions and we don't really act on them so at some point we have to stop studying and we have to start acting you say in the book that cova didn't break the long term care system it exposed a system that was already broken. What did cove reveal about the state of long-term care in this country. I think cova revealed decades and decades of neglect It revealed ageism. It revealed that we don't really take older people seriously. We do see them as disposable and then this virus just got in there and just showed how disposable they were. That's a really bracing statement to make that that. In some ways our society sees older people is disposable. I mean again in the in the bookie say. The real villain is society's profound and long standing neglect of our elders. What's going on there. Why and how could we possibly think. Well it boggles the mind. Sometimes when i was working on this was like how did we ever get to this you know. I think there's some historical reasons we have to understand. These homes have their origins in the penal system in the jail system. These were work hoses until the nineteen sixties. People had to work for their keep. I think some of it is just our society revolves around money around the economy. Once you stop working you become a burden you become a cost. And that's how we treat older people. We tend to forget that they've paid in for half a century of work and their long-term care should be essentially cashing in on your insurance. Now the other aspect is that long term care is not part of our health system. It's something just sort of sitting off on the side making us uncomfortable and ultimately you know we talked about neglect. Talk about ageism. I call it in the book. Elder a part-time once people get old and rickety. We put off in these homes out of sight out of mind. Go there to die. We don't wanna know anything about in the face of what was unfolding in the long term care homes in this pandemic you made a suggestion on this program and elsewhere That i think a lot of people. Perhaps that was controversial at the time. Saying that canadian families if they have a loved one in long term care that they should get that loved one out of the long term. Care home if they could at least during this pandemic. Do you still stand by that absolutely. I think the only regret. I have is not having said it. A few weeks earlier to be honest older rating was on the wall in january february. That what was coming and i could see that nothing was being done and that was the reality. The reality is you should've tried to get your loved one out if you could. Now the reality is most people. Couldn't that's why they're in the first place but i think it had to be stated in stark terms just to underscore just how bad things were at that point. What did you hear from family members in the wake of that comment it got a mixed reaction like many things right. A lot of people were very very angry. How dare you guilty. Nobody wants their loved one to there in the first place they feel guilty. I i've lived this but there is also this recognition that yeah you're right. I recognize how bad it is. But i don't know what to do powerless. I don't have the ability to care at home for my loved one. And that's a fundamental problem of the system is people end up there by default because we don't have adequate homecare. We don't have supportive housing. We don't have affordable housing all these policy reasons that people end up in the wrong place and family members live this and they feel the guilt of it every single day. I take from taylor to us. One small man and giant wheel. Do wish to say that. It's official that. I'm wrongfully imprisoned. Right now uncover season. Seven dead wrong actually killed tipple. Maybe be available on. Cbc listen and wherever you get your podcasts. I am speaking to you at a moment of grave crisis. I'm jeff turner and this is recall. It's a series of history not the ancient past but history. That still hot to the touch. In this first season i explore a revolutionary political movement that brought a modern democracy to the brink. You can find recall how to start a revolution on the cbc. Listen app or wherever you get your podcasts. You write about this but this is also personal for you. And i don't know how comfortable you are talking about your own situation. But you're father-in-law was in a nursing home. What happened last year yes. I'm an old school journalists. I don't tend to rate first person pieces. But the i did talk about my father-in-law on twitter Very healthy man. Eighty eight year old living in not in a long term care home but in a as a residence for seniors so very independent played tennis three times. A week played. Bridge went to church every day. Then the lockdown game lockdown in march and july. He died we kind of in the family. Say he died of a broken heart. he died of loneliness of being inactive. You know we forget that Collateral damage that happened to a lot of people that locking out of families was really really devastating. I'm sorry for what your family has gone through. What was it like for you to see to see that unfold. Well it was horrible. You know and i. My family didn't suffering more than others. Many suffered much much more We take some comfort in knowing that he he died quickly at his lunch and went and sat down and died of a heart attack. If you're gonna go maybe that's the way to go but many people could see their family members only by skype. Or you didn't do it at all. That's way worse the horrors that people endured during this. I don't think we'll ever fully understand. Hundreds of thousands of people went through this. We are learning more. And i mean again. It's it's to our detriment that perhaps we didn't know enough about them before a crisis like this truck but we're learning more about the individuals who are engaged in long term care and one of them that you introduced us to in. The book is josephine marquez. Personal support worker. Why did you want to talk about. Josephine's roll the personal support. Workers are so essential. They'd help people with all the activities of daily living and all the hands on stuff and they're taken for granted. They're underpaid they're overworked. This is really demanding. Work ninety percent of that work is done by women Almost three quarters are immigrants or refugees racialized population and josephine's an example of know long-term care. There's lots of turnover. A lot of workers come and go because it's horrible work but she's one of the lifers so about a third of the personal support. Workers are there for for decades so she has been doing this forever and i want to tell her story as an example of how the the profession has unraveled over time. So she gets paid less today than she did. Twenty five years ago because wages have come down her workload has doubled the patients. She cares for her very different and yet she still very very dedicated. So i i want to tell the story of the mistreatment of workers through the the eyes of one worker. Who still loves what she does but you know just frustrated by how she's treated. How does that happen. I mean again. It goes back to the idea of value in what we value in our society. How does it happen at the salaries of ps ws have declined. Yeah it's what we value. It's who we value this pandemic nursing. Homes has been this intersection of of racism of sexism. Ageism it's been this perfect storm of all those things and you know it's racialized women. Caring for older people will a triple ability to neglect. Ignore that that's what we see. Elder care is not cheap in this country often very expensive if you're looking at housing One in a long care facility. So how do we square that. That that that that it's expensive but that the people who were there on the front lines doing that incredibly important work aren't making enough to make ends meet so they have to move from home to home which then ends up as we know spreading covert around. Yeah the money. Part of the equation is really difficult for people to understand. You can pay two thousand up to fifteen thousand dollars a month. Most of that is for accommodation. And then the the care portion is provided largely by government. And they're cheap. that's the reality. You get one hundred and eighty dollars a day to care for a person in a home that's the allocation to a home and it's enough to pay couple of hours of hands on care and people need a lot more so i think we confuse that that cost has thinking that we're paying for more care but we're actually paying landlords for pretty crappy accommodation in many instances. Would this change if you were to eliminate the for profit care. This has been a lively debate with that. Change that equation. Do you think this is a complicated debate. We could spend an hour talking about this. I think the short answer is it's a simplistic solution to a complicated problem. I don't think we need for profit care. It doesn't make things better. But i also don't think we could eliminate it overnight. It's there for a reason. It's there because governments refused to invest in infrastructure. It's there because we don't care about the sector And it's really dominant so two thirds of homes almost in ontario or for profit. You can't get rid of them overnight but you can regulate better. You can improve the budgets you know a for profit care and not for profit home yet. The exact same allocation from government The focus should be more on getting rid of what are essentially some slum landlords there's a lot of landlords in this business who they don't really care about the care portion they care about money those are the ones we have to get rid of. So then how do you go. But as you say fixing the system at the beginning of the book say let's fix the damn system so given what you have seen and the fact that history keeps repeating itself again and again and again. What do we start to do to try to address the systemic issues. That are planning to me. Starting point has to be philosophical. You have to have a philosophy. That elders matter living in the community matters and after that once you have a political philosophy then everything else is pretty well just doing. It's putting into action Those policies on a practical level so don't make long-term care the default setting make living at home the default setting and then you address the practical reason so i think where you start as you start where the biggest problems exist and that staffing so we need standards of care so you ensure that people who are in homes and people get homecare. Get a minimum of four hours of care every day. You know we know that. The conditions of work are the conditions of care. If workers are not treated. Well there will never be able to deliver good care so start with the workers then on the home side fix the infrastructure. Stop building prison like facilities with two hundred three hundred beds and could people in home like settings. It's not much more expensive and it's much more humane and again. It goes back to that issue of value. Do you have to inject enormous amounts of money into the system to try to right the ship. I think the answer to that is twofold. One is yes. We have to spend more money after decades and decades of neglect especially on staffing to ensure that the hands on cares there but the other part of the equation is that we spend a lot of money now on mediocre care if we spend that money differently if we ensure that we get value. We can do a lot more with the money. We have now. So i don't think we need countless money. Pouring into fix this. We could do a lot with the budgets. We have now if we spend them differently. So this argument that oh we can't have home care. it's too expensive. We can't expand care you know we can't have subsidized housing. It's expensive. those things aren't true we spend so much now on things that people don't want and don't need We spend differently. That would be a big big star. One of things people don't want is to go into long-term care at all generally and people want age places. The phrase says people point to denmark as an example. What what's happening abroad. That would give some degree of inspiration about how we do this better. Yes so denmark. The gold standard that everyone points to and what do they do. They just had this philosophy in the nineteen eighty s. They saw the aging coming in. Know this is no surprise. That boomers were going to age We kinda sat on our hands. But they said oh. We're going to deal with this and we're gonna have a philosophy that people are going to stay at no matter. What until it's absolutely unable to do. So so that's what they do. So investments in home care building care homes that are very homelike etcetera. What they've proven is. It's it's doable. It's affordable and it's more humane. The money argument goes out the window. If you look at denmark there is cheaper overall than ours and the care is superb. How is it cheaper overall. Just look at the per. Capita spending candidate spends more on on healthcare that denmark denmark is a much wider array of services that it provides home care long term. Care earl part of their public system a continuity to it. You know in canada you get your free hospital. You get your free doctor. Once you need to be in a home you fall off a cliff suddenly have to pay your two thousand or five thousand dollars a month. There's no logic in what we fund and what we don't fund medicare knowing that there are one hundred fifty different reports that have laid out a lot of the steps that we need to take. Is your sense that the will is there to do this. I think the will is there. I think the question is. Can we make it a priority as a will to do lots of things and in canada. We have difficulty making choices. We have very short memories. So i guess my biggest fear is. We'll just forget what happened. In long term care are older people are already cast aside in these homes there forgettable and we'll forget them but i think ultimately we have to we have to give life to our values that's what a politics and social policy should be all about just two final things one is. I mean writing a book like this but in doing this work personally. How does how does something at this affect you. Well you know. I'm no spring chicken. So i know what's coming and i want the care to be better for me. I don't want to have the same mediocre care by parents at. I don't want my children to have to give up their lives and their careers to care for me because the systems inadequate so all of this should be very personal for all of us. All of us are going to benefit from this. None of us can afford to ignore this. Because we're all going there under a great pleasure to talk to you as always thank you very much. Thank you andre. Picard is the global health columnist and the author of neglected. No more the urgent need to improve the lives of elders in the wake of a pandemic. You're welcome to comment on what under said you can reach us through email. The current at cbc dot c. for more cbc podcasts. Go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.
COVID-19: Can social bubbles reduce spread? And Andr Picard on lifting long-term care lockdowns
"I'm Dr Hillary McBride. Let me take you. Microphones rarely go into my therapy office. It's where my clients hurt. He'll and ultimately thrive. You're going to hear private conversations that we rarely ever have with ourselves. Let alone share with others. Welcome to other people's problems. Maybe along the way you'll discover that other people's problems are a lot like your own. Season Three's out now. Subscribe on CBC. Listen or wherever. You get your podcasts. This is a CBC podcast. It's been even Scott. And feeling. Family if you have kids of certain age, that earworm may elicit both happiness were deep rage. That is new brunswicker Keren rourke Lazar, dressed up as ANA from the movie frozen singing about the double bubble. This is when two households are allowed to socialize so long as they are still physically distancing from the majority of others. New Brunswick has been doing this for weeks. Newfoundland and of a Scotia. Versions of it in Ontario, you can now have social gatherings as large as people with physical distancing in place and Scotch, when it's up to fifteen, everybody seems to be trying something different than this pandemic drags on a new study from university has tested these sorts of strategies against the stricter lockdown. Per. Block is with Oxford's liver Hume Center for demographics science per block good morning. Good Morning, tell me why you and your co authors wanted to do this study, and and why now in particular? whether it just came out not, but we started the study actually sometime in mid much when these lockdowns star Tate and we. What we thought about what? If if this is a reasonable thing to do in the long run to lock everybody at home and looking at at some point, when this happened to be lifted some point when the psychological and social consequences off isolating people at home become more important. What would be ways out of this? And now whether it's now two and a half months later but in fact we started thinking about this and the very early stages of the lockdown. Walk us through each of the because you test a number of different strategies for for loosening the lockdown, so walk us through each of these different strategies. So one thing that we thought authors strategies all comes from an understanding of how things though through networks how things how we can transmit things by the context that we have and we basically adept at stuff from other networks signs, so the first thing that we we looked at restricting contact to people that are very close to you in some respect and I think the easiest way is to look at geographical distance, so if you think you only have physical contact with those that live within one or two or three blocks of your home, Ben for the disease to travel very far takes a very long time, so we affectively that cuts long range shortcuts for disease transmission the other thing the. The second thing we looked at was. If we take the normal structure of context that people have, we can do something like Bubbas. It's not exactly, but but if I know that I only interact with those people who are part of larger communities for example Group of friends or my family, then easing, if one of us is infected, this disease would stay with in this rather small community of friends for much longer rather than well percolating through society, and thereby also flattening the curve, and the third thing is what is basically known as social bubbles? If we restrict our context to a very small number of people to relatively small number of people, we can effectively build small and micro communities. that. Put more or less boundaries between these different parts of society hoping that by that we can curb effectively disease. How did they work in terms of to your point curving disease spread in flagging that curve. So they work if you think that we all have a group of say, five or ten friends. If one of us, con- contracts the disease. Then we cut most infect the other nine, and it's very hard for me to then spread the disease further, so basically And also none of the ten of us. Has It as it would be very hard to contract us from the outside so basically we make little circles around a group of people, and it's hard for disease to get in or out of these. Were they doing any better than the more severe lockdowns that we saw early in this pandemic? So I think in terms of if we only look at this, but of course the best thing would be if everybody stays at home, and we have a very severe lockdown. However, this very severe lockdown has a lot of side effects in terms of economic and social and psychological consequences that might not be tenable in the long run, so this basically is trying to relax social distancing in a way and Apis, as much of society life, as possible was keeping the risk of lowest both party so I was GonNa say do. Was this going to be part of? This is also getting people to buy into this right. Yes, it's about. Getting people to buy into this, it's also about it must be consistent policy. It doesn't help if you do one thing and do another thing, the third person on a different strategy we basically have to agree at least on a local level one of these things we want to do so that the effect. This can be confusing for people in part because they hear different directives from government or health officials. How important is it for governments to communicate clearly about these sorts of things, so we actually understand what we're supposed to do, and then perhaps we'll comply with those directions. Extremely important that these are clear and these are consistent. It doesn't happen dot if you have a federal government that says one thing, and then you have a state government that says nothing and local governments that. Thing, because everybody does something else none of the strategies or Concepts regardless of how you call them will work in the long run because they need to be applied uniform the for them to to work properly. If we don't reevaluate how we are looking at lockdowns. What are the you talked about this? The psychological effects the mental health effects WH-. What are the long term effects on us as we continue to be isolated from the people who are normally closest to us? That's that's a tricky question. I think a lot of different disciplines have had something to say on this I can only say on the hind lever psychologically it's very hard especially for people that live alone to be isolated because we're used to social contact. I mean we are social species that relies on context, but also for people that live in specific living arrangements that live in unsafe households for them. This lockdown this to be staying inside of course, has a completely different or has an additional. Dimension of dangerous or culpas attached to it is your sense that. Governments have given mental health the same consideration. As, physical health. that's difficult to say I think in the early stages of the pandemic. It was certain the. Quick reactions were and the reactions were mainly that respond to the physical dangers on physical health, but I feel that at least in public discussions. The mental health aspect was picked up fairly quickly. Of course I can say anything about internal government debates how they evaluate these things against la another thirteen weeks into this. What are your suggestions around? How governments should approach the lockdown which which of these strategies based on on the research that you did? Should we be adopting? So I, think so based on the research that we did. I think above a concept seems to make sense. However all the things that we looked at we looked at simulations, and we try to base this on as realistic assumptions as possible. To really know in detail to be able to say, this strategy would have this and that effect. With. Relieve our negative consequences by this percents for that. We need to get more into the data and work more with biologists. Public Health experts epidemiologists to really be able to pinpoint how much benefit we get from. What's and so far we are basing it on a on simulations where we try to be realistic as possible, but we don't know much more so I would say these things seems to be working and seems to be taken up quite well. Have you heard from any governments that are interested in these findings and to your point WanNa take out of the the the simulation model and actually enacted in relief so that so that it could be study properly. No so we haven't been directing contact. We know that the paper has been part of the UK parliament beefing We don't know how much other governments are are are considering this or considering as making the basis of their policy, but I guess the political decisions are a bit slower than. Journalism which is again, but still faster than what's usually happening in science. You're studying this. You're also living at. Are you? Finding the lockdown driving you round the bend these days. fortunately I'm in Switzerland and here. The lockdown slowly being listed, but I was very happy when I could leave my home again, so yeah, this is some research. That's actually affected me personally quite a bit pair block. It's good to speak with you. Thank you. Thank you very much tab- lock as a research lecture at the University of. Is Research appears in nature human behavior. I'm Keith. MacArthur unlocking bryson's brain is a podcast about my son. The rare disease that keeps him from walking or talking Hebron's perfect, and his life is really hard, and our families search for a cure. Oh my Gosh! Maybe science is ready for this. It's part memoir part medical mystery. We do just about anything modifying DNA. Heart in my throat. is controversial unlocking Bryson's brain? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. The Globe and Mail is health columnist Andre. Card has been listening in Andre Good Morning. Good Morning let's talk about this idea of of bubbles and what? The effect of the isolation that we're in right now is when you listen to this research. Do you make of of what he's saying that. We need to consider the mental health effects of this, in addition to the physical health concerns around keeping people away from from the virus. Well I. Think There's no question. It's important. We've talked about this for for weeks now that he's not just about a virus, but it's all about the the consequences that come with the price of isolation. The economic impact exist says all these other things we have to consider so this bubble idea makes sense you know. We've said all along that what you WanNa do is train to limit your number of context so for a while. We're locking down. We didn't leave the house, but then it. It was go some places. And now we're talking about well. Bring in another family or to families and try and stay within them, so I think this is a logical next step of how to handle this pending. Would it work for everyone though I mean presumably there are people you know. If you bubble with with one family, you really have to be conscious of where that that other family is going, and so that everybody is actually able to isolate. Is it actually practical in larger communities? I think it's. It's imperfect, but I think it can be practical. I think you just have to be aware. You have to understand that every person you are in contact with your in contact with everyone. They've been in contact with so keep that in mind. Everyone limits there the size of their bubble. Then then this can work, but it's. It's never going to be perfect and again when you've from day. One that the the the point is not to not have any spread of disease. It's going to happen. The tried to limit it and. Keep it, you know spreading slowly rather than have these explosions cases. Part of this is also about by and I mean. anecdotally you'll see this in my neighborhood. You will see people who are having a backyard barbecue and they're you know different groups there. They're all spaced out socially distance, but people will be around. You have to loosen. Do you have to loosen the rules a little bit so that people will continue to follow along with the guidelines more broadly. have to adjust to social socially possible so the you can have the strictest rules in the world, but if people don't follow the we, we can police ourselves out of this. We'd never you know I think that's been in thinkable from the beginning. We have to have that in. An people have different risk perceptions, and that's based on all kinds of things it's based on. Do they know people were sick? What do they politicians at their press conferences each day, so I think we are seeing a real notable change. When I was last night at a park, there were much bigger groups you know people have decided. Yeah, we can give ourselves. More slack and we. We have to adjust to that premier of Ontario yesterday. announced parts of phase two in that province. Some areas able to go. You can get a haircut in Ottawa. You can go and sit on a patio. Those things are not possibly. Why is it that Toronto? And the Greater Toronto area seems to be still a center for this virus spread. Well I think it's got a foothold there and the cases were really high, and they're still having trouble controlling it. A lot of it has to do with bureaucratic disorganization. We're. I was listening to the the Toronto public. Health officer La Elaine Davila yesterday saying A great euphemism see. She said their contract tracing was done in non digital bulk format, which the short version of that is done by facts, so we're still leaving in the nineteen fifties. We're trying to do this tech contact racing, and is taking as instead of ours I think that's a big part of the problem. You told they get their act together on contact. Tracing Toronto's GonNa suffer so long piece on the new site today talking about who the Premier Vantera. He says he relies on experts to determine his covert nineteen plan, but government won't identify them. Epidemiologists are saying that's the decision. Making suggests that it's not being driven by expertise are concerned. Are you about that? I think it was a very good. They're good. Piece brings up some really important points about who who is giving the advice and the advice seems to becoming largely from committee. That's very bureaucratic, heavy very lackey and scientists that I think that's that's concerning, and that's why we're getting all this mixed messaging and we're getting some odd. There are all kinds of. Of Odd decisions in Ontario. We're to open shopping malls if they have food stores, but they're still gonNA keep playgrounds close to things like that. Don't make sense and I. Don't think they have any scientific basis. You have to wonder a lot of it seems to be but covering and you know being cautious. It's sort of driven by bureaucratic thinking rather than scientific. Deer, point I'll use your phrase if it doesn't make sense if there's an incoherent message, what is the effect on people if they're trying to figure out how we are going to get out of this? Well I think it's incoherent. People just ignore all the roles. There's a lot of good roles there, but if you do some that are clearly make no sense than people say they doubt the whole package and I think you know there's a couple of some striking examples of that one of them. These this locking out of people of long term care homes of Caregivers I. I I have been on about this for weeks. I think this is really a travesty of of you. Ge- proportions, these people who have cared for their loved ones for months mini for years. They're really essential, and they'd been locked out going on three months now, and this is just it's become cruel. You compare it to solitary confinement and say that it's it's tantamount to torture. Well, it is I you know. I had a father with dementia in home like this for many years, and I can't imagine what would have happened to him if he hadn't seen anyone for for months, he was confused in office. It was, but just being walked away. It's it makes people so much worse. Their, illnesses degenerates so more quickly, and you'll even healthcare workers. They desperately want defend the caregivers they are. They know that they're essential to their everyday work, so it's it's a policy. That's just. Unthinkable and I was to see on -Tario health minister. Christine Elliott yesterday say she's going to bring in the new policy in the coming days, but it should've been done week six. The other part of this and you have a piece in the paper today, but this is who's working in these homeless, particularly in Quebec there are a large number of Haitian asylum-seekers employed as orderlies. What's happening there? Well. It's very interesting in a group. That's gotten a lot of attention. They've been nicknamed the Guardian Angels and connect so asylum-seekers You know. They took this work some of them years ago. I worked at no one wants. They've been doing it. They rust. They went to the front lines at the outset of the crisis when Quebec was short thousands of workers and now people are saying listen. This kind of Selflessness has to be rewarded so. We realize now that they many of them could be deported they because they are asylum seekers. They have to go through a process and it could be deported, so there's this movement in Quebec that started saying listen. Let's fast track them to permanent residency. Let's reward them for further sacrifice by doing that. Political support for that I mean again you mentioned the asylum-seekers part, and that became a political hot potato in elections is their political support to fast-track that given the situation. We're in now. Where it's interesting the Premier Francois go during when he was in opposition with really I used asylum-seeking group. You remember two years ago. There was a large influx of thirty seven thousand asylum-seekers because of a loophole in the law, and he used them as you know. Oh, I'm not going to allow this in pre years. He's very outspoken about this, but now that he's realized they've come literally to the rescue of his government. He softened quite a bit, but he's still. He's still hasn't said yes. They should be granted this permanent residency. He's proposed. All kinds of sort of bureaucratic work arounds to to allow them to stay, but people are saying listen be. Straightforward, be honest about this and reward people for doing exceptional work and speaks as we've spoken about before. is working in these long term care homes I mean. This is really been one of the the the the learnings. I can put it that way over the course pandemic. I think one of the great things that we've learned in this is who does the heavy lifting in society does really essential worker. Personal support workers, the janitors out of people and they know cleaning up our parks. They're all racial is often immigrant population sometime asylum-seekers very low paid work, but but difficult work and I think hopefully we've come to appreciate the more, and we'll reward them in different ways, not with the not just a small group with citizenship, but with better wages with benefits. ETC, Andre Thank you always. Think you. Andre Picard is the Globe and Mail's health columnist, and he is a weekly part of our ongoing covid nineteen coverage here at the current for more CBC podcasts Goto. CBC DOT CA slash podcasts.
Andr Picard on vaccine procurement, Ontario reopening schools and Alberta's new quarantine rules
"In nineteen ninety five. A college student disappeared on a trip across the usa avid. Portia missing right away. But they wouldn't take it so. His mother started investigating the case file. I started going through and saw. It wasn't interviewed. I joined this mother search for justice or you recording us. I am yeah someone knows something season six available now. This is a cbc podcast while this has not been easy on ontario parents students in on our education staff. I want to be clear. That is what has what will drive our decisions every step of the way. Ontario is ready to reopen schools. Because it is safe as kids return to school. Schools will be even safer as we've introduced new and tougher measures to our plan to protect kids from covid nineteen. It has been another busy week on the covert health beat from the debate over opening schools in ontario to getting vaccines to canadians to new data on sputnik five russia's entry into covid inoculation. Andre picard is the global mail health columnists audrey. Good morning good morning. Let's start in ontario. We just heard that. Little bit there from stephen lecce the minister of education in twelve days. Not that parents are counting down students in that province who want to go back to in person school. We'll be able to. What do you make the decision. And what do you make of the decision now. Well parents are obviously very frustrated about this. They want kids get back to school in other provinces. Kids are in school. But there's a real again. Ontario has always struggled with communication. There's a lack of clarity on. What are the thresholds where the metrics for schools being safe. We keep hearing them say. Oh it's safe. It's going to be better. But how are you measuring that. And there's really not any data that we're collecting and there's not information being shared so he can understand the the frustration and the confusion of parents parents and teachers have been calling for and this is across the country calling for things like better ventilation schools more asymmetric testing so that we actually know whether the virus is spreading or not within those schools. Have those things been put into place in very small measure you know. It's very difficult to fix ventilation in fifty year old schools across the province overnight so little things are being done but again. There's not a lot of clarity on what's being done. Where so a lot of guesswork. And when you are when you don't have information that's when people get anxious and there's a lot of anxiety over this. Did we know whether deer point. I mean the ontario is the last province to bring kids back into the classroom at the scale. Do we know whether it's safe. Have kids back in school. If you take a look at what's happening across the country while safe is a big word right so we know that there is some covert spread in school. We know the kids. Don't get that sick. So i think what we have to say to people is work. That school is important. We're gonna make priority. We're going to try and make a schools safest possible and then we're going to have metrics if there's x number of cases or percentage we're gonna close them down. It's not about eliminating risks. That's not possible. But we're going to mitigate it and we're going to say this is a priority in society. That's the best we can do. We can't say it's perfectly safe but we have to remember what our kids doing if they're not in school. They're not necessarily safer. There's a lot of evidence that in that controlled environment. They do much better with a comes to to hold a lot of concern obviously around us when it comes to the new variants of covert in alberta health officials. This week announced that some people will have to quarantine for upwards of twenty four days again. This is around. The spread of these variants does the science justify that approach. That seems like a long time to be in quarantine yet. Don't think there's a lot of science there. I think again. News a mixture of politics and science. What they're trying to do is to encourage people to stay in the quarantine hotels or trying to isolate people who are infected with variants a small number that we know of so far so try a eliminate community spread. So if you're saying if you go home and you stay with your family then they're going to have to stay home an extra fourteen days on top of the ten. So i think it's just a dissuasive measure more than science. There's not really an any evidence that the variance are more infectious for a longer period They just an we know what they're more infectious but not for a longer period of time. We're eleven months into this pandemic and we've had conversations of the last couple of days with doctors and the nurses about being in some ways beyond the breaking point. What do you think we need to be thinking about in the wake of those stories that we heard those heartbreaking stories. You've been a Publishing broadcasting last couple of days already tells us how bad things are. You know people on the frontlines. We have to give them some hope. So we have to embrace the vaccines. Make sure that people get vaccines as quickly as possible. We have to have these lockdown measures. This is all about keeping hospitals operational. We can't magically fix what's going on For the over work of nurses doctors and personal support workers but we can try and keep the numbers down about mitigation. That's the best thing we can do for them at this point for a lot of people hope is that vaccine. There has been mounting criticism. I've spoken about this before. But it seems like things are coming to boiling point over ottawa's procurement efforts Front page of the global mail escaping editorial about this. The frustration seems to be mounting. Think that that frustration is fair Some of it is terribly. No one can argue that. Ottawa's done a great job with vaccine procurement. I think we have to within that. We have to figure out what is under the control. And what is it. I think the the past was under their control. There are mistakes made. We didn't have domestic production. Maybe we waited a little long signed contracts at those. Things are not fixable. Now they're in the past in the present. There's a lot of anger about x. Number of vaccines coming this week. Next week i think to be fair. That's out of ottawa's control. I think this is really a a big shell. Game from the the pharma companies are promising all kinds of things two different countries. And then cutting back. I don't think ought to control the short-term so we have to focus on that medium-term and i think we're the prime minister is right. He keeps saying we're going to get six million doses by the end of march. That's what we have to focus on. We can't focus on tomorrow or next week because we just don't know the the. The stock is not predictable. But in the in the medium term it is and the longer term september. You know we're going to get the majority of canadians vaccinated by september those goals and i think the recriminations for not being ready those can come later but right now you have to focus on whatever vaccine we get. Get it into people's arms. Get ready for when big supplies come in and then try and make up for lost time. Some of those doses are coming through kovacs the global vaccine sharing initiative. It's told candidate that this nation would receive between one point nine three point two million doses of astra zeneca before the end of june canada's. The only g. seven country getting vaccines from kovacs. This meant largely to help low and middle income countries. We spoken with the ceo of gavi. Dr seth berkley a couple of times about the importance of getting those vaccines to countries. That perhaps couldn't afford to buy them. What do you make of the fact that candidates going to get vaccines through colfax. Well i personally think. That's unconscionable. I don't think we should be a stealing from the poor to alleviate some of our political pressures at home kovacs technically. Yes we can request those vaccines etc etc. But it's designed as you said to give vaccines to developing countries. Candidate should be doing that. Getting million vaccines or two million from kovacs is not going to resolve our problems. It's just going to cause harm elsewhere in the world. So i think you know. There's an axiom in public health. It's used often that nobody is safe until everyone is safe. So we have to have more of a global view on this. We can't just be selfish and worry about our politics. Let's get all these vaccines for canadians. And do it at the expense of africans. There's only been about two hundred and thirty thousand doses administered in all of africa. It's fifty-six countries canada's done more than a million. We're not doing great. But it's all relative. So i don't think this reverse robin hood act. Looks good on data coming out of the university of oxford this morning suggesting that more people have now been vaccinated against covid nineteen that have actually been infected by the virus. That's good news and it feels like we're on the right path in that way. Yeah it's a nice little milestone but you know we have to get much bigger numbers It's not a direct comparison but it is it gives us some hope last thing i wanna ask you about. Is this week. I don't know whether you're a football fan or not. But the super bowl is happening on. Sunday at people often gather in bars and restaurants people's homes to watch this Sporting event and eat food. And maybe wager on the games or something do or the super bowl could be a super spreader events in the midst of a pandemic british columbia for example around who's going to show up perhaps in the restaurants that are open there. Yeah again. I think reminders made did like. We did it christmas like we did. At easter we have to hold back not gathering groups even if we love football maybe this year to watch it alone. I know i am a football fan. My friends and i are going to be on zoom watching our own. Tv's and doing it that way. You have to find alternatives that the pandemic has forced us to to change the way we behave and i think we can sacrifice a a super bowl sunday For one year pulling for in the in the super bowl well. I have to pull for kansas city if only because of Laura juvenile tardy and his an amazing story here in canada. Exactly andre great to talk to you as always thank you. Thank you for the global health columnist and football fan who knew for more. Cbc podcasts go to cbc dot ca slash podcasts.