COVID-19: A Toronto doctor’s perspective

The following letter about COVID-19 that was written by a Toronto doctor who is head of ICU at Michael Garron Hospital:

Dear All,

I am writing this message to you as a Critical Care Physician with grave concerns about the impact COVID-19 could have on you and everyone you know. I have challenged all of my physician colleagues (many of whom are copied on this message) to send a similar message to their network.

We have lessons to learn from the experience of Italy. Hospitals in the wealthy, industrialized area around Milan cannot offer life support to patients over 65 as they don’t have enough ventilators. Without radical changes to our community behaviour, we may be in the same situation. COVID-19 is an impending North American healthcare CRISIS, which has the very real potential to strain our healthcare systems well beyond capacity.

Some people continue to downplay the risk of the current situation. Regardless of what you are reading or politicians are saying, I simply want you to know that the COVID-19 situation is dire and may soon be completely out of control.

Healthcare resources are finite, and thus we will not be able to provide care for all who become ill. In addition to COVID-19-related deaths, there will be collateral damage among patients who need care for other, treatable ailments, and will be unable to receive it.

Governments are taking a reactive approach and failing to mandate the necessary, proactive steps to slow the progress of the virus. Fortunately, you can do something to help.

The only hope to slow the virus is based on community behaviour – that’s you, your neighbour, your family…everyone. Begin social distancing NOW – do not wait for a politician to tell you it is necessary.

This only works if started early and taken very seriously. This means avoid ALL close contact with people unless necessary.

o Never shake hands and wash your hands frequently

o Cancel/avoid all travel

o Close schools, universities, day-cares and businesses that aggregate people in close proximity

o Avoid contact with those 65+, especially those who are frail and those with chronic diseases

o Don’t attend any large gatherings, sporting events (local and professional), religious services

o Work from home whenever possible

Only by everyone’s working collectively can we hope to change the trajectory of this pandemic. The current risk to the individual remains low, but the risk to society is immeasurable. I implore you to follow these recommendations to slow the spread of the virus.

Forward this email to everyone you know, then email your Mayor/MP/MPP/Congress person to say you support decisive action NOW.

Amplify this #COVID19 message on twitter and retweet my challenge to physicians to spread this message @drmwarner

Sincerely, Michael Warner, MD, FRCPC, MBA Critical Care Physician

36 thoughts on “COVID-19: A Toronto doctor’s perspective

  1. Thank you for sharing this Colin! The more we say these words the more likely people will change their behaviour. But it took 30 years for MADD, with PR campaigns, to deter drinking and driving in our collective behaviour for the betterment of everyone. We don’t have that kind of time now.

    In anticipation of a lockdown, I have stocked up with dog and cat food even cat litter for a month because hopefully grocery stores will remain open but pet supply stores may not. And although my dog would eat table food if that’s all I had in emergency, my cat won’t eat anything but the brand of can and freeze dried raw food that I buy for her. She would likely starve herself.

    My dog loves her raw food but as you know dogs gladly will eat most anything we give them.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, that is not limited to India. Our medical system is already at capacity without the potential demands on it from a new virus. Also, there are unscrupulous individuals who are exploiting the situation for personal gain. Those with money can possibly buy their way through this crisis … but others? Human nature can be very disappointing at times like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Young persons attending rock concerts during this past week, when the venue area has 12 confirmed cases. Millennials seem to think they are bullet proof.

    Everyone wanted to watch the Prepper shows (or a good many) but they lack the will and determination it takes to sit still for more than half a day, and not get out and mingle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I managed, with some searching, to find a few images and news stories about the ICU situation in Italian hospitals. That helped drive the crisis home to me. But I’m not seeing those stories in our news channels. I think the media could serve us better by getting those stories, and images into the forefront.
    I’d like to also see some common sense. If you take a hike in the woods, where no one else is around, it’s recreational, good exercise, and has a very low chance of spreading any viruses. So the draconian Italian approach of confining everyone to their homes, except for essential travel, seems a little overboard to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been getting news from Italy, and now Spain … but whether the measures taken are draconian is a matter of conjecture. We receive so many contradictory, or questionable, pieces of information that it would appear we really don’t know too much about this virus. If we take stringent measures to prevent people movement, and it works (which is the news coming out of Italy) … then all is well. If however we take a more relaxed approach, and it backfires on us … history will not be very forgiving! It’s a tough call. I am glad that I am not responsible for making those decisions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this doctor’s message. As a regular visitor of hospitals, people have lost sight of the fact that there are sick patients beyond the corona-virus pandemic. We have had reports that people are sneaking into the hospital from many of the auxiliary entrances to take toilet paper from public restrooms and hand sanitizers outside patient rooms. The world seems to have gone mad when we need fact based scientific info more than ever. Stay safe and upbeat in this madness.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanks for sharing. Its simple rules to follow that could really help limit how bsd things get, if people will listen!
    Society is so used to going out to eat, going to events, etc. that we act like it will kill us to stay home for a period of time!

    Liked by 2 people

Any thoughts you would like to share?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.