In the News

Unity Health Toronto in the news:

October 15

Should transplant recipients require COVID vaccines? One Toronto hospital network says yes
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Ramesh Prasad
Should patients waiting for an organ transplant be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to be considered for the life-saving procedure?

October 13

Baby bust: How the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped family planning
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Samara Perez and her husband Joe Brier were planning for a second child when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in March, 2020.

‘A gap to close’: Pregnant Ontarians still lag behind in COVID-19 vaccination rates, despite higher risk from virus
CTV Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
When Holland Landing resident Cyndi Brown found out in April that she was pregnant, she was at first hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

October 12

COVID crush forced hospitals to ration lab resources
Winnipeg Free Press
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Manitoba hospital labs rejected more than 5,300 diagnostic-testing requests last fall, as part of an unprecedented rationing of laboratory resources while the maxed-out health system buckled under COVID-19.

October 10

Researcher says Halifax modular units require social supports for residents
Global News
Comments by Dr. Jesse Jenkinson
In response to forcible police-led evictions of people sleeping in city parks nearly two months ago that erupted in public pushback, Halifax Regional Municipality voted in favour of emergency funding that will see modular units erected in Halifax and Dartmouth. But the province has yet to commit funds for the support services needed for residents.

October 8

‘Long COVID’ is painful, expensive – and so far, impossible to cure
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Anna Banerji
COVID-19 vaccinations greatly reduce the risk of lasting respiratory and mental-health problems, but for many patients who got sick early in the pandemic, it’s too late. A difficult journey lies ahead for them

October 7

Trick-or-treaters should head out cautiously this year, experts say
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Anna Banerji
With Halloween right around the corner, experts say trick-or-treating this year may be safe depending on where you live, but ghouls and goblins going door-to-door should do so cautiously.

New clinic focuses on Multiple sclerosis
CTV News Toronto
St. Michael’s MS Clinic is featured; comments by Dr. Jiwon Oh
Two families touched by Multiple sclerosis contribute $20 million towards a new comprehensive clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital.

October 5

Coping with blood cancer treatment during COVID-19
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Lisa Hicks
Kamal Palmer had a great birthday this year. The Toronto-based music producer and performer known as Chillaa recently turned 28, celebrating with family and friends. A highlight of the festivities was his chariot for the weekend – a Ferrari that a friend lent to him.

Ontario to roll out rapid testing for unvaccinated students in COVID-19 hot spots
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla and Dr. Anna Banerji
Kids will miss fewer classes during an outbreak and shutdowns could be avoided with a new program that will deploy rapid COVID-19 testing in hot-spot schools and target unvaccinated students, says the province’s top doctor.

October 4

New data shows that homelessness is a women’s rights issue
The Conversation
Op-Ed co-written by Dr. Jesse Jenkinson
Visible homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the housing crisis across Canada. For women, girls and gender-diverse people, homelessness is often hidden, meaning that they are more likely to avoid shelters, couch surf or remain in abusive relationships than end up on the streets. Because of this, we know less about their experiences.

October 1

This is why I got vaccinated during my pregnancy
Today’s Parent
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
The day I got my first COVID vaccine, I wept with relief. It was the weekend of Mother’s Day, and I couldn’t think of a better gift to give to myself and to my toddler son, who goes to daycare all week.

September 29

Living in encampments is more than just a pandemic issue, researchers find
Healthy Debate
OpEd co-written by Zoë Dodd, Dr. Samantha Young, Kimia Khoee and Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi
While people have been living in encampments for decades, they have never been as visible as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccine for kids under 12 by Halloween? Research shows it could happen. Now, Canada needs to plan for an equitable rollout
Toronto Star
OpEd co-written by Dr. Tara Kiran
We all want the pandemic to be over. Last week, that dream came closer to reality.

Ontario tells agencies COVID-19 rapid tests are only for workplaces, not schools, angering parents
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
The Ontario government has told agencies tasked with distributing rapid antigen tests to stop supplying the tests to families, frustrating parents who volunteered their time to organize testing in their school communities as a screening tool to keep children safe.

Unvaccinated 60 times more likely to end up in ICU with COVID-19, Ontario data shows
Global News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
A new report on COVID-19 in Ontario has found that vaccines are “highly effective” against catching the infection and especially so against being hospitalized due to the disease.

This Ontario age group has a COVID-19 vaccination rate of less than half. Why that’s a problem for all of us
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Less than half of all eligible children in Ontario who turn 12 this year have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, leaving large populations of kids in Grade 7 classrooms still vulnerable to the virus.

New book shares stories of resilience and loss from suicide
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Sakina Rizvi and Amanda Ceniti
A plane ride around the world to collect the belongings of a brother who died by suicide. A phone call that makes the difference between trying to die and deciding to live. The recurring anger an anniversary of a loved one’s death drudges up each year.

September 28

New Ontario COVID-19 modelling shows ‘fragile’ progress against virus
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Arthur Slutsky
Ontario’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and occupancy in intensive-care units are not significantly increasing, but the province remains in a “fragile” situation as the cold weather approaches, according to new modelling.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations ‘not increasing,’ says Ontario’s science table in new projections
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
The province’s science advisory table is laying out a cautiously optimistic snapshot of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario — but says public health measures can only be eased if vaccination numbers go up.

September 27

In a ‘mind boggling’ scramble to get rapid tests in schools, parents and advocates are asking: who will be left behind?
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
In a bid to get rapid tests into York Region schools, Muna Kadri hit a lot of dead ends. Wherever she looked, there seemed to be few options for asymptomatic students, other than to pay $40 a pop at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Toronto Public Health starts planning for COVID-19 vaccination of kids aged 5 to 11
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Toronto health officials are strategizing how to vaccinate as many as 200,000 elementary schoolchildren — as soon as Health Canada approves a COVID-19 vaccine for them.

September 24

Regeneron’s antibody COVID-19 treatment is popular in the U.S. — why not in Canada?
Global News
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
The Regeneron antibody cocktail, a combination of drugs used to treat COVID-19, is flying off the shelves in the United States.

September 23

Medical experts urge caution over use of acetaminophen-based painkillers during pregnancy
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
People who are pregnant should be cautious about taking acetaminophen as it may alter fetal development, according to a coalition of international public health experts.

September 22

The solution to homeless encampments is making them unnecessary, not illegal
The Conversation
Op-Ed written by Dr. Stephen Hwang and Dr. Jesse Jenkinson
The number of people visibly living in encampments has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to cities — including Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver — to work with encampment residents to move them into shelters, hotel spaces and more rarely, stable housing.

September 21

Israel’s booster shot campaign
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha (segment starts at 31:30) 
The FDA is saying “no” to the widespread administration of third COVID-19 booster shots to the American public and is instead limiting them to Seniors who are 65 years of age and older and individuals belonging to high risk populations. Meanwhile, we explore how the Israelis are doing with their ongoing booster shot campaign in the fight against COVID-19, which has a further reach since it targets citizens who are 12 years of age and older.

September 20

When will younger kids be eligible for COVID vaccines in Canada?
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Health units and school boards across the Greater Toronto Area have no public plans about what the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to children five and up could look like, despite news from Pfizer on Monday suggesting the approval of its jab for this age group may be coming soon.

September 16

Canadians isolating due to COVID-19 will be unable to vote on election day
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
You’ve read the party platforms, received your voter ID card, and made a plan to vote on election day. But then you, or a close contact, test positive for COVID-19. What happens now?

St. Michael’s conducts pandemic pregnancy survey
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto has revealed the results of a survey asking women pregnant during the pandemic about their experience.

Thousands of Ontarians with Long COVID symptoms
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
It’s known as “Long COVID.” It’s when patients infected with the virus deal with symptoms for weeks or even months. Thousands of Ontarians are reportedly dealing with the issue.

September 15

How do you fight vaccine hesitancy? With information
The Walrus
Comments by Dr. Anju Anad
Despite a slow vaccine rollout, the Canadian uptake rate is among the top in the world—almost two-thirds of eligible Canadians now have both their shots, and in July we surpassed the administered doses per capita of our American neighbours. That’s not to say we don’t have our share of stragglers, however.

September 14

‘This is going to have widespread effects:’ More than 57K Ontarians experience a post-COVID-19 condition
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
A newly released report by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has found that at least 57,000 to 78,000 people in the province had, or are currently experiencing, one of 200 post-COVID-19 conditions following their initial diagnosis.

Tens of thousands experiencing ‘long COVID-19’ symptoms in Ontario: science group
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
A science advisory group says tens of thousands of people in Ontario are experiencing post-COVID-19 symptoms.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents reported mental distress during COVID-19 pregnancies: survey
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Data from a 2020 survey suggests nearly 70 per cent of people who were pregnant during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic reported moderate to high levels of mental distress, with one in five experiencing symptoms of depression.

Mental health supports needed for pregnant individuals during COVID-19 pandemic, study finds
Global News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Rebecca Bourdon is just weeks away from giving birth to her second child amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Second time during the pandemic and I’m 35 weeks currently, it’s been going pretty smoothly,” she said, noting it’s a different experience from her first pregnancy during the first wave of the pandemic.

New study shows just how hard the pandemic has been for pregnant women
HuffPost
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
COVID has put significant stress on pregnant women, according to a study published Tuesday. It shows nearly 70 per cent of women have grappled with at least moderate levels of distress during the pandemic, and 20 per cent have experienced symptoms of depression.

As many as 78,000 Ontarians with long COVID
CBC Radio – Ontario Today
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Fahad Razak says his team’s latest research shows 10 percent of Ontarians infected with COVID end up with long term symptoms, and they need more resources. Sufferers complain the medical community has offered little help.

September 10

More students expected to face mental health challenges amid return to school in Ontario
Global News
Comments by Dr. Justine Cohen-Silver
School-based clinicians across Ontario are bracing for an uptick in mental health referrals from students.

‘Please don’t blame your child’: For some parents of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the pandemic has been challenging
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas and Dr. Elizabeth Young
Imagine sitting down to work as construction outside hammers your ear drums; the light creating a glare that assaults your eyes. You get up to close the curtains. You move work stations and close the door. Now imagine that this assault on your senses is not something you can escape and you cannot express in words the pain you feel.

September 8

Schools brace for surge in demand for mental health services as in-person classes resume
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Sloane Freeman
At Unity Health’s school-based mental health clinics in Toronto, therapists and pediatricians are bracing for what’s anticipated to be “a storm of referrals” in the fall as kids return to the classroom — some for the first time in over a year.

September 7

Young adult cannabis consumers nearly twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack, research shows
CNN
Comments by Dr. David Mazer and Dr. Karim Ladha
Whether you smoke it, vape it or eat it as an edible, cannabis may be significantly increasing your risk of a heart attack.

Cannabis use doubled heart attack risk in young adults, study shows
Global News
Comments by Dr. David Mazer and Dr. Karim Ladha
As Canadians smoked more weed out of boredom and stress during COVID-19 lockdowns, a new study shows that young cannabis users were twice more likely to suffer a heart attack.

September 6

Patients frustrated, concerned as some Ontario doctors slow to return to in-person appointments
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Michelle Sadowski says she’s fed up talking to her one-year-old son’s pediatrician over the phone about his persistent cough and cold symptoms.

September 5

Can Ontario’s new vaccine certificate plan sway the last unvaccinated people?
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
At a mobile vaccine clinic at their Thorncliffe Park apartment tower Wednesday, a young couple told community workers they’d been worried about long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

September 3

What’s the best mask for kids heading back to school? Go for the one your child will wear, experts say
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Zoe von Aesch and Dr. Anna Banerji
As Ontario students head back to the classroom for the first time since April, parents are once again digging out lunch boxes and affixing name stickers to indoor shoes and water bottles. But this year, with rising case numbers and the threat of the potent Delta variant, many parents are also anxiously wading through the overwhelming choice of mask options on the market, as they try to find the safest one to best protect their non-vaccine-eligible kids.

September 2

Reining in drug prices, before Pharmacare slips away
National Newswatch
OpEd by Dr. Danyaal Raza
To the dismay of many, this election thus far has had little mention of pharmacare. The NDP has re-iterated their support for a universal, public program to start as early as next year, while the Conservatives have no platform mention of it at all, and the incumbent Liberal’s absence of timelines in this week’s platform and recently rekindled relationships with the pharmaceutical industry are raising alarms that the long-awaited program may be slipping away.

How India’s bad death-records got in the way of its pandemic response
The Wire
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Most people who die in Gadchiroli die at home. The remote, heavily forested district in central India is among the country’s least developed areas, and reaching the nearest clinic can take several hours on foot. After a death, relatives often bury or cremate their loved one in the fields.

September 1

Ontario modifies screening guidance
CTV News Channel
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Dr. Tali Bogler, Chair of Family Medicine Obstetrics at St. Michael’s Hospital joins Angie Seth to discuss.

September

Meet St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s new Chief of Emergency Department
Hospital News
Q&A with Dr. Joan Cheng
“You can’t be it if you can’t see it.” That phrase resonates deeply for Dr. Joan Cheng, the new Emergency Department Chief at St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Unity Health Toronto. She has seen it repeated often in interviews by one of her heroes, Kim Ng, the first woman and first East-Asian American hired as a general manager in Major League Baseball.

Virtual emergency department visits help patients get urgent care from home
Hospital News
Feature on St. Michael’s Virtual Emergency Department
Since piloting a new virtual Emergency Department in late 2020, the team at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto has received positive feedback about the service, which allows patients to connect with an emergency physician to speak about non-life threatening health issues online, or over the phone. We spoke to two people who have used the service to learn more about their care experience.

August 31

Vaccine hesitancy highest in Alberta, racialized groups at rollout’s start: survey
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
A national survey suggests the vast majority of Canadians planned to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when the country’s rollout began, but intentions were lower among certain demographics, including residents of Alberta and racialized communities.

Tackling anxiety in kids
CP24
Interview with Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
There’s plenty of uncertainty and anxiety heading into the new school year. But calming your children’s nerves may not be as difficult as it may seem.

The opioid crisis is killing Canadians, but where is the political will to solve it?
Global News
Comments by Dr. Dan Werb
Overdoses with it and other opioids, and methamphetamine, have hit a high point during the COVID-19 pandemic, making for the worst year Bessas, district chief of paramedic operations with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, has seen in her 20 years at work.

August 30

No parent should have to choose between a child’s health or work, that’s why we need paid sick days
Toronto Star
OpEd co-written by Dr. Shazeen Suleman
Every day, we hear from parents who have to choose between their child’s health and their job.

One in two pregnancies are affected by iron deficiency, yet many women don’t get a simple screening test to check
Medical Xpress
Study conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital
Half of pregnant women who had a simple blood test to check their iron stores had low iron levels, and one in four had severe iron deficiency, according to a paper published today in the journal Blood Advances.

August 26

Premature to conclude that India has been spared a Third Wave: Epidemiologist Prabhat Jha
MoneyControl
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
As an endowed Professor in Global Health and Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Dr. Prabhat Jha is regarded as one of the most influential epidemiologists in the world.

Athletes with history of concussions may show subtle and chronic brain changes
News-Medical
Comments by Dr. Tom Schweizer
A new study suggests athletes with a history of concussion may show more brain injury from a later concussion, particularly in middle regions of the brain that are more susceptible to damage, when compared to athletes with no history of concussion.

How do you feel about the segment of the population that remains unvaccinated
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Thomas Ungar (starts at 36:00)
A new Angus Reid survey reveals that most Canadians are indifferent to individuals who still have not had the shot and get sick from COVID-19. Dr. Thomas Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, joins a panel of experts on Zoomer Radio to discuss the attitude towards those who remain unvaccinated.

August 24

We’re getting our kids ready for school. But are our schools ready for our kids?
The Globe and Mail
OpEd by Dr. Sloane Freeman and Ripudaman Minhas
When schools reopen in September, they will need to answer difficult questions in the face of ongoing challenges from COVID-19. And in doing so, they will also need to take into account that the pandemic affected school-aged children in different ways.

August 23

Vaccine mandates, medical exemptions and the Charter: a lawyer and a family doctor explain
CBC Radio – Metro Morning
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
Lawyer Hena Singh and family doctor Tara Kiran explain the details of medical and other exemptions for vaccine mandates.

Lessons from the pandemic: how I learned to prepare for the unknown
Best Health Magazine
OpEd by Dr. Joan Cheng
I remember being so scared during the SARS epidemic in 2003. I was working in an emergency department in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and nothing had prepared me for a novel disease that would change everything—from patient interactions to how safe I felt at work.

August 21

Opioid crisis escalating; advocates press governments to act
Gananoque Reporter
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
Governments must intervene to stem a rising tide of opioid-related deaths and other harm, advocates say.

August 20

COVID-19 vaccines
CBC Radio – Ontario Morning
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Fahad Razak is a physician at St. Mike’s Hospital in Toronto and a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. He outlines what efforts can be made to vaccinate the more than two million people in the province who still haven’t received a single dose of the COVID vaccine.

August 19

The quick fix, Part 4: How to tackle homelessness in Ontario
TVO
Interview with Dr. Stephen Hwang
TVO.org speaks with Stephen Hwang, a physician and research scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto who focuses on homelessness, housing, and health.

Some provinces won’t allow polling stations in schools this federal election
Global News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
With a fourth wave of COVID-19 brewing across Canada, some provinces are rethinking the usual practice of allowing polling stations to be set up in schools on Election Day.

August 18

Nearly 75 per cent of Ontario doctors experienced burnout during pandemic, survey says
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
Dr. Carolyn Snider felt a gamut of emotions while working in one of the busiest emergency rooms in Canada during the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Vaccine injustice is a shame on all humanity’: U.S. plan for booster shots criticized
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
The U.S. is preparing to embark on an ambitious and controversial program — offering a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine starting Sept. 20 in a bid to further fight COVID-19 infections, despite international criticism highlighting that many countries are still fighting to acquire first doses.

August 15

Build back better: Every Canadian should have a family doctor
Toronto Star
OpEd co written by Dr. Tara Kiran
Imagine moving to a new city and automatically joining a local health-care team, just like children join their neighbourhood school. What if every Canadian had access to a social worker or pharmacist through a family practice team and could easily reach them via phone, video call or email?

August 13

Immunocompromised people should get 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose, Ontario study finds
Global News
Comments by Dr. Darren Yuen
When double lung and kidney transplant recipient Sara Murray of Acton, Ont., received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine a few months ago, she was hoping for some “freedom.”

CDC analysis finds vaccine safe during pregnancy
CTV News Channel
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Dr. Tali Bogler discusses CDC findings that COVID-19 vaccinations will not negatively affected pregnancy or increase risk of miscarriage.

August 12

Federal vote can be safe despite COVID-19 but parties must avoid ‘nightmare scenario,’ experts say
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Canadians are expected to head to the polls on Sept. 20 in a federal vote that could be overshadowed by a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 11

Canada has entered a fourth wave, doctors warn as COVID-19 cases rise
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
With cases of COVID-19 on the rise across Canada after a summer drop, doctors say the country has entered a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Canada’s COVID-19 cases up 60 per cent from last week
CTV News Channel
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Canada’s 7-day average for new cases is nearing 1,300, up 60 per cent from last week. Dr. Fahad Razak weighs in.

August 9

The Canadian-American border reopens today and many are reuniting with those separated for months
CBC Radio – Ontario Today
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
But with COVID cases surging in some states, and early warning bells going off in some provinces… Do you want Americans here?

August 5

From the Front Lines – Dr. Cheng chats medical care in the COVID era
Toronto Guardian
Interview with Dr. Joan Cheng
Throughout the course of the past year amid the COVID pandemic, the response to the virus has changed drastically. From March 2020, to the Summertime, to the peak of the third wave and until now, medical methods and protocols have had to adapt as the virus has evolved.

August 3

Looking to a post-pandemic Canada: What can we learn from the U.K.?
Maclean’s
OpEd co-written by Dr. Art Slutsky and Dr. Fahad Razak
Consequential policy decisions abound in pandemics. One such decision was required earlier this year as vaccines emerged — highly effective, yet difficult to procure against stiff global competition for a constrained supply.

Overdose deaths rising as stronger, deadlier opioid hits Toronto
CTV News
Interview with Karen McDonald
Lead of Toronto’s drug checking service, Karen McDonald, describes how bad the problem is right now, and why these drugs are so dangerous.

August 2

Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave is here. What will it look like?
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Adrian Ghobrial speaks with Ontario’s science advisory table to learn how the delta variant will impact the next wave of COVID-19 cases, and find out when we can expect to see a sharp rise in the numbers.

August 1

‘We’re losing control’: Ultra-potent, unpredictable street opioids are claiming more lives in Canada
CTV News
Comments by Karen McDonald
Canada’s street supply of opioids is becoming increasingly toxic, unpredictable and contaminated thanks to ultra-potent and deadly mixtures of fentanyl, prompting renewed calls for safe supply programs that could help regain control of the drug supply and save lives.

We can re-define Canada’s health systems because we already have
Toronto Star
OpEd co-written by Dr. Suzanne Shoush
The COVID-19 pandemic swept into our lives bringing distress and chaos, but also many lessons.

July 31

My brain on ketamine: In a struggle with depression, a new drug gives me hope, and more questions
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Karim Ladha and Dr. Venkat Bhat
I do not, as a rule, like to have things up my nose. Liquid, solid, pollen, insect: no, thank you. But give me a syringe of liquid ketamine compound, and I’ll happily snuffle that twice a week.

A private community housing provider noticed a spike in premature deaths in one of their buildings. So they decided to do something about it
Toronto Star
Mentions of Dr. Stephen Hwang
The memorial attached to a tree in the courtyard of a supportive housing building for homeless people stands as a poignant reminder of the many residents who have died over the past years.

July 28

Health researchers sound alarm about potent opioids found in Toronto drug supply
Global News Morning Toronto
Interview with Karen McDonald
Karen McDonald, Toronto’s Drug Checking Service lead at St. Michael’s Hospital, explains why a more potent drug supply is causing concern about a worsening opioid crisis exasperated by the pandemic.

Advocates say safe drug supply needed to combat spike in opioid overdose deaths in Canada
Global News
Comments by Dr. Dan Werb
Officials at a two-day summit on the opioid crisis say Canada needs to adopt drug policies that focus on providing a safe drug supply and decriminalization as the COVID-19 pandemic makes the crisis worse than it’s ever been.

July 27

Pop-up vaccine clinics at Eaton Centre, Toronto Zoo today
680 News
Coverage of Unity Health pop-up vaccination clinic
As the push continues to get every eligible Toronto resident vaccinated against COVID-19 – clinics will be set up on Tuesday at two popular tourist destinations.

When will kids under 12 be vaccinated?
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Many people in Ontario are wondering when children under the age of 12 will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

July 26

New ‘ultra potent’ opioids hitting Toronto streets in recent weeks as overdose deaths mount
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Dan Werb, Dr. Daniel Beriault and Karen McDonald
Toronto’s street drug supply is being increasingly contaminated with a new category of “ultra-potent” opioids as overdose deaths soar.

Potent opioids showing up in Toronto’s drug supply for 1st time as overdose deaths mount
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Karen McDonald
Several forms of extremely potent synthetic opioids are being found in random samples of Toronto’s street drug supply, which experts say is indicative of increased risk for people in a city grappling with an overdose crisis.

July 23

Canada vs Zimbabwe: Two divergent paths of COVID vaccination
Associated Press
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
When mother-of-three Amanda Wood heard that hundreds of coronavirus shots were available for teens, only one thing prevented her from racing to the vaccination site at a Toronto high school — her 13-year-old daughter’s fear of needles.

July 22

N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 1 new case, nearly 62% of eligible population fully vaccinated
CBC New Brunswick
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Epidemiologist and professor Prabhat Jha says the pandemic could go on for several more years if world leaders don’t start to think of it as a global health threat rather than a local one.

July 21

More kids are starting to catch colds again. Here’s why
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Eddy Lau
Clinics and hospitals are seeing an increase in children catching the common cold and other non-COVID-19 viruses since the pandemic began.

July 20

Meet Dr. Joan Cheng, the GTA’s first East Asian woman to lead an ER
CBC Radio – Metro Morning
Interview with Dr. Joan Cheng
Dr. Joan Cheng is the Greater Toronto Area’s first East Asian woman to lead an emergency department. Metro Morning host Ismaila Alfa spoke to Dr. Cheng about her career — and standing up against oppression.

India’s COVID-19 death toll could be 10 times the official count, research suggests
Associated Press/CBC
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
India’s excess deaths during the pandemic could be a staggering 10 times the official COVID-19 toll, likely making it modern India’s worst human tragedy, according to the most comprehensive research yet on the ravages of the virus in the South Asian country.

Protect Canadians from another COVID-19 wave by ramping up vaccination in developing countries, experts say
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
As many Canadians embrace a return to summer gatherings and activities amid relatively high vaccination rates and dropping COVID-19 case counts, millions of people around the world are still suffering the ravages of the pandemic as they desperately wait for vaccines, doctors and scientists say.

July 19

Calls to ease restrictions on hospital visits
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
People have been kept away from their loved ones in hospital through the pandemic. But as more Canadians are vaccinated and COVID case counts drop, there are calls to ease restrictions on visits.

Female physicians delay having children until later in life: U of T study
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Andrea Simpson
Female physicians delay pregnancy later than their peers who are not physicians, according to research conducted by a University of Toronto team.

The honest, expert-backed truth about having sex while on your period
Reader’s Digest Best Health
Comments by Dr. Christine Derzko
I always preface any kind of sexual activity by making it clear if I am menstruating, in case that might make my partner uncomfortable—because it does.

St. Joseph’s hospital building $30M emergency department
Toronto Sun
Comments by Dr. Joan Cheng
St. Joseph’s Health Centre is building the first post-COVID emergency department in the country and equipping it with critical equipment at a cost of $30 million.

July 16

St. Michael’s closes COVID-19 testing centre
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dana Whitham
St. Michael’s Hospital has closed the doors on its COVID-19 testing centre as demand diminishes.

July 15

How Ontario taxpayers likely lost almost $10 million on COVID-19 tests they’ll never see
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
It was hailed in the early, chaotic days of the pandemic as a true breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: a portable, Ontario-made testing platform, half the size of a lunch box, that could detect the deadly virus that causes COVID in less than an hour.

July 14

Treatment with blood thinners may reduce death in COVID patients
Zee News
Comments by Dr. Michelle Sholzberg
Administering a full dose of a standard blood thinner early to moderately ill hospitalised patients with COVID-19 could halt the formation of blood clots and reduce the risk of severe disease and death, finds a study.

July 13

Dispelling myths about fertility and COVID-19 vaccines
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Do you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and fertility? Dr. Tali Bogler has answers, and joins us to separate fact from fiction.

Early anticlotting therapy offers benefits for moderately ill patients with Covid-19
News-Medical.net
Comments by Dr. Michelle Sholzberg and Dr. Peter Jüni
COVID-19 is marked by heightened inflammation and abnormal clotting in the blood vessels, particularly in the lungs, and is believed to contribute to progression to severe disease and death.

July 9

They were afraid of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. How a talk with the family doctor changed their minds
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Dr. Tara Kiran knew she was close. The family physician had spent weeks trying to convince her patients, a mom and daughter who lived and worked in a COVID-19 hot spot in Toronto, to get vaccinated. Months had passed since they became eligible for their shots. Now they were in her office together for an appointment and it seemed like they might finally be ready.

How to navigate social situations after months of COVID-19 isolation
Toronto.com
Comments by Dr. Thomas Ungar
The resumption of social events and interactions following months of COVID-19 pandemic isolation will look differently for different people.

July 4

New order at the border
CTV National News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine when travelling back to Canada.

July 3

Infection after inoculation
CTV National News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
While there are few cases of fully vaccinated Canadians contracting COVID-19, most are reporting milder symptoms.

July 1

Why Canada is divided over reopening despite controlling COVID-19
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
The end of the pandemic may be finally within sight in Canada, after incredible progress has been made battling back the spread of COVID-19 with widespread vaccination uptake and dogged adherence to strict public health measures across the country.

Family doctors are getting a new tool to help nudge vaccine stragglers towards getting their first COVID jabs
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
With Ontario’s rate of first COVID-19 vaccine doses plateauing, the province’s family doctors are getting a new tool to help reach the roughly 22 per cent of adults who haven’t yet received a shot.

July

First minimally invasive maze procedure for atrial fibrillation performed in Ontario
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Gianluigi Bisleri and Dr. Mark Peterson
The Cardiac Surgery team at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto is the first in Ontario to complete a minimally invasive maze procedure to treat atrial fibrillation – the most common type of irregular heart rhythm.

Neurovascular team performs novel brain aneurysm procedure
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Vitor Pereira and Nicole Cancelliere
In May, the Neurovascular team at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto performed the first surgery in North America using a novel stent that may simplify surgical treatments for complex aneurysms and decrease procedural risks for the patient.

June 30

Islanders can access rapid HIV self-tests anonymously through national program
CBC Prince Edward Island
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
A new HIV self-testing and research program could ensure more Islanders get a diagnosis and the followup support they need.

June 28

Changing the minds of the vaccine hesitant requires actually listening to them
Maclean’s
Comments by Dr. Suzanne Shoush
Michelle DesRosiers is a non-binary parent and IT consultant in Kitchener, Ont., with hair that’s dyed metallic red at the top and shaved at the sides. When they were pregnant with their second child during the H1N1 pandemic, both their family doctor and obstetrician told them, “Basically, you would be crazy not to get the [H1N1] vaccine,” according to DesRosiers.

Speed and flexibility: Pop-up clinics highlight advantages of learning health systems
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Suzanne Shoush
The COVID vaccine rollout is a litmus test for the learning health system. It requires speed, well-working collaborations with community members and the ability to adjust on the fly as supplies and eligibility requirements change.

June 27

Improving HIV testing and care in Canada: I’m Ready and Sex Now – Test@Home
CATIE blog
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
HIV self-testing was approved in Canada in November 2020, largely thanks to research conducted by REACH Nexus, part of Unity Health Toronto’s Map Centre for Urban Health Solutions. But approval does not mean access – the next step is getting self-tests into the hands of people who don’t know they have HIV, and linking them to follow-up treatment and care.

June 26

Why new guidance for vaccinated Canadians leaves plenty of room for confusion
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Canada has finally released guidelines on what fully vaccinated Canadians can and can’t do safely together, but experts say while the long overdue guidance is welcome — it still leaves many unanswered questions.

June 25

Amid record vaccinations, Ontario is struggling to reach one final group: Young people
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
While the vast majority of Canadians appear to want to get the COVID-19 vaccine as fast as possible, younger generations across Ontario are lagging behind the pack when it actually comes down to getting the shot.

June 24

Canada needs new rules now for fully vaccinated people
The Globe and Mail
OpEd co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak
After a slow start, Canada leads the world for administering at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with roughly two thirds of the population partially or fully vaccinated. However, our country’s life-saving “first dose fast” strategy means that only 8 million or 21 per cent of Canadians are fully vaccinated.

Pfizer is not superior to Moderna and it’s ‘perfectly okay’ to mix COVID vaccines, experts say
National Post
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Fahad Razak was pulling into a Toronto vaccine centre last weekend when a woman, clearly frustrated about something, gestured for him to roll down his window. “They don’t have Pfizer,” the exasperated woman said. “They only have Moderna.”

New chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore ready to lead Ontario into post-pandemic world, colleagues say
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
During an unprecedented pandemic that hit Ontario hard, the Kingston region emerged as a bright spot in the province. To date, it has only recorded three deaths due to COVID-19.

Expansion plans to Providence Healthcare include quality of life
Catholic Register
Comments by Melissa Morey Hollis and Dr. Ashley Verduyn
Adding 180 new long-term care beds and a whole new building to Unity Health’s Providence Healthcare site is just the beginning of the Catholic hospital’s plans for seniors in Toronto’s east end.

Access to HIV self-testing kits expanded in York Region by CAYR and Ready to Know
The Auroran
St. Michael’s is mentioned
As the global pandemic continues, a global epidemic rages on and is often undiagnosed: HIV. This month, however, CAYR Community Connections and Ready to Know, an initiative of St. Michael’s Hospital, have partnered to break down the stigma surrounding the virus and increase access to free self-testing kits across York Region.

Female physicians delay having children until later, study finds
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Andrea Simpson
Female physicians delay pregnancy later than their peers who are not physicians, indicates research conducted by a University of Toronto team.

Parenting: Bridging the language divide
DESI News
Comments by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Some immigrants, trying to navigate parenting in a new land, are able to reach for help and advice from people they trust in their network, others flounder.

June 22

Can COVID-19 vaccines cause post-menopausal bleeding? Here’s what we know
Global News
Comments by Dr. Eli Shore and Dr. Tali Bogler
Fifty-year-old Diana Davison has not had a period for more than a year. So when she started experiencing bleeding 12 hours after her first COVID-19 vaccine she was shocked.

AI tool ‘fundamentally changes the game’ for ICU care
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, Dr. Amol Verma, Dr. Jonathan Ailon and Shirley Bell 
The technology and expertise in a hospital’s intensive care unit can be lifesaving. But health workers can’t always tell when a patient’s condition is about to worsen, and patients can arrive at the ICU late. This leads to longer hospital stays and poorer outcomes. But there are times when patients could have avoided the ICU altogether had their condition been recognized and treated earlier.

Artificial intelligence is changing how we diagnose disease, triage cases in the ER, even help prep doctors
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Muhammad Mamdani and Dr. Karen Cross
Dr. Karen Cross was doing everything in her power to prevent her diabetic grandfather from needing an amputation. But that power was limited by distance — Cross works in Toronto and her grandfather was in rural Newfoundland. Every day, her mother would text Cross pictures of her grandfather’s diabetic wounds. “I’d say, ‘This is what you have to do’ and ‘Tell the doctor this,’ ” she says.

COVID-19 is ‘here to stay’ and won’t be wiped out any time soon, experts say
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
As COVID-19 case counts dwindle, experts warn that COVID-19 will linger even after the majority of adults are fully immunized—but outbreaks could be far less devastating.

U of T hosts vaccine clinic pow wow at Varsity Stadium
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Suzanne Shoush and Dr. Janet Smylie
The University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium was transformed into the site of a vaccine pow wow over the weekend, with volunteers dancing and playing hand drums while community members received their shots.

June 21

‘Staggering disparity’: Study finds Indigenous people travel farther to give birth
Global News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Indigenous people living in rural Canada are 16 times more likely to travel long distances — sometimes hundreds of kilometers more — than non-Indigenous people to give birth, according to a new study.

‘Extremist’ hatred reveals Canada’s darker, unsettling narrative
Toronto Star
Op-Ed co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak
After a horrific terrorist attack killed four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., two competing narratives emerged. One was shock at these events: people asked, how could this happen in Canada? This is not the Canada we know.

June 19

How long will immunity to COVID-19 last after vaccination? Studies offer clues
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
My youngest daughter had a fever and chills and my wife and I were scared. It was March, 2020, and even though we knew 10-year-olds were unlikely to be affected by the novel coronavirus, our daughter looked sicker than we’d ever seen her. Was it COVID-19, or wasn’t it? With no way to find out short of going to the hospital, all we could do was wonder, and worry.

June 18

Hundreds at Catholic health network demand church apologize for residential schools
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie and Dr. Suzanne Shoush
Close to 500 doctors, nurses and other workers from one of Canada’s largest Catholic health-care networks have signed an open letter demanding that Toronto’s archbishop take concrete steps toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

June 17

Do Catholic leaders truly feel they don’t owe Indigenous people an apology?
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Dr. Suzanne Shoush
The death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. The killing of a child at school is a horror of unimaginable proportions.

Canadian scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV
Eckville Echo
Comments by Dr. Ann Burchell
A group of B.C. and Ontario researchers are beginning a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on people living with HIV.

Q & A: What you need to know about the COVID-19 Delta variant
CTV News Kitchener
Q&A with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Health officials in Waterloo Region say the recent spike in COVID-19 cases is being driven by the new Delta variant.

June 16

Some prisoners not offered COVID-19 shots until months after general public, CBC analysis finds
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
Deepan Budlakoti describes the rollout plan for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre as “a piece of paper put on the wall.”

June 15

Government should explain data on COVID deaths: expert
NDTV
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
The government should convey how COVID-19 data is being used and “in turn the public will have confidence”, says Dr. Prabhat Jha of St. Michael’s Hospital & University of Toronto. He says it’s a setback if the government does not do accurate counting of COVID deaths.

June 14

Entering post-COVID world sparks anxiety for some, but uneasiness is normal reaction: experts
National Post
Comments by Dr. Tom Ungar
A former colleague’s practise run at dressing again for the office drew sympathetic suggestions on social media that employers consider relaxing dress code restrictions for re-entry. Yoga pants instead of grown-up pants, Birkenstocks and shorts to start with, then re-evaluate 21 days later?

Families face off over COVID-19 vaccination status amid hopes of a more social summer
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah
Pregnant during the pandemic, Toronto psychiatrist Saadia Sediqzadah issued her family an ultimatum: Get vaccinated, or you won’t be able to hold the baby.

HIV self-test kit project hopes to break down barriers to sexual health care
CBC Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
A new pilot project hopes to help end HIV in Canada long-term by removing barriers to getting tested that several at-risk communities face, and it all starts with a tiny take-home kit now being distributed by community groups.

June 11

How Canada came to lead the world in first-dose COVID vaccine coverage
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
After months of hand-wringing over Canada’s place in the global vaccination queue, it’s a milestone many might not have predicted.

Increased mobility, sleep tied to reduced delirium and shorter hospital stays
Reuters Health
Comments by Dr. Jennifer Watt
A hospital-wide intervention designed to reduce delirium is associated with shorter length of stay and fewer readmissions, a new study suggests.

June 10

Ontario urged to reduce 12-week interval between AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Joee Wong was one of the first people in his social circle to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in April. But the Toronto resident now expects some of his friends and colleagues, who received their first doses several weeks after him, will likely get fully vaccinated before he does.

Toronto’s Spirit Garden to help residential school survivors heal from trauma
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Suzanne Shoush
A new garden is being created at Toronto’s City Hall to honour residential school survivors and provide them with a calm, safe space to heal from the trauma they experienced within those institutions.

Breaking down barriers: Learning health system connects researchers, health professionals and communities
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
At every clinic and hospital, scientists work with health leaders to test health-care innovations. As you read this, researchers are trying to improve diabetes screening, develop monitoring technologies for heart attack patients and create better community mental health programs, to name just a few.

Ontario stands firm on 12-week interval for AstraZeneca doses — against experts’ advice
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Anna Banerji
Citing the need for speed against the growing threat of the coronavirus delta variant, infectious diseases specialists say they disagree with the Ontario government’s decision to maintain a 12-week waiting period before people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can get their second dose.

June 9

Vaccines may ‘blunt’ a 4th wave — but delta variant could surge among unvaccinated Manitobans: experts
CBC News Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Some experts believe a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba is likely to be more of a molehill than a mountain thanks to increasing rates of vaccination, but one highly contagious variant may still threaten to surge in communities with lower vaccination rates.

Family medicine-maternity care: A romantic idea facing an uncertain future
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
There is a romance to the notion of family medicine-maternity care (FM-MC). Of being cared for throughout your life by the same person who cared for you even before you entered the world, who was there to deliver you, who knows you and your medical history intimately. Maybe that doctor will even deliver your baby, too.

‘This is Our Shot’ aims to rally Canadians to get vaccinated
Citytv Breakfast Television
Interview with Dr. Anju Anand
Dina and Sid chat with Olympian Clara Hughes and Dr. Anju Anand about the initiative that is aiming to get more Canadians vaccinated.

June 8

Could AI make health care more human?
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Muhammad Mamdani and Dr. Amol Verma
A resident in the General Internal Medicine unit of St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto received an alert late one night from an artificial-intelligence program: a patient was at a heightened risk of either requiring transfer to the Intensive Care Unit or dying within the next 48 hours.

Your one (or two?) dose summer guide to reopenings and travel
Toronto Star
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
With 58 per cent of Canadians (and counting) having received a first dose of a COVID vaccine, many are eagerly diving into a “one-dose” summer. Now, Ontario is moving up its Step 1 reopening plans and with more vaccine shipments on the way, it will be a “two-dose” vaccinated summer for some.

How Canada could help to ramp up vaccine production
CBC Radio The Current
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha (segment starts at 47:02)
Global health experts are calling for a dramatic change in how we manufacture vaccines, to increase supply and help the world tackle this pandemic — but also plan for the next one.

Exploring technologies and their impact on compassionate digital care
Good Tech, Compassionate Healthcare podcast
Interview with Dr. Amol Verma
This conversation focuses on exploring technologies and their impact on compassionate health care and features Laura Desveaux, a behavioural scientist at Trillium Health Partners and physician and scientist Amol Verma from St. Michael’s Hospital.

June 7

More new mothers are seeking mental health supports amid overwhelming strain during the pandemic
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Abigail Morran was no stranger to anxiety, but for years, she had it under control. Then the first-time mom, who lives in a town just outside Winnipeg, started to feel more anxious while going to round after round of prenatal medical appointments without her fiancé because of pandemic restrictions. After worrying non-stop about getting COVID-19, she wound up leaving her job in the third trimester of her pregnancy to go on stress leave.

June 5

Ending the HIV epidemic in Canada
CityNews Edmonton
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
50,000 free HIV self-testing kits are being distributed across Canada as a first step to ending the HIV epidemic in Canada.

June 4

Most inmates unvaccinated at majority of Ontario jails; prisons report wide racial gap
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
The majority of Ontario’s jails have vaccinated less than half of their inmates, with six jails vaccinating less than a third of their population, according to new data obtained by the Star.

June 3

‘I will keep going’: Two Scarborough residents on road to recovery after COVID-19
Scarborough Mirror
Comments by Dr. Ashley Verduyn
Angela Brown and Soosaidas Joachimpillai are from Scarborough. Hospitalized with COVID-19 and intubated, both are now rebuilding their bodies.

Why haven’t primary care doctors been part of the vaccine rollout?
The Local
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Terence Leung, a solo family doctor in Toronto, knew that a lot of his patients were missing out on vaccines. Some were old and couldn’t get around easily. Others weren’t online. Some just didn’t feel comfortable in English. So on the last Friday in May, he decided to hold a small vaccine clinic in his storefront office at Gerrard and Greenwood.

June 2

Canada’s COVID-19 battle offers lessons for tackling our other epidemic: HIV
The Globe and Mail
OpEd co-written by Dr. Sean Rourke
Much of the country’s attention right now is understandably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, but another epidemic still rages.

If I had AstraZeneca for my first jab, should I switch to Pfizer for my second? Here’s what health experts say about mixing vaccines
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization now says Canadians who have received one dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can safely get a second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna in the ongoing effort to get the jabs into arms as quickly as possible.

50k HIV testing kits distributed country-wide
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
St. Michaels hospital is distributing 50,000 free HIV self-testing kits across the country to reach people living undiagnosed.

‘They’re barely hanging on’: Teenagers reflect on mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic
Global News
Comments by Shay Johnson and Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Like many other students in Ontario, 18-year-old Nabila Khandaker will be graduating from C. W. Jeffery’s Collegiate Institute in Toronto later this month after spending much of her final year of high school at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 1

‘It was unreal’: ER nurse recounts experience attending Leafs’ playoff game in person
CTV News
Comments by Maha Hassan
It was a disappointing result for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night. Nonetheless, one lucky health-care worker who attended the game in person says the experience was a step towards normalcy after more than a year of pandemic fears and restrictions.

‘This is the community in action’: Toronto’s Disability Vaccine Outreach Initiative
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
“We were not anticipated.” That’s how Wendy Porch summarizes health-care access for people with disabilities during Ontario’s COVID-19 response. Porch is the executive director of the Centre for Independent Living Toronto (CILT), a community-based organization that promotes independent living for people with disabilities. Throughout the pandemic, the word “forgotten” has been part of the story far too often.

‘Get Vaxxed’: COVID-19 vaccination clinic to be held at Toronto strip club on Yonge Street
CBC News Toronto
Unity Health Toronto is mentioned
An advocacy organization is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at a Toronto strip club on Friday in the hopes of providing first doses to sex workers.

June

Toronto respirologist earns support of Canadian icons in #ThisIsOurShot vaccine campaign
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Anju Anand
What do Chris Hadfield, Ryan Reynolds, Jann Arden and Michael Bublé all have in common? They are among the many celebrities and Canadian icons who are teaming up to tackle vaccine hesitancy in a new national campaign.

May 31

550 ‘humble and lucky’ health-care workers head to Scotiabank Arena for Leafs’ Game 7
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. David Mackinnon
Dr. David MacKinnon has been glued to his television during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens.

May 30

Volunteers go behind bars to convince inmates of the value of getting the COVID-19 vaccine
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
Michael Amichand was feeling “a little anxious” Friday heading into the Toronto South Detention Centre on a mission to nudge naysayers to rethink their reasons for not getting the COVID-19 vaccination.

May 28

Studies reveal the unintended consequences of delaying surgeries, drop in ER visits due to pandemic
CBC Radio – White Coat, Black Art
Comments by Dr. David Gomez
“If it’s a COVID death or a COVID case, it’s important. Otherwise it doesn’t matter.”
That’s how Sean Perkins said his experience in the Ontario healthcare system during the pandemic left him feeling. But non-COVID illnesses and deaths should “matter too,” he said.

COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating period poverty, removing access to products
Global News
Comments by Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
Periods are a monthly visitor for people around the world yet many struggle just to talk about menstruation.

‘Keeping kids out of school is a bad option’
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Member of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, Dr. Fahad Razak says the decision to reopen schools is not choosing between a ‘good and bad option’.

May 27

When will we know the pandemic is over? Ontario doctors tackle that burning question
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Thomas Ungar
“Not with a bang but a whimper.” Yes, it’s that line again from a poem by T.S. Elliot. But infectious disease expert Dr. Allison McGeer says the end of the COVID-19 pandemic could come with both a bang and a whimper.

Should I get my second AstraZeneca shot or wait for another type of COVID-19 vaccine?
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Michelle Sholzberg
Ontario, like many other provinces, stopped providing AstraZeneca as a first dose after the vaccine was linked to rare, but potentially fatal, blood clots.

Can my children hang out with their friends? What parents need to know after their kids get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Anne Wormsbecker
With more children now able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, many kids are beginning to receive basic protection from the virus — but that doesn’t mean the risk is eliminated.

May 26

Older Canadians should be getting their second vaccine doses, right now
The Globe and Mail
Opinion co-written by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
More than 20 million Canadian adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is good news, reflecting an early and wise decision to extend the interval between first and second doses for most people to 16 weeks, in order to maximize the number of Canadians who would be protected from infection.

Six people die of opioid overdose per day in Ont.
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of six Ontarians are dying per day from an opioid overdose.

May 22

Providing medication for free shows cost benefits, sticking to regimens: study
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Nav Persaud
Free access to medicine increases the likelihood that patients will adhere to taking it and reduces total health spending, researchers of a new study say.

May 21

Vaccine safe for pregnant people: study
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Dr. Bogler discusses a study that finds the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

May 20

As a mother awaits brain surgery alone, her son urges easing of hospital visitor restrictions
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
If Carl Freckelton could sit at his mother’s hospital bedside while she waits for brain surgery, he’d hold her hand and tell her he loves her.

As the clock ticks on AstraZeneca, some in Canada fear a once unthinkable outcome: wasted vaccine
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Justin Trudeau got it, the needle puncturing the raven tattoo on his shoulder. Patty Hajdu, the federal health minister, rolled up the sleeve of her black T-shirt in a pharmacy in Thunder Bay. Erin O’Toole got it at a drive-thru clinic, and without leaving his car.

As COVID-19’s third wave recedes in Canada, what’s next? Six steps to save summer
Maclean’s
Op-ed co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Arthur Slutsky
As the third wave of the COVID-19 crests across most of the country, Canadians faces crucial decisions that will determine how effectively we are able to move past this phase of the pandemic.

Wasting COVID-19 vaccines ‘unethical’ expert says as AstraZeneca expiry nears
Global News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
With thousands of AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses set to expire in the coming months, federal officials on Thursday said that Canadians who want to get it as their second shot, should be able to do so, though they are uncertain how “the exact situation” would unfold.

May 19

Fatal opioid overdoses in Ontario surge during pandemic: report
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Tara Gomes
Ontario’s opioid crisis has worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with the homeless population and those who were unemployed accounting for a significant portion of fatal overdoses, a new report has found.

May 17

This doctor is using TikTok to bridge cultural divides
Today’s Parent
Q&A with Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
We all know that no one has less time on their hands to dig for information online than parents, so it’s no surprise that many gravitate towards the easiest and quickest place to find it: social media.

May 14

Video exam may be effective alternative to in-person cognitive assessments
Reuters Health
Comments by Dr. Jennifer Watt
Virtual examinations over video may be an effective tool for conducting cognitive assessments and testing, and for diagnosing dementia, a new analysis suggests.

The double pandemic: Canadian doctors running “parallel wards” for family and friends in India
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Samir Gupta and Dr. Prabhat Jha
10 p.m. Whether it’s closing laptops, putting on pyjamas, reading a book or browsing Netflix, many would be calling it a day. That’s not the case for Samir Gupta, respirologist and clinician-scientist at St Michael’s Hospital.

May 13

Millions of COVD-19 rapid tests sitting unused, records show
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas and Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Months after Ottawa and the provinces promoted rapid testing as a key tool in the fight against COVID-19, the latest data show that almost all of the 43 million rapid tests procured by the federal government are sitting unused.

What Could Ontario’s ‘One-Dose Summer’ Look Like?
Chatelaine
Comments by Dr. Samantha Hill
With COVID-19 vaccinations picking up in Ontario, and the weather warming up, people are beginning to wonder what the province’s second pandemic summer could look like.

May 12

Health Canada silent on COVID-19 home tests as other countries push forward
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Kevin Schwartz
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week proudly announced a partnership with the Ontario government to provide more rapid COVID-19 tests for employees in key businesses, but it’s still unclear at this time whether federal health officials believe there’s a place for tests that can be obtained by all Canadians on pharmacy shelves and used at home.

Ontario’s strict lockdown measures associated with fewer early preterm births: study
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Andrea Simpson
Ontario’s strict lockdown measures during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic are associated with fewer premature births before 32 weeks gestation than in years prior, according to a new study.

New study on preterm births amid pandemic
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Andrea Simpson
A new study is looking at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on preterm births.

More than 80 per cent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 experience neurological complications: study
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Charles Kassardjian
A new study has found that 82 per cent of people who were hospitalized due to COVID-19 experienced neurological symptoms.

May 11

Urban Indigenous people in Ontario now eligible for 2nd COVID-19 shot 3-4 weeks after 1st dose
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Indigenous people in Ontario living in urban areas will be able to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine within the three- to four-week interval recommended by manufacturers, the province announced Monday.

Alberta faces shortage of COVID-19 drug as global demand spikes
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
As Alberta’s COVID-19 ICU admissions hit an all-time high, doctors are dealing with a shortage of one of just two drugs they can use to treat the sickest patients.

May 10

Why are people reporting irregular menstruation after the COVID-19 shot? Experts explain.
Global News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
As you’re about to head home from your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, your care provider might warn you of a sore arm or even a fever.

May 9

Cardiac arrest rates climbing during COVID-19 pandemic, Peel paramedics say
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Katie Allen
Cardiac arrest rates have spiked worldwide during the pandemic, a Toronto medical researcher says, and paramedics in Peel Region say they are seeing that same trend play out close to home.

Canada should look to Britain for a view of a COVID-19 future, experts say
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Parents, experts worry about ‘snowball effect’ of literacy, development lags amid pandemic schooling
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Jon Bahen finds the more people in his work-from-home Zoom meetings, the less effective they can be. Imagine then how difficult it is for a child struggling with school to vie for attention in an online class alongside nearly 30 others, said the Barrie, Ont., parent.

May 7

Ensuring we give the vaccine rollout for children our best shot
Toronto Star
Commentary by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas and Dr. Sloane Freeman
As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded across the globe, its impact on children has tended to be an afterthought.

I got my first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. How do I know if I’m at risk of developing a rare blood clot?
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Michelle Scholzberg and Dr. Seema Marwaha
The question: I recently got my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. But I am increasingly worried by the reports of blood clots linked to this COVID-19 vaccine. How do I know if I am at risk of developing a clot and when will I be in the clear?

May 6

NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says people who already got the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should not feel they made a bad choice.

May 5

Mixing COVID-19 vaccines could be making the best ‘of a bad situation’
National Post
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
In the midst of a variant-driven third wave, Canada’s beleaguered vaccine advisory panel is considering whether to endorse mixing vaccine doses.

Better response to drug shortages could be an important legacy of COVID-19
Toronto Star
Commentary co-written by Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Fahad Razak
COVID-19 is currently the most common reason people are hospitalized in Ontario and there only two medications that can reduce your chance of dying if you have a severe infection. One of those two medications is currently being rationed.

May 4

Toronto faces obstacles in vaccinating homeless populations while COVID-19 outbreaks erupt in shelters
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Linda Jackson
The vaccine rollout among Toronto’s homeless population has slowed significantly amid a rise in COVID-19 outbreaks in the city’s shelters, advocates say.

Female physicians more likely than other women to delay childbearing
MD Alert
Comments by Dr. Andrea Simpson
Compared to women in the general public, female physicians in Canada are less likely to have children overall, less likely to have babies when they are in their twenties, and far more likely to delay childbearing until they are in their late thirties, a new study finds.

May 3

Toronto doctor challenges Commons committee to prioritize ‘social recovery’
Healthy Debate
Commentary by Dr. Gary Bloch
“I have spent most of my working hours over the past year on the medical front lines of the pandemic – in my clinics at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Good Shepherd homeless shelter, in a COVID homeless recovery site, and recently at a COVID vaccination centre for Indigenous people in Toronto.

Why India’s coronavirus case and fatality numbers are likely undercounted
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Even after more than a year of devastating coronavirus surges across the world, the intensity and scale of India’s current crisis stands out, with patients desperate for short supplies of oxygen, pleas for help from overwhelmed hospitals, and images of body bags and funeral pyres.

Census 2021: Canadians are talking about race. But the census hasn’t caught up.
The Conversation
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
This May, Canadians will again be asked if they identify as a visible minority when filling out the long-form census. But it’s a concept and term increasingly out of step with the times.

April 30

The dark side of Canada’s shift to corporate-driven health care
The Globe and Mail
Op-ed co-written by Dr. Tara Kiran
The health care system’s pivot to virtual care during the pandemic has sparked a corporate stampede into primary care.

April 29

Tackling racism in health care
Healthy Debate
Comments by Dr. Yuliya Rackal
During a pandemic, we forget that health is more than simply avoiding a virus. The more sinister attacks on our health have historically been, and continue to be, related to the “social determinants of health,” everything from income and employment to housing and education.

Can we follow the British model to tame the virus by Canada Day?
The Globe and Mail
Op-ed co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Art Slutsky
As the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, one question recurs for many Canadians: How can we reduce its intensity, duration and impact – and crucially, how do we speed our return to some semblance of normal life?

April 28

India’s COVID-19 crisis is spiraling out of control. It didn’t have to be this way
Time
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Dusk is falling in the Indian capital, and the acrid smell of burning bodies fills the air. It’s the evening of April 26, and at a tiny crematorium in a Delhi suburb, seven funeral pyres are still burning. “I have lived here all my life and pass through this area twice a day,” says local resident Gaurav Singh. “I have never seen so many bodies burning together.”

Can HIV self-tests help counter Canada’s rising transmission rates?
Xtra
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
Sixty seconds and a drop of blood. Those are two of the three things needed to produce a positive or negative result on Canada’s first and only HIV self-test, approved for public use in November 2020.

The use of benzodiazepines, prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorders, has declined in Ontario but risen for young women, study says
Toronto Star
Comments by Tonya Campbell
Prescriptions for benzodiazepines, a common class of drugs mainly used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders, have seen a general decline in the last seven years in Ontario.

‘This Is Our Shot’: vaccine confidence campaign
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Anju Anand
Dr. Anand, a respirologist, talks about a new movement rallying against misinformation to boost vaccine confidence.

‘They gave it to corporate:’ Independent pharmacies frustrated by Ontario Pfizer rollout pilot
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
An Ontario pilot program where select pharmacies will soon administer the Pfizer vaccine is expected to rollout in the coming days.

Indian man with COVID-19 says he was stuck in hotel quarantine for days without medical help
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Shazeen Suleman
A man on the last flight allowed into Canada from India says he was stuck in a Mississauga hotel for days waiting for a call from a public health official after he tested positive for COVID-19 following his arrival in Toronto.

April 27

Does Ontario pay for sick workers go far enough?
CP24
Interview with Dr. Seema Marwaha
Doctors Brooks Fallis and Seema Marwaha weigh in on whether changes by the Ford government go far enough to help prevent workplace spread.

COVID-19 positive student felt ‘hopeless’ waiting for care
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Shazeen Suleman
A 24-year-old student tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Canada on the last flight from India. He says he didn’t have access to health care for days, even as his symptoms worsened.

April 26

Deaths, hospitalizations dropping among oldest Canadians as COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
After a sluggish start, Canada’s vaccination efforts are starting to pay off, with COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the oldest Canadians now dropping at a faster rate than in younger adults who are less likely to be vaccinated yet, according to a CBC News analysis.

India underestimated the virus. Why that’s a cautionary tale for Canada
National Post
Comments by Dr. Najma Ahmed
They meet between noon and two for the task of deciding which case must go to the operating room, which person is close enough to permanent or irreparable harm, and who must wait — “declined.”

‘Hopeful signs’ Ontario’s latest COVID wave may be peaking, but doctors fear ‘really hot’ two or three weeks
National Post
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Ontario has a record number of people in intensive care, with ICU admissions still rising and hundreds more facing weeks or months of rehabilitation after defeating COVID.

Indigenous people in Toronto have much higher rates of COVID hospitalization than general population, new data shows
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Indigenous people in Toronto have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at more than three times the rate of the general population in the city, according to preliminary data provided exclusively to the Star.

India’s harrowing coronavirus surge is a ‘global problem’: New variants and slow vaccine rollouts are a threat to countries everywhere
Business Insider
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Just two months ago, India’s coronavirus outbreak seemed to have turned the corner. Cases had plummeted to their lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic and vaccines were starting to be rolled out across the country.

April 24

Why we need to get it right: Inside the country’s hardest-hit ICUs
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Joan Chen
What if the hospitals are overwhelmed? That has been the question haunting health authorities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago.

April 23

Difficult to say when the second Covid wave will decline. Usually declines take twice as long as reaching the peak. We don’t see a peak yet in India: Epidemiologist Prabhat Jha
MoneyControl.com
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Most of the complaints and reports of repeat infection are of the Covaxin, for which insufficient scientific evidence was released, says Prabhat Jha, founding director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who is regarded as one of the most influential epidemiologists in the world.

Employers in COVID-19 hot spots can apply to bring vaccinations directly to workers, but the requirements are confusing and pricey
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
Essential workers in factories, construction, and manufacturing — sectors that have been hit hard by COVID-19 in the past year — remain ineligible for vaccination in Ontario based on their employment status alone.

Pregnant Ontarians can now book vaccines as ministry moves them to ‘highest risk’ category
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Pregnant people in Ontario are now able to book a COVID-19 vaccine after the Ministry of Health on Friday announced pregnancy had been moved up to the “highest risk” category in the provincial rollout.

Pregnant people in Ontario now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine under ‘highest risk’ designation
CP24
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Pregnant people in Ontario are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government announced Friday.

Seriously ill, so fast
CBC Radio Ontario Today
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak (segment starts at 26:10)
First person stories of COVID in the third wave, with Toronto couple Russell Day and Kevin Morris; Dr. Fahad Razak with Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table; and Enzo Moreno, Director of the Centro Cultural Latinoamericano Toronto.

Peel Region begins ordering workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks to close as new measures take effect in Peel, Toronto
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
A public health laboratory, a manufacturer of military-grade night vision systems and a car dealership are among the Toronto employers reporting new workplace COVID-19 outbreaks, city data shows.

April 22

COVID-19: ‘Ring vaccination’ can teach us how to target limited supply
Global News
Comments by Dr. Darrell Tan
The pandemic’s third wave has seen daily case counts in Canada rise to record highs despite several provinces imposing new restrictions, and some experts are pointing to ring vaccination — a strategy deployed in the eradication of smallpox — as a template for how to focus limited vaccine supply to have the greatest impact.

April 21

‘I was terrified’: Young mother describes ordeal as hospital ICUs seeing more pregnant women with COVID-19 than ever
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
There have been more pregnant women sick with COVID-19 in Ontario’s intensive care units in April than at any point in the pandemic, according to obstetricians who are calling on the provincial government to prioritize expectant mothers for vaccination.

Nursing staff struggling and ‘it breaks my heart,’ says Islander managing Toronto hospital team
CBC Prince Edward Island
Comments by Kate MacWilliams
Kate MacWilliams, a nurse manager at Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre, has taken on a lot more responsibility since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pregnant woman who caught COVID-19 wants others to understand the risk
CBC Radio The Current
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Danika Jorgensen-Skakum caught COVID-19 during her pregnancy and wants other pregnant Canadians to know what that was like.

April 20

Vaccine priority list for pregnant women
CBC Radio Here and Now
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Toronto hospitals are seeing more and more pregnant women ending up in ICU’s with COVID-19. Dr. Tali Bogler is the chair of family medicine obstetrics at St. Michael’s Hospital. She is among those advocating for pregnant women to be put on the vaccine priority list.

April 19

Toronto doctors advocate for higher vaccine priority for pregnant people as ICU rates climb
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Doctors who work with pregnant people are advocating for them to be put at a higher priority for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, as more become sick with the virus during the third wave.

Our actions can help pull Canada’s health care system back from the brink
The Globe and Mail
Opinion co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Art Slutsky
For over a year, political leaders and public-health officials have urged members of the public to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Canadians by and large have complied through multiple waves and lockdowns. In many ways, the millions of citizens who had no specific COVID-19 responsibilities are the real heroes of this pandemic.

Ontario hospitals relying on patient transfers to cope with crush of COVID-19 cases
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Andrew Baker
Ontario’s hardest-hit hospitals have transferred more than 550 patients by helicopter and ambulance in the past two weeks as the third wave threatens to overwhelm intensive-care resources in COVID-19 hot spots.

‘The damage has been done’ by Ontario’s short-lived plan for arbitrary police stops, experts say
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah
Confusion and anger have been left in the wake of the Ontario government’s short-lived decision Friday to expand police powers in the name of fighting COVID-19 — a move that was roundly criticized, swiftly rejected by police chiefs and reversed in 24 hours.

Toronto hospital reports alarming number of pregnant patients in COVID-19 ICU
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Toronto critical care doctors are sounding the alarm on the mounting number of pregnant COVID-19 patients in their intensive care units, saying expectant mothers appear particularly vulnerable to the variants.

Ontario’s latest COVID-19 restrictions and Ontario lowers age eligibility for AstraZeneca to 40 and over (starts at 28:45)
Zoomer Radio
Interview with Dr. Amol Verma
Ontario lowers the age eligibility for AstraZeneca to adults 40 and older. This will begin to happen at pharmacies and primary care clinics starting this Tuesday.

April 18

Canada’s health care workers brace for the painful blow of a punishing third wave
CNN
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
For days now, as the Covid-19 case count mounted and hospital admissions surged, Canadians seemed dismayed and asked: How could this happen here, where most people dutifully followed public health guidelines?

April 17

Ontario’s failure to control the third wave has implications for all of Canada
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Ontario’s failure to control the third wave of the pandemic has led to a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in hospitals with devastating consequences on the delivery of health care to millions of Canadians.

April 16

Here’s what’s known about why women seem more susceptible to rare vaccine blood clots
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
It was a report that likely prompted alarm for many women: rare, serious blood clots following vaccination for six Americans. All women, all of child-bearing age.

April 14

Study suggests people with schizophrenia are at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 effects
CTV News Your Morning
Interview with Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah
Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah from the University of Toronto explains the barriers to care for people with mental illness, and what supports are needed.

April 13

St. Mike’s Cardiac Stenographer makes planters for Raptors
CBC Toronto
Comments by Olivia Ho
A Toronto woman whose fun pandemic project turned into something much more that managed to get the attention of the Toronto Raptors. (Segment starts at 20:05)

April 12

How to breathe better and why it matters, especially in a pandemic
CBC Radio – White Coat, Black Art
Comments by Dr. John Lee
Breathing is on our minds more than ever these days, as we cover our mouths and noses with masks as protection from a disease that could rob us of our breath.

Operation Remote Immunity
CBC Radio Thunder Bay – Superior Morning
Interview with Dr. Suzanne Shoush
‘Strange and new and good’. That’s how one Indigenous doctor from Toronto described Operation Remote Immunity – the vaccination effort in Ontario’s fly-in First Nations. Find out why she volunteered for the effort, and why she says the experience made such an impression.

‘It’s going to get worse’ in Ontario: doctor
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Razak, a member of Ontario’s science advisory table, says the province is in a dire state and warns cases will continue to rise.

Rapid testing could help fight the third wave, but slow-moving bureaucracy has delayed rollout
National Post
Comments by Dr. Kevin Schwartz
More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Canada, most of the country is now plunging back into sweeping lockdowns, curfews and stay-at-home orders — all while rapid testing at essential workplaces remains the exception instead of the norm.

April 11

Le gouvernement Ford a imposé un reconfinement pour faire face à la troisième vague du virus
Radio-Canada – Les Coulisses du pouvoir
Interview with Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
En Ontario, le gouvernement Ford a imposé un reconfinement pour faire face à la troisième vague du virus. Entrevue avec l’urgentologue à l’hôpital St. Michael’s de Toronto, Samuel Vaillancourt.

April 9

Addressing Muslims’ Ramadan vaccination concerns
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Aisha Khatib
As the vaccination drive continues, Muslims are set to start fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. Faiza Amin explains how it factors into the choice to get the shot and has expert advice on the community’s unique concerns.

‘It’s a punch in the gut’: Lack of priority in the vaccine rollout frustrates people with developmental disabilities and their families
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Laurie Green
On Thursday morning Theresa Sanders finally broke through. The Innisfil mother had been trying for weeks to figure out how to get Jessica, her nearly 18-year-old daughter who is intellectually and physically disabled, booked for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

April 8

Expecting a Shot: Pregnant people wondering whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Pregnant people weren’t included in initial COVID-19 vaccine trials, which raises a question for those expecting: should you get the vaccine when it’s offered, or wait until after birth?

Doctors group says constant changes to COVID-19 restrictions have caused frustration and confusion
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Seema Mawaha
As Ontario implemented a stay-at-home order Thursday and Quebec announced it will expand some curfews to tackle increasing COVID-19 cases, the Canadian Medical Association said continually changing restrictions across the country have led to confusion and less adherence to rules.

April 6

Ontario urged to deploy more rapid COVID-19 tests to slow pandemic’s explosive 3rd wave
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Kevin Schwartz
Ontario should immediately expand its use of rapid COVID-19 tests if it hopes to slow the pandemic’s worsening third wave, say a variety of infectious disease and testing experts.

‘The bill goes entirely too far’: Ohio’s Black leaders sound alarms over state’s new ‘stand your ground’ law
Akron Beacon Journal
Comments by Alexa Yakubovich
Ohio’s Black leaders are sounding alarms over a change in the state’s self-defense law, which would expand use of force to public settings and no longer require people to back away from confrontations in public before they can exert deadly force.

Calls to rethink Ontario’s vaccine approach
CBC News Network Canada Tonight
Interview with Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak
Canada Tonight’s Ginella Massa spoke with Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak, emergency and trauma physician at Unity Health Toronto, about Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan.

April 5

Essential jobs, multigenerational homes: Filipino Canadians are bearing a heavy brunt of COVID-19
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
As Greg Carlos lay in isolation in the basement bedroom of his Steinbach, Man., home, recovering from the muscle soreness, dizziness and digestive issues that had racked his body since he’d contracted COVID-19, he heard the sound he’d been dreading coming from the floor above: A loud, persistent cough. “It sounded like their lungs just wanted to give up,” he recalls.

Canada’s COVID-19 death toll from first months of pandemic higher than thought, data show
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
The loss of life in the pandemic’s first nine months was more widespread than official numbers indicated, with mortality spiking sharply even in provinces that reported relatively low death tolls from the virus, according to newly available national data.

Texas scores home run in battle against COVID
Toronto Sun
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
On a warm and sunny Monday afternoon, more than 40,000 people in Arlington, Texas, sat in their seats watching the Texas Rangers take on the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

April 1

A year into pandemic, long-haul COVID-19 sufferers still struggle to get care
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Seema Marwaha
Kim Clark holds up her hand and apologizes as she pauses to catch her breath while talking through the “extreme pain” in her chest. “This is a typical day,” she said. “I have pain in my head, pain in my chest.”

March 31

Our panel of experts discuss COVID-19 vaccine fact vs. fiction
BT Toronto
Interview with Brenda Chang
Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Zain Chagla and Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner Brenda Chang, join BT to talk about the COVID-19 vaccines, their concerns about the vaccine reports, and answer some of your questions.

G7 science bodies unite on priorities for environment and health
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Sharon Straus
The organizations that represent academic research within the Group of Seven nations have a message for world leaders: The same kind of scientific expertise that proved crucial to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is also required to address a broader set of environmental and health challenges facing humanity.

More COVID-19 patients in ICU than ever before, Canada’s LTC disaster & The global chip shortage is hitting home appliances
Global News Radio Hamilton
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
A new briefing note from a panel of science experts advising the Ontario government on COVID-19 shows the province is at a tipping point.

March 30

Annual vaccine campaign could be necessary: doctor
CTV News
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Fahad Razak, an internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, says annual vaccine campaign could be necessary

March 29

COVID-19 has re-inforced Canada’s need to strengthen generalist models of hospital care
Toronto Star
Opinion by Drs. Fahad Razak and Amol Verma
Hospitals have faced tremendous pressures the COVID-19 pandemic has spread globally. As Canadian hospitals have come under increasing strain, there has been an appropriate focus on intensive care unit (ICU) capacity and access to life-sustaining therapies, such as ventilators.

Canada pauses AstraZeneca for those under 55
CTV News Channel
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
The move comes amid reports of rare, but serious blood clots in Europe.

March 26

What ERs can do to provide better care for patients dealing with pregnancy loss
CBC News
Comments by Kate MacWilliams
A registered nurse who has studied the experiences of people dealing with early pregnancy loss in emergency departments says more education and empathy is needed to help patients navigate a traumatic time.

Vaccine vagaries
CBC News
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
Family physician and primary-care researcher Dr. Tara Kiran talks with the CBC’s Andrew Nichols about vaccines, restrictions and the rollout – and how her cohort of family doctors could help administer doses.

COVID-19 is soaring again in India. Can vaccines stop it?
Science Magazine
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Just over one month ago, many Indians believed the pandemic was winding down. Cases of COVID-19 had declined continuously and dramatically for five straight months, travel restrictions had been lifted, and wedding season was in full swing. In Mumbai, the local commuter trains were fully back in service on 1 February.

Gender bias against female surgeons fueling surgical backlogs
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Nancy Baxter, Dr. Fahima Dossa and Dr. Samantha Hill
Female surgeons in Canada have long faced gender-based referral biases that result in large pay gaps, and an inequitable and inefficient environment for patients, Canadian surgeons say, but with the urgency surrounding surgical backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some say the time is ripe for major changes to healthcare.

March 25

“The pilot won’t let you on the plane if you’re not dressed for survival”: This Toronto doctor travelled to Northern Ontario to vaccinate people in fly-in Indigenous reserves
Toronto Life
Interview with Dr. Suzanne Shoush
Suzanne Shoush, a long-time family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, was selected to take part in Ornge’s Operation Remote Immunity initiative, joining staff and physicians to vaccinate members of 31 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario. Here’s what the experience was like.

March 24

Everything you need to know about endometriosis and why it’s often misdiagnosed
The Marilyn Denis Show
Interview with Dr. Yolanda Kirkham
Despite what we’ve long been led to believe, painful periods are not normal.

March 23

Family docs say they have role in vaccinations
CP24
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
Family doctors in Ontario are calling for more involvement in the province’s vaccination efforts. The push comes after a recent survey by the Ontario College of Family Physicians which found that one-third of Ontarians remain unsure about receiving a vaccine.

COVID-19 and schizophrenia: A potentially deadly combination
The Conversation
Comments by Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah
People living with schizophrenia are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19 and completely missing from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations for vaccine distribution, which prioritizes seniors, front-line health-care workers and Indigenous communities in the first stage.

March 21

A year into the pandemic, doctors weigh in on what’s changed in Canada’s hospital emergency departments
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
During the first wave of COVID-19, emergency department doctors felt as though they were walking through a minefield. Some described the emergency department as almost calm compared to the usual frenzied pace. But there was a new creeping sense of peril and a fear of the unknown.

March 20

‘Everyone is at risk’: Migrants and undocumented workers need the COVID-19 vaccine too
Global News
Comments by Dr. Danyaal Raza
Lily has risked her life working on the frontlines in one of the most dangerous settings for COVID-19 deaths in the country: long-term care homes.

March 17

Anxiety drug increasingly found in opioid supply of overdose victims
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Karen McDonald
A class of drugs commonly used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders is increasingly being found in the illicit opioid supply, raising the risk of overdose, producing complex overdoses that are more difficult to reverse and rendering medications used to treat substance use disorders ineffective in some cases.

Indigenous clinics lead off-reserve vaccine efforts as Ontario develops plan
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Crystal Bell of the Matawa Health Co-operative recalls seeing elders relax and chat with each other after receiving their first COVID-19 vaccines earlier this month.

Thampi and Dhalla: More – and easier – student COVID testing is needed
Ottawa Citizen
Opinion co-written by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education of Canadian children and youth for more than a year now. Worryingly, the emergence of the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant has started to cause havoc in many communities and an increasing number of school closures.

The scientific case for delaying the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
Toronto Star
Opinion co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Arthur Slutsky
The development of highly effective vaccines against COVID-19 within one year of the start of the pandemic is a towering scientific achievement.

Questions mount over lack of COVID-19 vaccination plan for Ontario’s urban Indigenous communities
Global News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
If you were paying attention to provincial politics recently, you likely saw coverage of a dust-up between Premier Doug Ford and MPP Sol Mamakwa during question period.

March 16

Same-day hip and knee surgery at Toronto hospitals
CTV News Toronto
Comments by Dr. Amit Atrey
Same-day hip and knee surgery at a Toronto hospital aims to keep more beds empty for other patients who need them.

Vaccines & Variants
CBC News
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
Family physician Dr. Tara Kiran of St. Michael’s Hospital talks with the CBC’s Andrew Nichols about the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and the variants currently fuelling a surge in cases in Ontario.

March 15

They had to write an obituary for their 16-year-old son. This is what Saul’s parents want you to know about the pandemic’s effect on youth mental health
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Kate Strasburg
The public notice announcing the death of Saul Ignacio Arias leaves no mystery about how the 16-year-old’s life ended in January.

Doctor warns of 3rd wave, lockdowns as cases rise slightly amid Manitoba reopening
CBC Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Some health professionals aren’t convinced Manitoba should be reopening at its current pace, due to the increase of coronavirus variants in the province and a test positivity rate that’s beginning to creep up again.

March 14

Here’s how community groups are getting COVID-19 vaccinations to Indigenous people in Canada’s largest city
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
First Nations, Métis and Inuit adults are a priority group to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Ontario, and Indigenous health and social service agencies are trying to get the word out to thousands of people spread across Toronto that it’s their turn.

March 13

Doctors work to gain trust for COVID vaccine in northern Canadian Indigenous communities
Catholic Register
Comments by Dr. Alun Ackery
Just a little jab is no big deal for most of us, but getting COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of the most vulnerable took a trio of St. Michael’s Hospital doctors way above and way beyond — 1,200 kilometres above and beyond to the fly-in community of Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario.

March 12

A year of COVID — a time of learning and caring
Catholic Register
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Fr. Wilson Andrade’s smile is as broad, his laugh as ready and his intense interest in people as alive as it ever was. But he confesses that a year of lockdowns, online Masses and separation from his St. Ann’s parishioners in Toronto’s East Chinatown neighbourhood hasn’t been easy.

For Indigenous people, the urban-Northern divide has produced a tale of two vaccination efforts
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Métis physician Janet Smylie is tired. When I speak to her, she’s leaning against a wall at the Na-Me-Res Indigenous men’s shelter, which is now a pop-up vaccination clinic, as she takes a breath from her work.

Pregnant people may be eligible for the COVID vaccine earlier than we thought
Today’s Parent
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Last week, Ontario became the only Canadian province to announce they were prioritizing all pregnant people for the coronavirus vaccine, adding pregnancy to the list of conditions that could make you eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, before the rest of the general population.

March 11

The good, bad and ugly of one year of COVID, is market research woke now? And should you vaccine shop?
Newstalk 1010
Interview with Dr. Amol Verma
One year after COVID the good, bad and ugly – Why is market research called woke? How is woke a pejorative? – Should you shop around for a vaccine?

Vaccination of Toronto’s homeless well underway with about 1,000 getting a shot
Canadian Press
Comments by Linda Jackson
About 1,000 people in Toronto’s shelters and homeless encampments have received a COVID-19 vaccine, a health organization said, noting that immunization teams are learning how to build trust with the population to overcome hesitancy.

A lot of uncertainties during COVID first wave
CP24
Interview with Dr. Andrew Baker
On the anniversary of the WHO declaring the pandemic exactly one year ago, a series of high-profile doctors share their experiences.

Canada should copy San Francisco’s quarantine strategy for the homeless: advocates
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Advocates say Canada should learn from San Francisco’s approach in allowing homeless people to voluntarily quarantine in repurposed hotels, which includes providing them with behavioural health support.

Kenney promises Alberta COVID-19 vaccine choice over efficacy, religious concerns
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government will ensure that people can choose which COVID-19 vaccine they get, in part over concerns in some religious communities about the use of fetal cell lines in their development.

Panel rethinks advice on giving AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and up
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Matthew Muller
The expert panel that advises Ottawa on which people to prioritize for vaccination is reconsidering its position that the COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca should not be given to Canadians who are 65 and over.

March 10

A Ministry of Presence
Tricycle magazine
Comments by Jeff Braff
Bed-ridden patients lined the hallway, some gasping for their last breaths. This was a day in December, during the post-Thanksgiving spike of COVID-19 infections, at a hospital in Los Angeles near Skid Row. The rooms were full, so a hallway had been converted to an ICU, stuffed with nursing stations, boxes of protective equipment, and dying patients.

March 9

Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines (part 1 – part 2)
Citytv Breakfast Television
Interview with Brenda Chang
Conversation about the 4 different COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, what ‘vaccine efficiency’ means, and the side effects to expect when getting the vaccines.

March 8

A balance of challenges and rewards: Two doctors juggle family and medicine
CBC Metro Morning
Interview with Drs. Seema Marwaha and Tara Kiran
Dr. Seema Marwaha and Dr. Tara Kiran on embracing imperfection at work and at home and the lessons they have learned on the frontlines of the pandemic.

A Covid mystery
New York Times
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
It’s one of the biggest mysteries about COVID-19: Why has the death toll been relatively low across much of Africa and Asia?

March 6

Why hospitals are beginning to reuse or recycle oxygen masks, IV bags, drills they used to throw out
CBC The National
Comments by Dr. Ali Abbass
It may not be intuitive, but safely reusing medical equipment that has been previously used by doctors or patients can help hospitals save on health care costs, prevent supply shortages and have beneficial knock-on effects for the whole population, say some doctors.

COVID-19 vaccines and pre-existing medical conditions: Should certain people not get a shot?
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Matthew Muller
With the approval of the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, Canadians now have four COVID-19 vaccine options that have been tested by researchers and carefully scrutinized by regulators.

March 5

Vaccination teams set up mobile clinics, offering cash or gift cards, to reach vulnerable homeless people
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Linda Jackson
Guy Felicella says a small cash honorarium or coffee gift card always helped draw him into in a research study or public-health campaign during the two decades he spent living on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he once struggled to fuel a heroin and cocaine addiction.

Why have family doctors been overlooked in vaccine rollout?
Toronto Star
Commentary by Dr. Tara Kiran
Last fall the same scenes played out in hundreds of communities across Ontario. People walking through the front door of a clinic and being ushered into an exam room. Others sitting in cars lined up in the parking lot of a community building, extending their arms out the window. A few confined to their home, answering their doorbell and smiling to greet a trusted face.

March 4

Sask has 700,000 rapid antigen tests. A new study says, across Canada, those rapid tests are not being used enough
CBC Radio Saskatoon
Interview with Dr. Kevin Schwartz
According to a paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, public health authorities can still improve their testing strategies against COVID-19, to detect more pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people who are carrying the virus. Dr. Kevin Schwartz is one of the paper’s co-authors. He is also an Infectious disease physician at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto.

Worry, frustration over Toronto’s stalled vaccine rollout
CBC The National
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran and Dr. Anna Banerji
Seniors over 80 in Toronto are getting increasingly worried and frustrated that they’re still not getting COVID-19 vaccinations. Some parts of Ontario have already opened clinics, but Toronto has yet to articulate a comprehensive plan.

March 2

Ontario looks at delaying 2nd dose of vaccines, Recommendations not to use AstraZeneca on seniors & The great snap-back
Global News Radio 900 (Hamilton)
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Ontario is looking at possibly delaying second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to nearly four months after a person receives their first shot.

March 1

How the pandemic might be affecting your child’s development
The Social
Interview with Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Pediatrician Dr. Ripudaman Minhas discusses the potential effects of reduced socializing, missing school and less physical activity in children.

BIPOC Manitobans face disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection, report finds
CBC Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
People of colour in Manitoba have seen disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections, a new report released by the provincial government found.

Report reveals people of colour in Manitoba are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (video)
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Andrew Pinto
People of colour in Manitoba have seen disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infections, a new report released by the provincial government found.

March

World’s Best Hospitals 2021
Newsweek
St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s are mentioned
This is the third year that Newsweek has partnered with Statista Inc, the respected global data research firm, to reveal the World’s Best Hospitals— and it may be our most important ranking yet.

Green Team makes health care more sustainable
Hospital News
Comments by Sarah Nestico and Julia Lee
Canada’s health care system is responsible for 4.6 per cent of the country’s pollutant emissions, both directly from healthcare facilities and vehicles, and indirectly through buying emission-intensive goods and services.

Unity Health Toronto’s new Energy Team dedicated to reducing energy consumption
Hospital News
Comments by Katelyn Poyntz, Emily Huang and Shailesh Abhang
Hospitals have massive environmental footprints. It takes a lot of electricity for the 24/7 care required in acute care, emergency and long-term care residences.

February 27

Experts caution against the temptation to comparison shop COVID-19 vaccines
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
While it’s tempting to compare various aspects of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s newly approved COVID-19 vaccine to others, several experts cautioned against focusing on data that is not comparable and the danger of underrating the product’s ability to curb hospitalizations and deaths.

February 26

Nearly one year into the pandemic, Toronto students continue to struggle with mental health
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Anna Banerji
It’s been nearly one year since students in Ontario had a “normal” school experience — one that doesn’t involve on-line learning, masking and physical distancing during a pandemic — and a new survey from the province’s largest school board suggests that more are feeling unhappy, nervous or worried about the future.

February 25

New national survey aims to enroll more than 600,000 participants to study vaccine side effects
CTV News
Dr. Matthew Muller
As the vaccine rollout picks up, a sweeping new national survey is looking for more than half a million Canadians willing to provide information on any adverse events that occur after vaccination.

So you got your COVID-19 shot. Does that mean life goes back to normal?
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
After Toronto family physician Dr. Tali Bogler received her final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in January, she felt a newfound sense of relief — but also knew her daily life wasn’t going to suddenly change.

February 24

New COVID-19 testing program at Pearson airport to deliver results for select passengers in just two hours
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Kevin Schwartz
Travellers and employees at Toronto’s Pearson airport will soon be able to opt in to a COVID-19 testing research program that will deliver results in just two hours.

Vaccine safety study to examine adverse reactions to COVID-19 shots
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Matthew Muller
Scientists who are mounting the largest independent study of vaccine safety in Canadian history are seeking the participation of hundreds of thousands of people across the country – including those who have not yet been vaccinated for COVID-19 – to get the information they need.

Advocacy groups call for COVID-19 vaccine plan for migrants, undocumented workers
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Danyaal Raza
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout needs to guarantee equal access for migrants and undocumented workers, advocates for migrant rights say.

COVID-19 variant found in more Toronto homeless shelters, encampment
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Holly Knowles
Variants of COVID-19 have now been found in five Toronto shelters and one homeless encampment, prompting calls for the vulnerable population to quickly be vaccinated against the virus.

February 23

Variants prompt new rules amid “race” with vaccine delivery
Belleville Intelligencer
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Ontario is increasing efforts to stop the spread of more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus, with doctors urging continued precautions and warning of the risks of reopening the province too quickly.

February 22

Lobbyists guarantee that for-profit cataracts will pay more
Toronto Star
Op-Ed co-written by Dr. Danyaal Raza
The Ford government’s plan to pay private, for-profit clinics for cataract surgeries will cost Ontario at least 25 per cent more per operation than when our hospitals do the surgery. Politically connected lobbyists are behind this plan, which the Health Ministry is quietly enacting while Ontarians are preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospital diagnostic tests restricted since October
Winnipeg Free Press
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Manitoba has taken the exceptional move of restricting numerous diagnostic tests in hospitals to clear up capacity for COVID-19 tests.

Province announces funding to train 60 new PSWs in Kitchener
Toronto Star
St. Michael’s is mentioned
The province has announced funding to train 60 new personal support workers in Kitchener to bolster staffing in long-term care.

February 21

Pfizer begins trials on pregnant women
CTV News Network
Interview with Dr. Tali Bogler
Pharmaceutical company starts international study with 4,000 volunteers.

February 18

Fast-spreading U.K. variant will likely become dominant in the GTA before the end of the month, study warns
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
A new local study suggests a concerning rise in the B.1.1.7 COVID variant in the GTA, and predicts it will likely become dominant in the region before the end of the month.

February 17

Who gets priority?
CBC Radio
Interview with Dr. Anju Anand
Who should be priority for shots during the second stage of vaccine rollout? The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says racialized people in vulnerable communities. We hear from a public health advocate for their thoughts.

February 16

Delays at the Social Benefits Tribunal have tripled, leaving ODSP claimants in extended limbo
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Gary Bloch
Chad Waisanen says he feels as if his life is stuck in a demoralizing limbo, each day a little more desperate and hopeless than the last.

Big shots
Toronto Life
Comments by Drs. Anna Banerji and Sheila Wijayasinghe
For nearly a year, a Covid-19 vaccine felt like a pipe dream. Then, seemingly overnight, it was here. What it meant to the front-line workers and long-term care residents who were first in line.

February 15

Got a COVID-19 vaccine? Act like you didn’t
Toronto Star
Comments by Jenna Lee
Until Ontario’s three-phased vaccine rollout is completed, the province will likely experience a tiered society in which some people will have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, some just one, and others will still be waiting.

A visit to Sunnybook’s virtual ER: ‘It’s quite amazing how much you can do by video’
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Shaun Mehta
An elderly man who had fallen and badly injured his wrist. A young child with a high fever, his parents worried about a possible infection. A man with an alarmingly red and swollen eye. A woman who had recently suffered a miscarriage and was in mental distress.

February 13

Canada is ‘playing chicken’ with COVID-19 by reopening while variants are spreading widely
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Much of Canada is lifting lockdown measures and reopening risky indoor settings while experts warn fast-spreading coronavirus variants threaten to jeopardize recent progress and trigger a brutal third wave.

February 10

Risk of death from COVID-19 is 3.5 times higher than influenza, CMAJ study finds
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
A study published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found the risk of death from COVID-19 was 3.5 times higher than from influenza.

February 9

Ontario reopening: Doctor discusses province’s plan and how virus variants could impact it
CBC Radio Kitchener-Waterloo
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Fahad Razak is a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and a member of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. He discussed plans by Ontario to let more businesses reopen and gradually lift its stay-at-home orders.

U of T study of 1918 Spanish flu highlights danger of hesitant, decentralized pandemic response
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Peter Jüni
Researchers from the University of Toronto, working with counterparts in Switzerland, have found that a hesitant and decentralized response to the 1918 Spanish Flu led to longer and stronger follow-up waves of the disease in the Swiss canton of Bern a century ago – a finding that holds valuable lessons for public health officials dealing with COVID-19.

February 8

Doctors’ virtual visits jumped by 5,600% during COVID. What does that mean for the future of Canadian health care?
Toronto Star
Comments by Drs. Rick Glazier and Tara Kiran
The pandemic has radically changed the way Ontarians get appointments with their family doctors, with office visits dropping by almost 80 per cent and virtual-care visits jumping by a whopping 5,600 per cent, a new study shows.

February 6

Here’s what an effective rapid testing campaign would look like — if our health officials made it happen
National Post
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
As tensions rise in Canada over vaccine supply problems, experts advising the federal government say we’re falling woefully short in another area that could make a huge difference in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic: rapid testing.

February 4

As Toronto’s largest shelter grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak, a resident talks about life inside and his worry for the elderly
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
When Alexey Nadein looks around Seaton House, Toronto’s largest homeless shelter, the facility looks little like he first encountered it, a year or so ago, when it was packed to the brim.

Health providers ‘roll with the punches’
Catholic Register
Comments by Dr. Rania Lingas
There’s no question the global pandemic has posed great challenges to health systems around the world, from the many suffering from illness to those providing their support and care.

February 2

Who is an essential worker in the GTA? Millions of us, data shows. This is life — outside lockdown — in five graphs
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Since arriving in Toronto in 1994, Lily Wong has assumed many roles: driving school secretary, software saleswoman, part-time postal outlet worker, and now, a nursing home dietary aide.

February 1

Thousands of Ontario kids heading back to school today
CTV News Your Morning
Interview with Dr. Prabhat Jha
Dr. Prabhat Jha from St. Michael’s Hospital weighs in on the decision to return some students to class.

February

Toronto physician leads GTA Hospital Incident Management System
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Andrew Baker
As the second wave surges across Ontario, hospitals are facing significant pressures from COVID-19, particularly around bed capacity.

Definitely not the flu: risk of death from COVID-19 3.5 times higher than from flu
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
A new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) found that the risk of death from COVID-19 was 3.5 times higher than from influenza.

January 30

‘Man, I’ve seen a lot of people die’: Canada’s other health crisis
CTV News W5
Comments by Drs. Tara Gomes and Daniel Beriault
It’s the toxic drug supply; an epidemic within the pandemic. Never before in the history of this country have more people died from drug overdoses. It’s a health emergency that is being fuelled by the pandemic.

January 29

After newness fades, Canada settles down to legal marijuana
New York Times
Comments by Dr. Dan Werb
As part of The Times’s Promises Made series, I’ve looked back at Canada’s experience with becoming the first major industrialized nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Pfizer’s vaccine deficit
CTV National News
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
New vaccination tactics and timing so far can’t change the riddle of the rollout.

January 28

Rising COVID-19 cases in northern Ontario schools raise concerns as reopenings set for Monday
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Northern school boards — the first in the province to resume in-person classes after an extended holiday break — are reporting at least 14 COVID-19 outbreaks among students, staff and other unidentified individuals since returning Jan. 11.

Let’s talk about the medical profession’s hidden equity crisis: Canadians’ mental health care
The Globe and Mail
Op-ed co-written by Dr. Thomas Ungar
Raising awareness is a good thing, and campaigns such as Bell Let’s Talk should be lauded for their efforts. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental illness doesn’t begin and end with personal attitudes and behaviours.

Quebec researchers find possible coronavirus treatment, but some remain skeptical
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. John Marshall
In the quest to keep COVID-19 patients out of hospital, the ideal treatment would be a cheap, widely available pill that could be taken immediately after a positive test.

January 27

Offer the COVID vaccine to people who are pregnant, trying to conceive, CMAJ commentary says
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive should be offered COVID-19 vaccine on ethical grounds, says a new commentary in Canada’s leading medical journal.

January 26

Pregnant healthcare workers can get COVID-19 vaccine, province says
CityNews
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
After initially being excluded, a change in guidelines will give pregnant healthcare workers a chance to get the shot.

Made-in-Canada coronavirus vaccine starts human clinical trials
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Mario Ostrowski
A made-in-Canada vaccine to protect against COVID-19 began human clinical trials Tuesday in Toronto, says the biotechnology company that developed the vaccine.

How rapidly is Canada rolling out COVID-19 rapid testing?
Global News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
People living on the street in Vancouver’s lower east side; pop-up site attendees across Nova Scotia; staff and visitors at long-term care homes in various places across Canada — these are all groups with access to COVID-19 rapid test pilot programs.

January 25

As doctors urge more COVID-19 testing in schools, millions of rapid tests sit unused
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Improved access and quicker turnaround times for COVID-19 testing are essential if schools in Ontario’s hardest-hit regions are to open again safely, experts say.

January 24

From Montreal to Manchester, communities begin to vaccinate the homeless
Washington Post
Comments by Dr. Karen Weyman
Amid worrying new outbreaks of covid-19 and pressure from advocates, Montreal this month began vaccinating some of the city’s homeless, members of a group that is chronically neglected around the world and acutely vulnerable to the coronavirus.

January 23

Toronto’s Indigenous population largely overlooked in COVID-19 vaccine plans, doctors who work with them say
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Indigenous people have been largely left out of Toronto’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans, according to several prominent Indigenous health leaders.

January 22

‘We’re just dreading, dreading the minus 15s’: Despite a milder winter so far, hospitals have already seen a spike in frostbite among homeless patients due to COVID-19
Toronto Star
Comments by Nicole Champagne
Toronto is in the midst of a particularly mild winter, but in the emergency room at St. Michael’s Hospital, social worker Nicole Champagne has seen more frostbite and hypothermia than ever.

January 20

Vaccine rollout to homeless people in Toronto’s shelters put on hold due to supply shortage
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
A pilot project that aimed to vaccinate homeless people in Toronto’s shelters has been put on hold due to a vaccine shortage, local officials said Wednesday.

Canadian health care: Is being better than the U.S. good enough?
TVO
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Back in 2017, as the Donald Trump administration was trying — unsuccessfully — to repeal the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, Vice-President Mike Pence said the following during an with an Alaskan radio station: “You know, somewhere in between where I’m sitting in Washington, D.C., and Alaska is a place called Canada. I probably don’t need to tell the people in Alaska about the failings of national socialized health care, because it’s right in our neighbour, and you see the results every day.”

January 19

Prioritize ICU treatment for patients ‘most likely to survive’ in event of COVID ‘major surge,’ Ontario hospitals told
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Andrew Baker
Hospitals in Ontario have received a much-anticipated document that lays out the criteria to be used if intensive care units fill up and medical resources are scarce.

COVID-19 vaccine pilot aims to protect most vulnerable in Toronto’s shelter system
Toronto.com
Unity Health Toronto is mentioned
Some of Toronto’s most vulnerable shelter residents and the frontline workers that support them are being offered the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Toronto launches pilot project to vaccinate homeless and shelter workers
680 News
Unity Health Toronto is mentioned
The City of Toronto has announced an initiative to help further protect people in the city’s shelter system from COVID-19.

‘It leads to mistrust’: Experts weigh in on Ontario’s COVID-19 communications
TVO
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Within hours of releasing Ontario’s latest stay-at-home order last week, the government announced and then reversed and then recommitted to a provincial residential-eviction ban.

Province could likely mandate COVID-19 vaccine for health workers — and win a legal challenge, analysis says
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge
If provinces and territories mandated vaccines for health-care workers, they would likely win any charter challenges launched by aggrieved employees, so long as some exemptions were permitted, a new legal analysis argues.

Montreal, Toronto launch pilot project to vaccinate homeless people
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
Montreal and Toronto have launched pilot projects to start vaccinating people who are homeless against COVID-19. But officials have several challenges to overcome, including a lack of trust in the health system.

January 18

Canada has tens of millions of COVID-19 rapid tests. Why aren’t we using them?
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
Where are the COVID-19 rapid tests? It’s a question that was repeatedly raised by health professionals and opposition politicians in the fall, as the country headed into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 15

Ontario special education classes can continue in person, but concerns about safety persist
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
With two young children enrolled in special education classes, Adriana Ferreira-Legault wrestles with a dilemma every morning over in-person schooling for her children.

Ontario’s new lockdown is confusing. A big question remains: Will it work?
Toronto Star
Comments by Peter Jüni
An epidemiologist who sits on the provincial government’s scientific advisory table says it’s clear what needs to be done in Ontario to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Residents roll up sleeves to COVID vaccine at Scarborough long-term-care home
Toronto.com
Comments by Pat Colucci
Residents of the Houses of Providence received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month as music played in the halls and joyful staff looked on.

January 14

The COVID-19 death toll is even worse than it looks
Wall Street Journal
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
The recorded death count from the COVID-19 pandemic as of Thursday is nearing two million. The true extent is far worse.

January 13

While the nation obsessed over vaccine deliveries, the pandemic was getting worse
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada was the first truly good news since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. But it was also a false dawn.

Workplaces were source of 25 per cent of Manitoba’s COVID-19 community-linked cases last fall
CBC Manitoba
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Manitoba saw hundreds of COVID-19 cases linked to workplaces and stores last fall after the province ordered most businesses shut and barred private gatherings.

January 11

Should expecting mothers get the COVID-19 vaccine?
TLN
Interview with Dr. Filomena Meffe
Dr. Filomena Meffe, chief of OBGYN at St. Michael’s Hospital, talks about pregnancy during the ongoing pandemic, and addresses the concerns regarding pregnant women receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Un portrait sombre aussi en Ontario (en français)
Radio-Canada Le Téléjournal
Comments by Dr. Samuel Vaillancourt
La santé publique recense aujourd’hui 29 nouveaux décès, ce qui porte le nombre de morts liées au nouveau coronavirus à 5012 depuis le début de la pandémie en Ontario.

January 9

St. Joseph’s Health Centre health-care workers get Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Toronto.com
St. Joseph’s Health Care launched its COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday to inoculate its health-care employees working on the front line of the pandemic.

‘Lockdown light’ failed in Canada’s hardest-hit regions. Here’s what experts say should happen now
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
There’s no getting around it — lockdown measures don’t seem to be working in Ontario and Quebec the second time around.

January 8

Pregnant, breastfeeding and immunocompromised people no longer excluded from getting COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
Pregnant, breastfeeding and immunocompromised people will now be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, if they choose to, according to new guidance from the Ministry of Health.

January 7

‘We are in worse shape now than ever before’: Toronto records 2,000th COVID-19 death, with the peak nowhere in sight
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Amol Verma
COVID-19 has now killed 2,000 Torontonians — a grim milestone reached Thursday — as experts warn the death toll is poised to accelerate through the winter.

Toronto hospitals encouraged by early stages of virtual ER programs
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Shaun Mehta
Three Toronto hospitals say they’ve had early success with their virtual emergency departments and hope that the service introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay.

Ontario’s grim tally
CTV National News
Comments by Dr. Irfan Dhalla
COVID’s relentless march is showing no mercy here either.

January 6

Canada to vaccinate federal inmates against COVID-19 starting Friday
Reuters
Comments by Dr. Farah Mawani
Canada will start inoculating its federal prison inmates against COVID-19 starting Friday, protecting a vulnerable population that many jurisdictions have struggled to keep safe during the pandemic, a government statement said on Wednesday.

January 5

Suicide, let’s talk about it
The Happy Molecule podcast
Interview with Dr. Sakina Rizvi
Suicide. We tend to shy away from the topic. However, with rates rising at alarming pace with lockdowns and isolation, we can’t ignore it any longer. What to know, what to watch for.

January 4

For students with disabilities, school lockdowns come with a huge cost: vital brain development
The Globe and Mail
Commentary by Dr. Ripudaman Minhas
Schools are much more than classrooms for students with disabilities and exceptional learning needs. They are community hubs and key access points for therapy and health care. As a developmental pediatrician focused on the health and well-being of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, I have watched in horror as this aspect of my patients’ lived reality is treated as an afterthought in our society’s pandemic response.

What the world could teach Canada about COVID-19 vaccine rollouts
CBC The National
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has gotten off to a sluggish start, but there could be lessons to learn from countries such as Israel, which has vaccination clinics operating around the clock.

Mental illness in condos amid a pandemic
Condo Business
Comments by Dr. Thomas Ungar
After 20 years in the industry, one property manager says he’s seen a fair number of residents struggling with mental health conditions. “We face these things all the time,” says Vadim Koyen, president of CPO Management. “Unfortunately, the number of people who suffer from mental illness are increasing tremendously and those people are living in condominiums among us.”

January 2

The loneliness of fighting cancer in a pandemic
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Rania Lingas
Six years after being diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, Jamie Phelps is no stranger to bad news. With her husband, Chris Phelps, by her side, the 34-year-old has braved countless rounds of chemotherapy, three liver and four lung surgeries, and a hysterectomy.

January 1

Our wishes for 2021: From the thrill of a crowd, to new respect, to speedy vaccine access for all
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Carolyn Snider
So long, 2020. It hardly needs explaining at this point why the past 12 months have been so challenging for so many people. But after a period that has pushed many to the brink, we are set to step into a new year.

Last updated October 15, 2021