In the news

2021

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.

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 1part 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.

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