In the news

2021

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.

2020

December 29

Breaking down walls: Teamwork key to effective vaccine rollout
Healthy Debate
Commentary co-written by Dr. Tara Kiran
Since Canada approved our first COVID-19 vaccine, our attention has been focused on ensuring adequate vaccine supply, figuring out distribution and storage and deciding who gets it first. There’s been little discussion, though, about who will be giving the vaccine and where.

December 28

The best available science supports allowing family and caregivers into hospitals, not restricting them
The Globe and Mail
Opinion co-written by Dr. Fahad Razak
Decades of advocacy from patient groups have made hospitals more welcoming to families and patient caregivers. According to a 2015 report by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI), only 30 per cent of Canadian hospitals had policies that were accommodating to visitors; the CFHI released another study in June that found that number had risen to more than 70 per cent, immediately before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

December 23

Health-care workers lining up for COVID-19 vaccine, but some warn of ‘real troubles’ with hesitancy
CBC News Toronto
Comments by Melissa Vitug and Dr. Tim Rutledge
Melissa Vitug had mixed feelings about getting a vaccine for COVID-19 — a choice which would make her part of the first wave of health-care workers in Ontario to do so.

December 22

‘It’s a game changer’: COVID-19 vaccine program starts at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto (video)
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge and Seeta Green
Long Term Care workers received some of the first set of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech as the Unity Health Toronto vaccine program opened on December 22nd.

New moms are not OK
Today’s Parent
Comments by Dr. Tali Bogler
With six weeks to go until her due date, Leah Cardin, a teacher in Burlington, Ont., was feeling confident in her birth plan.

Metroland Toronto helps kids have a ‘Beary Merry’ Christmas
Toronto.com
Comments by Alie Drabble
Not even a pandemic could stop Metroland Toronto from bringing a “Beary Merry Christmas” to dozens of hospitalized kids.

December 21

‘Traffic light’ educational intervention reduces therapeutic inertia among neurologists
Healio
Comments by Dr. Gustavo Saposnik
An educational intervention reduced therapeutic inertia, as measured by pupil dilation, among neurologists, suggesting that autonomic arousal shows how clinicians deal with uncertainty in therapeutic decision-making.

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