To The Editor,
There is finally some good COVID news peeking out of the statistics.
CBC’s tracker (https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/coronavirustracker/) shows confirmed cases in Ontario and Quebec, as well as across the country are dropping dramatically, and on January 17, 2022 are close to pre-Christmas levels. Hospitalizations have started to level off and ICU occupancies are beginning to show the same trend.
The worldometer site (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries) shows the number of new cases across the globe is declining and that the number of daily deaths has more or less leveled off.
Quebec can put aside plans to divide Canadians and impose user fees on our health care system. The problem was not COVID. Hospitals were at full capacity before the pandemic due to lack of support for health care in Quebec, Ontario and all of Canada.
As early as 1995, Fowler et al published an article “Critical care capacity in Canada: results of a national cross-sectional study” highlighted the problem. Mike Crawley · CBC News · Posted: Jan 22 describing hallway medicine, the result of insufficient capacity in Canadian hospitals. The same author published a follow up article Posted: Nov 02, 2020 describing overcrowding in spite of a lull in COVID patients at the time.
We lag behind major countries in terms of hospital capacity. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_hospital_beds) posts that between 2013 and 2017 Canada had 2.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people and the hospitals at that time were at 91% capacity. ICU beds during the same period were 13.5 beds per 100,000. Germany, by contrast, had 8 beds per 1,000 persons, and their hospitals were at 62% capacity. They had 38 ICU beds per 100,000 persons.
Now that the panic is over, provincial and federal governments have to do the work they were elected to perform. Health care costs money. Health care is expensive because it is a service that needs one-to-one contact with the patient. Health care cannot be mass produced. As the population increases, as the population ages, the cost of health care will go up.
I do not remember a single politician running on a platform of health care cuts, yet cuts have taken place. If nothing else, the past two years has shown that the tide has to change.