Posted in Health & Medicine, Opinion

COVID-19 For Dummies

Question: It’s 2021, why aren’t we out of the woods yet and why can’t our health care system manage the rising number of COVID-19 cases?

A lot of health care workers retired, quit and has gotten ill. Health care workers are burnt out. We don’t have enough beds to accommodate the influx of patients and short staffing remains a huge problem. ICU (intensive care unit) beds are empty not because there are no patients but ICU nurses are lacking. ICU is a specialty and takes 8-12 months to train. Additionally, acute care areas are overflowing with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. Remember the cancelled surgeries and closed clinics last year? Those patients with cancelled surgeries or have missed appointments have gotten sicker and are now in acute care longer. Again, let’s go back to short staffing issues. It’s been short staffed before the pandemic (surprise, surprise!). Healthcare workers are not invincible. With the closure of schools, it’s now more difficult to keep children at home, plus work at the same time. One cannot stay at home if working as a healthcare worker, unfortunately. Health care workers working in an area with COVID-19 patients, may have contracted the virus and now have to stay home (no paid sick leave, btw, shoutout to the provincial and federal governments) or if you are working at a non-COVID-19 unit, you’re short staffed with a heavier work load than the usual, it’s not a walk in the park. Also, imagine doing this for a while, not complaining or anything, just stating a fact.

We need more nurses, doctors and healthcare workers but the hiring process takes 2-4 months on average or maybe more. In fact, we have a lot of internationally educated nurses who are skilled enough (who are already in Canada) to fill these positions but to get your education, experiences and skills assessed, it takes 2-4 years. Again, red tape is an issue. Logistically speaking, these factors are not conducive to solve the pandemic in Canada. We could add the slow procurement of vaccines and lack of supply to the equation as well. And oh, the bureaucratic bullsh*t doesn’t help in any way. To the politicians, get it together please! Work harder like the healthcare workers. Their sacrifices are impeccable and outstanding compared to your 6-figure salaries.

Let me also add the risky behaviours of the population that help spread the virus (are you one of those?). The belief systems, cultural implications, political views and personal beliefs impact the rising number of cases that have led to where we are right now. Instead of continuous complaining and whining (which is not really helping in any way), we must be socially responsible and do our part in preventing the spread of this virus. But then again, one might question, why should we do it? It doesn’t affect me in any way. NOT YET. Remember, you are not invincible like you think you are. You are still a susceptible host that the virus can penetrate at any given moment. You might think, “it’s just a cold or flu,” you could survive it, no doubt about that. On the other hand, pray that it doesn’t give you a tour inside an ICU and everything that you believed as a conspiracy could be coming true. For now, be thankful that you’re reading this in the safety of your home and can sleep in your own bed. After all, you don’t want to wake up in a gurney, or a hospital bed.