Patients are 'exhausted' and 'exasperated,' medical experts say after a year under COVID-19
We're all in the same storm, but not all in the same boat, Dr. Amit Arya says
Dr. Samantha Hill, president of the Ontario Medical Association, and Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician at McMaster University and the University of Toronto, describe what they see as the most urgent actions the province needs to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Watch the full video at the top of this page.
Here's one question host Conrad Collaco asked them:
Q: What are patients telling you about what this last year has been like for them, their expectations about getting the vaccine and being able to move on with their lives once that has happened?
Dr. Samantha Hill:
Patients are exhausted and they're exasperated. They have had their lives in some variety of hold, best case scenarios for over a year now. And the worst case scenarios, they've lost loved ones. They have lost loved ones and been unable to be at bedside to grieve with them and their families. People have been through the ringer this year financially, psychologically, emotionally, physically, medically. It doesn't matter how you look at it. It's been a hard year for everyone and people want to be past it. They want to be on the other side of this. And they're looking to places like Israel, which has managed to roll out an exemplary vaccine program and is going back to something almost like normal life. They're looking at national advisories that are suggesting people not come to Canada because our current rates are so high and they are having issues figuring out what they're supposed to be doing. We all know that we have a role to play in getting past this, but we can't ask people to make decisions that are impossible.
Dr. Amit Arya:
It's really a very tough time and I can say that everybody I see working on the front lines of COVID-19, everybody who's suffering or coming to the end of life, sadly, because of COVID-19 is once again an essential worker or their family. And I've spoken to people or loved ones where they've said, well, we just didn't have a choice. 'We had to go to work. I was worried about getting thrown out of my apartment.' That, of course, is ominous and it's sort of a national conversation or really an international conversation, that in the third wave, we have the majority of cases being driven by variance of concern which are causing much more severe illness in younger people. And that's definitely reflected in what myself and my colleagues are seeing on the front lines. And it's reflected in the data, for example, with the variants your risk of ending up in the ICU is more than double. And we know that your risk of death is increased by 40 percent.
And these people who are essential workers, low income, many of them are racialized and new immigrants to Canada, they're just struggling to make a living. As my colleague Dr. Hill has said, people are living paycheck to paycheck. And, you know, I've seen sort of whole families become infected very often tragic consequences.
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