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Silence&Motion

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So, how's everybody feeling about their old opinions on this topic?
It's amazing that even those of us who predicted this seem overly optimistic in hindsight. I knew Kenney would be forced to crawl back to the podium to announce new lockdown measures. I didn't expect him to wait until the hospitals were literally in collapse.
 

MichaelS

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It is extremely disappointing to see us in this situation. I have a friend who is a surgeon at the Children's hospital who I hadn't spoken with since the start of the pandemic, and when I saw the article last week about them closing most operating theatres so staff could be transferred to ICU's, I reached out to see how he was doing. He is a very polite and professional person, his comment was it is really sad what is happening to our heath care system, it is definitely affecting many Albertans, including children.

I have been pretty apathetic about the Federal election that is going on, I typically am pretty apathetic about politics apart from the local municipal level, but I am surprised nobody ran on a platform of significant healthcare reform. While it sucks that there are so many anti-vaxxers out there that have now overwhelmed our system to the point of collapse, I am a bit surprised at how few it actually took to do this. Slightly more than 200 in ICU, and we are on the brink. Predicting this during the pandemic was possible, but difficult. And yes, there will be some definite pain in the short term. But, is anyone talking about a need to change things once we are through this? Maybe, as I said I am pretty apathetic around what higher orders of government are doing, but I don't think any of the major parties brought this up. I can only imagine what the demands on our healthcare system will be in 5-10 years, as my parent's generation gets that much older. Will we be in this state of collapse again, as we see more and more people in the ICU, despite no pandemic?

I think this is what is really starting to bother me more. The anti-vaxxers provide a very obvious and convenient scape goat, but don't seem to raise the question about how do we deal with the obvious shortcomings of our system? The message seems to be that things would be good were it not for "them", but I don't think that is the case. Am I just wrong about this?
 

darwink

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Growing capacity slowly is much easier than growing rapidly. That being said, this provincial government seemed to act like Alberta would be better off with fewer doctors and nurses until weeks ago.

The obvious shortcoming is that the system is not resilient to surge in demand. The problem is that there are very few events where a surge in demand goes on for months and months, instead of just a few days.

Our option really is: should we have 2 ICU teams for every one we need normally who basically work half time for full pay so that we can surge every 20 to 50 years?
 

Surrealplaces

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So, how's everybody feeling about their old opinions on this topic?
From my prediction On July 5
"We are headed in the right direction, but I hope people don't get too overconfident. We may be back to restrictions before we know it."
I honestly felt like we were headed in the right direction - Not the direction taken by the UCP, but the course of the pandemic in general - but sadly we are back to restrictions, only the restrictions didn't come before we knew it, the government had to be dragged and kicking into doing it after everyone else knew it.
 
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MichaelS

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Growing capacity slowly is much easier than growing rapidly. That being said, this provincial government seemed to act like Alberta would be better off with fewer doctors and nurses until weeks ago.

The obvious shortcoming is that the system is not resilient to surge in demand. The problem is that there are very few events where a surge in demand goes on for months and months, instead of just a few days.

Our option really is: should we have 2 ICU teams for every one we need normally who basically work half time for full pay so that we can surge every 20 to 50 years?
Is this the only option? Or is it the only option within our current system? I really don't know, I am not very familiar with the intricacies of our current system. But is this really the best we can do? This is where I think perhaps a bigger scale, structural reform of the whole system may be necessary. If not spurred by a global health crisis, where the current system is brought to collapse, then when?

Maybe I am just tilting at a windmill here...
 

Silence&Motion

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It is extremely disappointing to see us in this situation. I have a friend who is a surgeon at the Children's hospital who I hadn't spoken with since the start of the pandemic, and when I saw the article last week about them closing most operating theatres so staff could be transferred to ICU's, I reached out to see how he was doing. He is a very polite and professional person, his comment was it is really sad what is happening to our heath care system, it is definitely affecting many Albertans, including children.

I have been pretty apathetic about the Federal election that is going on, I typically am pretty apathetic about politics apart from the local municipal level, but I am surprised nobody ran on a platform of significant healthcare reform. While it sucks that there are so many anti-vaxxers out there that have now overwhelmed our system to the point of collapse, I am a bit surprised at how few it actually took to do this. Slightly more than 200 in ICU, and we are on the brink. Predicting this during the pandemic was possible, but difficult. And yes, there will be some definite pain in the short term. But, is anyone talking about a need to change things once we are through this? Maybe, as I said I am pretty apathetic around what higher orders of government are doing, but I don't think any of the major parties brought this up. I can only imagine what the demands on our healthcare system will be in 5-10 years, as my parent's generation gets that much older. Will we be in this state of collapse again, as we see more and more people in the ICU, despite no pandemic?

I think this is what is really starting to bother me more. The anti-vaxxers provide a very obvious and convenient scape goat, but don't seem to raise the question about how do we deal with the obvious shortcomings of our system? The message seems to be that things would be good were it not for "them", but I don't think that is the case. Am I just wrong about this?

In terms of health care reforms, I'd like to see much more done on public health policy rather than major changes to hospital capacity. Trying to address this pandemic through hospital capacity is like trying to stop a tsunami by purchasing more umbrellas. We're talking different orders of magnitude. COVID ICU admissions are basically 1% of all known cases. As a result, we've been stuck in a situation where we can't let the virus spread to more than 20,000 people at a time. Doubling ICU capacity in the province would just mean that we need to cap active infections at 40,000. It would make no material difference to our experience of the pandemic. In fact, it would be worse, because we don't really want a lot of people in the ICU in the first place. Many of them die. Even more develop lifelong disabilities and illness.

The only way we'll do better in the next pandemic is by prevent the spread of the disease in the first place. The UCP has been the worst, but politicians of all stripes have a pretty terrible record in this regard. Whether it was fear of getting ahead of public opinion or just outright denial, our leaders have routinely delayed making tough decisions until things spiralled out of control. Vaccines are the most egregious example of this. We have literally been given a deus ex machina that will end this pandemic and our leaders have been slow to actually enforce its use. It became clear that demand was slipping back in June and (at least in Alberta) we're only getting enforcement now, three months later. Even the strictest provinces are still probably not where they need to be in terms of enforcement.

For the next pandemic, I think we need to look very closely at issues like border closures/monitoring, cheap rapid testing, tracking/tracing, vaccine roll out and enforcement, etc. We need to figure out how we can act faster and more aggressively even in situations with incomplete information. And - this may not be popular - I really think we need to reconsider how we weigh free speech versus social cohesion. No society in history has provided this much opportunity for subversive speech, particularly during a period of crisis like a pandemic or a war. We would never have tolerated figures like Maxime Bernier in the middle of WWI or WWII. In fact, we charged the mayor of Montreal with sedition and locked him up without trial, for goodness sake! Not saying we go that far, but we cannot be so timid with figures who deliberately and cynically try to spread misinformation, break the law, and encourage others to do the same. Instead we have plenty of media figures and mainstream politicians talking about the need to "hear them out".
 
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darwink

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Is this the only option? Or is it the only option within our current system? I really don't know, I am not very familiar with the intricacies of our current system. But is this really the best we can do? This is where I think perhaps a bigger scale, structural reform of the whole system may be necessary. If not spurred by a global health crisis, where the current system is brought to collapse, then when?

Maybe I am just tilting at a windmill here...
The USA just has more beds available per capita, because the hospitals are in competition and ICU beds are high profit (or enable high profits because you can only do certain surgeries if you have an ICU bed around). So they're over provisioned.

The USA pays for the extra beds by them being high profit. If we want as many we have to figure out how to pay for them.
 

MichaelS

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Perhaps when all is said and done, some analysis will be conducted that shows the impact on GDP the restrictions caused was dramatically higher than creating and staffing more ICU's, per your solution a few posts up. I don't know if we will have to wait as long for the next crunch on them, as the demographic wave we are facing looks like it will test the current system.
 

CBBarnett

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In terms of health care reforms, I'd like to see much more done on public health policy rather than major changes to hospital capacity. Trying to address this pandemic through hospital capacity is like trying to stop a tsunami by purchasing more umbrellas. We're talking different orders of magnitude. COVID ICU admissions are basically 1% of all known cases. As a result, we've been stuck in a situation where we can't let the virus spread to more than 20,000 people at a time. Doubling ICU capacity in the province would just mean that we need to cap active infections at 40,000. It would make no material difference to our experience of the pandemic. In fact, it would be worse, because we don't really want a lot of people in the ICU in the first place. Many of them die. Even more develop lifelong disabilities and illness.

The only way we'll do better in the next pandemic is by prevent the spread of the disease in the first place. The UCP has been the worst, but politicians of all stripes have a pretty terrible record in this regard. Whether it was fear of getting ahead of public opinion or just outright denial, our leaders have routinely delayed making tough decisions until things spiralled out of control. Vaccines are the most egregious example of this. We have literally been given a deus ex machina that will end this pandemic and our leaders have been slow to actually enforce its use. It became clear that demand was slipping back in June and (at least in Alberta) we're only getting enforcement now, three months later. Even the strictest provinces are still probably not where they need to be in terms of enforcement.

For the next pandemic, I think we need to look very closely at issues like border closures/monitoring, cheap rapid testing, tracking/tracing, vaccine roll out and enforcement, etc. We need to figure out how we can act faster and more aggressively even in situations with incomplete information. And - this may not be popular - I really think we need to reconsider how we weigh free speech versus social cohesion. No society in history has provided this much opportunity for subversive speech, particularly during a period of crisis like a pandemic or a war. We would never have tolerated figures like Maxime Bernier in the middle of WWI or WWII. In fact, we charged the mayor of Montreal with sedition and locked him up without trial, for goodness sake! Not saying we go that far, but we cannot be so timid with figures who deliberately and cynically try to spread misinformation, break the law, and encourage others to do the same. Instead we have plenty of media figures and mainstream politicians talking about the need to "hear them out".
I agree with all these points. Well put about health care capacity - you can't "out-build" a exponential growth pandemic disaster. Even China - likely the most prolific hard infrastructure builders in human history - could not out-build the pandemic via hospital capacity, despite all their wild videos of building a hospital every 2 weeks. Like everywhere that managed the pandemic, China only crushed the infection through a combination of tracking and social measures, far more draconian that anything Canada or most other experienced.

Most troubling and interesting for the future is @Silence&Motion 's third paragraph. Canada needs to come to grips with misinformation peddlers and the open sedition that undermines emergency response to the cost of thousands of lives in COVID. More generally, the costs of failing to deal with this will be even higher in the future - unchecked, the chaos will ultimately destroy our institutional resilience and ability to deal with any societal issue. Democratic institutions are weaker than many think and won't withstand attacks and high-jacking from a growing portion of the population driven by lies and conspiracies. Once we lose the truth and any institutional capacity to distinguish it from falsehoods that's the ball game.

I wonder if governments had actually acted faster and harder, with the powers that they have had all along but refuse to use, would much of this conspiracy movement have been snuffed out, along with the pandemic, months ago. Most ironically, such an alternative reality would have brought governments closer to the actions that these conspiracy-fueled "freedom" crowd imagine governments acting.
 

Mountain Man

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Think I was on point, need to protect the hospitals and not stick our heads in the sand pretending its all over. Now with about 70% fully vaccinated we are in worse shape than ever! Jason Kenny is the worst leader ever, at this point I would choose Trudeau as our next premier over Kenny! lol
 

CBBarnett

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Think I was on point, need to protect the hospitals and not stick our heads in the sand pretending its all over. Now with about 70% fully vaccinated we are in worse shape than ever! Jason Kenny is the worst leader ever, at this point I would choose Trudeau as our next premier over Kenny! lol
Kenney's done a remarkable job.

It takes a special kind of politician that constantly seeks that perfect middle zone for 2 years straight - never doing the right thing for the public good, while also never doing anything popular.

We've often see politicians doing popular things that aren't in our best interest, or politicians doing things in our best interest that aren't popular - such a rare treat to find one that does unpopular things that are also not in our interest.
 

heightjunkie

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I would just like to extend a hearty F you to the fellow who debated about mask wearing pertaining to children.

Schools will be overwhelmed within 3 weeks.
 

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