Change in message on airborne COVID transmission considered good, but late


“In the future, people will look at pictures (of the pandemic) and say, ‘What were they thinking? The science is clear. The science has been clear for at least a year and a half and I would argue much longer. ”

Content of the article

Twenty-two months after the start of the pandemic, there is something new in the air: increased emphasis by the Public Health Agency of Canada that COVID-19 can spread through the air , like second-hand smoke.

Advertising

Content of the article

As early as last November, PHAC quietly recognized that COVID-19 could spread through the air and not just through droplets. But he offered little to no advice on what that would mean for how people and institutions prevent transmission, critics say.

On the front lines in Ontario and elsewhere, evidence of airborne spread has often been ignored, critics say, meaning health workers have not always received the level of protection they should have, among other things. .

That could start to change with a change in PHAC’s message.

The clear statements by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam and the public health agency in recent days have been welcomed by those who have long called for better measures to prevent the airborne spread of the virus. COVID-19 in Canada.

Advertising

Content of the article

“Evidence for aerosol spread of the SARSCoV2 virus shows that expelled virus particles can travel long distances and linger in fine aerosols for periods of time, much like secondhand smoke,” wrote Tam le last weekend in one of a series of tweets about the airborne spread. of the virus that advised Canadians to wear tight-fitting masks that better protect against airborne transmission and ventilate, among other things. PHAC, meanwhile, said medical masks and respirators, such as N95s, offer better protection against COVID-19 than non-medical masks.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has indicated that medical masks and respirators, such as N95s, offer better protection against COVID-19 than non-medical masks.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has indicated that medical masks and respirators, such as N95s, offer better protection against COVID-19 than non-medical masks. Photo by Nicolas Pfosi /REUTERS

But critics say the information is not new and that strong messages and advice could have prevented hundreds of deaths – including among long-term care residents and health workers – had they arrived sooner .

Advertising

Content of the article

“I think it’s a positive development, but it’s a heartbreaking end to the game,” said Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and CUPE Ontario regional vice-president. CUPE and other unions, including the Ontario Nurses Association, have taken the Ontario government to court for access to N95 masks, which better protect against aerosol transmission.

Among the main critics of the federal and provincial governments’ failure to accept the airborne spread of COVID-19 earlier is Mario Possamai, a forensic investigator who played a key role on the Ontario SARS Commission, which examined this epidemic in 2003.

Possamai was a senior advisor to Justice Archie Campbell on the SARS Commission. A key lesson from SARS, Possamai said, was the precautionary principle. This would mean COVID-19 should have been treated as airborne from the start until more information was known.

Advertising

Content of the article

Instead, health officials across Canada continued to insist, long after the pandemic, that it was spread primarily through large droplets. A “culture of denial” about airborne transmission continues to exist in Ontario, said Hurley.

Good ventilation, not just distancing, and better fitted masks provide better protection against aerosol transmission. Possamai recently encountered part of this culture of denial when he visited a hospital in Toronto. He was asked to remove his better quality N95 mask and put on a surgical mask. “Which is crazy.” Eventually, they let him put the surgical mask on his respirator.

“In the future, people will look at pictures (of the pandemic) and say, ‘What were they thinking? The science is clear. The science has been clear for at least a year and a half and I would argue much longer. “

Advertising

Content of the article

Possamai wants to see public inquiries into the handling of the pandemic by public health officials, particularly the failure to treat the virus as being airborne.

N95 masks were frequently unavailable at the start of the pandemic and, even when they were, health workers were often forced not to wear them. This continues today, said Hurley. He recently spoke to a nurse at a hospital in the Niagara region who said she was told she did not need an N95 mask, even though there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the unit where she worked.

Possamai said it had been frustrating to watch the science on the spread of the virus by aerosol be ignored during the pandemic.

“I thought Canada would be in great shape before the pandemic because of the SARS experience and I thought public health leaders would follow the science.”

Advertising

Content of the article

Possamai said PHAC appeared to be catching up with the public regarding the aerosol spread of COVID-19.

“The general public is becoming more and more aware of this. “

However, there have been few signs of an increased focus on airborne transmission from the Ontario government. The government says N95 masks should be made available to health workers who determine they are needed, but still refers to droplet and distance precautions as back-up protections and recognizes aerosol transmission in certain high-risk circumstances.

David Miller, a chemist and toxicologist at Carleton University who was among the scientists who signed a letter to the World Health Organization in 2020, asking it to recognize the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19, said that He was “pleasantly surprised” by the recent PHAC message change decision.

“PHAC has started to listen more carefully over the past two months, for which it deserves to be commended. “

Advertising

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Visit our Community rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail The settings.


Source link

Previous Suction Catheter Market Size, Growth (2021-2028)
Next Steam Inhalers Market Size, Growth (2021-2028)