Manitoba’s new COVID technique ignores susceptible people, hospital programs, say scientists

Some scientists and health-care professionals say Manitoba’s new plan for dealing with COVID-19 ignores susceptible people and hospital programs.

“I think we are unprepared from the health care side for the tsunami of admissions and hospital demands that are going to occur if we just kind of let it go,” stated Dr. Philippe Lagacé-Wiens, a medical microbiologist at St. Boniface Hospital.

“There’s still enough people who are frail and will develop complications, or who are unimmunized that will really flood the health-care system. And nothing I have heard so far is satisfying my concerns about the capacity of the health-care system.”

On Wednesday, Premier Heather Stefanson introduced the province is altering its COVID-19 technique. Instead of attempting to comprise the surge brought on by the extremely contagious Omicron variant, public health and provincial officers will attempt to handle threat locally.

“Every single Manitoban has to take it upon themselves to protect themselves during this,” stated Stefanson.

“The government can’t protect everybody out there. You know, people have to learn to protect themselves. We have to learn to live with it.”

Heather Stefanson stated the province is taking recommendation on find out how to deal with COVID-19 not simply from public health, however from other communities like these in enterprise. (David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press)

Stefanson additionally stated Manitoba’s insurance policies aren’t being pushed solely by public health, but additionally by other people, like these within the enterprise group.

Lagacé-Wiens stated if the province goes to make use of that strategy, officers should be ready for the implications and have a transparent plan to assist the health-care system as extra sufferers are available.

“How are we going to create hundreds more hospital beds with limited staff who are away sick? How are we going to manage ICU beds should they become overwhelmed again while the rest of Canada is in the same crunch as we are?” he stated.

“I’m not hearing a lot of that. That’s really concerning to me when on the other side, they’re saying, ‘Well, we just have to let this run its course.'”

Reaching for white flag: epidemiologist

The technique to maneuver away from attempting to comprise the virus exhibits the province is sort of “conceding” to COVID-19, based on Nazeem Muhajarine, professor of group health and epidemiology on the University of Saskatchewan’s faculty of drugs.

“You’re not waving the white flag yet, but it seems like we are reaching for it,” he stated.

University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine says Manitoba ought to nonetheless be placing in public health restrictions to gradual the unfold of Omicron. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Muhajarine stated Manitoba may take a touch from provinces like Ontario and Quebec that have taken extra “aggressive and proactive” measures to try to hold Omicron at bay — together with stricter public health measures.

He stated efforts to maintain cases low are nonetheless wanted to guard people who cannot get vaccinated, and to ease the workload on health-care employees.

“We cannot just sort of say we are going to let Omicron rip through the population and then we are going to figure out how to manage the losses,” he stated. “I think that’s just too high a price to pay.”

As for the premier’s remarks that Manitobans ought to have the ability to “protect themselves,” Muhajarine stated that’s not how democracies work.

“We need leaders to lead people. We don’t need leaders to punt it right back to us and say it’s up to us to do what is right,” he stated.

“This is why we put people in leadership positions through our democratic race. We expect them to look after the collective welfare and good of the people they represent. To say anything else — to do anything else — is simply an abdication of that contract that we have with our leaders.”

Kids again at school Monday

With youngsters going again to high school on Monday, immunologist and mum or dad Deanna Santer worries how the province’s strategy will have an effect on in-class studying.

“They’re not really contact tracing anymore, right? So we’re kind of on our own, which is also really important in schools if you want to know if there’s a case in our class,” stated Santer, an assistant professor in immunology on the University of Manitoba.

Deanna Santer is an assistant professor in immunology on the University of Manitoba. (Supplied by Deanna Santer)

“I know teachers will probably try their best, but it’s going to be hard until we see how this goes in the next few weeks.”

Santer has two kids, each underneath 10. She stated vaccines are actually serving to with Omicron, however it’s the unvaccinated she’s involved about on this wave.

Provincial data suggests unvaccinated Manitobans are 21 instances extra prone to be admitted into an ICU and 17 instances extra prone to die from COVID-19. But a lot of these people, Santer stated, aren’t selecting to be unvaccinated.

“I know that they’re trying to use those numbers to say most people will be fine, but I don’t want to ignore kids less than five, or elderly people. We cannot predict who is going to have a serious outcome,” she stated.

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