Thoughts In A Pandemic

Pandemic fatigue has set in as I’m sure it has for all of my medical colleagues. Telephone medicine is getting harder. Patients are worried, fed up and demanding more and more with every phone call. Everyone is stressed out and there seems to be no end in sight.

We are well into the second wave now where I live. Only this time is seems very different. Back in March the government declared a state of emergency, everything shut down to “flatten the curve” yet many of our elderly in long term care died, some in horrible conditions. The kids were pulled out of school so they didn’t get sick and spread it to their parents and we all hunkered down and tried to adapt.

There were conflicting messages about wearing masks. Don’t wear a mask it won’t protect you. Oh no, actually yes, wear a mask. Keep a physical distance of 6 feet if you can’t wear a mask. Don’t have people in your home who aren’t in your bubble. Now it’s okay to increase your bubble. Now it’s not.

It’s no wonder people are confused and tired of this. Did the initial lockdown actually prevent widespread death and illness or did it just delay it? Should we just go about our business as usual and see how it plays out? I wish I knew.

My province has now shut down all indoor dining and gyms for 28 days. To what end I wonder? What happens when they open again? This virus is not going to disappear. It won’t burn out. It will lie in wait to spread again when restrictions ease.

Our kids need to stay in school. People need to work. Hospitals need to keep operating rooms open. The backlog of elective surgeries from the initial lockdown is rumored to take years to get through. We can’t afford another large scale lockdown.

On the other hand, if we do nothing to curb the spread and our hospital ERs start overflowing with sick patients and ICU beds aren’t available – what then? Who decides who lives and who dies?