Do Your Part: Stay Home

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Do Your Part: Stay Home

We have, by now, all heard the warning over and over: Stay home!  It seems that the majority of people are taking this recommendation seriously.  Most people appear to be keeping a distance when shopping for food and generally speaking, the streets are quieter than normal.  But what is equally apparent is the fact that not everyone is onboard.  That is unacceptable.  If you are someone who is doing everything you can to stay home, bravo!  You can get back to doing crafts with your kids, watching last year’s Raptors run or trying that new recipe you’ve talked about but never had the time.  For those of you who may not yet be convinced that staying home is necessary, please read on.  This is particularly true if you are a returning traveler.  If you follow us and trust our advice on how to stay healthy, this may be one of the most important things we will ever be able to share with you.  We’ve attached links below to the sources we used for some of the information in this article.

By all statistical measures, the risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus in Hamilton is still low.  The latest figure regarding mortality rate from a team of researchers in Hong Kong sits at 1.4%.  If you are a healthy adult with no pre-existing health issues such as obesity or diabetes, your risk of death or even severe illness is even lower.  And if you are a child, your risk is, thankfully, lower still.  If these facts are all agreed upon, why the fuss?  The answer boils down to one thing:  We have a finite amount of resources to treat those who do become severely ill.  And the implications of exhausting those resources would be devastating.  Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer has indicated that Canada has approximately 5000 ventilators.  Ventilators are often required to treat the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.  As is an acute care hospital bed.  As of today, there are 1341 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.  Ten percent of these cases have required hospitalization and 4% have required an Intensive Care Unit bed.  Right now, these numbers clearly suggest that Canada has the ability to care for those who have fallen critically ill from the virus.  Unfortunately, just two weeks ago, there were little over 100 cases.  That represents a staggering increase.  If one considers a 7.5% daily increase in infections, Ontario’s maximum capacity will be reached within 37 days.  This projection comes from a model put together by researchers at the University of Toronto. If one assumes a worst-case scenario such as that seen in Italy (a 33% daily increase), capacity would be reached within 16 days.  What happens when capacity is reached?  A quick read of any news report from northern Italy makes the scenario clear.  People dying by the hundreds because they cannot be treated.  The army needing to be called in because the bodies cannot be cremated quickly enough.  This is not hyperbole.  This is what can and is happening right now.

And it is important to keep in mind that heart attacks, serious car accidents and other medical emergencies aren’t taking a vacation while this is going on.  An article that appeared on CBC’s website in late January indicated that many Ontario hospitals are already running over capacity.  The Hamilton General hospital was operating at 120% capacity for each of the 50 straight days used in the review.  Add to that the fact that thousands of travelers are now returning from sun destinations, the need for self-isolation is even more immediate.  The link between travel and infection is real and significant.  The bottom line is clear.  If we don’t do everything we can to control the rate of infection now, we will overrun our hospitals, and we will be left to watch helplessly as our parents and grand-parents are left to die with no treatment.  Please show that you care about your family and your community.  Do your part to make sure these dreadful scenarios aren’t a part of our future.  Now is not the time for selfishness.  This is the time to show we truly do care about our neighbours.  Social distancing is being shown to be a powerful tool.  But everyone has to be part of the solution.  Please stay home as much as possible.

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