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Ontario has almost 15 million people and Sweden had just over 10 million. Easy to compare. Both places are in the north. Both are sparsely inhabited in their northern regions. Both have urban concentrations in their south. Both have welcomed immigrants and both rely on those immigrants to do a lot of the lower-paid jobs....
...but since April 7, as the numbers of seriously ill covid patients were still rising, then dropped in both places, and then began inching up slightly, Ontario has been consistently higher than Sweden in the numbers of ICU patients per 100,000 population. That's despite Ontario's long lockdown and slow opening, versus much more freedom in Sweden.
Snapshot, October 7, 2021:
Sweden has two thirds the population of Ontario, but one-fifth the number of people with covid in an ICU.
If you include the whole time of the pandemic until now, 14,864 Swedes (145/100K) died with (not necessarily of) covid, compared to 9,790 in Ontario (66/100K) -- more than double the rate.
But here's a mystery:
The picture changed significantly over the past 7 months. During that time, 1295 people died with covid in Sweden, compared to 2060 in Ontario. That means that despite (or because of??) Sweden's much less restrictive public health policies (read more), their covid death rate over that period (12.6/100K population) has been lower than Ontario's (13.9/100K). And -- as we see -- their level of covid-related illness is far less.
From former Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr.Richard Schabas: articles like these are "part of the dialectic of scientific debate."
And at all times, scientific debate is a good idea.
Sept.30, 2020, Andre Picard in the Globe "This is, in the eyes of the conspiracy theorists and "fake news" chanters, a "casedemic," not a pandemic. Hospitalizations and deaths are indeed lower than in the spring....But that can't be an excuse to let the cases spread wildly, to resist imposing stronger public health measures to rein in this spike, or to throw caution to the wind with economic reopening."
Here are some multiple-signature letters of concerns about the public health approach. They are not all in agreement with the government approach (nor do they all agree with each other). Is everyone who doesn't agree with Picard a conspiracy theorist or a "fake news chanter"?
Dr.John Iannidis' caveat in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) about the problem of group letters by scientists: "....petitions cannot and should not be used as a means to prove that the positions of the signatories are scientifically correct. As it has been previously observed, this is a fallacy, an argumentum ad populum, implying that the larger the number of scientists who sign, the more valid their scientific positions are. Vote counting is a faulty method of scientific inference. Science is replete of situations where vehement majorities have held wrong beliefs."
"Declaration of Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth"
"On April 30, 2021, Ontario’s physician licensing body, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), issued a statement forbidding physicians from questioning or debating any or all of the official measures imposed in response to COVID-19....We regard this recent statement of the CPSO to be unethical, anti-science and deeply disturbing.
As physicians, our primary duty of care is not to the CPSO or any other authority, but to our patients." read more
Open letter to the Minister of Health, Minister of Education and Premier (Prime-Minister), asking for schools to re-open. Sent by 100+ doctors including Dr. Anne Wormsbecker, interim chief of pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and Dr. Sean Bitnun, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children. From the Toronto Sun: "It also includes pediatric experts from hospitals such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and CHU Sainte-Justine (The Mother and Child Hospital of Montreal), medical professors from universities across the country, as well as surgeons, ER doctors and family physicians." read more
(Ontario) Statement by the Suppress The Virus Now Coalition: "We refuse to endorse any approach that accepts the needless death of elderly people and those living and working in long-term care; of disabled, chronically ill, and immunocompromised loved ones; of Indigenous Peoples in Ontario and across the country; of the Black, migrant, and racialized communities who have borne the brunt of COVID-19 infections in the GTA; of underhoused, precariously housed, and houseless neighbours; of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated community members; and of the health-care and other essential workers who are on the front lines." read more
(B.C., N.S. and Ontario) Group letter from 13 doctors to Premier Doug Ford: "Unlike politicians, Canadian medical doctors now have A duty to speak up from the prespective of science, not political maneuvering." read more
(Canada) Letter to Dr. Theresa Tam, Hon. Patty Hajdu, Premiers and Medical Officers: "There is still time to address aerosol transmission of COVID-19." Many signatures. The letter organizers were masks4Canada, Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH), Workplace Health Without Borders, Le collectif COVID-STOP, and Mission Panache. read more
(Canada) Report from the COVID Strategic Choices Group: "Building the Canadian Shield." "....this is not a minor change in tactics; this is an explicit change of strategy. Nor is it easy. It requires the same level of decisive, courageous leadership, of community engagement, and of personal commitment that we saw this spring....Another strategic option is a short, sharp 4-6 week lockdown to regain control over the virus, followed by a focused, sustained set of interventions." read more
(Ontario) Opinion piece in the Globe by three members of Ontario's Covid-19 Science Advisory Table
(Canada) Opinion piece in the National Post, by a group of four infectious disease doctors, Zain Chagla, Sumon Chakrabarti, Isaac Bogoch and Lynora Saxinger: "The COVID-19 endgame."
(Toronto) Retailers' letter to the Ontario premier and the Minister of Health, full page in the Globe
(Ireland) Irish White Paper
(Toronto) The Globe had this as its front page headline today, which sounded like a group effort: Doctors push aggressive strategy to get COVID-19 cases down to zero. From the article: "Andrew Morris, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto’s Sinai Health and University Health Network....and his colleagues, who have taken to social media under the hashtag #COVIDzero, are calling on governments and public health officials to work together to stamp out community spread of the virus altogether – a goal that requires longer and stricter restrictions in the interim."
(France) An open letter: "Liberté! An open letter by 200 French lawyers protesting against lockdown". Signed by 200 lawyers and published in Le Journal du Dimanche.
(Canada) "Opinion: Diversity of thought needed in our pandemic response." Zain Chagla, Sumon Chakrabarti, Isaac Bogoch and Dominik Mertz. Zain Chagla is an infectious diseases physician and an associate professor at McMaster University. Sumon Chakrabarti is an infectious disease physician with Trillium Health Partners Mississauga and a lecturer at the University of Toronto. Isaac Bogoch is an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital and an associate professor at U of T. Dominik Mertz is an infectious disease physician and an associate professor at McMaster.
(U.S.) An open letter to University leadership. Julia Marcus, Stefan Baral and more than 100 other scholars call on college leaders to take a more humane approach to students during COVID-19.
(UK) John Snow memo says it's been signed by more than 2,000 scientists, researchers & healthcare professionals. Speaks against the Great Barrington declaration.
(Canada) Group letter by four woman doctors: "As physicians, mothers and daughters, we have concerns with COVID-19 rules"
(U.S.): Great Barrington Declaration
(U.S.) U.S.Public Interest research Group (PIRG): Originally written July 15, then updated. "Shut down, start over, do it right"
(Ontario) letter to the Premier by 21 Ontario doctors against "sweeping new lockdown measures."
(Ontario) news release by the Ontario Hospital Association on behalf of 38 doctors, wanting a new lockdown.
(Belgium) group letter "So far it has been signed by 394 medical doctors, 1,340 medically trained health professionals, and 8,897 citizens." Critical of the pandemic measures.
(Canada) Open Letter to the Prime Minister and Premiers, by 23 doctors and academics including two former deputy ministers of health, four former provincial or federal public health heads, and four former deans of medical schools. Advice from the elders.
Canada: $74 per test (estimate). source
Media archive: selected media stories March - May 2020