Death

Politicization and Sensationalism During Covid19

I have experienced very deeply, death in my family. Dementia, chronic heart disease, cancer, significant chronic lung disease , affected at all ages. Because of this I have navigated our massive health care system, palliative and retirement living systems. I have walked the halls of ICU endlessly, met families in the same boat I was. Bracing ourselves for the inevitable if you were at the end of a chronic disease, in absolute melt down shock if it was a death that blindsided you. I have faced both. Our family faced a significant loss this year during the pandemic (not from Covid).

The life lesson for me was that I wanted to actively give back to the very disease institutions that took my family away from me. I am actively involved on behalf of my deceased to ensure that my journey can help other people facing the same dark days and help them navigate our horrific health care system (more in different blog).

I am not special. I am not alone, thousands of families across Canada face my journey every day. Death from a chronic disease is a prolonged period, sudden death from accidents and suicides etc is brutally shocking, losing children, unimaginable. A death is a significant event for patients and their families. However the reality is, death is inevitable for all of us.

I read an interesting article about death by Anita Hannig about death and the conversations we need to have with people. I quote her “in the United States the end of life has become so medicalized that death is often viewed as a failure, rather than as an expected stage of life”. This is the same situation in Canada. This position has escalated during the pandemic. In a frightening manner.

The medicalized failed death conversation has now invaded social media platforms and created more division. This invasion was started by the media, government and a small group of medical doctors and academia in Ontario.

Last week two well known Globe and Mail reporters posted a close shot picture of an intubated patient. It crossed the boundaries of all decency on behalf of the patient, family and the guidelines for reporters at the paper. Daily, a group of media MD stars that extoll how busy they are, but have well set up studios in government paid facilities or their home office, describe in emotional detail about deaths they see in ICU and how slammed they are. Ironically, they have time to escalate their star value endlessly on twitter and TV. They have massive followers and their followers parrot their talking points with, by all appearance have no idea or context what they are actually talking about when they retweet. These Dr’s also cross their very own regulatory body social media guidelines.

As someone who lost family and the thousands of others, these diatribes’ and posts on social media by Dr’s et la about how cold we are about death statistics, intubation process, death moment descriptions, I find these messages deeply shocking and violate the intense privacy of the death of a loved one. At times I read or watch them and break down in tears or scream at the screen. The vast majority of people with Covid will never face death or intubation and it is intensely irresponsible these media stars have not been called out by their regulatory bodies for amping this message.

If you have lost someone due to a disease or sudden event, you will know in reality the medical community will do everything they can to save someone. They are trained for that. But that same team will tell with you with brutal honesty what you are facing, the path ahead to death in brutal black and white terms. The social media Doctors stars counter that reality with their strange posts and interviews. I have my opinions on why they are choosing to sensationalize death from Covid19, but a lot of the dialogue is used as political warfare against politicians . These parrot statements are used a lot- “cares about business more than death” “you don’t care about people dying at 90”. Anthony Furey factually reports death by location and age group without comment. He gets rained on with holy hell statements on twitter that he is an uncaring conservative. He is stating black and white where deaths are, which is aligned with the reality that anyone who has gone through the health care system with chronic disease the same medical experts will tell you brutally in no minced words your chance of living.

As a society, painfully, we need to accept death as reality. We live in a weird echo social media chamber of food, fashion, selfies. Social media is awash with experts and non experts telling us about how scary Covid19 death is. The reality is it is speeding up the death process in our elderly. Cdiff, Influenza has historically done the same thing unfortunately. Quoting Anita again “That death has become something many Americans avoid and abhor — an enemy to be defeated — is evident elsewhere too. Just look at the plethora of contemporary fantasies of immortality, which range from anti-aging creams to efforts to download a person’s brain so he or she can continue to live virtually, to cryonics, the practice of freezing and storing bodies or body parts in the hope that future scientists will thaw them and bring them back to life.

Accepting death statistically or as a reality is not callous. It is self awareness of the circle of life. Tongue in cheek I suggest people go back and watch the Lion King.

It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
'Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

E

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

We Have a Different Emergency Than You Think

Many of us on twitter are business peps.  We analyze data and form insight to develop strategies and tactics to overcome risk and improve performance. Most use KPI’s.  When data is presented or lack there of in pressers many of us question it as it is not driving proper mitigation strategies.

Case in point that sticks out from both pressers yesterday

  1. Dr Brown, “we have cell phone data of people moving around. I look out my window and see streets busy.”  Logical counter -kids in school (with cellphones), people need to work, its Xmas people are out buying presents and lastly their own data shows that less than 1% of transmission comes from retail.   PH, Elliot, Crombie, Tory parrot this cell phone data as a reason to lock us down when their own data counters it.  They have also pushed it to select media who are parroting it and now you see trash talking of anyone seen in a Costco line.
  2. Yaffe-when asked why they are seeing big spikes in cases 14-17 and where they are coming from her response “shopping malls”.  Logical counter-see point 1 and where is this age group spending the most time? School.  Toronto PH will not release data about school transmission.
  3. Yaffe-when asked where the extra beds are after 9 months-her response “we need people, beds are one thing”.  Counter, most intelligent people understood that the government was fully funding all aspects of added beds in the spring, including staffing!!!!
  4. Ford’s rant about international travel-it is a deflection issue, again pushed out to steer anyone away from the real crisis areas of transmission-LTC and Industrial Workplaces in which they have done absolutely nothing. Ironically, like point 1, this is now being pushed out as hysteria to key media.  
  5. Olser CEO disingenuous speech about his hospital capacity.  Brampton council declared a state of emergency last year with Osler.  It is by all account under funded but also one of the worst run hospitals.  Ask the CEO what his nursing turn over rate is-a key metric of staffing retention. Where is the Peel field hospital we heard about in the spring?

And finally, the worst, after reading the Ont shutdown document this utterly floored me. 10 months of provincial data and they using- other countries data, useless google data that they blindly make assumptions about, but now they are saying they are going to review key trends?  Most of us on twitter have been telling them key trends just looking at the data. How much money are we spending on these experts and consultants?

Here is from shutdown document

While data will continue to be monitored weekly, the CMOH will review trends in key public health indicators in the final week of the Provincewide Shutdown period and indicators from each public health unit region will be assessed to determine the appropriate zone for each PHU region under the framework. • The Chief Medical Officer of Health will assess and apply lessons learned thus far to the COVID-19 Response Framework to ensure appropriate and effective measures are in place to protect the health of Ontarians and enable economic recovery after the Provincewide Shutdown ends. This will include an assessment of how a revised approach for the safe re-opening of retail may be operationalized, according to the latest available evidence.

Regarding the alarming sources of transmission is industrial workplaces, that Patrick Brown and other highly respected experts have sounded the alarm on since the fall. 

Some key indicators that are related to this pandemic

  1. Online shopping since the spring has doubled and some sectors are expecting over 300% increase in online-food, toys/games, outdoor furniture, home goods. This will require an increase in manufacturing and fulfillment capacity.  In addition, delivery services including Canada Post will require larger workforces to fulfill demand.
  2. The largest logistic hubs in Canada are in Brampton, Fraser area (BC), Edmonton, Boucherville/Laval.  Overlay the high case numbers and correlate with these hub areas, I will leave that to data wonks.
  3. Due to capacity increases, the worker profile is generally min wage and/or companies use temporary workers during surge times.  Christmas has always been a surge time.  We are getting surges in cases.
  4. The government during lockdowns has choked the retail/bar/rest industry to online/pick up.  This will ramp up the need for more capacity.  On a side note, ironically the LCBO sales are surging as a trade off for no bar sales as people just gather and drink at home and addiction escalates. 

We clearly have shifted from a health emergency to an emergency of another kind.  We have public health, doctors and a science table that are running policy without a clear fundamental understanding of macro economics, human behaviour. On a personal note, I am shocked how they distort data-but that is another blog.

The best thing Ford did was bring the army in for vaccine roll out and LTC crisis.  Emergency disaster response is a 360, all encompassing plan that identifies issues/risks, and launches a multi dimensional action plan with key people on the team who are not decision makers but offer advise in their area of expertise.

We have allowed the medical/PH community to make policy decisions and manage this crisis.  These voices are better suited to patient care management as they have no formal training in wide scale emergency management, economics, and human behaviour.

Two great voices of late that have been interviewed are 2 disaster management experts David Redman and Alex Vezina have commented widely on what we need to do to get us back on track.

It is time to push the stop button and bring this expertise to the table.