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No matter where you stand on Covid, the replay of today's provincial media briefing at the e:mbed below is an important watch for about as much of an understanding as you'll get of the direction our provincial leadership is taking our pandemic response and reasons why (the media questioning at the end attempts to get at answers that a lot of folks watching would want to know) Even if it's to me a big part of this story as a show of standard of transparency, The Q and A session afterwords is a little painful to watch for some of the back and forth, non answers and such but hopefully more details are fleshed out in stories in the days ahead. Stories on "the shift" media briefing: 'It's up to Manitobans to look after themselves: Premier' https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/coronavirus/everyone-will-likely-be-exposed-to-the-virus-manitobans-warned-576050642.html 'Most Manitobans likely to be infected with Omicron in near future, says Atwal' https://globalnews.ca/news/8506059/hospitalizations-surpass-pandemic-record-with-454-in-hospital-in-manitoba/ 'All Manitobans 'highly likely' to be exposed to COVID-19 in coming weeks, health official says' https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/covid19-numbers-update-cases-deaths-manitoba-1.6312107 ''It is here to stay': Manitoba public health says everyone will likely be exposed to COVID-19 in the coming weeks' https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/it-is-here-to-stay-manitoba-public-health-says-everyone-will-likely-be-exposed-to-covid-19-in-the-coming-weeks-1.5737027
Mentioned in the other discussion, but a Manitoba doctor posted on Twitter the series below that speaks to why the Health Minister adopting the With/due to narrative doesn't make a lot of sense. Far from the only doc or person with epedemiological background in the province on Twitter speaking out strongly against Wednesday's change in tone and direction:
The Admitted “with COVID” vs “due to COVID” is a false flag:1/4— Tim Hiebert (@Dr_Tim_MD) January 13, 2022
The Admitted “with COVID” vs “due to COVID” is a false flag:1/4
It minimizes the impact on patients who become infected with COVID after they are admitted. ie: already sick and get COVID on top. This often has dire consequences. In fact All patients in hospital with COVID require extra resources regardless due to infection control needs2/4— Tim Hiebert (@Dr_Tim_MD) January 13, 2022
It minimizes the impact on patients who become infected with COVID after they are admitted. ie: already sick and get COVID on top. This often has dire consequences. In fact All patients in hospital with COVID require extra resources regardless due to infection control needs2/4
It is also difficult to distinguish. For example, COVID triggers clots, so heart attacks, strokes, other blood clot associated illnesses could be the diagnosis of record, but be in fact caused by COVID.3/4— Tim Hiebert (@Dr_Tim_MD) January 13, 2022
It is also difficult to distinguish. For example, COVID triggers clots, so heart attacks, strokes, other blood clot associated illnesses could be the diagnosis of record, but be in fact caused by COVID.3/4
So the “with” vs “from” distinction means little. They all need medical care. It is intended to distract us from governmental failures and make the current wave seem les severe.So @MBGov let’s stop the nonsense and start being honest. 4/4— Tim Hiebert (@Dr_Tim_MD) January 13, 2022
So the “with” vs “from” distinction means little. They all need medical care. It is intended to distract us from governmental failures and make the current wave seem les severe.So @MBGov let’s stop the nonsense and start being honest. 4/4
This one a Manitoba ICU doctor that spoke to expectations for what's to come:
Sometimes you just run out of words. For those who know what’s coming and are going to be in the thick of it - pace yourself. Lift each other up. We do the best we can with the knowledge and resources that we have at the time. It will get better.— heather ?????????????????????? (@DrHeatherICU) January 12, 2022
Sometimes you just run out of words. For those who know what’s coming and are going to be in the thick of it - pace yourself. Lift each other up. We do the best we can with the knowledge and resources that we have at the time. It will get better.
Out of all of the times questions had to be asked to try to get at some semblance of an answer at where the professional medical advice side factored into the shift, this quote spoke to the topic about as closely as I saw:
The premier on whether she rejected public health advice:“At the end of the day, we'll take advice from public health, but we will be taking advice from other Manitobans as well moving forward."— Bartley Kives (@bkives) January 13, 2022
The premier on whether she rejected public health advice:“At the end of the day, we'll take advice from public health, but we will be taking advice from other Manitobans as well moving forward."
If they're going to minimize the Covid hospitalization stat and case count data is going to be less valuable going forward with reduced testing, gov IMO really at least owes it to Manitobans to publicize a no-spin, objective daily breakdown of system bed counts vs available bed counts by region just like this. It's clear there are many in the Manitoba medical community with serious concern about state of the medical system as this wave progresses that weren't fully represented at today's press conference. Having that data along with publishing models that are being used to inform this significant of a change in direction would be an important step towards transparency and trust that any gov should aspire to in a democracy.
The problem here is trust. Right back to pandemic start I can remember stories looking back at lessons from past pandemics that really tried to hammer home how important it was to communicate openly with transparency to keep as much trust as possible through the ups and downs. As transparency goes down, so goes trust. I'm a naturally trusting person and I've made a point for pretty much my whole life of not joining a "team" in the game of politics. Up until recently, by being able to fall back on the thought that public health was guiding the response to the pandemic one could explain away so many decisions as being in best interest of public health. Between the premier's quote that's in the tweet above and the frankly scary sequence in the press conference yesterday where Dr. Atwal was asked a question and Premier jumped in and spoke right over top it's clear that politics are having a more and more outsized influence on where we're headed. That's all fine and dandy up to a point, we elect a government to within democratic principles represent us and make best possible decisions for the collective.. in a perfect world rising above any partisan differences and making decisions that consider the perspectives of as many as possible. I'm sure that's not easy in the internet era with so many more "experts" offering confident advice than leadership had to contend with during the Spanish flu. But if you’re going to ram through a critical directional change on very likely the most important public health issue of any of our lifetimes and there are fair and reasonable questions and concerns from medical experts on where we’re headed, there’s an obligation to as clearly, factually and honestly with transparency justify that decision. If there are real concerns about the state of the medical system there’s an obligation to commit to objectively inform on any ongoing basis on what that state is. That didn’t happen and questions that tried to get at if on behalf of the public were repeatedly met with non-answers. All is compounded by the fact that this is for all intents and purposes a new government with leadership ultimately calling the shots that was not leadership when that government was given its mandate. Combine that with the fact that new premier most recently had Canada-low 28% approval rating (one of only two under 50%) and there are real serious questions about whether it’s appropriate for politics to have any serious part in decisions made right now. I don’t know what that means as far as elections with this not being the best time, but that would be one way to reaffirm that there is a mandate to be imposing politics at this level on what remains by definition a public health emergency. Trust is earned, not demanded. If anyone involved with this gov is reading, please give open, sincere, candid transparency the attention it deserves and maybe in time folks like me will come around.... but in the right here and now that seems like more than a couple steps away.
When politicians are involved it is inevitable that things will be politicized. It's unfortunate but human nature. I can't think of a single human that doesn't have an agenda of some sort. So understanding this it isn't unreasonable to place a certain degree of trust in individuals to make their own decisions: >arents will generally do the best for their family >:Businesses will generally do what's best for their customers >:Individuals will generally do what's best for themselves and those they care about >:and in my life experience people generally do what's best for all people they encounter, there is the odd idiot out there but that's just the way it is. I can appreciate there are different views on how to do what is best, but in a general sense nobody is better equipped to handle your life situations than you are.
Here's my other concern. Since yesterday's press conference, on social media the misinfo gang has clearly gotten the wrong message and are using this aggressive shift as justification for all kinds of flat out false narratives on vaccines, masking and Covid measures that are still very much in place and still critical in the pandemic response. This despite the fact that at yesterday's presser there was continued re-iterating of the importance of vaccines including the fact that those who have three shots are 139x less likely to be in ICU due to Covid. Whatever the messaging was, however it was put out, whatever the intent was, I hope Gov sees this trend and considers looking for ways to make it crystal clear where it stands on false vaccine narratives and on those who disregard public health advice and public health orders in place as detailed at: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/prs/orders/index.html
Other thing I’d like to see if province is basing this major shift on it is a more detailed breakdown of the data being worked with on this versus the round 1/3 vs 2/3 ratio given. New York released similar data and the ratio was quite different from the ratio that’s been mentioned here.. 57% in the “admitted due to Covid or Covid complicationsf” category and 43% in the “with” category: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-updates-new-yorkers-states-progress-combating-covid-19-131 Why that much of a difference reported in Manitoba with same virus, same human species. Is our experience that much different? What might account for those differences? Are there meaningful differences from one to the other in levels of Omicron vs Delta? Is there possible grey area in definitions from one or even both sides? What time frame was the data based on? is it possible we could see a future week more closely resemble New York's experience? Seeing it by region in Manitoba (as New York released) and across multiple time periods would give one a chance to see where consistencies are, what progression there might be, where they perhaps might not be and make one’s own assessment (as people in New York are better able to do). Another where public understanding of decisions made and current state is much greater with transparency. But still, transparent objective ongoing data that shows total Manitoba hospital breakdown by region of total beds and total available out of those beds (just like New York) would cut closer to the core of this discussion and IMO give a much better picture of where we stand.
Further reason to want more ongoing information on overall system bed capacity. From the link below: * * * * * * "An advocacy group for physicians across the province said the health-care system was being heavily taxed. 'Patients are facing lengthy delays for admission, and it's not uncommon for patients to be waiting days in the ER for ... a bed upstairs,' said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, an emergency room physician and president of Doctors Manitoba. 'Just last week, I had a patient who was waiting for 10 hours with significant abdominal pain. We just didn't have a bed to take care of him. By the time he got a bed ... he ended up having an appendix that burst.' Doctors Manitoba has been tracking the number of delayed surgeries and diagnostic tests and said the backlog across the province continues to grow." https://www.nsnews.com/coronavirus-covid-19-national-news/covid-19-contact-notification-reduced-as-manitoba-students-go-back-to-class-4953656 * * * * * * Obviously wider data is a lot more valuable for a big-picture understanding than individual accounts, but when we see this group raise this kind of issue it further adds to a need for questions and more specific info on ongoing state of the medical system during this wave.
Nationalized data, so only so valuable down to the regional level especially when in a region that seems to be seeing outsized impact… but wow what depth of data, candor with uncertainty, possibilities and probabilities. Note section on models and forecasting. If Manitoba doesn’t have models just like this specific to this province I’d be concerned. If it does and it’s choosing not to release them with the relevant disclaimers as feds have done, also concerned:
NEW – For the latest detailed #epidemiology of #COVID19 in Canada with highlights, trends and analysis see #PHAC’s COVID-19 WEEKLY EPIDEMIOLOGY REPORT for Jan 2-8, 2022 https://t.co/LcbvoBWDHe pic.twitter.com/m19aLdSsxe— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) January 14, 2022
NEW – For the latest detailed #epidemiology of #COVID19 in Canada with highlights, trends and analysis see #PHAC’s COVID-19 WEEKLY EPIDEMIOLOGY REPORT for Jan 2-8, 2022 https://t.co/LcbvoBWDHe pic.twitter.com/m19aLdSsxe
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