April 5, 2020
There has been the predictable whining about President Trump from the usual suspects in the media and the from the lesser political figures in Canada over the shortage of protective masks and the direction to the 3M Company in the US. It may have escaped the notice of the media that the President’s first responsibility is to the American people, just the same as the first responsibility of the Prime Minister in Canada is to the Canadian people.
Front-line health workers, nurses and doctors are in desperate need of protective equipment in both countries, and many other countries besides. How would they feel if a company in Canada was making protective masks and shipping them abroad when our nurses, doctors, paramedics and other essential workers went without? It is true that we can help each other as nations, brothers and sisters in fact, but the media need to get a grip on reality and quit their unfounded griping.
To turn to more relevant topics, the ability of the health-care system to deal with a surge capacity of new patients. Some interesting information is available in Wikipedia. One has to be circumspect about the reliability of information in Wikipedia, particularly with politically contentious topics when it can be plainly deceptive, but health care may be a relatively innocuous topic; moreover, there are many original sources to check.
Many countries like to brag about their health care systems. Most shouldn’t.
Taking a look at one measure, hospital beds per 1 000 people, at the top in ranking are Japan and South Korea with 13.05 and 12.27. Interestingly, Russia comes in at number 3 with 8.05 (all figures are for 2017) and Canada appears at number 36 with 2.52. The occupancy rate of beds, that is the number of beds occupied in normal times, is best in the US at 64%; Japan comes in at 75% and Canada—at 91.6%. Note that the lower numbers indicate more available capacity. This means that our system is working at almost full capacity at the best of times with little room for a surge in patients.
Also of great interest is that the available number of hospital beds per 1 000 people in almost all of the developed countries has, between 2013 and 2017, been continuously declining. In terms of percentage decline per year Canada comes in at number 8 with a change of –1.8% [2017/2016 figures]. This is not encouraging when we hear so much political jabber about our health care system when compared to other countries.
Even with these problems facing our doctors and nurses, it has been made worse by the slavish worship of political correctness. As Chris Selley pointed out in the National Post:
…As recently as Jan. 29, when it was obvious the Chinese had a big problem on their hands, Theresa Tam, the chief federal public health officer, was rejecting calls for a ban on travellers from China saying “racism, discrimination and stigmatizing language are unacceptable and very hurtful.”
More hurtful than dying in an ICU gasping for breath with fibrotic lungs, alone because your family is forbidden to be with you?
For nearly a month, our own prime minister was more worried about showing how “woke” he is on racism than safeguarding public health.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said allegations the virus was spreading from China was “fake news” and claimed “we can’t let fear or ignorance triumph over our values of community …”
And, don’t forget, while President Trump was making the right decision, as has been verified by Dr Fauci in the US, he was being excoriated for it by you-know-who.
What was that about “accountability”? Some people are going to get it good and hard when this thing is over.