Dr. David Torr is a Saskatchewan Health Authority Medical Health Officer.
Over 14 months into the fight against the infectious disease that resulted in the declaration of a worldwide pandemic in March 2020, so much good work has been done by communities and health-care workers in minimizing the spread and impact of this illness. However, I am concerned about ‘COVID rebellion’ and the risk it continues to present to our efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Human behaviour change is difficult to achieve and sustain. One of my greatest challenges as a Medical Health Officer has been distinguishing correct information from the mix of so-called scientific versus non-scientific misinformation that inundates the public, creating skepticism, and challenging personal belief systems that have enabled the spread of illness and impacted more lives.
Unless one has been through the illness themselves or had their relatives affected, not many people can appreciate the true depth of the toll this pandemic has taken on patients and relatives whose loved ones have been affected or even lost their lives. I wish they could get a sneak preview into the ICUs and see the real impact of this disease!
I have also experienced and seen first-hand the toll COVID-19 has taken on health-care workers across the province. It has been quite the load on the healthcare system at multiple levels in the amount of work and time that has been dedicated, for sure.
On the positive side, I have also been inspired by both the health-care teams and community members that have come together to combat COVID-19, working tirelessly and diligently to contain the spread of illness in hopes of reaching the light at the end of the tunnel – the end of the pandemic.
I can’t take time away from COVID-19. My message to those who have worked hard to minimize spread of this illness is to keep it up, get vaccinated and encourage others to do so too. For the naysayers, the anti-maskers, and the so-called COVID rebels I have to emphasize that COVID-19 is real. It is still circulating. It can cause severe illness, in some cases, complications with long-term effects, and possible death. Infection prevention precautions like masks, physical distancing, reducing bubbles, and using good hand hygiene
do help prevent getting the illness and vaccines
do work to reduce the potential of getting ill, as well as minimizing complications and hospitalization. Vaccines do work and will help us overcome this pandemic.