Excess deaths in Canada imply that the reported deaths from COVID-19 are low estimates. That is likely because of a policy not to identify cause of death as COVID-19 unless a clinical diagnosis includes a positive RT-PCR test. So what are the default alternative causes of death? Pneumonia, thrombosis, stroke, multiple organ failures?
This article will share some news, some ideas, and some helpful observations from people who care—Canadians working around the world as humanitarians to help those less fortunate than we Canadians at home.
by Sharon Santiago and Micheal John
The people who were dying first were seniors. What did we learn? Change the style of care for seniors before the second wave hits.
“All we can do is count the deaths in excess of an average in the same period from 2014 to 2019. After subtracting the known COVID-19 deaths, we know the under-count of COVID-19 deaths,” says biostatistician Fred Harris who leads the Civil Society COVID-19 Tracking Team in Singapore. Mr. Harris was asked to explain the demographics and quantum of death from SARS2 in Canada.
“We are led to believe people who die at home on their own, are not reported as a COVID-19 death by medical examiners or coroners,” notes Harris.
“The COVID-19 disease is so ferocious in the case of the most vulnerable among the elderly and also for those patients already inflicted with comorbid illness like obesity or diabetes, smokers, and people with hypertensive heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” notes Dr. Anderson of The RINJ Foundation who has a sizable medical practice for seniors.
“Another challenging statistical factor,” says Harris, is the great distances that separate Canadians and the fact that people in rural communities generally do not see a doctor often nor do they visit a hospital when feeling sick.”
“We are learning from the statistical evidence that many people with COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus have at first relatively minor symptoms easily confused with influenza and therefore the patient does not feel compelled to think about seeking hospitalization,” Harris added.
“But statistically we see that COVID-19 can turn fast into something vicious as the virus attacks cells in many organs of the body and begins a micro-cellular storm that includes autonomous processes of the body that end up destroying lungs and hearts. We call these cytokine storms. And that can happen quickly causing a fatal outcome in as short a time as hours and sometimes a few days,” says Harris, speaking from medical reports his team reads hourly.
Community Care initiatives are something that works in countries where people have nothing. Maybe this is for Canada, especially in remote regions?
A nurse in Venezuela tells FPM.news that the lethargy and mental confusion caused by the COVID-19 disease creates cognitive impairment to a high measure which in turn creates a bad judgment call about what level of medical help the patient seeks.
“Lowered oxygenation of the blood as difficulty in breathing progresses can altogether exacerbate the threat to life but also reduces the patient to dysfunctional levels in their health care decision making. Patients living alone tend to die alone for these reasons. Fatalities like this can be prevented but a more predictive style of community health care is needed,” says Michele Francis, a nurse practitioner in Venezuela.
“I am in charge of several medical operations in the Amazon basin,” says Francis, “one of which is a small faith-based NGO hospital we are partnered with. I have learned so much from their communities served. In their literature, and in their dialogues and community functions they encourage community members to make a route on Sundays after mass, keeping one’s mask and face shield in place, that brings them to the doors of single moms, seniors, and young persons living alone.”
“‘If you have something to share,’ says the advice of the pastor, ‘bring it along, and that just may be kind words and a smile or even a slice of pie, a fish, or a baked good,'” Michele explains.
“And if one finds a person is not responsive, call for medical help. Can we get this kind of community involvement in Canada? Maybe it could be handled by the faith-based communities?”
Listening to Michele at any time is mind blowing and a reminder that there truly are some very good people out there in the world who do nothing but good.
At a time like this, maybe we all could learn a bit of what humanitarians like Michele have to offer and let it rub off on us.
If getting to a hospital is not easy like say in far southern and far northern regions of the Canadian prairies, folks tend not to do anything. In the case of COVID-19, death is a probable outcome for the vulnerable who do not obtain medical support. Hospitalization may not be indicated for everyone but there are many treatments that can assist a patient to better fight the disease at home, say most of the health care authorities. Each patient may have a different set of symptoms that can be treated. Each case must be evaluated accordingly.
“Vaccinations work and they are so incredibly important. Get caught up. Get your kids caught up,” is a message the nurses without borders keep pushing.
COVID-19 patients who seek no help, die or they recover. Their death, if that is the outcome, is marked as something other than COVID-19 because no RT-PCR test and no clinical diagnosis was accomplished. On the other hand, people die from influenza in almost the same way and families blame COVID-19 but the reported cause of death is, “unknown”.
“That is why Governments and medical researchers have a rough time in all countries on this issue of tracking pandemic deaths. The recent political attacks against the Canadian government have been fruitless and without merit, it seems to me. But I once worked in Toronto so I know how crazy the politics get as some politicians try to copy the crazy Americans,” suggests Karinna Angeles, a nurse in the Philippines.
Do Canadians realize how lucky they are?
Canada COVID-19 Patients 14 June to 13 September 2020 Canada flattens curve but death rates very high likely skewed because of Ontario and Quebec massive death rate in ‘for-profit’ seniors homes which had failed to follow revised provincial guidelines for infectious disease prevention. Source: Civil Society COVID-19 Tracking Team in Singapore.
Notice: The United States has reduced testing to lower the COVID-19 case numbers artificially during the Election 2020 Campaigns, at the request of Mr. Donald Trump. Source: Civil Society COVID-19 Tracking Team in Singapore.
Will this graph below be the second wave in the United States?
Read if you wish: American Pandemic: 296 million cases, 8.2 million SARS2 deaths if Trump continues. In-Depth
USA: One Million Deaths by 31 March 2021. All data in this graph is estimated to compensate for extreme under reporting of deaths. See also the US-reported data: fpmag.net/COVID-19/history.fpmag Source: Civil Society COVID-19 Tracking Team in Singapore.
The Global Context
24 Feb 2024
“We are grateful for CAF’s continued support, and we will have more news to share about next steps in the coming days… Long-term care homes determined to be the highest priority for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deployment were those that have the most acute staffing challenges leading to poor resident outcomes,” noted a Ministry of Long-Term Care statement.
It was not until 7 June 2020 that the Canadian Forces was requested for Woodbridge Vista Care Community, operated by Sienna Senior Living Inc. Calling in the military to determine why so many seniors died in the homes that were allegedly caring for them is an indicator of probable severe issues of negligence. “Courts must decide that but meanwhile changes are needed to protect seniors from the coming ‘second wave'”, says a Canadian doctor. In this image, Canadian Forces Medical Team arrives at Woodbridge Vista Care Community 5400 Steeles Ave W, Woodbridge, ON, Canada
What does that tell Canadians? Are death rates extremely high because Canada left its seniors in a highly vulnerable no-care environment?
- All persons who have difficulty breathing should be at the hospital.
- For the love of life, get vaccinated against influenza now and get your COVID-19 vaccination once available.
- One of the most difficult public health tasks for governments is precisely tracking cause of deaths in real time. Once the pandemic is over, the world will know the total infection fatality rate (IFR). Case Fatality Rates are a means of comparison but somewhat meaningless. Until the pandemic ends, it is a best-guess effort.
- The Canadian Federal government has made many significant mistakes, but probably fewer than most countries. Canadian communities have a long way to go in meeting their own responsibilities. Leaving everything to government has not failed but left huge gaps.
- Provincial governments are now learning that their lax attitudes toward public health and disaster preparedness is killing people. Worst of all was the lack of discipline and foresight for the transition of seniors’ homes to a safer state. What has happened in for-profit seniors homes is reprehensible.
At least half a dozen lawsuits have commenced in Ontario and Quebec
A recent example is Camilla Care Community, a long-term care home owned by Sienna Senior Living Inc., located in Mississauga, Ontario.
Some 68 residents at Camilla Care have died as a result of contracting COVID-19.
A civil class-action has been brought against the owner. One of the representative plaintiffs is Mehran Divanbeigi. Mehran’s mother, Mehri, was a resident at Camilla Care.
Mehri Divanbeigi contracted COVID-19 while residing in a shared bedroom with three other residents at Camilla Care and died on 28 May 2020. This was contrary to Ontario Government guidelines.
For years, this facility knew the Ontario guidelines called for a maximum of two persons per room. Not for profit senior living homes had brought their buildings and operations up to the new standards but many if not most “for profit” operations had not, as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Thomson Rogers is a Toronto law firm that has commenced five civil actions on behalf of groups of plaintiffs. Repeated emails to the firm have not been answered but in a statement released 10 September about the Camilla Care matter, the firm claims that:
“It is alleged that following Ontario’s declaration of a State of Emergency on 17 March 2020, Camilla Care failed to implement screening measures of its staff and basic social distancing practices, including the separation of infected and non-infected residents.
“It is further alleged in the lawsuit that during this period, there was severe under-staffing at Camilla Care and a failure to provide basic personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to Camilla Care’s staff.”
On May 27, 2020, the Government of Ontario appointed Trillium Health Partners as the interim manager of Camilla Care. In a report released on 15 June 2020, Trillium Health Partners published the following observations at Camilla Care for the period of 22 April 2020 to 11 June 2020:
- COVID-positive residents and COVID-negative residents sharing the same room;
Lack of signage and/or inaccurate signage to clearly show which residents were COVID-positive versus negative;
- Staff not consistently/properly using PPE (i.e. masks, gloves, gowns, etc.);
- Staff observed wearing garbage bags over their clothing and on their feet as PPE;
- PPE locked away and not always accessible to staff; and
- Due to significant under-staffing at times, staff reported they did not have the time to provide basic care to residents (toileting, feeding, and dressing), could not complete housekeeping tasks, and/or had difficulty getting meals prepared and delivered to residents.
“These allegations may be indicative of systemic problems with seniors care giving across Canada. The staggering death rate, particularly among seniors is suggestive of systemic problems,” says Harris.
The case fatality rate is declining as most of the seniors vulneable to the COVID-19 disease have been killed.
FPM.news research indicates a history of dozens of complaints and critical issues reported under the Ontario province Long-Term Care Homes Act (2007).
This is a developing story. Watch FPM.news for updates.
Report of the Canadian Armed Forces
1. Sir, as auth at Ref A and directed at Ref B, JTFC has employed Augmented Civilian Care
(ACC) teams, since 28 Apr 20, in five Province of Ontario-prioritized Long Term Care Facilities
(LTCF) that were in urgent and immediate need of personnel to provide humanitarian relief and
2. Since arrival, and with the benefit of two weeks of observation, CAF ACC have
identified a number of medical professional and technical issues present at the five LTCF. From
a command and medical perspective, challenges were expected at these facilities given the severe
deficiencies and shortfalls that existed/exist at the provincially-prioritized assignments; the CAF
was meant to go to locations with the greatest need of our support. This is a reflection of the
conditions at those distressed locations. Consequently, issues and challenges have been collated
and consolidated in medical reporting in the key areas of Standards and Quality of Medical Care.
Annexes provide detail by individual LTCF. The purpose of this letter is to ensure that these
observations do not go unnoticed by our chain of command, the Province of Ontario, and most
importantly at the individual LTCF where efforts are currently underway in an open, transparent
and collaborative manner at the local level between each LTCF and ACC to aid in recovery by
addressing the specific areas of observation.
3. Nothing in this letter is meant to encroach upon the purview of the CAP Surgeon
General, the established relationship between that office and the Chief Medical Officer of Health
for Ontario, or the formal and informal connections by the CFHS and its offices, with those
medical and profesSional Colleges and Associations that represent the medical professionals and
health care capabilities within the Ontario health care system. Rather, this is meant to
compliment that discussion by ensuring a command awareness on these issues so as to support
the Surgeon General, the CFHS and our CAP medical and non-medical general duty personnel as they execute daily tasks as an ACC team in this unexpected and difficult operating environment.
Download Full Report
Download or open: OP-LASER-JTFC-Observations-in-LTCF-in-On
Meanwhile, learn to care for each other.
Perhaps Canadian adults need to feel the range of reactions from children and experience how non-profits teach children about caring.
Here is a fun story told by Gru about how to be safe from the virus.
We are talking to children about a germ (The Virus) that makes people sick.
We know how to beat this virus. Listen to what Gru says.
- Wash your hands after touching things.
- Keep fingers away from your face (mouth, nose, eyes but you can scratch your head, your neck and your ear if you can do that without bumping your mask off. :o)
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Brush your teeth after every thing you eat.
- Stay away from other people not in your family.
- Wear a mask when mom says you must, like when you go out.
The virus is not going away and tougher challenges lie ahead. Be prepared.