Canada

Canada failed to learn from past pandemics: health-care associations

OTTAWA — Health-care associations and unions say Canada has failed to learn vital lessons from past pandemics, and front-line workers are now paying the price.

They gave their testimony to the House of Commons health committee Tuesday by teleconference.

Dr. Sandy Buchman, president of the Canadian Medical Association, says Canada’s health system was caught flatfooted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors with the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians agreed, saying that Canada has found itself short on personal protective equipment and front-line medical staff.

That’s leading to a lot of anxiety for physicians and other medical staff about what will happen if they run out of masks and protective clothing and start to get sick.

Buchman said while Canada didn’t learn its lesson from SARS, H1N1 and other outbreaks, he doesn’t think Canada is unique — and doesn’t know of any country that was prepared to deal with COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2020

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