A dose of reality: Canadians aren’t nearly as good at public health as we think we are

Toronto is putting a pause on various programs in some parks and recreation facilities. The city has stopped all outdoor activities, which will be resumed once a health-safety expert from Toronto Public Health is…

A dose of reality: Canadians aren’t nearly as good at public health as we think we are

Toronto is putting a pause on various programs in some parks and recreation facilities. The city has stopped all outdoor activities, which will be resumed once a health-safety expert from Toronto Public Health is sure that programs are safe, the Toronto Star reported on Friday.

While the city is not prohibiting anyone from attending organized programs or paying for recreation fees, people participating in the programs in the meantime will not be allowed to come down with illnesses such as the flu or the common cold, which would result in increased exposure to germs and bacteria, the Postmedia News reported. City officials told Toronto’s Mayor John Tory that the moves were meant to prevent exposure to potentially disease-causing germs and to maintain a high standard of hygiene.

The temporary measures come after a high-school senior involved in a “bullying ring” contracted a staph infection, presumably from a backpack he had carried with him. This should be a wake-up call for some individuals, as they mistakenly believe their benefits — including public assistance, child care and free bus passes — are protected.

Canada’s public health system is, without question, the envy of the world. People routinely take their children out of school for months at a time and pay far less than a U.S. family might for a child who chooses to get sick. But how many parents are aware of the basics of public health? Canadians are naive in their lax attitudes and are certainly not getting any help from politicians.

Ironically, the paper that briefly retracted this fact —the Toronto Star — has also been a tremendous source of misinformation and such distorted reports have polluted the narrative on vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough.

Dr. Danielle Martineau of Global Affairs Canada noted to Global News that Toronto children, who are usually vaccinated for whooping cough, should stop using cough drops and take “beef broth for their coughs.” The flu vaccine is only 90 per cent effective, but such chatter ignores and quashes the work that is done to ensure good germs become rare and vaccines are as successful as possible.

British national Sarah Lee — who got an 11-day supply of contaminated food when traveling to Australia — has a different opinion. In a tweet posted on March 26, she described the uproar that arose around vaccinations during a swine flu outbreak in Australia, where she had to miss a number of lectures because her treatment was available. After a denial of responsibility from local officials, she stated, “The idea that governments would deny medical treatments to keep public order in my childhood health care system — its not new. But it should be frowned upon.”

Sarah Lee later tweeted that she was “truly a concerned and concerned Aussie citizen.”

In a separate tweet, Lee stated, “Making people believe vaccines are dangerous is a large part of the problem,” and then went on to describe the government’s health-care and safety systems. Lee’s opinion deserves some serious consideration.

Lee has also sent out tweets “about how I’m worried I don’t have as much protection as I should because I’m not vaccinated,” and she also discussed the possibility of “mystery-sucking” and that having green slime from Enviropig in her hotel room.

Canadian Minister of Global Affairs Chrystia Freeland asked Lee in a tweet on March 28 if she had been infected with mumps, “So I know you’re not mumps positive, but if you have, would you be supportive of Canada returning the favor and vaccinating the jetskiers?”

Kelly Murumets, Lee’s lawyer, told Global News on Friday that the question about vaccines was not relevant to the treatment of Lee. Lee was diagnosed with high-grade mumps in 2012 and took a course of highly-prescribed antibiotics for four months, she said.

Canada’s children could be standing in line for over two months as a temporary quarantine is removed and flu season returns.

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