The result, notes Dr. David Fisman, U of T professor of epidemiology in reference to CDC, is basically a decapitated public health system

At a previous post I’ve described an account from an emergency room physician (the term in use in North America) describing the COVID-19 situation in hospitals in Northern Italy.

A subsequent March 13, 2020 post highlights a CBC interview with Dr. David Frisman, an infectious disease physician and professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

In the latter interview, Dr. Fisman notes there are places in the U.S. – “a lot of blind spots” – where testing capacity appears very limited.

“It’s a very big, very heterogeneous country and it lacks effective public health leadership right now,” he notes. “It’s not just a problem for the Americans, it’s a problem for us too because we’ll import those cases.”

In the CBC interview, Dr. Fisman sums up the state of affairs the U.S. is currently facing:

The last time you were on our program you were particularly concerned about the situation in the U.S. and how they’re dealing with COVID-19. What’s your take on that now?

You know the United States to me actually represents a little bit of a tragedy. You have a country that has, in the CDC, probably the best public health institution on the planet. And you see it hamstrung by a federal executive branch. What that results in is basically a decapitated public health system.

“Hopefully I’m wrong about that”

A March 16, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “‘The time is now to act’: COVID-19 spreading in Canada with no known link to travel, previous cases. At least 3 provinces reporting community transmission in Canada as experts urge immediate action.”

An excerpt reads:

Dr. David Fisman, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, says the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in Canada indicates community transmission is already underway.

A second excerpt which concludes the article reads:

Not all experts are as optimistic that social distancing will be effective in this outbreak, however, now that community transmission has likely begun in Canada.

Fisman said Canada “squandered” opportunities to learn from countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan in proactively curbing the outbreak as opposed to countries like Italy that have seen an “explosion” in new cases and deaths.

“We’ve chosen to go the route of Italy and I think unfortunately at this point the die is cast,” he said.

“Hopefully I’m wrong about that.”

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