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Epidemiological studies show that smokers are underrepresented among the patients hospitalized for COVID-19. In fact, only 1 to 6% of hospitalized patients are smokers, but they represent 14 to 25% of the general population. 

Mathieu Morissette from the Laval University Medical department says that smokers are not just exposed to nicotine, but many other chemical compounds. If we suppose that nicotine is beneficial, it does not protect from the disease, but rather prevents severe symptoms. Other hypotheses are that nicotine could have an effect on the cytokine storm in COVID-19.

Jean-Benoit Legault, La nicotine contre le coronavirus? Pas si vite. La Presse. April 24, 2020.

Original article: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/202004/24/01-5270716-la-nicotine-contre-le-coronavirus-pas-si-vite.php

A team at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) developed a system to closely monitor patients remotely. Caregivers can communicate with and see the patient via a two-camera system with one pointing towards the individual and the other towards the vital signs monitor. If hypoxia is detected, the machine will send an alert. This system decreases workload, lowers risk of contracting COVID-19, optimizes PPE use and allows healthcare professionals to act rapidly in case of a deterioration.

Avis Favaro, Elizabeth St. Philip. Canadian-designed system a new way of keeping an eye on seriously ill COVID-19 patients. CTV News. April 29, 2020.

Original article: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canadian-designed-system-a-new-way-of-keeping-an-eye-on-seriously-ill-covid-19-patients-1.4918296

Homemade and non-medical masks have grown in popularity with the PPE shortage around the world. There is no proof that masks effectively protect the people wearing them, can but they can be worn as an additional measure to protect others around you.

“These types of masks may not be effective in blocking virus particles that may be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or certain medical procedures. They do not provide complete protection from virus particles because of a potential loose fit and the materials used.”
ーGovernment of Canada

Canada Health. Considerations in the use of homemade masks to protect against COVID-19; Notice to General Public and Healthcare Professionals. Last update April 19, 2020.

Original article: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-devices/activities/announcements/covid19-notice-home-made-masks.html

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The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) is warning doctors and parents that skin manifestations, looking like pernio, can be a common presentation among children, even without respiratory symptoms. These are blueish-red lesions that can be painful and warm. They affect mostly the top and the underside of the foot, the toes and can be accompanied by cracked or dry skin. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment in these cases.

Doctors should therefore suspect COVID-19 when these manifestations occur, and report all cases of COVID-19 positive children with skin lesions to the CPSP. 

Brooklyn Neustaeter. Pediatricians warned about ‘COVID toes’ in children infected with COVID-19. CTV News. April 27, 2020.

Original article: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/pediatricians-warned-about-covid-toes-in-children-infected-with-covid-19-1.4913770

The National Health Service (NHS) in England is warning doctors that the pediatric population testing positive for COVID-19 can have presentations similar to toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease. Manifestations such as abdominal pain, other gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac inflammation have been reported. A disproportionate inflammatory response could be responsible for these symptoms.

Amy Woodyatt and Jacqueline Howard. Coronavirus could be tied to a rare but serious illness in children: U.K. doctors. CTV News. April 27, 2020.

Original article: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-could-be-tied-to-a-rare-but-serious-illness-in-children-u-k-doctors-1.4913764

The COVID-19 crisis has caused a 30% to 40% decrease in ER visits all over Canada, and unfortunately, many patients requiring immediate care are avoiding hospitals because of the risk of contracting the disease. Dr. Gaurav Puri of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket reported multiple cases of patients delaying visits to hospital. For example, a patient with COPD exacerbation waited 2 weeks before visiting the ER and almost needed a ventilator, and there have been cases of patients who have ruptured appendicitis upon presentation at the ER after a week of abdominal pain. 

Avery Haines, Alexandra Mae Jones. ‘All of our rooms are empty’: Hospital ERs vacant during pandemic. CTV News. April 29, 2020.

Original article: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/all-of-our-rooms-are-empty-hospital-ers-vacant-during-pandemic-1.4918208

Paediatricians suggest that parents respect the immunization calendar for their children, despite the current crisis. The risk of contracting COVID-19 is limiting the vaccine coverage, and this may cause herd immunity to become weaker.

La Presse. Vaccination des enfants: les parents invités à respecter le calendrier. April 22, 2020.

Original article: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/202004/22/01-5270375-vaccination-des-enfants-les-parents-invites-a-respecter-le-calendrier.php

A large number of countries have delayed their vaccination programs because of the crisis. Before the pandemic, 86% of children worldwide were vaccinated against measles, a number below the target of 95%. In Canada, 90% of children under the age of 2 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Immunization calendars should therefore be respected, and a large vaccination campaign should be planned after the pandemic.

La Presse. L’interruption des campagnes de vaccination inquiète l’UNICEF. April 24, 2020.

Original article: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/202004/24/01-5270833-linterruption-des-campagnes-de-vaccination-inquiete-lunicef.php

At Western University in Ontario, researchers have analyzed the propagation of particles when a person coughs. Eric Savory, Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, concluded that at a 2.5 meter distance, we still find 10% of the droplets emitted.

This research is modelling the physical movement of particles, without taking into account the biology of the virus.

Philippe Mercure. La contagion pourrait se faire au-delà de deux mètres. La Presse. April 23, 2020.

Original article: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/202004/22/01-5270519-la-contagion-pourrait-se-faire-au-dela-de-deux-metres.php

The Quebec Federation of Alzheimer’s Societies is concerned about cognitive impairment worsening with isolation of elders with Alzheimer’s disease. Interactions with caregivers play an important role in slowing down the progression of the disease. Without sufficient personnel, there are concerns of an increase in anxiety, psychological distress, sleep disturbances and decline of functional and cognitive status. 

Stéphanie Marin. Inquiétudes pour les aînés atteints d’Alzheimer. La Presse. April 17, 2020.

Original article: https://www.lapresse.ca/covid-19/202004/17/01-5269893-inquietudes-pour-les-aines-atteints-dalzheimer.php