In his final podcast on the COVID-19 pandemic, renowned public health expert Vivek Goel looks back over an extraordinary year.
“As we've adopted new technologies at an unprecedented pace, we've transitioned to new ways of doing things in education, in health and in business. We've also seen significant supports for those in need and incredible advances in science and technology that we might not have imagined even a few months ago,” says Goel, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a special adviser to the president and provost who is helping guide the university’s COVID-19 planning efforts.
“So let's be thankful for all we have as we head into the holidays and think of how we can support those who have been less fortunate.”
Episode 34 of the What’s Next? COVID-19 podcast will be the last for Goel – the founding head of Public Health Ontario, which was set up in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak – as he prepares to embark on an academic leave this winter. In his final episode, Goel reflects on the challenges and triumphs of 2020, reminding listeners that some have had a much tougher year than others: People have lost their livelihoods and some have lost loved ones.
“The current modelling shows that in most parts of Canada, things will get worse before they get better. We have to limit our interactions over the holidays in order to break the chain of transmission,” Goel says. “Generally, it's recommended that you stick to your own household.
“If you must interact with others try and do so outdoors, maintain physical distancing, wear masks, practise hand hygiene and stay home if symptomatic. These core public health recommendations have not changed.”