You Said It: All connected by breath – Ottawa Sun

As of March 23, the global estimates were that just under 14,000 people had died from COVID-19. Almost 4,000 people die every day of tuberculosis. While the ever-growing fear of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is alarming, it raises other concerns for me as an epidemiologist whose research focuses on tuberculosis.

World Tuberculosis Day was last week, a time when we try to raise public awareness about the global burden of tuberculosis. We are all connected by breath, as both COVID-19 and tuberculosis demonstrate.

In Canada, Indigenous communities face alarming rates of tuberculosis but have poor access to health-care services during “normal” times due to myriad factors. I have growing concerns about what the Canadian government is doing to ensure access to continuous, quality health care for vulnerable populations, particularly in remote, Indigenous communities. Indigenous tuberculosis patients, who have weakened immune systems and respiratory functions, will be at increased risk of death if they become infected with COVID-19.

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