Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 13:30

Originally published March 25, 2020. 

Globally, health care workers, first responders, essential workers, public servants, and scientists are working tirelessly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This crisis demands an evidence-based response. Informing our actions and decisions using the best available science, and mobilizing the skills and knowledge of experts will be vitally important.  To help you, we will be keeping this post updated with credible sources of information on COVID-19 and ways to take action and do your part to stop the spread. We will continue to add to this post as the situation evolves. 

Thank you to our community for providing us with these resources. Please consider submitting a comment below or sending additional resources to info@evidencefordemocracy.ca

Sharing resources online? Use the hashtag #CanadianCOVID19ScienceArmy

Mask Wearing

Evidence shows that wearing masks when physical distancing isn't possible limits the spread of COVID-19. Here are some resources outlining the evidence and how to use masks safely. 

When and how to use masks - World Health Organization
The science behind face-mask use
Face masks: what the data say

Responsible Reopening 

With communities across Canada beginning to re-open public spaces and services, it can be hard to keep track of what's allowed and what's not, and more importantly to determine how to continue keeping ourselves and others safe. Here are a few resources to help make sense of the guidelines where you live. We recommend checking the guidelines listed by your local government or health authority for the most up to date information.

Going out safely during COVID-19
Understanding the dimensions of risk for spreading COVID-19 - Distance, time, activity, and environment
Risk levels of summer activities
Front Burner episode: COVID Alert - Canada's incoming contact-tracing app

Strengthen Data Collection in Canada

Statistics Canada is conducting a survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians. The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete. 

Credible Information Sources on COVID-19

There is a lot of dangerous misinformation circulating about COVID-19. Make sure you are reading and sharing information from credible sources. For more information on how to recognize and combat misinformation, check out our Truth Toolkit. 
Government of Canada updates on Coronavirus disease 
Updates on the latest science on COVID-19 (Check this post for twice weekly updates on science relating to COVID-19).
Nature summaries of emerging research
Front Burner episode: The race for a COVID-19 vaccine, explained
Progress report on the COVID-19 pandemic

Combatting Misinformation on COVID-19

World Health Organization: Myth busters 
Infotagion - Fact checking platform for COVID-19 related msinformation and disinformation
Science Up First

Understanding Physical Distancing

We must take physical distancing and self-isolation seriously. The resources below explain the importance of this element of responding to COVID-19 and answer lots of FAQs about the Do’s and Dont’s. 
Self-Isolation Instructions for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Know the difference: Self monitoring, self isolation, and isolation for COVID-19
Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now
Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance 

Increasing Testing Capacity

Another crucial step towards reducing the spread of COVID-19 is to improve capacity and speed of testing in Canada. However, widespread testing is currently facing barriers such as shortages of professionals and reagents. The resources below outline updated information on testing, as well as ongoing calls to action for scientists to get involved:
Op-Ed: Social distancing isn’t enough - we need to ramp up testing and transparency 
Call from the Public Health Agency of Canada for donations of reagents for testing 
Sign up sheet seeking scientific professionals to volunteer skills related to testing for COVID-19 (They are looking for scientists, senior PhD students, Post-Docs, and techs with skills for testing in public health labs. Specifically looking for people with skills in extraction, PCR testing, review requisitions, validation, whole genome sequencing. More details here.)

Skill Sharing

COVID-19 Resources Canada - COVID-19 Resources Canada is a central hub designed to help those involved in COVID-19 R&D in Canada to locate human resources, expertise, reagents and equipment in a timely manner.
CanCOVID - Initiative mandated by the Chief Science Advisor to expedite communication and collaboration between the scientific, healthcare and policy communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Sign-up for the #CrowdFightCovid19 initiative

Managing our mental health during COVID-19

Loneliness and isolation have been linked to mental health difficulties in all age groups. Given the need for us all to practice physical distancing, taking care of our mental health is an important part of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources below include information on how to monitor your mental health and promote positive mental health and social connection for yourself and loved ones. We’ve also listed mental health and addictions services and supports available to both the public and those working on the COVID-19 frontlines. These resources were curated by our volunteer Zahra Clayborne. 

Self-Care and Managing Mental Health

Choosing sources of information during COVID-19 and setting boundaries
Understanding how stress, anxiety, and depression can manifest during COVID-19
Op-Ed - ‘Social distancing’ is a misnomer: we should be physically distancing, but remain as social as ever
Tips for maintaining social connection while physical distancing
Supporting the young people in your life during COVID-19
Tips on talking to someone in crisis during COVID-19

Resources and Services

If you are currently receiving mental health services, contact your service provider if you have not yet done so – many are shifting towards telehealth and virtual care to maintain physical distancing during COVID-19. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please contact 911.
Directory of regional crisis support centres in Canada
Wellness Together Canada provides mental health and substance use supports online (in partnership with the Government of Canada)
Resources for health care workers (including information on support groups and helplines for physicians, nurses, and other health care workers)
Children and youth 18 and younger who need to talk to someone about their mental health can call or text Kids Help Phone 24/7 at: 1-800-668-6868
Hope for Wellness provides mental health counselling and crisis intervention for all Indigenous peoples across Canada (phone and chat counselling immediately available in English and French; by request in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut), toll-free and 24/7 at 1-855-242-3310
Talk 4 Healing provides support for Indigenous women 24/7, with services available in 14 languages by calling or texting 1-855-554-4325, or contacting live chat at: http://www.talk4healing.com
Good2Talk provides confidential mental health support services for post-secondary students in Ontario and Nova Scotia
BounceBack provides a free, evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program for adults, youth ages 15-19, and care providers in partnership with CMHA Ontario

Kimberly Girling

Interim Executive Director

Kimberly Girling completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia. During her work as a scientist, she developed a passion for science policy, and has participated in a number of initiatives relating to global and public health, drug policy and harm reduction.