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Seniors are most likely to die if infected by the new coronavirus, and also the likeliest to be hurt by physical distancing – particularly if relatives who provide essential care are barred from long-term care homes. About 80 per cent of Canada’s deaths from COVID-19 have taken place in long-term care and seniors’ homes, but the long-term care crisis started before the pandemic.

Care homes across Canada have been desperate for more workers as the pandemic intensifies an existing staffing crisis. Quebec was so short of medical workers that it called in members of Canada’s Armed Forces to fill vacant positions. In Ontario, Bruce County had asked library and museum workers to become nursing-home aides.

People may be considering removing loved ones from long-term care, but while some families may have the capacity to care for elderly family while they work from home, that may not be true when they return to the office. For others, removing elderly family is not a consideration because their medical needs can’t be managed without the facility.