Lieutenant Commander Mitchell Drake started his career as a fleet surgeon in 2020 and now, he is the military equivalent of a chief public health officer. Now, his main task is to keep Royal Canadian Navy members safe from COVID-19.
Dr. Drake stated:
“It’s fascinating to kind of look at the best evidence and tools that we have to advise on mitigating that risk … using things like quarantining and testing protocols to get that risk level down and avoid outbreaks.”
Drake serves as a fleet surgeon for Maritime Forces Pacific at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, and besides treating soldiers, he also advises military commanders on how to deal with COVID-19.
“If you look at it from a population density standpoint, ships and submarines have higher population densities than the largest cities in the world. So that is the real challenge,” said Drake.
The Canadian military has a lot of scientists, doctors and specialists tasked with keeping COVID-19 at bay. Their main goal is to keep the military operational and healthy.
Doctors like Drake have created the guidelines that will keep the army safe and now, it’s their job to put those guidelines into action. The rules are pretty strict. For example, each sailor will self-isolate in military accommodations or hotel rooms before reporting to the ship and there will be no group meals. Soldiers will have their food delivered to the door if rooms couldn’t be stocked in advance. When Canadian sailors left the port in December, Drake said that if they are COVID-free then floating in the ocean is one of the safest places in the world.
Drake is happy that he contributes to the fight against COVID-19. He concluded:
“I’m in a privileged position to be able to have an impact. You know, it’s great to be involved in that sense. But certainly, I’m looking forward to a return of some semblance of normalcy in the near future.”