All of these people were actually lined up to try to get a family doctor in Canada.
From the article "The Soul-Destroying Search for a Family Doctor," about a woman's six-year search to find a family doctor in Canada, where the single-payer system is frequently plagued with shortages for primary care physicians. Although once you manage to find one, you are entitled to receive their medical services for "free" (and there might be some long waiting times):
"When the man took my registration papers and said “congratulations, you have a family doctor,” I confess I had to hold back a few tears. I had just spent three hours of my Saturday standing in line (pictured above) with hundreds of other people outside a community center in an Ottawa suburb to enroll with a new family medicine clinic that is opening at the end of August.
The wait was inconsequential compared to my long and frustrating search for someone to provide me with basic primary care.
When I moved to Ottawa in 2005, leaving behind a wonderful doctor in Burlington, Ont., who had looked after my family for more than a decade, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find someone to replace him. I spent months searching the Internet, calling doctors’ offices and imposing upon friends for the names of their physicians – all to no avail. No one was taking patients. My own husband’s doctor refused to take me because his practice was full. So I visited walk-in clinics when I urgently needed medical attention and went without the routine stuff, including annual physicals.
Then, in early June, I fractured a vertebra. It was a minor crack, as those things go. But the emergency room physicians insisted that I see my family doctor for follow-up care. And I did not have one. Which meant I had to resume the search that I had abandoned four years earlier, this time in earnest."
In contrast to the situation in Canada, there are sixteen primary care doctors or internists in the DC area listed on the ZocDco website
who all have appointments available within the next few days (some lists openings this afternoon).