The Pandemic in Toronto: Going Poorly

It looks like a true failure of leadership, here in Toronto. We trust in our provincial leaders and they have let us down. Instead our infection rates are fast rising, with very little holding them back. Yet it is difficult to understand the rise, as the government is not very transparent with the infection data.

We do know that:

  1. the infection positivity rate and number of infections are rising
  2. Retail, gyms, bars, and restaurants have been locked down for 1.5 months. Restaurants can offer takeout
  3. Long term care infections are almost uncontrollable
  4. Toronto, Peel have been locked down for 1.5 months

How do you make sense of this increasingly dire situation? It is obvious that infections are occurring, but they are not in retail or restaurants. They are occurring elsewhere, but the provincial government has not been transparent enough to release the infection data. We can guess that infections are occurring at work places, or even from public transit, but no one really can say, because there is no data.

The mixed messages from the provincial government are extremely confusing and often contradictory. Ford, our provincial premier, insists the pandemic is very serious and we all must do our part by staying indoors, and that they are doing everything they can. Then in the second breath the lockdowns are scheduled 4-5 days away. This, in the Christmas season, allowed shoppers to cram themselves into retail stores and drive infections even higher. We all know that during the Christmas season this would happen. We relied on the provincial government to control this, but they gave us the option to ignore it, and many people did, thus driving up the infection rate. If the government was so concerned about infections, then why did Ford wait an extra 4 days and not start the lockdown immediately? This message was completely irresponsible.

The lockdown is not even a complete lockdown. Kids still go to schools and non-essential workers still go to work. When you have this many holes in your pandemic wall, no wonder this drives infections up.

Retail is yet another area where the Ford government has screwed things up here in Toronto. While small and medium sized non-essential businesses are closed. some big box stores such as Costco and Walmart, who sell food, remain open and can sell everything, including non-essential products. During Christmas people flocked to these stores in droves and bought, resulting in, you guessed it, skyrocketing infection rates both in Toronto but also in nearby municipalities. These nearby municipalities are then locked down, but not after their infection rates are also rising.

Ford talked about an iron ring around long-term care facilities, but we now see that nothing from the first wave was changed. Most of the deaths recently are, as in the first wave, are the elderly in these care homes. We have not learned a thing. The army assisted in one facility, infections went away, but now we have the gall to call in the army again? We’ve not even implemented their recommendations from the first wave. it is not that Ontario is lacking in infection control knowledge, as I am confident that we have sufficiently competent people, but hthat the provincial government is not following their advice.

Mistake after mistake, saying to lock down but allowing people to shop, go out for non-essential purposes, and then complaining that the infection rate has dramatically risen and that people are not following health guidelines. This is our leadership in action, and totally irresponsible.

You cannot mix commerce and infection control and get a happy balance. There is no balance point. You either control the virus or the economy will be perpetually damaged. This balancing act that the provincial government is doing is the worst of both worlds: infection rates and cases are rising to all time highs, more people are dieing, retail and restaurants are going bankrupt and average people are stuck in their homes, waiting for this dire time to pass. The Ford government seems to be banking on a vaccine as a silver bullet, but damn, this will take another 8 months, and it might not even work. We have solutions that can help now, but he has not taken the brave steps to tamp down this pandemic.

Weak solutions, strong virus, skyrocketing infection rates, a government with no backbone, gives us an ongoing disaster or epic proportions.

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