As we begin another week, we are once again seeing very high COVID-19 case numbers, with another 1487 new cases being reported today. Across Ontario, 5 of our 34 public health units (including Toronto) have now been moved to the red ‘control’ tier of restrictions. As the case numbers are continuing to climb, we have seen increasing pressure on the Ford government to be transparent with the evidence and advice that they are receiving from their COVID-19 advisory panels.
This is of particular concern, as we learned last week that the Ford government had ignored the recommendations of their experts, instead choosing to set thresholds four times higher than had been recommended. After this was revealed, they quickly reversed course and settled on the originally recommended thresholds. The reaction was swift from some Toronto City Councillors, who have taken the Premier to task for his lack of transparency.
Frankly, it is vital that we can trust that the Ford government is following the best advice from the public health experts in our province, and after last week’s shenanigans, how can we?
If the Ford government wants to demonstrate that they are making decisions based on public health objectives – and not political ones – they should immediately make this advice public. Frustratingly, when pressured on this today, Doug Ford doubled down on his refusal to ensure this transparency.
For many of us, the second wave of COVID-19 has been even harder on our mental health than the first wave. But it is important to remember that we’re going to get through this. There are huge numbers of people working diligently day-after-day to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and while it is hard right now, one day, these challenging times will be just memories.
On the note of vaccines, we have some more uplifting news today, as Moderna has announced that their vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective. While, similarly to the Pfizer vaccine, this is still likely some time away from being fully tested, and approved for safe distribution, it’s another speck of light at the end of this tunnel - and as winter looms - with the days getting shorter - I’ll take any speck of light we can get.
I am also excited to share with our community another installment of my Community Hero series, today highlighting the fantastic team at Skyway Cigar (convenience store) in the Brentwood Towers. Their team has been keeping the residents of Brentwood well stocked for many years, and during COVID-19 they have doubled down to keep their store operating safely for their customers.
To the whole team there - thank you.
Finally today, I’m happy to recognize both Transgender Awareness Week (Nov 16-19) and Louis Riel Day, and I’m excited to announce that this Wednesday at 7PM I will be hosting a Forum on the Future of Trans Healthcare in Ontario!