Mid April 2021
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
I guess it was too good to be true! This past Thursday, April 8th at the stroke of midnight, the whole province of Ontario, entered into another shutdown, or shall we say lockdown! This lockdown is scheduled to last four weeks, pretty well the whole month of April.
The difference between a lockdown and a shutdown is open to debate, but it suffices to say that the debate was about shutting down businesses to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“When you only have a hammer as a tool, everything looks like a nail”.
The Ford government apparently has no tools other than a hammer of lockdowns or in this case, shutdowns.
What that will mean, only Premier Ford knows for sure. With spring break starting this past week – (spring break which usually falls in March, was switched to April 12th) ) the regions of Peel and Toronto decided to close schools last week which technically turns out to be a two-week break. Now Premier Ford has decided that the entire province will stop all in person instruction and schools will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Officials will keep a constant eye on data and trends to determine when children can return to school. The premier also said that despite the closures, child care for non-school age children will remain open.
All indoor dining will be closed; hair and nail salons and barbers will be forced shut and small businesses will remain closed. What is now new that was not done in the past, those big box stores that sold food (Costco and Supermarkets that were open with restrictions on the number of shoppers only, now will be forced to rope off or close those sections of their store that do not sell anything essential.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Canadian Tire will now go back to curbside pickup only.
We are more than a year into Covid-19 taking over our lives and the Ford government and those advising it lack the imagination to think of anything other than shutting down businesses that aren’t responsible for the outbreaks.
Even if the entire province goes into a shutdown, essential workplaces like factories and fulfillment centers like Amazon will remain open and those are the places that the virus continues to spread. Amazon has reported close to 600 confirmed covid cases.
Food processing facilities, warehouses, transportation outfits are the places that have never shut down and they continue to be the source of the spread, but we still haven’t done the simple thing and gone in to vaccinate those workers and their families.
Sure the government may have to put up with a few bad headlines dealing with vaccinating those younger workers ahead of people in areas with little to no Covid-19, but isn’t that better than shutting down the economy for all or most of the province once again?
This is a government that is lacking in ideas, imagination, or conviction.
Although Premier Ford has good intentions with the lockdown, what is ignored is the harm that follows these lockdown measures.
Lives are lost from suicides and overdoses; physical health is damaged from lack of fitness and postponed medical treatment; mental health is frayed; family turmoil has increased; life savings are depleted; children are denied their childhood; youth are denied their formative years.
Last April, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott actually referenced a study that said that 35 people awaiting cardiac surgery had already died in Ontario because of canceled procedures.
Think about that for a moment and what it tells us is that we’ve had credible reports on how lockdown measures cause serious harm. But that number was just cardiac surgery and only 6 weeks into the initial lockdown. How has that one number grown? What are the numbers for other delayed surgeries after one year of Covid-19?
A troubling part of the lockdown is the number of lockdown cheerleaders whose only criticism was that Ford should’ve done this sooner and harder.
There are many medical experts across North America who for months, have been advocating that we evolve our approach away from blunt lockdowns towards a more targeted response that actually targets the high-risk persons who are getting sick and the locations where it’s occurring (Amazon fulfillment center).
There will be a time hopefully soon when the number of people in hospital with Covod-19 recedes. Things won’t be over then though. Far from it.
That’ll be when our job of picking up the pieces really starts. Although don’t count on the ones responsible for the mess to join us in the cleanup. They’ll have quietly made their exit, drifting away into the crowd and trying to rewrite history by claiming they were one of the ones calling for a more balanced approach all along.
At his press conference on April 7th, Ford said something interesting that meant more than he probably realized: He said the way Ontario handles the next four weeks may be the difference between life and death for many people. The sad reality is he may be right!
One of the main problems with the Ford government is that it is bound to the School of Public Health. This is an organization that has bought into the idea of Covid-Zero.
Covid-Zero doesn’t think that we need to manage this virus or deal with it; Covid-Zero believes that we need to eradicate it completely before opening it again. We won’t be finished with Covid-19 any time soon so that means not seeing family, friends, or anyone else until Covid-19 no longer exists.
Premier Ford refuses to listen to any doctor who recommends anything other than a lockdown.
Of the 2333 new cases announced last Wednesday, 59% were in the areas already in the grey zone, the zone just before a stay at home order. The decision to allow restaurants in areas like Toronto to partly open hasn’t even been allowed to open long enough to determine if it has made a difference to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. That takes at least two weeks but they were only allowed to open for 11 days.
To deal with an increase in Covid-19 cases in areas shut down since Nov. 23rd, the Ford government will order all businesses to close that have not, according to the science, been open long enough to contribute to the spread.
Talk about making no sense at all!
Premier Ford has decided to lock the province down with the intention of keeping everyone home and out of the hospitals. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
When it comes time for re-election, Premier Ford may be knocking on those doors that he has slammed shut during this pandemic. He may be the one to have the doors slammed shut in his face next time around!
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