First, I’m not an anti-masker. Nor am I a COVID denier, or a conspiracy theory promoter. But I do have a functioning brain. I possess the power of reasoning and I have an extremely keen B.S. detector which started going off the day Doug Ford placed a 28-day moratorium on indoor dining rooms, dance studios, martial arts dojos and gyms.
He made the announcement just days after he promised he wouldn’t do it unless he was shown the data that supported the position taken by health officials that restaurants, dance studios, dojos and gyms were the source of a disproportionate number of outbreaks.
When he made the announcement on October 10, giving those businesses less than 12 hours notice to shutdown, he had no data, or at least none he was willing to share.
At the city council meeting the following Wednesday, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health Vera Etches was unable to provide any data or corroborating information when asked if she could do so by Beacon Hill, Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.
Instead this is what she offered up...
“We do not have an outbreak where we can prove that there was transmission between an employee and a customer, but there are probably – well, there are, you know, you see definitely in Toronto, and you see data that the province has, I believe... but I don’t have access to that information.”
That was on October 14. For the next eight days a handful of city councillors, people in the media, the restaurant industry and every other business sector impacted by the moratorium were demanding the underlying data behind the decision and heard nothing but crickets in response.
On Oct. 28, after Etches once again admitted that she didn’t have access to the data behind the moratorium, council passed a motion asking the provincial government to share the information behind their controversial decision.
Then, low and behold, 24 hours later, the Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables released it’s own data showing there has only been three outbreaks linked to bars and restaurants in Ottawa over the past three months amounting to less than two per cent of all the outbreaks in the city over that same period of time. To put that number in perspective, there are more than 40 restaurants with indoor seating in Orléans alone.
In response to the new information, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health David Williams shared his insight into the original decision.
“The recommendation we made back at that time because of the rising numbers and the extensive community spread, a lot of the times people were contacting in areas where they were not having adequate protection,” said Williams.
“We didn’t particularly pick one site or another; we said, as we said along, that we were picking those settings where it’s indoors, where people are unable to mask for long periods of time.”
In other words the decision wasn’t based on science it was based on conjecture, and non-scientific best information gobblygook.
For months, Doug Ford and other elected decision-makers have been telling us they would decide how to respond to the coronavirus based on the science.
It’s all knee-jerk reaction with little thought to the ramifications their decisions would have on the businesses impacted by them.
And if you need further proof, consider the fact that Ford allowed dance studios to reopen just days after he imposed the moratorium after seeing a heart-warming video from a young dancer.
So what’s the difference between a dance studio and a gym... none, as long as both are following the proper protocols.
After Thursday’s news that restaurants and gyms only make up a fraction of a fraction of outbreaks in Ottawa and the other three supposed hot spots in the province, Ford should allow them to reopen immediately, or when the moratorium expires at the latest.
I will leave you with this example. When a student tests positive for the coronavirus, the rest of the students in their class are told to stay home for 14 days. They don’t close the rest of the school and they sure as heck don’t close every school in the city even though schools and daycares account for 39 per cent of the outbreaks outlined in the Science Advisory and Modeling Consensus study.
(The study actually showed that you're 30 times more likely to catch COVID-19 from your school-aged children then you are by eating-in at a restaurant that has the proper mesures in place.)
Under the current protocols, when an employee at a restaurant tests positive for the coronavirus, the restaurant must close for 14 days which is similar to a class having to close. There is no need to shutdown every restaurant in the city.
All the restaurant industry is asking is to be treated the same as schools even though it should be the schools that should be shutdown and not the restaurants. But hey that would mean following the science.
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