Yesterday, Ontario's education minister announced that all schools in the province are returning to online learning. Bruce Arthur writes:
The schools … well, it’s really something when the province insists schools are safe, refuses to properly test, keeps kids home after Christmas, moves March break, calls on the federal government to somehow procure vaccines for children, won’t cancel classes before April break, insists schools will reopen after April break, and then shuts schools the next day. So we get the blunt-force application of closures across the province, because there is simply too much virus in the community. Well, how did that happen?
As our knowledge of this virus grows, we need to make changes. But the changes in Ontario have been an exercise in whiplash:
“The government is playing chicken, and I think they’ve actually lost,” says Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network.
“I think they thought that they could time things, regardless of their cynicism of how many people get sick. We’re going to be leading CNN and the BBC in the next couple of weeks. Who would have thought that a year later we wouldn’t have learned from other jurisdictions? But here we are.”
It’s not like the changes are perfect. Ontario needed restrictions, but it needed them Feb. 11, and even the current versions probably aren’t enough to actually reduce cases. A redeployment of vaccines by the risk profile of postal codes is a great idea, and necessary, though the CBC’s Mike Crawley exposed that five of the 114 vaccination hot spots were in fact less COVID-heavy than the provincial average, and that four were held by Progressive Conservative MPPs; meanwhile, seven ridings with much higher rates that were not designated as hot spots were all held by opposing parties.
In the end, it's clear that Mr. Ford can't handle a crisis:
He is in over his head, and it is the weakness that will linger. This failure has plenty of parents in his government, and the incompetence has been exposed in increasingly ruthless fashion, day by day. Sunday, the minister of education wrote a letter saying schools would stay open after the April break; Monday, the premier declared they would be closed. It’s a pattern. On April 1 the government announced restrictions, and changed them five days later as the baked-in numbers kept rising. The vaccination plan was described in great detail on Tuesday last week. Wednesday, it was completely different.
History will remember Doug Ford for his inability to handle COVID.
Image: London Free Press