How many will die before Toronto opens?

It doesn't have to be this way. But Toronto's mayor and medical officer don't care.

Why is Toronto still locked down?

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Hunch Dr. Eileen de Villa spoke with John Moore on NEWSTALK 1010 Friday morning and explained why she’s adamant the people of Toronto must remain locked in their homes indefinitely.

First, she’s very concerned about “variants of concern” that are causing problems in other jurisdictions. Not here, mind you. Not, yet. In a city of 2.8 million there have been 11 confirmed variant cases. But, they could, maybe, possibly become a problem here, eventually.

Second, there could be a Third Wave. Of course there will be a Third Wave. No credible expert in the world believes this coronavirus will be eradicated. Almost everyone agrees it will become endemic – like the flu or MERS. We may all require annual booster shots – like the flu – to keep COVID in check.

And, finally, she says it would be better for people to remain incarcerated indefinitely than face the “inconvenience” of opening, then maybe possibly closing again sometime later. That, of course, is bullshit. Imagine telling prisoners in solitary confinement they’d be better off just staying there, than enjoying a break for a few weeks away from their hell hole.

De Villa also said, she understands how hard lockdown is. She said she’s sharing the same challenges we all are. She is full of shit.

She’s getting paid. She’s probably one of those Canadians who are actually saving money because there are fewer places to spend money – if you have money. She’s not worrying about how to pay rent. She’s not terrified she won’t be able to feed her kids tomorrow. She’s not wondering if she’ll ever work again. She’s not frantic about how she’ll ever be able to pay off the debt that’s piling up on top of her. She’s not despairing this will never end. She’s not crushed every time just two more weeks turns into another two weeks, then another.

For the rest of us, it’s been a year now. Many of us without pay. More and more of us without hope.

Life without hope is not life.

Dr. de Villa and Mayor John Tory seem almost gleeful when they rob us of hope. When they pull the football away just as we believe this time we’ll get to kick it. They’re so focused on a virus – they’ve entirely forgotten about the people they’re supposed to be protecting. They are, quite literally, killing people with every decision.

Sometime leaders have to sacrifice a few to save many. I understand that. But, our leaders in this pandemic are not doing that. They don’t even recognize people are suffering because of their decisions. People are dying because of their decisions. It’s one thing to make the calculation and choose the greater good. It’s another thing entirely to blissfully make decisions with no understanding of the consequences.

None of our elected or public health leaders, in fact, are sharing in the pain they’re inflicting on millions. That’s the very antithesis of leadership. It’s despicable.

In the meantime, people suffer and die – not just from the virus – but from despair.

Imagine for a moment that you’re 17-years old and genetically programmed to be socializing. But, you can’t go to school. You can’t go out. You can’t hang with friends. You’re stuck in your tiny home with your parents who are not exactly your best friends at this age. So, you’re trapped in your room almost every minute of every day. You’ve been in de facto solitary confinement for almost a year now. That’s more than five percent of your life. That’s forever.

If you live in Toronto, under the oppressive thumb of a Medical Officer of Hunch who has eyes only for coronavirus, you have no reasonable hope of being free in the foreseeable future. You’ve been told “it’s just two more weeks,” every week for the last 11 months. From your 17-year old perspective, your life is over. And, it’s never getting better. 

When somebody you’re not supposed to be meeting offers you something new to take the edge off, you know it’s dangerous. You know it’s stupid. But, really, what have you got to lose? Maybe your life? Well, life sucks and it’s not going to get better. If you die, would that really be so bad?

It turns out, “something new” is fentanyl. Within seconds of snorting it, you feel dizzy and sick. Blood begins gushing out of your nose. You fall over onto the pavement and the world disappears. Blackness. Silence. Peace.

Then pain. Nausea. Confusion. Strangers hurting you. Digging their knuckles into your chest. Jabbing needles into your arms. Spraying shit into your nose. Strapping a rubber mask onto your face. You can’t breathe. And the noise! Everybody yelling. Screaming sirens.

You’re in an ambulance. You’re exceptionally lucky. But you wish you hadn’t been.

That’s the reality of what lockdown means for too many people in Toronto. For a 17-year old who is very close to my family, that’s what happened last week. And, he’s not alone. Toronto paramedics have never had as many overdose calls as they’re having right now. They don’t reach all of them in time to bring them back from death.

That’s what life without hope looks like. That’s life in Toronto under this regime.

That’s life thanks to John Tory and Eileen de Villa’s “abundance of caution.”

It doesn’t have to be this way

Everyone dies. Whether it’s from COVID-19 or fentanyl overdose or old age, dead is dead. It’s when and how you die that matters, and the quality of your life before that.

Everyone in Toronto’s Long Term Care Homes who wanted to be vaccinated has been vaccinated. A few seniors chose not to be. Almost half the staff chose not to be. The rest are protected. There were no deaths reported Friday in LTCs. The vaccines seem to be working.

No other city in North America is under a lockdown as draconian as the one in Toronto. Why? Our case numbers (largely a meaningless statistic) are down. Hospitalizations are down. ICU bed cases are down. Ventilator cases are down. Deaths are down. The reproductive R number is down.

In fact, every metric that Public Health officials said was important has moved in the right direction and passed the threshold they said was the target.

So, why are officials in Toronto and Mississauga still incarcerating their populations? Just in case. Because, maybe. What if?

Not good enough when people are dying because of lockdowns.

The Medical Officer of Health in York Region, Dr. Karim Kurji sees the world – and his job – differently. He sees his responsibility as the health of all the people. Not just the fractional few who contract the virus and get sick. As he told me on my NEWSTALK 1010 show a month ago, you can’t call the procedure a success if the patient dies.

York Region is moving into the “Red Zone” – where shops and restaurants will be open, but closely controlled and monitored. Many people can return to work, to earn a living. He’s bringing hope to his patients.

Would that Tory and de Villa could find it in their icy little bureaucratic hearts to do the same.