In a somewhat uncomfortable news conference, Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr, Kieran Moore maintained that a COVID masking mandate will not return, at least not yet; but he repeated several times that people should wear masks in situations where distancing is not possible. He told reporters that there is sufficient hospital capacity to handle up to 600 ICU cases, which he predicted Ontario could see before this sixth wave is over. Moore did say a return to mandatory masking could become necessary as we head into next winter. Dr. Moore suggested the current wave could last another 6 to 8 weeks. He also announced that the new COVID treatments will begin to become more widely available, after news reports suggested that the province was sitting on a large stockpile of the COVID-fighting drug, Paxlovid, that hadn’t been distributed. Moore also said the drug will be available from pharmacies on an outpatient basis and that there will soon be expanded PCR testing.
Reporters repeatedly pressed Moore to explain why he had not met with the media in a month, and his reply was that he would only meet reporters when there was something new to report. He notes that the media have had access in that time to all COVID data and trends. At a separate event Premier Doug Ford defended Moore’s department, saying “they have been ai it 24/7.”