Based on a number of reporters’ questions at today’s Public Health COVID news conference there are suggestions Premier Ford may have some additional COVID-related sanction to announce tomorrow. The past week has seen a growing public rift, albeit polite, between the recommendations of Dr Eileen DeVilla the Medical Officer of Health for Toronto whose view is the best way to stop the growing number of infections is to bite the bullet and impose a four week shutdown on all bar and restaurant activity. Yesterday she said such a measure while, painful, would best ensure a more stable recovery and make it more like Christmas could be enjoyed more normally. Premier Ford, has been adamant that it would be too much of a hardship for an industry that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, “for the sake of a few bad apples.”
Somewhere in the middle of all this is Dr. David Williams an his team at Ontario Health whose actual advice to the Premier is unknown, but based on reporters’ questions today it appeared his view might have been closer to DeVilla’s than Ford’s. Up until the last week Ford has repeatedly said he would take the advice of his health table; but since the pressure has mounted from the growing number of cases in Toronto and the GTA, he has switched to saying, “I need to see the evidence.”
Today Dr. Williams expressed frustration with the way some people have handled previous advice. He noted that the province thought they had a solution when they recommended social circles be limited to 10, but he said people flouted that rule and started allowing people from different social circles to join theirs, defeating the purpose. Flanked by Dr. Hyer, who is acting as a special advisor to the province, Dr. Williams seemed to be making the point that if Dr.DeVilla thinks the provincial measures are not adequate in Toronto’s case she has the power to go further.