The Ontario Premier has rejected the advice of Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario Science Advisory panel, and will further delay actions to bring the coronavirus spread under control.
On Monday morning, Brown provided data showing hospital ICUs will be overrun by COVID-19 cases by New Year's Eve, forcing cancellation of cancer surgeries, and that without further action the number of cases identified each day will rise to 3,000 to 5,000 by January 31, based on between one and three per cent daily growth.
Brown called for a “stringent” lockdown lasting between four and six weeks, starting immediately.
But in a media conference only hours later, the Ontario Premier appeared to have rejected Brown's advice, and instead has delayed province-wide action until Saturday, December 26. Under reporter’s questioning about the delay, the Conservative Premier said the delay was necessary because the he didn’t want businesses to be left with “inventory, especially the restaurants with food inventory.”
The Ontario Premier has come under sharp criticism over several months of delay while saying case counts were about to decline.
On October 6, when Ontario identified 584 cases and much of the province’s trace and isolate effort was collapsing, Ford said existing efforts were “flattening the curve.”
In early November, when daily counts remained under 1,000, Health Minister Christine Elliot said “we’re seeing the number beginning to go down.” And on December 15 when cases were just about to surge above 2,000 per day, Premier Ford says “we’re seeing a plateau.”