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Preventing a resurgence of COVID-19 is up to us

REMINDER: VIRTUAL COMMUNITY MEETING ON SENIORS’ HEALTH TONIGHT

I’m holding a virtual community meeting TONIGHT at 7PM to discuss supports for seniors during COVID-19. Register HERE by 6PM to participate.

 

I’ve been riding a roller coaster since Sunday in terms of writing a column for this week.


Watching the heavy media coverage about a development application for the corner of College and Bathurst that would see the demolition of Sneaky Dee's, I got a little annoyed. I started writing a column about how it's odd that no one makes this much fuss when intensification threatens much-loved shops along Eglinton West, let alone along Sheppard Avenue.


Then I remembered we have covered this ground recently. If we really don’t like that our own Official Plan drives developers to do all their property speculation along transit avenues, then we need to consider "gentle density" in our next Official Plan. I don't need to write yet another column on this topic for Sneaky Dee's habitués — they can read my column and apply it to their own circumstances.


“Oops, now I have no topic for this week,” I lamented on Monday night. Then, Tuesday morning came with an announcement from Mayor Tory about the shocking statistics gathered from our 50 new automated speed enforcement cameras. In just one month, over 22,000 tickets were issued. That's over 700 tickets a day.


So, I started a column lecturing all of us (myself included) to slow down — seriously. Again, I remembered I have already written about this, so I scrapped it. I recommend you read the articles I've linked above and also order a free "Slow Down!" sign from my office. I'll deliver it myself. What's most important to talk about this week is that our collective COVID-19 suppression efforts are starting to backslide before school has even opened. It's not from institutional spread. It's not from a spike in long-term care homes. It's just plain old carelessness.


The plain truth


So we went into the summer months steadily improving, in Toronto and across the province. We were rewarded with the wonders of Stage 3.


But we’ve had too much fun at the beach. We've stood too close at the bar. We’re starting to forget to wash our hands when we get home from a bus ride that got too crowded.


And what's really driving the numbers up is people — mostly those under age 40 — socializing with people outside their social bubbles without masks. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the numbers are now going in the wrong direction.


All the businesses and services that have been able to open are relying on all of us to wear our masks, wash our hands and avoid touching our faces. No one wants to have to see our economy go into lockdown again.


So let’s keep a Stage 1 mindset while enjoying the freedoms of Stage 3. All these activities can only stay open if we stick to public health rules.


When my staff team and I go out to parks in Don Valley North for a pop-up, you will see us wearing masks, keeping six feet apart and still managing to have a great time chatting with you. Don’t take it the wrong way, but after we pack up the big pink tent, we rush home and wash our hands the minute we get inside.


It’s really not that hard to keep everyone safe and get those numbers right back down — we've done it before and we can do it again.





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