Moving at the Speed of Variants

Moving at the Speed of Variants

In an acknowledgement of how dangerous this third wave has become, causing Ontario’s Intensive Care Units to overflow with younger COVID patients who are getting sicker faster, the Province this week imposed a new Stay At Home order.

The Government also announced a faster and more urgent vaccination rollout as vaccines become more plentiful. (See vaccination article below).

This week’s daily Toronto case numbers hovered around 1000, triple the number from just a few weeks ago. Today they jumped above 1300, as the number hospitalized in our …

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Too Little Too Late

Too Little Too Late

A new lockdown is here – an “emergency brake” response when a well-planned approach to a highly visible danger would have done a far better job.

We are now well into a third wave that will inevitably get worse. Because it typically takes about two weeks for virus spread to show up as cases, and even longer until those cause spikes in hospitalizations and admissions to Intensive Care Units, actions taken today are too late to have any impact on the disaster facing us the first …

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Who’ll Stop the Rain

Who’ll Stop the Rain

The rain had ended and food vendors were preparing for a beautiful summer evening in Mel Lastman Square when my optimism was broken by a weather report: “It’s going to be storming again in about 20 minutes.”

I rushed out to warn the vendors. But because it was neither what they were witnessing nor what they wanted to hear, most disregarded the news – until the bad weather arrived on schedule, sending everyone scrambling for cover.

Welcome to the pandemic’s third wave, accompanied by the end of …

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No, We’re Not There Yet

No, We’re Not There Yet

The declaration of a pandemic, a year ago yesterday, is permanently etched in our memories. The same for the year that followed, full of grim milestones.

Twelve months into it we understand a lot more about effective individual precautions.  And sooner than was initially thought possible, we have multiple vaccines that work. It’s possible we could all have a shot by summer. (See the article below for more on vaccination).

Deaths from COVID in long-term care homes have all but ended, as almost all residents there have …

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John Doe Found Guilty  

John Doe Found Guilty  

In a decision as remarkable for the sensitivity with which it was delivered as for the verdict itself, Justice Anne Malloy this week found John Doe guilty of killing 10 people and severely injuring 16 others on Willowdale’s main street.

In reading her verdict the judge humanized the victims by speaking their names, giving their ages, and describing their injuries. But she refused to say the name of the perpetrator, concluding that he was motivated by a desire for fame which should not, in any way, …

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Support for Supportive Housing

Support for Supportive Housing

I already knew that Willowdale residents tend to be kind and compassionate. But I felt even better about the community I represent after receiving a large number of immediately positive responses to news of a supportive housing project providing a permanent place to live for 64 people who would otherwise be homeless.

“Proud to have a homeless solution in my back yard,” one wrote back Friday evening, immediately after reading the news in last week’s newsletter.

“It makes me so happy for those who will move into …

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The Vaccine at the End of the Rainbow

The Vaccine at the End of the Rainbow

Amid ongoing confusion and missing information, Ontario residents over 60 living independently at last have some news on when they can realistically expect to be vaccinated.

All residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes in Toronto should already have received both vaccine doses. For others aged 60 and up, the Province announced the following schedule:

March 15: By this date, a provincial website will open to schedule vaccinations for residents over 80 living independently.  Shots will start being administered about a week later.
April 15: ages 75 …

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Willowdale to Receive Permanent Housing to Assist Homeless

Willowdale to Receive Permanent Housing to Assist Homeless

Early one morning years ago, I was awoken by an excited caller. “Have you ever seen a homeless person in Willowdale?” he demanded.

“Who is this and why are you asking?” I wondered, still half asleep.

“It’s Mel,” he said.

It was Mel Lastman’s first run for mayor of the newly-amalgamated city, and he had been met by a media storm that morning after declaring that nobody was homeless in North York.

Later that day, a homeless woman was found dead in a North York gas station. But that …

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The Good, the Bad, and the I Wish I Knew

The Good, the Bad, and the I Wish I Knew

As its own health advisors are warning that we are staring down a third wave that could easily be worse than the first or second, the Ontario Government is moving to loosen COVID restrictions. That has already taken place in many parts of the province and could happen in Toronto as early as February 22.

The latest modelling, presented yesterday by Dr. Steini Brown, shows that case numbers which have declined over the past month will start moving back upwards around the end of this month, …

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Protecting Ourselves From the Variants

Protecting Ourselves From the Variants

Despite declining COVID numbers across Ontario and, to a lesser extent, in Toronto, we’re entering a time of greater danger.

As most of us know by now, the UK variant already spreading through the population is expected to be the dominant form of the virus by next month.  A random screening this week found that more than 5% of new cases in Ontario were the more transmissible UK variant, many of them from an outbreak in Simcoe Muskoka.

Variants originating in South Africa and Brazil, though currently …

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A Deadly Footrace

A Deadly Footrace

If all one looked at were this week’s trends, it would be easy to think we’d turned a corner and were on our way home. For the second straight week, new infections in Toronto fell, as did numbers in Ontario and across North America.

In the city, we averaged about 600 new cases per day – still terribly high but moving in the right direction. Hospitalizations and ICU occupancy were down slightly. And the reproductive number dropped to .8, which should cause numbers to keep falling.

With …

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Hello In There – A Note About LTCs

Hello In There – A Note About LTCs

In some cultures, caring for the elders is both an obligation and an honour.

And then there’s us. I’m supposing that the neglect that has caused thousands to die and many more to suffer in our homes for the aged is unintentional, because we’re not that mean. It’s more like we’re …well…you know…kind of busy with other things.

Individually, we care about our aging parents and grandparents. But as a society – and for people we don’t know – not so much.

When the Government of Ontario quietly …

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