On Monday last, Mayor John Tory declared a State of Emergency in Toronto, Canada’s largest city which has seen a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Tory pointed out that the next few days”are absolutely critical” in the City’s ongoing efforts to slow down the spread of the disease and he called on residents ” to continue taking every precaution in protecting themselves.”
He advised them to” stay home, stay safe, and only venture out to buy essential supplies once a week.”
Excellent advice from the mayor.
But is everyone in this city of more than 2.9 million people paying attention ?
And the mayor has warned that he will support further recommendations and orders from the Medical Officer of Health and the provincial and federal governments, if people do not comply with the need to stay home.
Clearly, the problem of people not taking the necessary precautions to combat the deadly virus is not restricted to Toronto alone.
A recent poll suggests that one in five Canadians were not taking the deadly COVID-19 pandemic seriously.
In a Leger poll conducted between Friday and Sunday, 16 per cent of respondents said the crisis was partly blown out of proportion and another four per cent believed it was blown way out of proportion.
As well, 16 per cent said the crisis was having no impact on them going out to stores, restaurants or other places; 17 per cent said it was having no impact on the social distance they’re keeping from others; and 21 per cent said it was having no impact on visits with friends and family.
While the poll suggests the vast majority of Canadians were taking the crisis seriously and abiding by government advice to stay home as much as possible, Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque warned that the 20 per cent who weren’t taking it seriously could jeopardize nationwide efforts to curb the rapid spread of the respiratory virus.
“That 20 per cent of people must go down if we want to collectively achieve the objectives of flattening out the curve,” Bourque said in a interview, referring to the goal of keeping the number of COVID-19 cases from overwhelming the health care system.
Recognizing the seriousness of the problem, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appealed to Canadians to follow the recommendations of public health officials who are asking everyone to practise frequent handwashing and social distancing.
“We’ve all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they’re invincible.Well, you’re not,’’ the prime minister remarked.
“Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing, and we’re going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks, or by enforcing the rules, if that’s needed, ” he said.
” Nothing that could help is off the table, ’’ warned the prime minister.
The warning is timely and we hope that everyone will pay attention.
In our own Caribbean community there are concerns about whether there will be Toronto Caribbean carnival this year.
We expect a decision will soon be made about the carnival.
Unfortunately, there are many in our community who display a reckless attitude and are not heeding the advice of the public health authorities with respect to the virus.
The virus is no respecter of persons.
And as our columnist, Carlton Joseph, notes in his commentary in this week’s issue of The Caribbean Camera,viruses do not care about borders, race, religion or economic systems.
We hope everyone will take heed of the killer virus and protect themselves.