'We're past the point of "threatened"': Ontario mask ‘recommendation’ isn’t enough, top experts say
As hospitals across Ontario continue to be stretched thin, the province’s top doctor is strongly recommending masking indoors.
On Monday, Dr. Kieran Moore described Ontario’s health care system as experiencing “extraordinary pressure” and endorsed the use of masks indoors, including in places like schools and childcare centres. The latest recommendations come a day after Premier Doug Ford advised people in the province to wear a mask “every time possible” and to get vaccinated. However, the province has not gone so far as to call for any new masking mandates.
Kate Mulligan is a public member of the Toronto Board of Health and an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She says the current guidelines aren’t doing enough.
“I think we’ve learned through these long years of COVID that Canadians respond better to clear guidance and clear rules,” she tells Yahoo News Canada. “Public health is a collective matter, not an individual matter, so people will continue to make their own decisions.”
She adds that she doesn’t think that the current recommendations give the sense of urgency that's really needed as hospitals face a crisis and children, in particular, are facing significant respiratory illnesses and risks they won’t be able to receive the care they need.
If there were a time to act, it should have been a month ago,” Mulligan says. Now’s the second-best time to act.Kate Mulligan, Toronto Board of Health, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
On social media, many are expressing their concerns about the state of the health care system and the need for a mask mandates.
So...the Ontario government is saying they'll bring back a mask mandate IF hospital capacity is "threatened".
But pediatric ICU beds are full. Surgeries are being canceled. And pediatric capacity is being expanded by 50% just to cope.
We're past the point of "threatened".
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) November 14, 2022
Community masking will protect schools, school masking will protect siblings, siblings masking will protect babies😷😷😷
CMOH is forever sitting on the fence while Ontario Health has been in the ditch since the summer!
DO YOUR JOB
— carol (@GrandmasRus) November 14, 2022
Breaking: Ontario "Strongly Recommends" Wearing Masks. LOLOLOLOLOLOLZZZ https://t.co/08HU1iEUBG
— Dean Blundell🇨🇦 (@ItsDeanBlundell) November 14, 2022
Hey, the Premier of Ontario's line is currently experiencing a high volume of calls. Get in line, everybody. Can point out that there are 22 children on ventilators at @SickKidsNews, their CEO is begging for mandate, heart surgeries 4 kids are being cancelled, masks work. https://t.co/bmw803kwHn
— Carlyn Zwarenstein (@CarlynZwaren) November 14, 2022
Strong recommendation is not enough, @fordnation, and you know it. Require masks. You are not taking all the necessary steps to keep young children safe. Leadership is doing what is right for the whole, even if you lose the votes of your anti-maskers. #BringBackMasks #WeNotMe
— Nili Kaplan-Myrth MD PhD (@nilikm) November 14, 2022
*Powerful* statement from Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore - he *strongly* recommends masks.
Tough talk from a true professional. 🙄
A Nanos poll from last week showed almost 70 % of Canadians favour mandating masks. But 3 in 10 - i.e. the Con base - get their way. pic.twitter.com/aG4orazwMo
— Daniel Joseph Samson (@ruralcolonialNS) November 14, 2022
So, my 6 y/o who masks ALL day at school (the only one) should now also mask at home if he gets the sniffles b/c *checks notes* home is riskier than schools?
He won’t be masking here. He does his part. When will @fordnation? Schools are cesspools. #MandateMasks in #onted
— Despondent In Doug Ford’s Ontario (@KGYellowknife) November 14, 2022
Others were happy the province is taking a hands off approach.
So now it's official - Dr Moore is recommending Ontario masks up. And it's not even for Covid. They want us to mask up for the common cold and flu. That's their new precedent?
If you want to mask up, go ahead.
I don't intend to live my life living in the basement.
— Aidan Mackey (@AidanMackeyON) November 12, 2022
Why is Ontario the only place on earth pushing masks? Time to move on
— linda hill (@Lindahill2climb) November 14, 2022
Folks in Ontario don’t realize that by complying with mask mandates the first round, masking will be brought back for EVERYTHING. You were/are the problem. Masks aren’t about science, they are about your compliance. #DoNotComply
— Gnameless 🇨🇦 (@garden_nome1) November 14, 2022
Mulligan says what’s currently happening in hospitals is very unsettling for families to not know whether the health care system will be available when they need it for themselves or their kids.
“What is it going to take for us to prioritize health and wellbeing," she asks. "If we can’t prioritize the health of our kids at a time our kids are getting seriously sick, when will we? It seems we’ve lost our way.”