Toronto’s progress against COVID-19 justifies easing lockdown

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Canada’s largest city comes back to life. The sidewalks are more frequented. The traffic starts to grow again. More and more people are enjoying summer in parks.

Today Toronto is taking the reopening process to the next level. On Friday he did what most parts of Ontario have done and entered Stage 3. This means people can sit on an indoor bar stool or work out at the gym. This means that they can participate in gatherings of up to 100 people outdoors and 50 indoors. This means that they can go out to dinner at a restaurant and sit inside, although they are away from other customers.

Many residents will not do any of this. For COVID-19-cautious, reopening is too fast. They watch with a thrill the strong outbreaks in parts of the United States after hasty reopenings. They think it is unwise to resume so many activities while the new coronavirus is still with us.

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These feelings are understandable. The virus has killed more than 1,100 people in Toronto. It’s natural to be nervous about what might happen when city life begins again and people start to mingle more, even from a distance. Some residents choose to stay in a personal stage 2, avoiding gyms, bars, and group settings altogether. They are of course perfectly entitled to make this choice.

But they should also think about what the numbers say. In Toronto, those numbers look good; very good. In one day of this week, he recorded just one new case, extraordinary for a city of three million people. Across Ontario, the trend is also downward. This week, for the first time since the lockdown began in March, the province has seen days with fewer than 100 new cases.

Ontario is therefore not like an American state that rushes to open the doors and start the party. It is moving forward with the reopening because its top experts have indicated it is now possible and the numbers show it is reasonably safe. In addition, he advances with the greatest care. Ontario’s phased approach aims to reopen the province gradually and methodically. To reduce the risk of a new outbreak as the lockdown narrows, provincial officials have introduced a range of rules and guidelines on distance and hygiene, including mandatory masking in schools from the 4th year.

A special Toronto regulation requires people to sit still in bars and restaurants. Another regulation says they must wear masks in common areas of condos and apartment buildings. While there are always those who will ignore the rules – like the “yahoos” condemned by Premier Doug Ford for piling up at a Brampton house party – most residents behave well. This is one of the reasons the numbers are dropping. If residents trusted the government when it told them it was vital to stay home during the height of the epidemic, why shouldn’t they trust the government when it says it’s normal to go out (cautiously) now?

Of course, the city could see a resurgence of the virus as the reopening progresses. Toronto’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa says she expects the daily count to increase in Stage 3. If so, the city is much better prepared, its emergency rooms well stocked. , well staffed and no longer at risk of being overwhelmed by the drastically reduced number of patients.

Any danger of another reopening must be weighed against the cost of extending a foreclosure that has thrown thousands out of work. This lockdown is wreaking havoc not only on the economy, but also on human health, both physical and mental. The fact that he is calming down is a cause if not of celebration, at least of considerable hope. The cloud begins to dissipate and the sun is shining through.

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