covid 19 toronto

More than 1,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in Toronto

Toronto just surpassed a gloomy milestone in its ongoing fight against COVID-19, proving that there is still much work to be done despite how far we've already come.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa announced Thursday afternoon that the city has now officially logged more than 1,000 deaths due to the deadly coronavirus, the first case of which was reported locally in late January.

A total of 13,661 confirmed and probably cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Toronto as of Thursday, along with 11,501 recoveries and 1,002 deaths.

"Today, I am very saddened to report that we reached a tragic milestone of 1,000 lives lost to COVID-19, a virus that was unknown to us just 6 months ago," wrote de Villa in a statement confirming the milestone today.

"This is an immeasurable loss experienced by so many people across our city and beyond. On behalf of everyone at Toronto Public Health, we offer our sincerest condolences to everyone who has lost a friend, family member or loved one to COVID-19."

The city's top doctor went on to urge all residents to "take a moment" and look beyond the numbers. 

"Each death represents a unique life," she wrote. "An individual with a personal story, who had an impact on us and our community. One thousand people have died from COVID-19 and have left behind friends, family members and neighbours. These losses are deeply personal for those who knew and loved them."

The Greater Toronto Area has indeed been hit harder than other parts of the province by COVID-19, with a cumulative rate of 399 per 100,000 people as of June 17.

The 1,002 deaths to date in Toronto represent nearly 40 per cent of all 2,553 COVID-19 deaths in Ontario — and that 40 per cent pertains only to the City of Toronto, not the entire GTA.

De Villa puts the numbers into context by comparing them to the 2003 SARS epidemic, during which 44 people in the Toronto area lost their lives.

"Each year we lose approximately 1,000 people to heart attacks and related cardiovascular disease in our city," she wrote.

"Sadly, given that the virus is still circulating and there is no effective treatment or vaccine, we should anticipate that we will continue to see deaths from COVID-19 in our community," de Villa continued. 

"We have already lost too many people to COVID-19 and we must do everything we can reasonably do to prevent any more deaths. As we continue to move towards reopening our city, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to remember that our battle against COVID-19 is not over yet."

Toronto Board of Health Chair and city councillor Joe Cressy expressed his condolences to the families of those Torontonians lost and issued a plea for cooperation in a statement of his own on Thursday.

"This milestone underscores just how important it is that each and every one of us continue doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19," he wrote.

"Until there is a readily available vaccine, the threat continues to be very real, even as our city starts to open back up. We must continue to stay vigilant and continue practicing physical distancing, washing our hands thoroughly, and covering our faces when we come into contact with others in businesses and on transit. The health of our city depends on it."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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