Toronto's top doctor says concerning resurgence of COVID-19 is already starting
Health officials across the country have been warning for a while now that a second wave of COVID-19 is simply inevitable, and Toronto's medical officer of health said today that the surge is already starting.
Speaking during the city's pandemic press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Eileen de Villa said local numbers are starting to increase again, with 48 new COVID-19 infections reported in Toronto since yesterday and 123 infections so far this week.
Watch today's (Sep 2) #COVID19 briefing live at 2 p.m. with Mayor @JohnTory and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. @epdevilla about the current situation and response in Toronto. https://t.co/RNoGsfF6Xh— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) September 2, 2020
"This is concerning for all of us… It isn't a matter of if we'll see more COVID-19 activity in our city, it's a matter of when," she said. "I'm concerned, because this is now what we're starting to see."
During the briefing, Dr. de Villa emphasized the importance of peoples' actions over the next few days and weeks, especially as children return to school, residents return to work and people spend more time inside as cooler weather arrives.
And as we head into Labour Day weekend, she's urging everyone to be responsible so as not to contribute to virus transmission.
"The choices we make this Labour Day weekend have the potential to affect all of us in the weeks and months ahead," she warned.
The medical officer of health said Toronto has done a good job at keeping virus spread down over these past few months, and while that is partly thanks to the cooperation of residents, it's also because we've been able to socialize outdoors.
This, coupled with the fact that many have fortunately avoided getting sick with COVID-19 since March, can lead to a false sense of security, she said.
People are also, evidently, tired of social distancing, maintaining social bubbles and rules in general, but she said the breaking of these rules is precisely what's leading to the resurgence we're starting to see.
"The fact is, we're seeing COVID-19 infections in our city, resulting from people choosing not to follow public health advice," she said.
"Just this week, we identified new infections amongst people socializing indoors, without masks and at close distance. These are exactly the kind of situations that are contributing to virus spread in other parts of the country."
She added that in reality, the only safe way forward is for people to continue following public health measures, including washing hands, being aware of distance, and wearing a mask.
"I cannot emphasize enough just how critical our behaviour today is in determining what happens next. So I ask everyone to take a moment, to consider how they may be bending the rules, and to start today by resetting our habits," she said.
"This will be critical to how we manage as a community in the next phase of this pandemic. This is the only way we can protect each other, our economy, and make sure that we don't go back to even more restrictive measures as we did in the spring."
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