dr michael warner

Toronto ICU doctor has strong words for Doug Ford in sobering video dispatch

If the provincial government doesn't act now — as in right now, immediately — people who don't even have COVID-19 will die as a result.

This is the general thrust of a grave warning from Toronto ICU physician Dr. Michael Warner, as issued on Twitter Thursday morning after he received new data revealing how many coronavirus patients are currently in hospital.

"Critical Care Services Ontario is reporting that we have reached the 150 patient threshold for COVID patients in ICUs in Ontario," said Warner, who works at Toronto East Health Network's Michael Garron Hospital.

"This is happening about five days ahead of the modelling prediction presented by the government on November 12. They thought that we would reach this threshold around November 24."

Warner went on to point out that, with 1,737 patients in ICU wards today, there are some 400 more people in critical care right now than there were at the peak of Wave One, "when all non-COVID related care was essentially shut down."

"We're on the trajectory to have more COVID patients in ICUs than we did in Wave One," he stated. "This means we're going to have to limit access to non-COVID-related care: Cancel surgeries, cancel cancer surgeries, cancel hip replacements, knee replacements."

"We don't want to do this. We can't do this. People will die if we do this."

Warner has been posting regular updates to Twitter since the pandemic first began, analyzing data for members of the public and calling upon Ford's government to better protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

The doctor has used social media in recent months to do everything from call out the government on their "lack of a coherent, clinically-informed COVID testing strategy" to backing up Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa when she urged the province to put a 28-day ban on indoor dining (which they eventually did.)

Today, his message for Ford was crystal clear: Fish or cut bait.

"Premier Ford, if you're going to make a move, let's make it today Let's not announce it tomorrow to be implemented Monday," said Warner.

"We need to keep the healthcare system accessible to all patients whether they have COVID or not."

Ford is expected to announce new restrictions for the red-zoned regions of Toronto, Peel and York on Friday afternoon.

While the government has been tight-lipped about what those restrictions will be, Ford himself has been warning with increasing fervor for weeks that he "won't hesitate" to put a full lockdown in place, if that's what his health table recommends.

"We continue seeing extremely, extremely troubling numbers in Peel, Toronto and York Region, and the virus is spreading at an alarming rate in these areas." said Ford on Wednesday during his daily pandemic press conference.

"I can't stress this enough: the situation is extremely, extremely serious. Right now we're staring down the barrel of another lockdown in these regions."

"We expect new measures to be discussed at cabinet and announced in the coming days," said Ford. "Because my friends, we need to hunker down."

Lead photo by

Dr. Michael Warner

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