cold medicine toronto

Empty Toronto pharmacy shelves have people nervous about medicine shortage

Politicians and public health authorities don't seem to be in a huge hurry to acknowledge the current wave seventh of COVID-19 in OntarioWastewater data and the number of patients in intensive care only provide a rought outline of the picture, but a gap is now being filled by photos of empty cough medicine aisles in pharmacies.

Social media posts and photos of barren pharmacy shelves have been pouring in over the past several weeks, offering a visual clue into just how widespread the latest variant has grown.

One Twitter commenter wrote in early July, "the cough syrup shelves at the local supermarket were all but empty. (Everything else was well stocked.) Just in case you needed an indicator that a viral respiratory illness is actively spreading right now."

And the situation doesn't appear to be improving based on the continued flood of similar visuals.

"Sure seems like a lot of people have colds and flus since COVID ended," joked a Twitter user in late June, poking fun at the apparent lack of concern from politicians and the public at the evidence of rising cases following the end of public health mandates.

It's happening all over Toronto, but identical scenes are playing out across the province, including in cities such as Ottawa and London.

Earlier in July, Shoppers Drug Mart issued a statement to CTV News Ottawa acknowledging that the spike in demand has been exacerbated by "supply issues experienced by our vendor."

One Walmart location has posted signs on its cough syrup display notifying customers of unspecified "supply issues."

So next time you're in an indoor gathering with no mask on, just remember that COVID could hit you a whole lot harder when there's no cold medicine to help manage the symptoms.

Some food for thought, because your backup plan will likely be chicken soup.

Lead photo by

Martin Partridge


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