Covid-19, Ontario, Public health, Toronto

Close schools to end the second wave

In T.O. 70% of Covid cases cannot be traced. Ultimately, it is our governments who will be held accountable for this disastrous situation. 

Reference: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-tam-calls-for-stricter-covid-19-lockdown-measures-in-hard-hit/

Without adequate testing, tracing, and hospitals in crisis we are left with no alternative but stronger restrictions. However, before pondering what additional restrictions must be implemented, we have to step back and ask ourselves, why didn’t the current restrictions mitigate the second wave?

This is a complicated question to answer since we do not have all the data on how contagion spreads in Toronto. Nonetheless, we do know that several businesses have either:

  • Potentially broken the law by remaining open, or
  • Have bent the law by finding creative ways to brand themselves as essential.

Reference: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/toronto/article-cities-crack-down-on-businesses-breaking-covid-rules-in-ontario/

The law of unintended consequences teaches us that if we close all stores, except those that sell food, hardware, and PPE, eventually every store in T.O. will be selling bananas, hammers, and face masks in an effort to stay in business. So there must be more effective ways to encourage people to stay home than the 50 shades of grey “lockdown”.

Voluntary measures, such as encouraging people to work from home were not particularly effective in the first wave. Mandatory restrictions did not stop a second wave. But what did work well were the school closures that helped put an end to the first wave. Not only because having people spend significant time indoors in classrooms presents a Covid outbreak risk, but because closing schools also force parents to stay home. The moment children don’t go to school, parents are forced to have a conversation with their employers to either work from home or go on leave to take care of them, especially if they have younger children. I realize that some unethical employers will simply lay-off their workers, but frankly, maybe these employers should not be receiving government assistance and the focus of governments should be to bail out our workers.

Closing schools may be the most effective way to encourage people to stay home. So, close schools to make parents stay home, keep our children and educators safe, and potentially put an end to this deadly second wave. Let’s buy some time and save lives now that vaccines are on their way.

Thank you, to all essential workers

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