Do Ottawans really have to wait for someone in authority to make us follow this simple public health measure?
The OCDSB will debate mandatory masking in schools next week. Photo by Jean Levac /POSTMEDIA On Tuesday, Ottawa’s biggest school board will debate a motion to reinstate mandatory masking for students and staff. Many OCDSB trustees feel that, as children’s hospitals in Ontario struggle under a deluge of serious respiratory cases, it’s the right thing to do.
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A trickle of area entrepreneurs now also require masks from those who do business with them. They, too, think masking is the right move.
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These initiatives follow the tepid intervention of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, who early this week “strongly” recommended that everyone mask up in indoor public places. Neither he nor local medical officers of health, including Ottawa’s Dr. Vera Etches, are requiring mask usage indoors at this time.
At CHEO, meanwhile, the emergency department is seeing about 240 children a day with serious respiratory illness, in an ER meant to handle 150. Intensive care has double the number of patients the hospital was set up for. Youths 16 and 17 are being directed to adult hospitals.
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Why are so many young children — including many babies — so sick? “What’s happening in the community is dictating what we’re seeing” here, said Dr. Lindy Samson, CHEO’s chief of staff. Hospital experts will attend the school board debate on mandatory masking.
But folks, really – why should it come to this? Why should we have to debate having rules to make us mask? If you have kids, you know very serious respiratory illnesses are scything through classrooms. Public indifference to this is baffling.
A day after Moore issued his plea to mask indoors, Ottawa city councillors took their seats in a chamber where fewer than half the guests wore masks. Premier Doug Ford, in Question Period, didn’t bother either. A Carleton University professor tweeted that since Moore’s appeal, “I’ve taught several classes, done plenty of shopping, taken public transit, taken the train…. I can say with some certainty that the impact of those (pleas) has been: zero. Nil.” Exactly.
Our collective stupidity is all the more puzzling because most people aren’t against mask mandates. A Nanos poll reported by CTV this week found that about 70 per cent of those surveyed “supported” or “somewhat supported” mandatory masking if needed.
So here’s a suggestion: Make the argument about mandatory masking irrelevant, by just wearing your face covering. “This is the time to do what we know works,” said Samson on Friday. Masks work.
Do we really — still — need to be told?
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