It was around this time last year when we went into full lockdown here in Toronto. No one thought we would go through a whole year of modified lockdown and frankly last. Since the Canadian officials purchased and started COVID-19 vaccinations for the front-line workers and those at risk, others are unsure of the legitimacy of receiving the vaccine at all. It’s complicated, the consequences that is.
We have been confronted with our worst nightmare, losing our loved ones as a consequence of not staying in and abiding by the law. 2020 was a strange year, a year of all kinds of cultural and traditional modifications. Many new parents welcomed their first-borns away from grandparents and other family members in complete isolation. Some less fortunate families buried their loved ones without a chance to properly mourn or even share their loss with anyone. Yet, with such strict locks-downs imposed by the Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, there has been a surge in COVID-19 spread and death.
As of four weeks ago, Toronto has launched “pop-up clinics” in hot spots where COVID numbers are at a record high. However, in order to get vaccinated, one must wait in line for hours, only to get an appointment and come back at a later time for their shot. People who are 40 years of age or higher are able to get an appointment in the hot spot areas but anyone between the ages of 18-39 must line up. The vaccines which are being offered are either Pfiezer or Moderna, there seems to be a risk or some discomfort in administering Astrazeneca and yet that is what is being offered at most pharmaceutical locations. It’s truly a confusing and uncomfortable time with so much misinformation and negative publicity about the only vaccine that people can easily get. As well, Astrazeneca is the vaccine the federal government seems to be purchasing the most of.
Meantime, both the federal and provincial parties have done such poor jobs in managing the entire COVID-19 spread among people. Canadians, especially Ontarians have been on and off of very strict lockdowns for over a year and there seems to be no end in sight. Last week, Doug Ford came out and presented further closure and enforcement for Ontarians. He said that all outdoor children’s parks would be closed for 2 weeks to come and gave a “stay at home” order to Ontarians.
He went on and gave the police force the permission and power to pull over whom ever they please for interrogation with the possible consequence of ticketing them as well. As parents fell into dread and worry for their kid’s mental well-being, others who had settled for daily strolls around the block or even the city fell into despair. After all, not all homes are a place of love and security these days. Not all children have the luxury to order new toys and games from on line retailers such as Amazon, E-Bay, and other such giants. How are these policies made for such a diverse group of people? Suicide rates among youth and teenagers have been at a record breaking all time high over the past year.
Hence, thankfully, the day after Doug Ford’s ignorant and over the board new restrictions, The Toronto Police department came out with a public statement reassuring their people that they would not be pulling them over for going out for drives with their own household members. Shortly after that, other cities and their police force came forth with the same statement and gave hope to their regions and districts.
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While this seemed nothing short of a miracle, an open letter came forth signed by a number of doctors from Ontario’s College of Pediatrics stating the detrimental necessity for children and youth to have access to parks and outdoor facilities, and that parks have proven to have little to do with the spread of COVID-19 among people. Thankfully some hope was reclaimed again. Ontarians witnessed that while political leaders seemed to have lost some of their empathy in all of this for the younger population, leaders in other parts of the cities where they still hold some independent power seem to have more integrity and consideration for families and their kids.
Although the city is still in considerable shut down until further notice, it is somewhat heart-warming that the Premier came out and publicly apologized for having made a mistake and in putting too much pressure on people. Perhaps the second quarter of 2021 will have more people vaccinated, gatherings can start taking place, and life can start to resume in bits and pieces again.