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Friday, December 2, 2022
Editorial: In the ‘stay home’ stretch

There are a lot of people out there who are questioning the advice of Niagara’s top doctor, Mustafa Hirji.

And they couldn’t be more wrong.

Hirji consistently has been warning of the dangers of new variants arriving in Niagara, cautioning that provincial models and examples around the world show variants could mean a drastic, third wave spike in COVID-19 cases.

Yet, despite his concerns and the similar worries of other medical officers, the province has decided to push forward with opening up and to ignore the potential dangers.

It’s not the right move. It’s being done for political reasons and potentially putting the health and safety of Canadians at risk.

So, as Hirji said this week, unfortunately now the fate of Niagara is in our hands, and even the hands of people who may decide to travel here.

That’s a clear warning. And despite some people, including a few NOTL business owners, believing Hirji has some vendetta against restaurants and other businesses, the advice is not coming from just Hirji.

We're a small business and acutely feel the pain of NOTL's small businesses as well. But decisions about public health priorities should be scientific, not political, decisions.

It is tough medicine but as a community, we need to remain diligent in social distancing and not leaving the house unless it’s essential.

Until we see the full effect of variants, it’s hard to know what is going to happen. Another full lockdown could be ruinous.

While deaths have stalled in the region, with no new COVID fatalities being reported for a week now, Hirji remains concerned about the vulnerable population of age 80-plus folks who don’t live in long-term care homes.

He’s also worried about people in the 50 to 80 age bracket, because those people are most likely to be admitted to the hospital and put in intensive care.

So, while the decline in deaths may seem like we’re beating COVID, we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Maybe, just maybe, when people aged 50 to 80 have been vaccinated, we’ll be able to really get back to wider reopening.

But that might not happen until Canadians have all been given a chance to get the vaccine.

During a media conference Monday, Hirji said our levels of people in hospital with COVID-19 have not come to down to anywhere near the numbers we saw when the province opened last summer.

And, if we open too quickly and hospitals are flooded, it means fewer health care workers will be available to administer vaccines. It means public health will be overwhelmed with contact tracing, taking even more people away from vaccine-related measures.

So, really, the more we go out and act carelessly, the longer it’s likely going to take for us to recover.

Don’t be one of those people who learns their lesson the hard way.

Just stay home.