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Doug Ford gives up on Halloween, and even epidemiologists say this message will haunt us

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Time to egg Queen’s Park. Ontarians could TP it, but we can’t risk toilet paper shortages again. If we can learn lessons from this pandemic, we should.

But now that Ontario has cancelled Halloween trick-or-treating in the province’s four COVID-19 hot zones — Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York — we should consider why that decision is being taken, and what we haven’t learned.

“I understand the intention, and I don’t think there are more people more concerned about the epidemiological situation than I am,” says Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network. “But there is no reason why this cannot be done in a safe manner.”

Living life safely and as normally as possible is, even in a pandemic, the goal of public health. For months we have been told to get outdoors, maintain social distance, stick to our immediate family units in serious situations such as this one, and wear masks.

Which sounds a hell of a lot like Halloween.

“It’s like the worst PR moves you can possibly construe for a public health movement that is suffering badly to maintain public confidence,” says Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease specialist and ICU doctor at Toronto Western Hospital. “I’m sure what they’re thinking is we’ll be the stewards of caution, we’ll be extra-safe … I look at it from the point of view that you’ve given people a lot of poor........

© Peterborough Examiner

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