Can Ontario be regulated with another mask mandate amid higher respiratory illnesses?
CanadaOpinionPoliticsToronto Nov 23, 2022 Ishmeet Singh
In recent months as respiratory illness rises across the country, many Canadian healthcare experts have been asking the provincial governments to bring back mask mandates again.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore in a recent press conference ‘strongly recommended’ Ontarians to wear masking in public indoor settings. This announcement comes along what he is calling a “triple threat” to the province as patients are ill with not only COVID-19 but also respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza.
Ontario, like other provinces, is seeing a high disturbance in cases and chest infections in young children. While Medical experts recommend a stricter guideline leading to a mask mandate, others worry about the political impact.
Which brings us to the question of what to do? Where does it go from here? Should Ontario reintroduce the mask mandates in order to prevent further widespread diseases in an indoor setting?
Parents and children are facing frightening wait times of up to 12 hours in emergency rooms, and longer waiting times for receiving medications. It can be categorized as yet another crisis: a viral storm, where severe staff shortages in hospitals are met with an increased number of infections in young children.
You may have been informed about the issue of shortages in healthcare before, but many still do not fully understand the enormity of the problem faced by Canada’s healthcare system from the shortage of nurses and increased emergency room wait times. Ontario ER’s are only getting worse.
A poll conducted by the Star suggests that little more than half of the Ontarians support returning to a provincial mask mandate.
The Forum Research poll found that a mask mandate would be of interest to 53 per cent of respondents while the other 47 per cent “somewhat disagree” or “strongly disagree”. Surprisingly, twenty-eight per cent feel they will definitely not follow a mandate if the province brings back one.
It clearly shows that public opinion about making masks mandatory will come with displeasure.
While everyone is encouraged to wear masks to protect themselves and opting them by choice, it is harder to mandate them now. No provincial minister or chief medical officer has opted to make the use of masks mandatory again.
The mandates played an important role in preventing the spread of Covid waves and also helped the country to tackle the widespread flu. These mandates are heavy-handed public health measure decisions that were only applied when society encountered an unknown virus.
Experts believe that RSV diseases are likely to occur from child to child. Surface transmissions play an important role in these diseases, which is different from COVID-19. Hence, masks can have some impact but can not be relied on completely to stop the spread.