What the hell, Ontario?

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ISTOCK (TARIK KIZILKAYA)
Opinion: It was nice knowing you, Ontario.

The third wave is here, and Ontario is drowning.

A year ago I held out hope for our province. Not out of naiveté, but because these are extraordinary circumstances; I had no basis at the time to doubt the durability of our responsiveness to a global pandemic.

I do now.

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Here’s a snapshot of where Ontario sits according to a March 29 analysis from the province’s COVID-19 science advisory table: Hospitalizations are 20 per cent higher than at the start of the last province-wide lockdown. Variants that are more deadly are circulating widely. They take up 67 per cent of Ontario infections, with a 60 per cent higher risk of death. These variants are 2.7 times higher in areas where essential workers live, and are increasing at the fastest rate amongst low-income essential workers.

As few as 10 per cent of low-income workers have paid sick days. Black workers are nearly two times as likely to be considered low-income.

Dr. Peter Juni, the table’s scientific director, summed up the analysis.

“Right now in Ontario, the pandemic is completely out of control,” Juni said, adding that there is “no way out” of what’s to come within the next few weeks without a widespread lockdown and paid sick leave for essential workers. Vaccinations are simply not enough to put out this fire, especially when they are being doled out by age groups – problematic as this method leaves out essential workers and people living in COVID-19 hotspots.

Delays to vaccine shipments also do not help the situation.

And as for the Ontario public, anti-mask rallies are doing little to help as well. Please tell me, someone, the logic behind gathering maskless, in droves of hundreds, to deny the reality of a virus? A virus that has been proven to exist countless times by countless experts?

The correlation between rising case numbers and these protests is undeniable.

And students of London, stop gathering in large groups. I’m done bending over backwards to understand your need to ‘blow off steam,’ or whatever the excuse is. You account for 20 per cent of our local cases. Find ways to decompress at home until this shit storm blows over, for the love of God.

TLDR? Here’s a recap of grievances: No sick leave for low-income essential workers. A slow, disorganized vaccine rollout with multiple shipment delays. An ignorant public, and a reckless student demographic. The worst part is that this has been the pattern of the past 12 months, with no behavioural changes in sight on both ends of the government and the people.

Happy Easter. We’re all doomed.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.