Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
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When Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair came out of the gate with a column last week about the pandemic she said: “I wanted to promote discourse and give people a voice.”
She says she and staff are aware of the criticism she has received in the news, but that the column was intended to help people “understand our work together so that they understand the challenges ahead and why we are in this position.”
As part of that effort, she writes that “it’s become apparent that we are all in this together.”
But by Tuesday, her Facebook page was flooded with comments and messages calling her biased, saying she has not taken into account the effect COVID-19 would have on people, and that her response was not reflective of the pandemic.
There were also angry tweets directed at her for saying the virus is “more contagious than the flu.”
This was more than a column — it was a statement to our community at this time. The idea that it would be acceptable to turn a blind eye to the devastating effect of COVID-19 on people is completely untrue. — Toronto Public Health (@TORph_CA) March 9, 2020
When the tweetstorm reached hundreds of thousands of people, it became a call for more transparency around data that Toronto Public Health’s own experts had already made public at the beginning of the pandemic that has left more than 14,000 deaths.
On Tuesday, the city asked Toronto Public Health to release the data that was in its system at that time.
The data included in the city’s request is only that which has been previously released by the province to the province and the federal government.