Ford slammed for 'game show tactics' in response to escalating COVID-19 crisis
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been slammed by the opposition for "game show tactics" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ford addressed the province on Friday morning from Queen's Park, saying that new COVID-19 modelling will be released next week that will make people "fall off their chair."
Despite teasing that grim figures would be released in the modelling data, he didn't provide any specifics.
"Yet again the premier is teasing big announcements regarding the pandemic," Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement on Friday afternoon. "I'd like to remind the premier to not treat the pandemic like a game show."
Schreiner called the "building of suspense before announcements unacceptable and dangerous" and is asking for full transparency.
Ford said during his COVID-19 update on Friday that if basic public health measures "continue to be ignored" in the province, the consequences "will be dire."
"Everything is on the table right now. There will be further measures, because this is getting out of control and we have to do whatever it takes," Ford said. "We are in a crisis. It is scary. And we need to work together."
Ford stopped short of saying which public health restrictions his government is considering, but has said that a curfew, similar to the one imposed in Quebec earlier this week, is an option.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also released a statement Friday on Twitter, saying that Ford is "choosing to drag his feet" in regards to new restrictions.
"If your house is on fire on Friday the fire department doesn't wait until Monday before they try to put it out," Horwath said. "Disturbed that Ford and his cabinet refuse to limit the COVID-19 spread with tougher public health measures and financial supports for Ontarians."
Horwath also called for the Ford government to release the COVID-19 modelling data to be released immediately.
"Doug Ford says the COVID-19 Ontario modelling data is shocking – but we'll have to wait until next week to actually see it," Horwath said. "Mr. Ford, show us the modelling today. And by the end of the day, tell us what you’re going to do about it without delay."
CTV News Toronto contacted Ford's office on Friday about why the modelling data was not being released immediately.
A spokesperson for Ford said that health officials needed to collect a few more days of data to get an "accurate and complete picture of the situation before releasing the projections."
Ontario shattered its COVID-19 record Friday as more than 4,200 cases were logged, citing a data backlog that accounts for about 450 of the new infections. However, even if those 450 cases were removed from Friday’s total there would still be a record 3,799 new infections logged.