Thursday, May 14, 2020

Doug Ford resorts to barefaced lying on COVID testing

However you think Doug Ford has been doing throughout the COVID-19 outbreak - and many people have been pleasantly surprised, meaning that he has not been quite as awful as expected - it does seem like he is starting to unravel and reverting to form.
Take his comments the other day about Ontario's virus testing record. With a bluster worthy of Donald Trump and an equally Trumpian disregard for the facts, Ford claimed in a presser that, "We are leading the country now in tests per capita ... we are one of the leaders on testing globally, worldwide".
Er, no, Mr. Ford, we are in fact lagging badly. Ontario's testing rate is 31 per 1,000 population, better than it was, but still on a par with testing in the USA, which is being berated on all fronts for its poor testing performance (from all, that is, except Donald Trump, who is of course insisting that the US is the best in the world, but who believes that guy anyway?)
The rest of the world? Iceland's rate is 160 per 1,000 population(!), Lithuania 76, Denmark 62, Israel 56, Portugal 55, Belgium 54, Spain 53, Italy 45. Shall I go on?
Even within Canada, Ontario trails provincial and territorial leaders Alberta and Nunaut, which are both running tests at 44 per 1,000 population, as well as Nova Scotia (36) and Quebec (35), and it actually sits almost exactly on the Canadian average.
Why do political leaders do and say these things? They must know that, in this day and age, they will be fact-checked and called out. How is it in their interests to lie? Trump is a different case: lying is his MO, and he can apparently persuade his support base of anything if he says it often enough, and loudly and aggressively enough, and with enough conviction. But Ford is not in Trump's league, at least not yet. Let's just stick to the truth, shall we?
This comes hard on the heels of Ford's tone-deaf ignoring of his own social distancing rules when he invited his two daughters over for a Mother's Day celebration in direct contravention of the rules about different families mixing together.
Ford also seems to have drunk the Cool-Aid regarding the re-opening the province and relaxing some precautionary health restrictions, with an announcement today that Ontario will engage in "Stage One"of the province's re-opening plan, starting in just a few days time, even though Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams is cautioning that Ontario is not yet in a position to proceed with even Stage One of a reopening: "We haven't had all those things come together yet where you would say that now we are ready to enter Stage One". So, Ford is going ahead, against the express advice of the province's top doctor. This will be interesting.

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