'I have never been as worried about the future as I am today,' says Toronto's chief medical officer

Feb 18, 2021

As the province of Ontario moves to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions, the City of Toronto is saying no. Senior health and political leaders want the tough restrictions to remain in place longer than planned.

The request is coming from the mayor, the head of emergency management and Toronto’s top doctor. They want the restrictions to stay until at least March 9, two weeks later than what was originally planned.

“I have never been as worried about the future as I am today,” said Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen De Villa in a grim warning. "The variants of concern mean we face a deceptively dangerous situation. By the time the confirmed case counts are big enough to shock us, it will be too late to do anything. We will be in a third wave as bad as anything we’ve been through thus far.”

De Villa said there are more than 50 cases involving COVID variants of concern and the number of infections could surge if the city reopens too quickly.  

The Region of Peel, west of Toronto, is also asking that lockdown measures be extended. As of Wednesday, more than 200 people in Peel screened positive for a variant. 

There are also growing calls for the Ontario government to reconsider its reopening strategy.