‘It’s going to be stark,’ Ford agrees to release COVID-19 infection modelling to public
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, April 2, 2020 1:52PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 3, 2020 7:15PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford has reversed course on releasing Ontario’s COVID-19 modelling data, saying now that the public needs to see the data he has seen, adding “it’s going to be stark.”
One day after saying the modelling data would cause “panic,” Ford says it’s fair that Ontarians see why he’s so angry some people still crowd parks, sports fields and beaches, against provincial orders.
“(I) want everyone to know where Ontario was, where we are now and where we could be if we don’t take steps.”
He wouldn’t speak to the data provincial doctors will release sometime on Friday, but said it will be sobering for some.
“I’d rather rely on the medical professionals but they are going to tell the public exactly what they are telling me,” he said. “It’s going to be stark.”
Ontario now has 2,793 cases of COVID-19, 53 officially confirmed deaths, and 831 recovered patients.
However, Public health units across Ontario indicated Thursday there could be as many as 85 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Ford defended his decision to not release any case modelling data sooner, saying the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams wanted the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians travelling during March Break to return before they formulate a full model.
Williams would not provide any additional details about what the province will release tomorrow but noted that the projections should not be confused with data.
"Modelling is forecasting, the data tells you the reality...Much like a forecast of a large blizzard versus what actually fell on the ground," Williams said on Thursday. "You should prepare if there is going to be a big blizzard. You shouldn't be foolish, you shouldn't go out driving. And if it isn't as bad as it is, OK, because you may have taken safety precautions."
He and cabinet colleagues Christine Elliott and Michael Tibollo also announced $12 million for virtual mental health support.
They each urged Ontario residents to continue to stay home and practice physical distancing.
“Avoiding the tragedy that we have seen in Italy and Spain is entirely up to us,” Ford said.