Ontario's top doctor goes against own advice while maskless at Toronto party
Published Friday, November 18, 2022 12:29PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 18, 2022 3:26PM EST
Days after “strongly” recommending the use of masks in Ontario, the province’s top doctor was spotted at a party in Toronto without one.
In a number of posts to social media, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, appeared to be in attendance at Toronto Life’s “50 most influential 2022” list party, where he ranked 12th for “Keeping COVID under control.”
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In at least two videos posted to the publication’s Instagram account, Moore could be seen without a mask on.
On Monday, Moore warned of the “three major viral threats” – COVID-19, influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus – currently overwhelming Ontario’s health-care system.
“All three are actively circulating across Ontario in all of our communities and across the western hemisphere contributing to the pressures on our pediatric health-care system. As the risk to Ontarians increases, we must use all of the layers of protection that we have,” Moore said at the time.
It should be noted that the province has not introduced a mask mandate.
In a statement provided to CTV News Toronto on Friday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said that “like all Ontarians,” Moore continues to evaluate the risk of each situation “including private events.”
“He follows many layers of protection including screening daily for symptoms of any respiratory infection, practicing good hand hygiene, staying up to date on immunizations, masking when necessary and distancing when possible,” the statement read.
The ministry said Moore encourages everyone to use their “best judgement” on when it’s appropriate to wear a mask.
Meanwhile, in a letter sent to parents and guardians of students dated Nov. 17, the same date as the party, Moore repeated his “strong” recommendation that “all Ontarians” and “not just those at high risk” should mask up indoors.
Dr. Michael Warner, an intensive care physician at Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital, called out the province’s top doctor in a tweet published after the images surfaced saying, “the CMOH (chief medical officer of health) doesn't follow his own advice on masking.”
“How is this supposed to make the parents of sick children and burnt out health-care workers feel as the number of PICU patients continues to exceed PICU capacity,” the tweet continued.
Moore is not the only one who appears to be ignoring his own advice.
Mayor John Tory was also seen in attendance at the same event without a mask.
Just days earlier, Tory had said that he continues to follow the CMOH’s recommendations, as well as the city’s own top doctor, who has since echoed Moore’s remarks.
A spokesperson for the mayor said Tory has been wearing a mask in some public settings since the recommendation was made.
"He was at this private event for around 30 minutes. He had his mask off to take photos with people who requested them," the spokesperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was criticized Tuesday for not wearing a mask in the legislature.
At an unrelated news conference in Timmins, Ont. on Friday, Ford said masking is a "personal choice."
"If you're around vulnerable people, you're around young people, that's gonna be your choice... That's what's gonna happen," Ford said.
"They've been through two and a half years of this. They know if they need a mask, they know if they don't need a mask. That's going to be up to them."