With daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario spiking over 2,000 again, Premier Doug Ford teased a restrictions announcement, but was unwilling to pull the trigger on any news Wednesday afternoon. The move to announce something that would be later announced came as a puzzling communication tactic from Ford, even more so than his tangent on Tim Hortons' real egg breakfast sandwiches.
“Stay tuned,” said Ford in responding to a question on what Ontario’s plan was to handle the third wave of COVID-19.
The comments come just a couple days after the premier took a shot at his federal counterparts in Ottawa insisting they were to blame for Ontario falling short of its vaccination targets. He called the procurement and delivery process, which Ottawa is in charge of a “joke” last week. Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand responded to Ford’s claims on Tuesday, saying she was “surprised by those remarks” insisting that deliveries were going as intended and information was being provided to provinces. Anand added that by the end of April, Canada would begin to receive the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, too.
But, vaccines are far from the only thing on Ford’s mind, as serious cases of COVID-19 begin to rise in the province, with far younger people also ending up in the intensive care unit.
“421 patients now in ICU with COVID related critical illness on a total census of 1,822. 32 new admissions yesterday. This is the highest number of COVID patients in critical care at one time since the pandemic began,” wrote Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association on Twitter.
With cases and serious infections on the rise, Ford said that “everything is on the table,” but over the past week, he’s taken to pointing the finger at millennials for driving the latest surge of COVID cases. Since January 15, people ages 39 and under have made up 50.9% of all cases.
"I've got a message to the young folks: guys, this party's not over," Ford said during his daily press briefing on Monday.
Ford’s focus on young people comes despite Ontario’s Science Table providing data back in February indicating that if Ontario loosened restrictions, cases would rise. The province also went step further and allowed for indoor dining in some areas, which was considered a fairly risky venture given how the COVID-19 variants of concern are more transmissible indoors. Younger age groups are not taking getting blamed lightly, citing that they’re often in positions, such as minimum wage jobs and professions that require them to be at work.
While it remains unclear what announcement Ontarians are waiting for, many are predicting a lockdown is likely in order, but it’s unsure if it will begin before or after Easter weekend.