“We can’t have a strong economy if we don’t have strong and healthy people,” health minister responds to retailer request to ease restrictions

Health Minister points to York University study that indicates Ontario's restrictions had positive effect

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-Ontario’s Health Minister stands by the government’s decision to lock down many stores, despite a letter from major retailers stating lockdowns have a negative effect
-Health Minister points to a York University study indicating measures taken by the province had a positive effect at controlling infection rates

The province’s Health Minister says the health of Ontarians comes first, and is refuting claims that retail lockdowns are causing more COVID-19 infections.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott says there is evidence to show restrictions like the lockdowns of Toronto and Peel Region curb the rate of COVID growth. This, in response to a letter penned by some of Ontario’s major retailers, urging her government to roll back some restrictions with claims lockdowns are only making things worse.

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“Ultimately, it has to come down to the health and well being of the people of Ontario, that we can’t have a strong economy if we don’t have strong and healthy people in the province,” she said during a Wednesday media briefing. “There was a report that was just released today by York University that takes a look at what happens when you do these sorts of lockdowns. What kind of an effect does that have on reducing community transmission of COVID-19. And there is a there is an impact and it does make a difference.”


Elliott referred to a study conducted by the University’s laboratory for industrial and applied mathematics. The study, led by the laboratory’s director Jianhong Wu, looked at the effects of controlling local transmission through interventions such as non-essential business closures, quantifying the efficacy of these measures through a series of modeling studies. The study went on to show an estimated 46% decrease in the mean individual contact rate, following the implementation of a series of government interventions throughout Ontario.

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The study be read in full here.

“It does help to reduce the numbers, it has helped to bend that curve,” added Minister Elliott. That’s what we really need to do to make sure that we can have the hospital space, the public health space, in order to test, trace, and contact manage all of the people that are coming down with COVID. So a

“As difficult as it is, there certainly is evidence now that there that these measures do produce the effect that we want to see, which is reducing transmission.”