To: Paul Merriman, Minister of Health
Restore Universal Masking in High Risk Settings: Paul Merriman
Institute a province-wide mask mandate in essential settings: medical facilities, grocery stores, and transit
Why is this important?
COVID remains extremely dangerous to many, despite vaccination. Immune compromised people are exposed to great risk each time the virus is present around them. It is also estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people who suffer a COVID infection will experience Long COVID, nerve damage, heart damage, or other permanent disabilities. And COVID exposure in the womb can cause miscarriage or neurological disorders in children.
In addition, the advent of increasingly infectious variants is directly due to the decision to let COVID spread uncontrolled in a highly vaccinated population, selecting for more evasive mutations.
Universal masking has been demonstrated to greatly reduce the risk of COVID exposure. This is why the Ontario science advisory table chair and the Ontario Hospital Association are all recommending that mask requirements be extended for high-risk, essential locations.
With BA.5 on the rise and the pandemic entering what may be its most prolific phase yet, it's long past time to make decisions based on science rather than politics. The Minister of Health must implement a mask mandate at essential locations such as medical facilities, grocery stores, and on transit, to restore accessibility to immune-compromised and pregnant and people and to finally begin confronting the scourge of COVID with real mitigations.