LETTER: North Bay pays price for no travel ban

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The following is addressed to Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit:

Thanks for doing the right thing. This stay-at-home order is imperative.

I know that you’re taking a great deal of unnecessary heat right now from people who are particularly ignorant regarding the control of a pandemic. There’s a reason that: from the beginning of the pandemic until today, Thailand (with a population of 69,799,978 crammed into 513,120 square kilometres) has a death per million people rate of 1.19 whereas, Ontario (with a population of 14,745,040 disbursed across 1,760,000 square kilometres) has a death per million people rate of 469.17.

As you know, I’ve been studying aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and publishing peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, as well as giving international keynote addresses. People don’t understand that you are protecting us (particularly from the groupthink being supported by Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli).

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Months ago, when our infection rates were low, I suggested to the provincial government that we isolate Northern Ontario in a manner that would have had absolutely no effect on our supply chain. I designed a similar successful approach in India (a country with just under 1.4 billion people). If we had done so, I expect that we would have irradiated COVID-19 in Northern Ontario, our economy would not have suffered at all and absolutely everything would be open now.

After receiving no response from the Ford government, I sent my suggestions to mayors in Northern Ontario. Brian Bigger, the mayor of Greater Sudbury, supported my suggestions. Al McDonald, the mayor of North Bay, opposed my suggestions because of concern over supply-chain issues. I emailed Mr. McDonald suggesting that we meet in order to address his concerns: I received no response.

Then Ford, Fedeli, and their groupthink colleagues decided that imposing red zones in southern Ontario with no travel bans would be a great idea. Ford closed all small businesses in the red zones in spite of the fact that there is no methodologically-sound, peer-reviewed scientific evidence suggesting that COVID-19 is more transmissible in small businesses that follow the rules versus big box stores that follow the rules.

Ford, Fedeli, and their crew killed small businesses in southern Ontario.

In North Bay, unfortunately, we are in a position that our rates are high enough to support the measures that you imposed.

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The lack of travel bans in and out of grey or red zones shows a reprehensible lack of foresight and caused the rise in case counts in Northern Ontario. Everything was open here so people living in red zones came north on weekends to have fun. And their fun brought us COVID-19.

Again, Dr. Chirico, I want to thank you for using science, and not politics, to drive your decisions. The people living in the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit District should be thanking you, as well.

Robert C. Sinclair

North Bay

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