Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
April 11, 2020
In the latest assault on public health, the Toronto Public Health Board has produced a controversial Sun Editorial about the coronavirus, claiming a large number of deaths were caused by the virus.
The editorial published in the Sun April 4, entitled “A pandemic in Toronto: What is the public health crisis?” is just one of more than 20 attacks on TPH on the topic of COVID-19 by the Sun, including those in April and December.
The board said it was made aware of a Sun article published in December that was not factual and “conflicted” with scientific fact.
The board took action after the release of public testimony, as well as the Toronto Star’s story, which said the mayor and chief medical officer had repeatedly been told by TPH officials that the numbers were inflated.
“The Sun Editorial did not have any factual basis to do with the virus,” the board said in a statement. “The Sun Editorial is completely misleading and can cause serious unintended consequences and panic with unsubstantiated claims that the virus causes thousands of deaths.”
In March, the board said that the Sun’s story in its March 7 edition claiming that a large number of people in North America had died as a result of the virus was “erroneous.”
In its statement, the board said it consulted with Toronto health officials and public health experts on how to respond to the viral outbreak, to prepare for what was an unpredictable situation.
“In order to ensure appropriate public health practices are in place, we will have to continue to monitor and respond to the evolving circumstances and data, and continually educate the public about what we are currently monitoring and how we are responding and are doing what is necessary to protect the public,” the statement said.