Business profits are more important than lives

Ontario government announces shutdown: Epic fail

Ontario announces lockdown starting December 24 — no, wait, not until the 26th!

Image source: Toronto Star

Dougie Ford just spend an hour lying on TV.

With one exception, a moment of candor that began “I’m a businessman.” He then expounded on the measures his government was taking to protect businesses.

A little context: on the night of Sunday, December 20, news media were abuzz with advance notice of an Ontario-wide two-week shutdown of all except essential businesses (four weeks in southern Ontario), in order to try to head off the worst of a looming spike in COVID-19 infections. Since then, every news report has featured breathless predictions of a shutdown beginning at 12:01 a.m. on December 24.

But when Ford took the stage the next day, December 21, he announced that the shutdown would begin only on December 26, two days later.

The shutdown is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections, which have reached a new record not just in Ontario, but everywhere.

Business profits are more important than human life.

The take-away from the ontario government’s announcement, december 21, 2020

Delay = death

But the delay in the shutdown from December 24 to 26 will allow infections to continue to climb at their current rate for an extra two days. Current projections show that translates into 45 more deaths by COVID.

In the press conference, Ford explained that the delay was to allow businesses a time to deal with their inventory. He went on at some length about the struggles that businesses face, every day.

Then the Minister of Health, Christine Elliot, explained that businesses needed the time to “prepare” for the lockdown.

Let’s look at this in reverse order. First, on time to prepare: this is the holiday season. Businesses will already be closed on December 25. They’ve known that for more than a century. If they’re not ready for that now, they never will be.

About the struggles that businesses face, every day: undoubtedly true. That’s the nature of business. In esoteric business analysis circles, that’s often described as “risk.”

Businesses walk a tough path

I get it. I had a business for a number of years. I understand how difficult it is, the hours that it requires, the risks and the outlay. It’s not easy.

But at the same time, every business has to prepare for, and deal with a series of challenges and requirements. For example, no workplace can dispense with a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. There are strict requirements for safety and health of employees and customers. Surely, protections against a highly infectious and deadly virus would fit under the definition of health and safety protection.

Some numbers to consider

Ontario’s current epidemiological models predict this two-day delay will lead to 45 more deaths. That’s 45 more people lost who could have survived otherwise. 45 more families grieving.

An epidemiologist pointed out the thousands of new cases that could be avoided if the lockdown started today, December 21, instead of five days later.

But Ford’s justification for putting this many people at risk? For costing this many lives? “Businesses are dealing with massive inventories.”

The take-away

People have to be infected by a debilitating illness. People have to suffer die alone.

So that businesses can sell off their inventories and not lose money.

Profits are more important than lives.

Got it. Thanks, Dougie!