Lockdowns Are ‘Not Supported by Strong Science’: Ontario’s Former Chief Medical Officer

January 22, 2021 Updated: January 22, 2021

Ontario’s former chief medical officer criticized the province’s lockdown measures in an open letter sent to Premier Doug Ford on Monday.

“Our well-intentioned but misguided efforts to control Covid are only compounding the tragedy,” Dr. Richard Schabas wrote. “We need to change course.”

Schabas served as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health from 1987 to 1997 and was Chief of Staff at York Central Hospital during the outbreak of SARS in 2003.

“Lockdown was never part of our planned pandemic response nor is it supported by strong science,” Schabas wrote. “Reasonable estimates of the infection fatality rate from Covid have been declining as we learn more,” he continued. “Models that predicted hundreds of thousands of deaths from Covid in Canada were badly wrong because they used incorrect, exaggerated inputs.”

Schabas said he supported the call to change the province’s lockdown policy suggested by MPP Roman Baber, who was ousted from the Progressive Conservative Caucus after speaking out against the restrictive measures on Jan. 15.

Baber pointed to five reasons to support his anti-lockdown position, including the low fatality rate of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, and major consequences caused by lockdowns, which he said are more harmful than the virus itself.

Barber said that lockdowns have caused the loss of education, unemployment, social isolation, and mental health problems.

“We will be paying for lockdown—in lives and dollars for decades to come,” Schabas wrote in the letter.

Schabas also questioned the government’s preparation to cope with the pandemic.

“In April the government announced that it had added almost 1,500 critical care beds to cope with a Covid surge. Now, after nine months to prepare for the predictable resurgence of Covid, why do you have less ICU Capcity than we had last April?” he wrote.

Schabas said the government’s response to Barber’s suggestions show that it has resorted to “fearmongering to encourage compliance” with lockdowns.

“Every knowledgeable observer of Covid understand that CFR (case fatality rate) is in itself an irrelevant number,” he said. “CFR’s only ‘virtue’ is its ability to frighten by overestimating the real risk of dying from a Covid infection.”

Ford has not publicly responded to Schabas’s letter.