There is much reporting of numbers COVID-19 numbers.
REcent weeks have rightly seen a focus of attention on teh unfolding tradgedy in lon term care homes. the province of Ontario made it a priority- one of four. At eth same time it made another population a priority yet that has mot seen a similar focus of attention.
People who have been rendered homeless, of whom Toronto has about 7,000 registered as living in homeless shelters , there are others who are without homes and live outside the shelter system and outside.
What does it look like if we plot the numbers that have been made publicly available?
Well, it looks like this…
It looks like that all-too-familar curve we’ve seen now from all those other places where officials and politicians waited for too long for data to come in telling them what they and we already know: that they should have been acting and acting decisively long ago.
Its not like there are not plenty of examples to learn from- what not to do.
No wonder folks are currently leaving shelters in droves because they don’t feel safe there and they can see too little progress, too little action and too late.
Even where numbers are reported, such a measure – of people who have tested positive – is always a lagging indicator – it can only paint a picture of what was happening some time ago. This is especially important since in recent weeks we’ve learned how people don’t need to be symptomatic to transmit COVID-19.
Indeed we’ve learned in the news how post-mortem testing has revealed that the earliest cases in both California and France occurred at least a month earlier than local public health officials had previously declared. A month is a long time in the face of an exponential death-curve of a deadly virus.
Of course testing can only reveal if people are COVID positive if testing is offered or available and actually conducted. People who are homeless or in shelters or living outside shelters cannot test positive if they can’t get tested at all.Yet long after the Province of Ontario officially declared homeless persons a priority group for testing – one of only four such groups – when folks who are homeless go to a testing and assessment centre they more often than not get told:
“I’m not going to test you today”
While we’re all itching for uncle Doug [Ford] to let us out to play, and while distancing rules are already being flouted everywhere by those who think the rules don’t apply to them or who have the privilege of knowing enforcement officers will leave them alone, its worth bearing in mind that unless we get this sorted we’ll be stuck back inside in a few weeks .
To paraphrase Marvin Gaye:
What [The Fuck] ‘s Going On?
The numbers plotted in the chart below numbers are those released officially bu City of Toronto, in the public domain.
It is true that a sizable chunk of the totals relate to one shelter where there has been a large outbreak, we only think that’s not the case on others because we have not been testing there. It is also true that people who are homeless and not registered in shelters don’t get reported in these totals at all – even when they do get tested.
Could it be that we don’t count people when we’ve already decided as a society that [these]
people don’t count?
No two ways about it this is a fuck up, and by design by neglect or both and , dear Toronto, that’s on you, and not holding officials to account is just not good enough.