Doug Ford’s latest coronavirus update: ’You have saved thousands of lives’ (Full transcript)

’The numbers clearly show that we have collectively saved thousands of lives...But we also know that we can’t stop now,’ says the premier
Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions during the daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday April 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions during the daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thursday April 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Yesterday, I said you deserve to see the same numbers. You deserve to have the same information I have. I’ve asked our top officials, some of the brightest minds we have, to provide you with a full briefing on the latest situation. I’ve asked our experts to provide you with the same briefing, the same information that I have access to as premier.

I want to thank Drs. Anderson, Donnelly, Williams and Brown. These are some of the incredible experts that are working with us, and today you saw some drastic numbers. These numbers are stark and they are sobering. They tell a story. These numbers tell a story of Ontario’s fight against COVID-19. And the reality is, the early chapters of our story have already been written. And there’s some things that are out of anyone’s hands.

But what matters is that the ending of our story is still up to us. And if we work together, we can write the last chapter of our story. Because these forecasts are projections, and they can change—with your actions and with the government’s actions.

READ: So this is what data transparency on COVID-19 looks like

We see today that we can lower these numbers. We can slow the spread and flatten the curve. But as it stands, by the end of this month, we could see as many as 80,000 people in Ontario inflicted with this terrible virus. Over 1,600 people could be dead by the end of April. That’s 50 a day, or two people every hour. Each one could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your grandparents or a friend. This virus could hit any one of you or your loved ones, because this virus doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your race, religion or creed. It doesn’t care about your age. Anyone and everyone is at risk.

We all have to ask ourselves, what is the cost of a life? Is a life worth a picnic in a park? Is a life worth going to the beach? Is a life worth having a few cold ones with your buddies in the basement? The answer is no. None of those things is worth as much as a life.

So to everyone in Ontario, we need to listen. We need to listen to what the data tells us. We need to take action. We must take these warnings seriously. I can’t stress this enough. The situation is extremely serious.

And we must recognize that the numbers also show that everything we’ve done so far, everything we’ve done together since this started is working. And thanks to every person out there listening to the advice of our health professionals. Staying at home, keeping their distance and doing what they can to keep this virus contained.

The numbers clearly show that we have collectively saved thousands of lives. You have saved thousands of lives.

But we also know that we can’t stop now. There are 1,600 people out there who need us to do everything we can in the next 30 days to help save them. My government is prepared to take every step possible.

And today I’m asking you to do the same thing. We’re moving as quickly as we can and acting immediately as the data changes. And today, we’re taking additional steps to flatten the curve. We’re announcing the closure of many more sectors of the economy.

I could tell you, this was no easy task. I know that businesses are struggling to stay afloat through these rough waters. But lives are on the line. And we must take this action nowIt’s frustratingly hard to get, annoyingly difficult to compare and infuriatingly complicated to use to map trends.

Effective Saturday, April the 4th, at 11:59 p.m., we will be directing additional workplaces to close. All industrial construction except for critical industrial construction will stop only necessary infrastructure projects like hospitals and transportation will continue. No new residential construction will start.

Those few sites that will remain open will be placed under the highest level of scrutiny possible. We’ll keep coming down hard on the inspections.

We have added more than 60 new inspectors. We have hundreds of inspectors out every day. Over the last week, we have conducted over 583 inspections, we’ve shut down five construction sites, and we will not hesitate to shut down more because the health and safety of all Ontarians is my number-one priority.

And if we take a step back, we can fully grasp what fighting this terrible virus has cost us. What it has cost us as a province, and as a people. We’ve all had to make tremendous sacrifices, and none more than our frontline healthcare workers. But everyone has had to pay a price in this war. Daily life has ground to a halt. Companies, workers, have lost their livelihood. And with today’s closures, we’ve told the vast majority of Ontario’s workforce to stay home.

We’ve had to do the unthinkable. In the span of two weeks, we’ve been forced to close the vast majority of workplaces in Ontario. We’ve had to shut down most of our economy. We’ve been forced to limit public gatherings, we’ve had to close our schools, we’ve had to isolate ourselves, we’ve had to make difficult choices, extreme sacrifices.

But my friends, when I saw those projections, when I saw how many lives we as a province have been able to save so far, I know we all did the right thing. And I know we’d all do it all over again in a heartbeat. Because nothing is worth more than a life.

So please, this weekend will be nice outside, and I know it’s hard to do, I know how difficult it is, but please, stay home. Help us write an ending to our story that we can look back on, that our future generations can look back on and be proud of.

Thank you and God bless the people of Ontario.