Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
The author of a controversial Sun column in last week’s Sunday Times entitled ‘The coronavirus case for government’s lockdown’ has apologized to Toronto Public Health, saying her only intention was to “promote discourse” about the virus.
“I want to make amends, and I hope that there is a sense of community in Toronto which can deal with the concerns of public health,” Dr. Margaret McEwan wrote in an email to the Star. She said she was “shocked” by comments made on social media about her article and that she was “wrong” to “suggest that anyone who was at risk of exposure to COVID-19 did not need the advice it offered them.”
“Please note that I made no judgment on any individual, and did not imply that anyone at risk should or in fact did not need advice,” she wrote. “The advice I offered was focused on preventing transmission within our community. There is no question that our communities are affected by COVID-19. We are all in this together in the struggle to get through this.”
She said she was asked to remove a quote from the article by an anonymous Twitter user who had called her “dumbass” for suggesting that all Canadians who were exposed to the virus were “immunocompromised.”
A Toronto Public Health spokesperson said she was aware of that exchange and apologized for her “unnecessary and hurtful remarks.”
“To the person who asked for her quote to be removed, if she was offended, then she has every right to respond, but Toronto Public Health recognizes as well that, in general, we do not comment on social media,” said spokesperson Michael Lacey.
“We are also not commenting in response to anonymous commenters when the comments do not come from our employees. We appreciate that individuals feel strongly about the issue, and Toronto Public Health recognizes that these comments were intended to be personal and had no relation to the advice provided to anyone living in Toronto. We do not take it as an insult or criticism when someone has