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Ontario doctors comment on public rallies and protests against lockdowns

Medical association says some protests ‘causing more harm than good’

Ontario physicians are speaking up against public rallies where some people are protesting pandemic restrictions, lockdowns and the wearing of face masks.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) issued a public statement on the weekend to say there is good evidence that wearing a mask is indeed an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.  

The OMA further stated that In addition to spreading misinformation, the rallies have exceeded government guidelines ​on the size of outdoor gatherings and few of the participants have worn masks.

“My mask protects you and your mask protects me,” said OMA president Dr. Samantha Hill. 

“The scientific evidence is clear. Wearing a mask is one of the easiest and most effective things every single one of us can and should do to reduce the risk of spreading and catching COVID-19.”

The OMA statement also spoke out about the public backlash against masking and lockdowns.

"Doctors working on the front lines of the pandemic are concerned about recent rallies by people claiming that pandemic lockdowns and restrictions are unlawful and causing more harm than good. This concern grew with news that more than 1,800 Ontarians tested positive for COVID for a second day (Nov. 28)," said the OMA statement. 

The OMA also stated that recent studies suggest that masks can also reduce the severity of infection for anyone who does catch the virus.

Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 by blocking the infected droplets coming from your nose and mouth. Most people do not require medical-grade masks, which should be reserved for health-care workers and other first responders, said the OMA statement. 

For masks to be most effective, Ontario’s doctors recommend the following courses of action:

Non-medical masks or face coverings should be made of at least three layers of tightly woven material, be large enough to cover the nose and mouth completely, fit securely and keep their shape after washing, said the OMA.

It added that users should wash their hands before and after using a mask, and that once a mask has been worn it should be washed or discarded.