Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair responds to backlash over Sun column about COVID-19, says her only aim was to ‘promote discourse’
In a blog posting on Monday, Toronto public health officer Dr. Michael Luthers defended his views on the virus and said he did not mean to exclude the possibility of its human-to-human transmission.
Toronto Public Health’s vice-chair, Dr. Michael Luthers, was quoted in a Globe and Mail story on Tuesday with a misleading and deeply flawed idea about the virus, one that has drawn sharp criticism from public health experts and the public.
“It might be the case that the virus crosses from human to human, and we have no evidence at this point,” he wrote, referring to an earlier column he wrote earlier this year after the first presumptive case of the virus emerged in Toronto.
Luthers has said that the virus, like SARS and the MERS viruses that both killed people, is “not particularly human-made.”
But his latest column and his decision to respond for the first time in a long while to what has been a furious reaction to his views were both published on Monday, exactly a week after he made the remarks.
He is now facing immediate calls for his resignation, with health experts saying his views are not only dangerous, but also dangerous for public health.
The controversy prompted Toronto Public Health to announce that Luthers would not be running for re-election for an executive role on April 1, which is also the date he wrote the controversial column.
Here are his views on the virus and how he came to say them, which were published exclusively by the Globe and Mail and appeared in a piece titled “Toronto can get through what’s next with what it already has,” which said he had had two private meetings “with key individuals involved in the fight against the virus, including the deputy chief medical officer of health and epidemiologist Dr. Peter Levade, who are calling it an ‘unprecedented public health emergency’.”
Toronto Public Health’s Dr. Michael Luthers responds to backlash over Sun column in which he defended his views on COVID-19, says his only aim was to