CNN spoke to Allan Asin of Toronto Public Health after The Toronto Star reported Thursday that hundreds of people have been infected with the virus since its introduction. Asin was vice-chair of the Paediatric Health Quality Council of Ontario when the city launched its strategy in 2016, but he left the position in August 2018 to work for a management consulting firm.
Here is what Asin told CNN:
CNN: Explain how this virus is different from most communicable diseases in that it’s distributed in the air.
Ainsin: “You would know this better than me. What’s happened with small droplets of infectious droplets, and you’d be able to infect anyone else even if you were standing away from them.
“Then the question is how are you getting an infection?”
Asin says he’s spent a lot of time thinking about that — and the airborne transmission method has not been proven.
CNN: How widespread has it been in the city?
Ainsin: “In my tenure as a committee, it certainly hasn’t been at the scale of Zika.”
CNN: What is the city’s plan?
Ainsin: “There is a plan right now from the city’s perspective … The city is working with the province and the feds to work on a set of guidelines that we can help set and set up structures to test and evaluate with the city.
“In one program, I would say right now, there are probably between 200 and 300 people who have been diagnosed with the virus.”
CNN: What lessons is the city getting from the WHO on prevention methods?
Ainsin: “I’ve always worked with the WHO … It’s always the only guidance I have. The WHO can give advice … with a high degree of confidence it can be applied across the world.”
CNN: Do you think something should be done to stop the spread?
Ainsin: “Whether something can be done, I really don’t know.
“I just want to be sure that the jurisdictions will do their best to prevent this kind of problem occurring.”