- For most of the COVID-19 pandemic, an epidemiologist who has been a key member of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table is stepping down to pursue a research position overseas.
- Christine Elliott, the Minister of Health, also stated that she would no longer share regular updates on COVID-19 cases on Twitter.
The epidemiologist who has been a key member of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table for most of the COVID-19 pandemic is stepping down to pursue a research position overseas.
Dr. Peter Jüni, the scientific director of the volunteer epidemiologists and researchers who advise the Ford administration on pandemic policy, has accepted a position at Oxford University in England, which he will begin on July 1.
In the meantime, he will resume work with the Ontario Science Advisory Table, but he plans to step down by late spring, according to CP24.
Since its inception in July of 2020, Jüni has been at the helm of the science table.
“It’s probably the logical next step, and it feels right,” he said in an interview on Friday afternoon, “even though I’m quite emotional, and I’ll be heartbroken to leave.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss-born Jüni became a frequent media commentator, appearing on CP24 and other networks to debate the latest developments and provide insight into the province’s path.
He also clashed with the Ford administration on occasion, particularly over the decision to shut playgrounds as well as other recreational facilities last spring.
Before the province agreed to fund 3 paid sick days per employee last year, he spoke out for months regarding the requirement for paid sick days.
Jüni told CP24 that his decision to leave now is primarily motivated by a desire to be closer to his family, including two adult children who live in Switzerland.
He said, however, that he would be “extremely grateful” for the seven years he lived and worked in Toronto.
His departure comes as the province prepares to lift the mask mandate in most settings on Monday. The Ontario govt has also stated that all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted by the end of April.
Health Minister Christine Elliott also declared that she would no longer share regular reports on COVID-19 cases via Twitter. However, this province will continue to post the information online.
“It’s not over yet. It’s getting easier to deal with changes now that we’ve built more immunity. But, as Jüni warned on Friday, “we’ll probably need a few more seasons before we can truly call this endemic.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath thanked Jüni for “playing a vital role in keeping Ontarians safe and healthy” during the pandemic and “helping us understand this terrible virus” in a message uploaded to Twitter on Friday afternoon.
In a separate post, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca thanked Jüni for guiding Ontario through “one of the most difficult periods” in its history.
“Dr. Jüni’s commitment to public health has contributed to the safety of millions of Ontarians, and I wish him well,” he said.
Jüni currently works at St. Michael’s Hospital as the Applied Health Research Centre director.
Source: CTV news
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