header image for open letter to Adrian Dix

Want to keep track of our work? Sign up for PoP BC updates, actions, public health information, and announcements.

PoP BC Demands that an Independent Science Table Be Established in BC.

Open Letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan.

Over the past twenty-two months, our BC Public Health Officer and her team have failed to learn important pandemic lessons and are actively repeating the same mistakes over and over.

SInce March 2020, there has been failure to acknowledge the precautionary principle, recommended during the SARS inquiry of 2003, when dealing with a new pathogen. An example of this is the denial of respirators to essential workers, even when supplies were abundant. This has continued despite Dr. Teresa Tam, the WHO, and now the US CDC, acknowledging that COVID-19’s aerosol transmission coupled with Omicron’s increased contagiousness, requires that we urgently upgrade our masks.

This is putting lives at risk. How many more Long Term Care facility elders need to die and healthcare workers become infected and develop Long Covid? Now with Omicron, it’s obvious that without addressing ventilation and air filtration, LTC facilities, hospitals, and schools, not to mention many other workplaces, will become sources of contamination. ASHRAE’s pandemic ventilation standards were established in April 2020, yet in BC it is as if they do not exist.

BC Public Health has also been pushing the narrative of “learning to live with the virus” and of COVID becoming endemic. Back in July 2021, the promotion of vaccination alone as the tool to end the pandemic led to early relaxation of indoor mask mandates and the false impression that the pandemic was almost over. The resulting Delta wave overwhelmed our Northern Health Authority capacity and led to many deaths as well as additional stress on the frontlines, setting the stage for our now overstretched medical system and exhausted healthcare workers staring down a large Omicron wave.

BC Public Health is now once again doubling down on COVID becoming “endemic” and  Omicron being “mild”. This misleading narrative stands in acute contrast to the accumulating deaths in Quebec and the fact that children (especially those unvaccinated including babies and toddlers) are being hospitalized at record rates. This trend was highlighted in South Africa, then the United Kingdom and now France and the US.

Omicron is anything but mild. Our hospitals are about to be overrun with significant impact on all acute care patients who will delay seeking care at their own risk for fear of catching Omicron at the hospital. In South Africa excess deaths in the final four weeks of 2021 were 130% of normal, translating to more than 10,000 excess deaths. What will this figure be in BC during this wave?

We only learned of this new variant at the end of November and there is no evidence that it is milder than Delta for the unvaccinated who in BC represent 17% of the population and most importantly include our most precious members, our 0-4 year olds and 55% of 5-11 year olds who have yet to receive their first vaccine dose. Our Public Health officials insist on calling COVID a respiratory illness when clearly that is only the first phase of this complex syndrome. The concerning part of COVID-19 is the vascular injury which can manifest, often some time later, in damage to multiple organs, including the heart, lungs, liver and brain, causing long-term, life-changing illness for some.

Patients who develop the, as yet poorly understood, Post Covid syndrome or Long Covid suffer in silence and are classified in the statistics as “recovered”. Yet many are having significant issues with inability to go back to their previous level of functioning. This is a situation that has long term implications for everyone, including BC health services and the economy. 

Protect our Province BC calls on the Minister of Health and the Premier to facilitate the appointment of an independent multidisciplinary Science Table to oversee and provide up-to-date analysis of COVID-19 as it evolves, using data from well-designed studies and knowledge shared from around the world. Going forward BC’s own data will need to be collected and presented in an unbiased fashion to provide an accurate picture of BC’s pandemic state. 

The criticism of BC’s pandemic response by many well-respected Canadian and international scientists, such as Professors Jose-Luis Jimenez, Trisha Greenhalgh, Colin Furness, Kimberly Prather and Linsey Marr as well as Drs. David Fisman and Deepti Gurdasani, supports BC establishing an independent Science Table. Following the science regarding SARS-CoV-2 will serve to ensure BC is more successful and can mitigate the disruptive cycle of sharp waves that have been characteristic of the past two years and have affected both individuals’ health and wellness and created uncertainty for businesses.

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

Title image for briefing April 20 - COVID in the House: Protect Your Loved Ones
Wednesday, April 27th from 12:00-1:00 PDT What should you do if someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19? How do we prevent it from passing to loved ones in the household? Why should we care? Data is emerging that, due to variant mutations, COVID-19 reinfections are happening, even in highly-vaccinated countries. For that reason,… Continue reading COVID-19 in the House: How to Protect Your Loved Ones
Title image for Briefing 14 April 7, 2022 - COVID Doesn't Take Breaks, Neither Can We
Thursday, April 7 at 12:00 noon PDT Ignoring the 6th wave won’t stop it. What does the evidence say? Join Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, Dr. Brenda Hardie, and Gosia Gasperowicz, PhD, as they discuss what BC needs to do to lower community transmission as the most infectious strain of COVID ever becomes dominant across the globe.… Continue reading COVID-19 Doesn’t Take Breaks. Neither Can We.
Title image for Briefing 13: Ethics in Canada, March 23, 2022
Wednesday, March 23rd, 12:30-1:30 pm PT Join Canadian researcher and author Jon Parsons in a discussion with Protect our Province BC member Dr. Amy Tan about how Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic amounts to a failure of ethical action.  The pandemic has brought issues with Canada’s governing systems and cultural identity into full view:… Continue reading Lack of Ethics: How Canada is Failing with COVID-19

More News from Protect Our Province BC

Post title - reinstate masks in public spaces
Protect Our Province BC, Safe Schools Coalition BC and BC School COVID Tracker are coming together to ask for mask protection in indoor public spaces, businesses, schools and on public transit in BC. The removal of BC’s mandated health protections has us concerned for the health and well-being of all British Columbians. “Now that masking… Continue reading Protect Our Province BC, Safe Schools Coalition BC and BC School COVID Tracker Issue Joint Press Release
translink masking open meeting title image
On March 11th, the British Columbia Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted the indoor mask mandate for most public places, with the main exception being healthcare settings.  TransLink immediately followed suit and lifted its own mask requirement, leaving commuters on  buses and trains with very few COVID-19 precautions. Unlike BC, Ontario and Quebec have… Continue reading Transit Users Ask Translink to Keep Mask Protections in Place.
Title image for blog April 2 - N95 masks and transmission
Share this: April 2, 2022  A Guest Post by Tim Henthorne, B.A.Sc., P. Eng Over the past two years, we have been flooded with opinions regarding the wearing of masks, all while trying to learn how to deal with the existential threat of COVID-19. Unfortunately, much confusion has come from Public Health itself with its… Continue reading N95 Masks & the Transmission of COVID-19