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We Need to Name It, to Tame It.

There is no great debate about aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 except in BC Public Health Officers’ minds. 

How else would you explain super-spreading events?

What about infections in quarantine hotels in Australia? After all, individuals were in separate rooms?

How do you explain that outdoors is safer than indoors?

Two metres should be enough for gravity to take hold if only droplets are involved regardless of the setting?

Why advocate for opening windows if transmission is through droplets and contact spread?

Why make any distinction between singing and talking if all that is needed is 2 metres distance for the droplets to fall?

If droplets and contact precautions work so well, how do you explain the recurrent LTC facilities outbreaks? Please don’t blame the workers… 

Why are healthcare workers in this video seen to be  wearing elastomers and N95 respirators if surgical masks are just as good to avoid being infected with SARS-CoV-2?

If droplets and contact precautions are the predominant mode of transmission, how do you explain the drop in hospital acquired infections when N95 respirators  are used in healthcare settings?

The same occurred in indoor public settings, where N95s were found to be associated with less COVID 19 infections than cloth and medical masks. How is that possible if contact and droplets spread is the main mode of transmission then any mask should do?

How do you explain the drop in school COVID  transmission with improved ventilation?

How do you explain viral particles defying gravity and landing in air ducts?

How do you explain patients getting infected when rooming with a Covid-infected patient if no so-called “Aerosol Generating Procedures” have occurred and the beds are two metres apart? 

As to needing a viable virus to be found in the air? Live SARS-CoV-2 was in fact recovered from room air in a hospital while the same cannot be said for TB and measles, which you seem to have no problem recognizing as airborne.

Several studies have shown the important role HEPA filters can play in cleaning the air of viral particles in rooms. How do you explain this while using  your droplet and contact spread approach to COVID-19 transmission?

How do you explain laboratory animals in separate cages getting infected when they had no possible contact save through vents?

As to using the 70,000 cases to justify your position that COVID spreads through close contacts, the same reasoning also applies with aerosol transmission. The closer you are to the smoker/ the infected, the more smoke/ aerosol viral laden particles you will breathe in. Over time, the viral laden aerosol particles do accumulate and fill the room no matter the distance to the source.

Slide Reference, Professor J.L. Jimenez, University of Boulder-Colorado

Ever wondered why so many BC cases did not have an identified close contact?

Well, look no further than to those who shared the same indoor air and were beyond two metres and thus were excluded by BC Public Health’s contact tracing rule of 15 minutes without protection within 2 metres of an infected person.

Vancouver Coastal Health values are those of care for everyone, always learning and striving for better results. We would argue that in practice, there is a wide “say-do” gap. Based on the apparent discounting of all sciences outside of medicine, it appears that “care for everyone” is selective and excludes those who have different perspectives .  Also evident is the “fixed mindset” demonstrated in the face of a large and increasing body of research studies (see link below) that support transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through aerosol. The ability of Public Health leaders both at VCH and province-wide to learn and adapt is, at best, limited. 

This stubborn insistence on “droplet dogma” by BC Public Health leaders has been called out, many times, by Canadian and  international experts, which, after 2 years, is now bordering on embarrassing.  Vancouver Coastal Health was recently (Jan. 2022) directly criticized by Dr. Deepti Gurdasani and Prof. Jose-Luis Jiminez.  Other experts who have criticized BC Public Health include Prof. Colin Furness, Prof. Gregory Travis, Mario Possamai (Senior advisor to the SARS Commission), Prof. Kimberly Prather, Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding. , and Prof. Trisha Greenhalgh

It is clear that BC’s messaging to the public that transmission is mainly via droplets is hitting a nerve elsewhere in the country and the world, and urgent pivoting is required to avoid more domestic and international embarrassment.

When those in power lead in a top down leadership style and are basing their Public Health pandemic policies on outdated and faulty models, everyone in BC suffers, while easily accessible solutions to limit COVID 19 transmission remain elusive.

We are not alone in asking for change in Vancouver Coastal Health Authority leadership approach. Protect Our Province BC received a powerful and heartfelt letter from an anonymous VCH clinician.

The sooner BC Public Health accepts the evidence that COVID-19 is spread through aerosols, the safer BC residents will be, and the better our provincial pandemic management will become by finally cleaning the air we all share.

Until then the arrogance and hubris of our Public Health leaders will contribute to a never-ending cycle of waves with many more infections and deaths that were sadly preventable.

For more references on Airborne Respiratory Infections visit this live document.

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Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

A Protect Our Province BC panel discussion with A panel discussion about how we as a community can pull together to create a safer learning environment for kids when school starts again in September! We can avoid another ‘tripledemic’ if we work together! Ready for Fall 2023? video: Briefing video:
“COVID-19 vaccination is safe during pregnancy and may protect newborns from infection, especially if vaccines are given in the second or third trimester. This is similar to what we are already doing with other maternal vaccines, including TDaP and seasonal influenza.” – Dr. Eastabrook
“If we had an epidemic of people with broken limbs and we saw people in plasters and crutches, it would be more evident. But there is a lot of disability that is happening, which is a hidden disability often, which is why we need to talk about it more, for people to understand what the consequences are. And that will help to make better decisions.” - Lynette

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