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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 Dr. David Fisman, 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.  Recent statements by BC Public Health prompted Prof. David Fisman to denounce BC on January 22, 2022

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

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

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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