Dr. Bonnie Henry receives scathing criticism from atmospheric chemistry experts for comment on aerosols

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      Some academics have denounced B.C.'s provincial health officer following her Christmas Eve briefing on the Omicron variant of concern.

      In her presentation to reporters, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that Omicron is "spreading in a way that is different from other variants".

      She also described the situation as "an entirely new game" and a "different pandemic".

      According to Henry, that's in part because the Omicron variant embeds itself in ace2 receptors in the upper airways.

      "It replicates quickly," Henry said. "And it means those smaller particles, or aerosols, are much more important and it can spread more easily—especially in activities like singing or talking closely with each other indoors where ventilation is poor or breathing hard."

      University of Boulder Colorado atmospheric chemistry expert Jose-Luis Jimenez has been one of the world's foremost proponents of the view that COVID-19 has always been an airborne virus. He's been maintaining since early in the pandemic that aerosols have been critical in the transmission of the disease.

      He mocked Henry's previous emphasis on droplet-theory over Twitter.

      Jimenez's tweet prompted the associate editor of the scientific journal ACS Nano, Jillian Buriak, to accuse Henry over Twitter of making things up on the fly. [Note: after this story was published, Buriak deleted her tweet at this link: https://twitter.com/JBuriak/status/1474827707603058692.]

      Next, Jimenez chimed in that in light of Buriak's comment, perhaps it's time for Henry to be replaced with someone who understands and follows the science.

      Buriak also received a "thank you" over Twitter from Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, a professor of primary care at Oxford University. Jimenez and Greenhalgh have cowritten papers on airborne COVID-19.

      Each has criticized B.C.'s response to the virus in the past for underplaying the importance of high-quality masks and improved ventilation in reducing the risk of infections.

      Their point about masks has been echoed by several British Columbians, including homeless journalist Stanley Q. Woodvine in the tweets below.

      Update #1

      After deleting her tweet, Jillian Buriak deleted her Twitter account.

      Update #2

      Jillian Burak has reinstated her Twitter account. She offered the following explanation over the social-media platform: