Furstenau accuses B.C. government of failing to educate public on risks of Long COVID and airborne transmissions

The B.C. Green Leader made her statement on the same day that the White House issued an alert about the potential long-term consequences of being infected

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      The B.C. Green party doesn't think the NDP government is doing enough to help people understand the threat of COVID-19.

      In an April 5 statement, B.C. Green Leader Sonia Furstenau accused the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the B.C. NDP of not educating British Columbians "on the risks of long COVID, of the airborne spread of this virus, and of the benefits of well-fitting and high-quality masks".

      "This is a failure to provide essential information to the public, at a time when this government has transferred all responsibility to individuals to try to keep themselves and others safe from COVID infection," Furstenau alleged.

      Her statement came on the same day that the Biden administration issued a memorandum on addressing the long-term effectives of COVID-19.

      "These symptoms can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19—including individuals across ages, races, genders, and ethnicities; individuals with or without disabilities; individuals with or without underlying health conditions; and individuals whether or not they had initial symptoms," the White House stated.

      "Individuals experiencing long COVID report experiencing new or recurrent symptoms, which can include anxiety and depression, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, disordered sleep, chest and joint pain, headaches, and other symptoms," the White House continued. "These symptoms can persist long after the acute COVID-19 infection has resolved.  Even young people and otherwise healthy people have reported long COVID symptoms that last for many months."

      Last month, the White House head of science and technology policy, Dr. Alondra Nelson, issued a statement declaring that the "most most common way COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another is through tiny airborne particles of the virus hanging in indoor air for minutes or hours after an infected person has been there".

      None of the health authorities or the B.C. Ministry of Health has issued statements like these ones from the White House. 

      Furstenau's comments came following Henry's April 5 media briefing in which she reiterated that the vaccine-card mandate will be lifted on April 8.

      On March 10, Henry initially announced this as well as the lifting of the provincewide indoor mask mandate on March 11. Mandatory mask mandates ended in schools when classes resumed after Spring Break. 

      Furstenau noted in her statement that Prince Edward Island and Quebec have extended their indoor mask mandates until the end of April.

      "It’s clear that the B.A.2 variant has taken over in B.C., and yet we continue to pretend that we are somehow going to avoid the impacts we’re seeing elsewhere," Furstenau stated.

      “This government is desperate to maintain its narrative around its management of this pandemic, and is doing so by limiting testing, monitoring, and reporting," the B.C. Green leader continued. "They have closed down community monitoring at the beginning of a sixth wave."

      She contrasted that with how the public health office is acting in Peterborough, Ontario. There, she said, "data transparency and public guidance are the focus".

      Meanwhile, health journalist Adriana Barton has questioned over Twitter why the NDP government is offering preferential treatment to the unvaccinated in the delivery of certain health services related to COVID-19.