Why bother with the B.C. Ministry of Health when Eric Feigl-Ding is there to educate you about COVID-19?

The former Harvard University professor's Twitter feed has become a go-to destination to discover what the provincial government isn't telling you about the pandemic

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      When I begin my day, I don't look first to the Ministry of Health, B.C. Centre for Disease Control, or the health authorities for the newest insights into COVID-19.

      Rather, I start by examining the Twitter feed of public-health champion Eric Feigl-Ding. He's an American epidemiologist, cofounder of the World Health Network, and former faculty member at the Harvard Medical School.

      That's where I learn about things like the hospitalization rate for the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron in the U.K.

      Why would I worry about how many people are going to hospital or dying of COVID-19 in the U.K.?

      It's because this has proven to be a leading indicator in the past of what's coming to B.C.

      Last month, Feigl-Ding also alerted me to a massive NIH-funded study showing that U.S. school districts with mandatory mask policies had 72 percent fewer in-school COVID-19 transmissions than districts without mandatory mask policies.

      This isn't something that Health Minister Adrian Dix ever mentions when defending the lifting of a provincewide indoor mask mandate. Nor is this research disclosed on the websites of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and B.C.'s health authorities.

      The only way parents can learn about this vitally important information is by seeking out alternative sources of information, like the Safe Schools Coalition B.C.

      Moreover, Feigl-Ding's Twitter feed informed me about a remarkable Virginia court decision. There, a judge ruled that a state law prohibiting mask mandates in schools violated the Americans With Disabilities Act for 12 students who were at greater risk for severe COVID.

      Feigl-Ding also regularly tweets about research into how most COVID-19 cases are contracted through the airborne route and why it's important to wear properly sourced, tight-fitting N95 respirators.

      Anyone who reads Feigl-Ding's Twitter feed on a regular basis is likely baffled or infuriated by the B.C. government's approach to COVID-19.

      Another person who reads Feigl-Ding's Twitter feed is Jennifer Heighton, a cofounder of Safe Schools Coalition B.C.

      On April 4, she noted that when the U.K. was experiencing a rise in cases and hospitalizations during the Delta wave of COVID-19 last year, B.C. actually lifted its indoor mask mandate.

      Then after the Delta variant took off, B.C. had three times more deaths than in Ontario, which retained its indoor mask policy.

      How can a disaster like this happen? Perhaps it's because the Ministry of Health, headed by Adrian Dix, was still peddling droplet dogma well after the Delta variant had taken hold.

      As a result, a vast number of British Columbians still don't know how to defend themselves properly against contracting COVID-19.

      Today (April 5), B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dix will hold another briefing for the media. They're expected to talk about fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

      Last night on Global B.C. News, reporter Keith Baldrey revealed that they may also announce an end to daily COVID-19 statistical updates.

      Just as the BA.2 variant is spreading and after Dix and Henry decided to abandon a provincial indoor mask mandate, we will only receive provincial COVID-19 statistics on weekly basis.

      It's probably intended to reduce the grim daily coverage of COVID-19 deaths in the major media.

      If media outlets aren't spoon-fed daily statistics, they're less likely to lead their late-afternoon radio and TV newscasts with a growing fatality toll, which has now exceeded 3,000 in B.C. by the official count.

      The actual death toll from COVID-19 in B.C. is likely considerably higher.

      Earlier this year, a paper in the Lancet estimated B.C.'s ratio of excess deaths over reported COVID-19 deaths at 2.17 in 2020 and 2021. That exceeded the ratios in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

      What this means is that in those two years, there were an estimated 5,560 excess deaths in B.C. from COVID-19 that were not accounted for in official statistics, according to this research paper. It was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

      So rather than 2,420 COVID-19 deaths in B.C. in 2020 and 2021, as the government maintains, there may have been 7,970.

      The paper actually listed a range of ratios of excess deaths—from 1.8 to 2.58—for B.C. So at the uppermost height of that range, the total death count from COVID-19 would have been 8,663 over 2020 and 2021.

      This is not something that you'll see discussed in briefings by Dix and Henry. Nor will you find a link to this Lancet paper on the websites of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control or any of the health authorities in this province.

      On Monday (April 4), the province did not release any data on COVID-19 deaths over the previous three days. Now, reporters will have to wait until Thursday (April 7) for that information.

      When it arrives, I'm going to multiply it by 2.17 to get a sense of how many people are actually dying of COVID-19 in this province.

      That's because at this stage of the pandemic, I've come to trust the Lancet far more than Dix when it comes to COVID-19 death counts.

      And like some other British Columbians, I'm far more inclined to believe Feigl-Ding than Dix when it comes to the importance of N95 respirators, how COVID-19 is transmitted, and the deadly consequences of mask-optional policies in schools and on public-transportation systems.

      When is the NDP cabinet going to realize that something is going terribly wrong here? When the death toll hits 20,000 or 30,000?

      Surely, there's somebody in the B.C. NDP caucus who is paying attention to what Eric Feigl-Ding is telling people around the world every day.

      If not, their friends should inform them ASAP that their political futures—and if they're immune-compromised or have comorbidities, perhaps even their life—might depend on doing this.