From Wednesday to Friday (January 19 to 21) of this week, there was one COVID-19 death every two hours in B.C.
That's according to the daily updates released by the Ministry of Health.
But what if there are other deaths that have been caused by the virus but which are not being classified as being due to COVID-19?
What effect would that have on people in the premier's office, cabinet ministers other than Adrian Dix, NDP backbenchers, opposition MLAs, and the media?
Would that make them more curious about the way COVID-19 is transmitted? Would they then start asking themselves what effect this virus might be having on the body?
To date, we've mostly seen tremendous deference to Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dix and their teams of advisers. This is notwithstanding the growing body count and the rising rage among some of their very well-educated critics on Twitter. It's starting to remind me of the Vietnam War.
It's because they're watching kids get sick, adults get sick, and even themselves get sick while the provincial government seems content to let 'er rip with the Omicron variant.
That's notwithstanding alarming research on the impact of COVID-19 on the brains, internal organs, and cardiovascular systems in a minority of patients.
What galls many of these critics is that we have a legislature full of MLAs, a fleet of deputy and assistant deputy ministers, and a multitude of media workers covering COVID-19 who can't be bothered to read peer-reviewed research revealing how this virus spreads through the air.
In the critics' minds, nobody is protecting the cabinet ministers from destroying their political careers, not to mention Premier John Horgan's reputation in the history books.
Again, this is reminiscent of the Vietnam War.
Let's take a detour and pay attention to the wise words of the foremost bard of that era.
These are some of the lyrics in Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind":
...And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?
Attack the messenger
NDP minions in the community seem more interested in advancing the existing government storyline—dismissed by critics as "droplet dogma". At times, the NDP true believers will condemn one of the world's leading aerosol researchers, who's persuasively argued that COVID-19 is indeed an airborne illness.
These same NDP minions are not yet willing to entertain the possibility that the health minister whom they admire so much may have been seriously misguided.
Nobody knows for sure why this happened or who's really responsible for this. In one interview with CBC News journalist Belle Puri, Dr. Bonnie Henry disclosed that she speaks to cabinet ministers and deputy ministers before issuing her health orders.
After that interview, the Ministry of Health did not make her available to the Straight to discuss whether she had also spoken to people in the premier's office.
Has the premier's chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, been offering input on public-health orders, for example? That would be significant because one of Meggs's roles is to ensure that the party remains popular.
More recently, Henry told Times Colonist reporter Cindy Harnett that public-health colleagues with regional health authorities were advising her not to respond more forcefully to a wave of infections last October. It seemed to some that Henry was passing the blame down the line.
One thing is clear: this government and the health authorities have not publicly demonstrated curiosity to learn more about what atmospheric chemists say about the distribution of molecules in the air. Nor have most people in the media. There has not been a single public-education campaign in B.C. about the airborne nature of COVID-19.
That's just one reason why the critics were forecasting that we were headed for an even worse disaster.
Now, these same critics are watching it unfold right before their eyes. And there are still no HEPA filters or carbon-dioxide monitors in classrooms.
This week, anger erupted over several developments.
1. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control copied the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance by shortening the isolation period to five days for those who've tested positive, are fully vaccinated, and with improved symptoms and no fever. They still must avoid high-risk settings, including long-term care homes, assisted-living facilities, and Indigenous communities. That guidance from the BCCDC, according to the critics, flew in the face of scientific research indicating a longer isolation period was necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19.
2. Hospital patients who've tested positive for COVID-19 are now sharing rooms with non-COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated can still contract the Omicron variant.
3. Fraser Health banned visitors from wearing N95 respirators into hospitals.
When the provincial health officer delivered her January 21 briefing, there was palpable contempt expressed on social media by her well-educated critics.
But Henry isn't the only one being mocked and ridiculed. The health authorities have also come under damning criticism.
Some of these well-educated critics, including several with medical degrees, are hearing rumblings from the research community about the relationship of platelets in the blood to COVID-19.
They're also aware of research linking acute COVID-19 to neurological problems, including strokes and psychosis.
And they're damn sick of this illness constantly being referred to in the media and by government officials as a respiratory disease when it's so much more than that.
In addition, B.C. health-care workers are reading tweets from their colleagues south of the border, who must deal with the antediluvian mindset of their political masters in various states.
Now, some of these B.C. health-care workers feel they're seeing parallels on this side of the border with one health authority restricting N95s and another peddling discredited droplet dogma.
The Best and the Brightest
We know that nobody in the NDP caucus or the cabinet is going to publicly challenge the health minister on his handling of the pandemic. This is not the 1980s—nobody will sit as an independent in protest, like a few Socreds did when their premier, Bill Vander Zalm, went rogue.
There's also not much hope that B.C. Liberal Leader Shirley Bond or various B.C. Liberal leadership candidates will start reading papers in the Lancet, Science and Genome Medicine.
The NDP cabinet hasn't been convinced that it's necessary to install portable filters in classrooms to protect children. Dirty air clearly isn't a huge concern to them, even after it was documented by one diligent parent.
So for the critics, the only thing left might be to speak to the politicians' vanity.
Does this NDP cabinet want to become the 21st-century public-health equivalent of the "The Best and the Brightest"? They were made famous in a bestselling book of the same name by former New York Times reporter David Halberstam, who covered the Vietnam War.
Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest referred to the brainy academics and intellectuals in the administration of John F. Kennedy, who led the country into the disastrous Vietnam War.
The foremost architect of that debacle was Robert McNamara, one of the former "whiz kids" at the Ford Motor Company.
After the Kennedy assassination, McNamara reported to Lyndon B. Johnson.
LBJ was a hardnosed pragmatist whose political success was rooted in his reputation for being generous, kind, and compassionate to low-income people.
Another former whiz kid, Adrian Dix, is B.C.'s minister of health. He reports to Premier Horgan.
Coincidentally, Horgan is a hardnosed pragmatist whose political success has also been rooted in his reputation for being generous, kind, and compassionate to low-income people.
It's funny how history works.