Dr. Bonnie Henry, Adrian Dix, and the rise of pro-COVID demonstrations in British Columbia
On February 4, the Guardian published a remarkable story about several British scientists.
In front of the world, they admitted their errors in assessing how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted, the effectiveness of masks, and school closures.
We have not seen humility anywhere close to this level from the B.C. government.
On the second anniversary of the first COVID-19 diagnosis in B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix were given an opportunity by a reporter to say what they might have done differently in responding to the pandemic.
"I'm not sure I'm at the point where regrets are what we need," Henry said on January 28.
Then she added a caveat about how major policy changes might have been communicated better.
Dix talked about how well B.C. had responded to the pandemic in comparison to other jurisdictions.
Neither of them uttered a word of sorrow for never seriously educating the public about the airborne nature of the disease and for not launching media campaigns emphasizing the importance of keeping windows open.
They had no regrets about not providing higher-quality masks to teachers and health-care workers who administered vaccines. There was not a concern expressed about spurning demands from educators for HEPA filters and carbon-dioxide monitors in classrooms.
They weren't feeling bad about not taking significant amounts of time in their lengthy and frequent media briefings to talk about scientific evidence suggesting that COVID-19 is a vascular disease, which presents first as a respiratory ailment.
Nor did they express remorse about not driving home the point that COVID-19 has been associated with serious neurological problems.
The best that Henry could do was to declare that the Omicron variant is "not innocuous" on January 21 after highlighting for several weeks how it was considered to be milder than the Delta variant.
A week later, Henry didn't express any sorrow for enraging some people by being photographed without a mask at a B.C. Lions game back in August. This was even after published research in peer-reviewed journals had demonstrated that the COVID-19 virus can remain in the air.
So naturally, the obstinacy of Dix and Henry in fessing up to any shortcomings led to another torrent of criticism over Twitter by their well-educated critics.
Dix and Henry's response to the question about regrets was reminiscent of the lyrics in "My Way", written by Canadian Paul Anka and made memorable by Frank Sinatra.
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
COVID-19 remains poorly understood by many
Now, let's move to the present. There were 59 reported deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. in the first four days of February.
The latest update from the Ministry of Health indicated that there are 946 people with COVID-19 in hospital and 139 in intensive care.
Yet as the death toll continues to mount at an alarming rate—2,675 to date—there will be what are essentially pro-COVID demonstrations in Vancouver and Victoria today.
I use the phrase "pro-COVID demonstrations" because if you want all mandates dropped, including the wearing of masks, you're endorsing the unimpeded spread of the disease across the province. Therefore you are pro-COVID. (The term came from a Twitter user.)
These pro-COVID protests will be attended by many sad and ignorant people who don't have a clue what COVID-19 might do to their health.
Even more importantly, they have little idea of the potential impact of the virus on the health of anyone with asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, and other serious diseases or anyone in their circle of acquaintances who is over the age of 50 or under the age of six months. They probably have no idea that those who were born prematurely are also at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
That's not just regrettable; it's a disgrace. And if these so-called convoys turn into super-spreader events that end up overrunning local hospitals with COVID-19 cases, the provincial government can only blame itself.
Maybe at that point, Dix and Henry would then express regrets for not being more forceful in highlighting the true nature of this illness. Just like the scientists who were quoted in the Guardian article this week.