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Opinion: Stop saying Dr. Bonnie Henry was ‘following the science’ in lifting mask mandates

Did the PHO lift the mask mandate because it was triggering some people?
Bonnie Henry
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry provides regular updates on COVID-19 in B.C.

My recent column about provincial health office Dr. Bonnie Henry listing mask mandates – and her giving the “freedom convoy” a big win – prompted a lot of responses from readers.

Some loved it. Some hated it, especially “freedom convoy” supporters who objected to me calling the movement a “cult” – fair enough. The dozens of responses said I was a baby and living in fear for still wearing a mask. They called COVID a “plandemic” and a “scamdemic” that wasn’t real if only I would just do some “research.” They also said the movement was peaceful while adding that they hoped someone would harm me somehow. “I hope someone flushes your brain down a toilet.”

Yes, very peaceful.

One common objection to my column said that Henry was “following the science” in her decision and that I was a hypocrite for now criticizing that. (“Don’t you support science?”

Well, I disagree with that premise.

I’ve read a lot of comments by Henry since the decision, including an interview on CBC radio and I don’t really think she was “following the science.”

Oh, yes, science says that case numbers have been dropping, although testing has been severely curtailed and too many people are still dying.

But Henry didn’t use a definitive scientific mark to explain why masks were being dropped now. She said things like “we’re in a good place” and B.C. was at a “lower risk” – phrases that make her decision feel more like a judgment call. Things are better than they were and so she decided to get rid of the mandate.

Henry did use science to still urge people to wear masks. She told the CBC that a face mask was still an effective tool for preventing COVID spread. It’s just, she lamented, that a mask mandate was such a gosh darn “blunt tool” that seems to divide and trigger people.

That doesn’t sound like following the science, but a way to make some people happy.

The decision did make some people happy. I’ve seen plenty of people not wearing masks in indoor public spaces. Some workers have stopped wearing them. I do have sympathy for them. It can’t be easy working eight hours on your feet in a restaurant while wearing a mask.

With the restrictions lifted, they are free to not wear a mask. But I will continue living in fear and wear my mask because I’m at a higher risk of complications even with three doses of the COVID vaccine. In that regard, I am following the science.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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