• Wed. May 25th, 2022

Health Administration

Come One, Come All To Health Administration

What does the Biden administration know about COVID-19 that has eluded the grasp of B.C. health authorities?

Earlier this week, Safe Schools Coalition B.C. issued an urgent call to reinstate mask mandates in K-12 schools when Spring Break comes to an end.

“The Omicron BA.2 variant is causing cases and hospitalizations to rise in Europe, Hong Kong, South Korea, and China, with some experts warning it is close to measles in transmissibility and continuing to warn about serious effects, even in young, healthy people,” the coalition pointed out in an open letter.

The letter also pointed out that according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the subvariant BA.2 has already surpassed the original Omicron strain. Moreover, a new subvariant, known as BA.2.2., has become a cause of concern.

Many parents are unaware that B.C. public health officials have not always been on the same page as the Biden administration and the World Health Organization in their beliefs about the transmission of COVID-19. 

Below, you can see some quotes that illustrate this.

Transmission

“The 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.”

— Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Deputy Assistant to the President (March 23, 2022)

“What I can tell you after following up over 70,000 cases, it requires close contact to be infected with COVID-19. So it does not spread long distances. It’s not like measles, where we’ve had situations where a case of measles might walk through an airport, and an hour later, someone else will walk through the same airspace and come down with measles.”

— Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer and vice president of public health at Vancouver Coastal Health (February 2022)

“The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols can remain suspended in the air or travel farther than conversational distance (this is often called long-range aerosol or long-range airborne transmission).”

— World Health Organization (December 2021)

“COVID-19 is a droplet spread organism. However, there are a few procedures that may cause the droplets to disperse as fine aerosols.”

— Vancouver Island Health Authority (March 2022)

Air filtration

“In fact, research shows changing the air in a room multiple times an hour with filtered or clean outdoor air—using a window fan, by using higher MERV filters in an Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, using portable air cleaning devices, and even just opening a window—can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission—with studies showing five air changes an hour reduce transmission risk by 50 percent.”

— Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Deputy Assistant to the President (March 23, 2022)

“While there are various strategies for avoiding breathing that air—from remote work to masking—we can and should talk more about how to make indoor environments safer by filtering or cleaning air.”

— Dr. Alondra Nelson, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Deputy Assistant to the President (March 23, 2022)

“Like most common respiratory viruses, COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplet transmission within a short range. Most commonly, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 acquire the virus through close contact with a case at home or through their social networks. Unfortunately, school-based ventilation changes are unlikely to prevent transmissions in homes and social networks. In-school transmission accounts for approximately 1% of COVID-19 cases.”

—Vancouver Coastal Health (January 10, 2022)

“In the current study [of more than 1.1 million students and more than 157,000 staff]…approximately 10% of cases were acquired within school.”

—National Institutes of Health (March 10, 2022)

Mandatory masks in schools

“This means that masks will no longer be required in all settings in schools once children and staff return from Spring Break… These decisions are grounded in science and the data about what is happening in our communities for where we are right now.”

—Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. provincial health officer (March 10, 2022)

“Schools with mandatory masking during the Delta surge had approximately 72% fewer cases of in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 when compared to schools with optional or partial masking policies, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study included more than 1.1 million students and over 157,000 staff attending in-person school across nine states: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Texas.”

—National Institutes of Health (March 10, 2022)

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