Anti-mask rally amid outbreak of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia “really concerning”: pulmonologist

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A leading BC pulmonologist says it is “baffling” that hundreds of people are gathering in Vancouver to rally against masks and protocols to stop the transmission of COVID-19, as the number cases continue to increase.

Crowds gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday for a “BC Christmas Freedom Rally” opposing masks and restrictions on activities and social gatherings implemented by public health order.

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“It’s really worrying, because at the individual level, masks protect you against the virus and at the population level, if there is not enough acceptance in terms of wearing a mask, community transmission of the virus. will continue to escalate, ”said Dr Don Sin, chief respiratory medicine at Providence Healthcare and professor of medicine at UBC.

“We need to implement all possible interventions to contain the virus while waiting for the vaccine to arrive and hopefully eliminate the virus completely.”

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British Columbians opposed to wearing masks protest in Vancouver


British Columbians Opposing Masks Protest in Vancouver – July 19, 2020

Sin cited a recent study that found mandatory masks in Germany reduced transmission of the virus by about 45%, and added that there was no scientific evidence that wearing a mask reduced oxygen consumption. or could make someone sick.

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Sin added that the rally risked attracting people from across the region who could potentially spread the virus to different communities.

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Fifty-one people died from COVID-19 in British Columbia in December alone. Active cases in the province and hospitalizations have continued to set daily records in recent weeks.

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Speakers at Saturday’s rally included anti-vaccine activists, anti-mask activists, a message from Santa Claus, comedy and speeches alleging government censorship and disproportion.

It also included a front page appearance by former Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly. Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini took to Twitter on Friday night to sever the club’s relationship with Donnelly over his appearance.

Donnelly told the rally he felt the need to speak up and “support the side of an argument that is marginalized and censored,” and criticized the “draconian” public health measures that he said had been implemented without cost-benefit analysis.

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Donnelly went on to wrongly claim that officials had promised the battle of COVID-19 would be a “sprint” and not a “10-month hell marathon” and that officials in all jurisdictions were discussing mandatory vaccines.

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In March, former Finance Minister Carole James specifically described the response to COVID-19 as a “marathon”.

Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said the province was not considering mandatory vaccines as recently as Wednesday, while Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has gone out of his way to promise that the vaccines would be voluntary last week.

Attendance at Saturday’s rally was significantly lower than a “Mega Freedom Rally” in Vancouver in October, where police estimated more than 1,000 people turned up.


Click to play 'Freedom Rally' video: Hundreds protest against pandemic protocols in Vancouver ''


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‘Freedom rally’: hundreds protest against pandemic protocols in Vancouver


‘Freedom Rally’: Hundreds of Protests Against Pandemic Protocols in Vancouver – October 18, 2020

Sin said regardless of what people read on social media, the masks have been shown to be scientifically effective.

“I totally understand the frustration, but (masks are) an effective strategy to contain the virus and we all need to step in during these dark times to reduce transmission,” he said.

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“Otherwise, our rates will only skyrocket and our hospitals will be full of COVID-19 patients, even young patients who may die of the disease.”

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