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Retired doctor calls on Dr. Henry to make mask use mandatory in B.C.

To the Editor;

Actually, this is a letter to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Of course, the likelihood of her reading it is nil — exactly the same as if it were sent to her at via the Ministry of Health. But what the heck.

I must admit to a lot of frustration with what I feel is a mild, hand-wringing, milquetoasty, admonishing, namby-pamby, reactive rather than proactive approach by her on her daily briefings dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C.

The Ministry of Health, through her, obviously wants the populace to listen up and to act according to her “recommendations” and, lately, her “expectations.”

As most of us know, her exhortations have the same motivating effect as that of our parents asking us to tidy our rooms or take out the garbage when we were teenagers — weak to zilch compliance at best. I’ve encountered this apathetic response over and over again in restaurants and retail outlets when I ask management why they and their staff are bare-faced. The answer is consistent: “We’re following B.C. health guidelines.”

How pathetic is that?

I am aware Henry and her staff believe that other behavioural actions, such as distancing and avoiding groups, may be more effective than masking, but there is a ton of research and expert opinion that masks are an excellent first-line defense against COVID-19. And wearing one is such an easy thing to do to protect your fellow being from sickness or death.

So, here’s my suggestion — no more tepid advice because it obviously hasn’t worked. I think St. Bonnie should engage in some tough love, as in saying: “Masks are mandated — now! Masks save lives of people you don’t know, but also perhaps of family members. Stop being macho or selfish or entitled or claiming that your rights are being trampled. Operating room staff wear masks all day without complaining.”

The writing is on the wall, folks. What we’ve done so far has been too little too late. Whatever other measures are enacted, perhaps universal mask use would mitigate or prevent the health and economic cataclysm that is on the horizon.

It’s just a little thing. We can do it. What have we got to lose?

Larry Webster

Retired family doctor

Kamloops, B.C.

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