Dr. Bonnie Henry,
British Columbia Provincial Health Officer,
Ministry of Health,
1515 Blanshard Street,
Victoria, BC V8W 3C9
Dear Dr. Henry,
I am a physician who has been in family medical practice in BC for more than 40 years and a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC since 1978.
I am writing this letter with the hope that you will be able to clarify the basis of your decision-making that has led our provincial government, health ministry, regional health officers, hospitals, medical staff, WorkSafe BC, businesses, and everyday citizens to follow pandemic policies that do not appear based on high-quality scientific research and, in fact, appear to be doing everyone a great deal of harm.1
The early intent of mitigation measures to “flatten the curve”, when we knew very little about SARS-CoV-2, its mode of transmission, and the severity of COVID-19, was reasonable. I believe that most physicians in Canada, myself included, whether active or retired, prepared themselves to take part on the front lines for the expected COVID-19 tsunami. Very soon it was apparent that the expected overwhelming of the hospital system was not going to occur, and now BC physicians have questions about the appropriateness of your public health policies.
The epidemiological evidence clearly shows that the “pandemic” is over and no second wave will follow. The evidence has been available for at least 4-5 months and is irrefutable.2–4 Yet, in spite of this substantial body of research, your office is perpetuating the narrative that a pandemic still exists and a second wave is expected. This false story is being used to justify public health policies that appear to have no health benefits, have already caused considerable harm, and threaten to create more harm in the future.
As you are aware, Sweden took an entirely different approach and, as of mid-September, their infection rate reached an all-time low and Covid-19 related deaths were at zero; 22 of 31 European countries, most of which enacted strict lockdowns, had higher infection rates. Sweden has also largely escaped the financial ruin and catastrophic mental health problems experienced in other countries, including Canada and the U.S.A.
Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, Montréal’s medical officer, has stated “this COVID virus is much like the seasonal flu”. A group of over 400 Belgian doctors have stated “COVID is not a killer virus, but a treatable condition”. Eighteen Canadian doctors wrote the Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, stating “your policies risk significantly harming our children with lifelong consequences”. The Ontario policies are very similar to those of British Columbia.
In 2011, a review of the literature by the British Columbia Centres for Disease Control that sought to evaluate the effectiveness of social distancing measures such as school closures, travel restrictions, and limitations on mass gatherings as a means to address an influenza pandemic concluded that “such drastic restrictions are not economically feasible and are predicted to delay viral spread, but not impact overall mortality”. [Italics added]
Specifically, there appears to be no scientific or medical evidence for5–6
- Self-isolation of asymptomatic people
- social distancing
- arbitrary closure of businesses
- closure of schools, daycares, park amenities, and playgrounds
- the discontinuance of access to education, medical, dental, chiropractic, naturopathic, hearing, dietary, therapeutic, and other support for the physically and mentally disabled, particularly special needs children with neurological disorders
- the closing down of or restrictions on religious places of worship.
According to the CDC Pandemic Severity Index, none of these measures have been warranted. The Great Barrington Declaration, signed by more than 30,000 health scientists and medical doctors from around the world, adds support for this statement.
Surprisingly, the recommendation for reducing COVID-19 morbidity and mortality by supplementing with vitamin D, a measure that is supported by high-quality research, has been absent from your frequent public broadcasts and professional bulletins.7 Optimizing nutrition is a convenient, inexpensive, and safe method of improving immune resistance and has been confirmed through numerous studies for both prevention and treatment of COVID19. As far as I am aware, you have never mentioned something as simple as vitamin D supplements for our most vulnerable citizens. Yet, it was the promise to protect these same citizens that was used to justify the lockdown of a healthy population and the closure of businesses.
Why are you still using PCR testing? The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Health in Ontario has publicly stated that the PCR test yields over 50% false positives. A New York Times investigative report found that PCR testing yields up to 90% false positives due to excessive amplification beyond the recommendations of the manufacturer. The PCR test was never designed, intended or validated to be used as a diagnostic tool. Even the Alberta Health Services COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group has stated “clinical sensitivity and specificity values have not been determined for lab developed RT-PCR testing in Canada”.8 Despite expert consensus, you continue to use this inappropriate and inaccurate test to report so-called “cases” and justify your decisions.9-18
The public health definition of a “case” is very broad. As all experienced doctors know, a “case” is a patient with significant symptoms who is often hospitalized. A “case” is not a person who simply has a questionably positive PCR test and presents with no symptoms or an unrelated diagnosis. Pictures of healthy young adults standing in line to get PCR tests, with a cell phone in one hand and a Starbucks coffee in the other, are everywhere in the media. These are not sick people and do not need testing.
Nevertheless, your public announcements repeatedly emphasize that the “case” counts are rising and we are in big trouble. Recently, “out-of-control” case counts were used to justify a second lockdown in Ontario and Quebec. Curfews have been put into place. People are being asked to risk their livelihoods to make sacrifices for the general good, based on Public Health’s misrepresentation of “cases” as sick people.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths from COVID-19 have dropped to pre-pandemic levels. Where are all the patients?
Why not simply tell the public that
- the PCR testing is not reliable and is meaningless for diagnosing COVID-19
- positive PCR test results do not represent sick patients,
- rarely are people now becoming ill from SARS-CoV-2,
- provincial hospitals are essentially empty of COVID-19 patients,
- decisions should not be based on “cases” in the news,
- the morbidity/mortality of COVID-19 has not exceeded seasonal influenza,
- the median age of death from COVID-19 in Canada was 85 years,
- the pandemic is over, and
- no second wave is coming?
It is your duty as the provincial health officer to provide facts, not propaganda, and make every effort to stop the public panic. The only reason for emphasizing “cases” is to induce more fear and thereby compliance in the name of promised safety.
Why are children being pursued with a new rinse-and-spit saliva test that is also based on a worthless PCR test? Children have been terrorized and are being given the message that they can never be trusted not to infect their family and friends — essentially, that they are naturally bad. The insistence on covering their faces with masks, a proven useless and even harmful measure, only worsens this sense of shame. The psychological fallout from such messaging is going to be horrific. One only needs to walk down Main Street to already see the catastrophic effects of these messages on the mental and emotional health of families.
The excess death toll from partial lockdowns, social distancing and other public health measures is staggering. The Canadian media reports that provincial measures have been shown to create 12:1 more deaths than the virus; there has been a 40% increase in heart attack deaths in Canada from fear, anxiety and cancelled hospital procedures; suicide and drug overdose deaths have increased and outnumber COVID-19 deaths by a ratio of 3:1; suicides have doubled in BC since April; and anxiety and depression, food insecurity, domestic violence, and child abuse have skyrocketed. With unnecessary school closures, the ability of teachers to identify children subject to abuse and malnourishment has been curtailed. Many of our friends, family and patients died alone, terrified, and isolated against their will in facilities and nursing homes. That cruel policy was unjustified and inhuman.
How is it possible that a doctor with your previous training and experience did not anticipate the collateral damage of your public health policies – the economic disruption, the psychological and physical health consequences, and the deaths from despair?
The mainstream media has created a religion out of public health, one based on superstition, not science, with the power to rule over an obedient public. The news channels have raised you to almost saint-like status. Tea towels, shoes and murals have been designed to celebrate your accomplishments. Yet, your public directives do not make sense, contradict the research, and are causing people a great deal of harm. As a fellow doctor, I appeal to you to re-examine your policies and change direction before Public Health causes irreparable damage to our province’s health and economic well-being. That about-face will require you to meet the obligations of your office.
Stephen Malthouse, MD
Member, College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia,
Denman Island, British Columbia
- The Doctor Is In: Scott Atlas and the Efficacy of Lockdowns, Social Distancing, and Closures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biC4nHPYtbA
- Alberta Health Services COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group. How do the testing characteristics for the Alberta Health Services lab-developed test for COVID-19 differ between samples collected from nasal, nasopharyngeal, and throat swabs? 15 April 2020 [Internet]. https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/ppih/if-ppihcovid-19-sag-comparison-of-testing-sites-rapid-review.pdf (accessed 16 May 2020).
- Zhang GH et al. Potential false-positive rate among the ‘asymptomatic infected individuals’ in close contacts of COVID-19 patients.CMA.J.CN, 2020 Mar 5;41(4):485-488.
- Insert from sample COVID testing kit: RealStar® SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Kit 1.0 For research use only! The RealStar® SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Kit 1.0 is a reagent system, based on realtime PCR technology, for the qualitative detection and differentiation of lineage B-betacoronavirus (B-βCoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) specific RNA. For research use only
(RUO)! Not for use in diagnostic procedures.[Italics added]
- Insert from sample COVID testing kit: LightMix® Modular SARS-CoV Assays. Roche continues to monitor the virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is pleased to announce the availability of the LightMix Modular Assays used to detect this virus. These assays are for Research Use Only (RUO*) on the LightCycler® 480 and/or cobas z 480 instruments, and Roche is the exclusive distributor for these assays. The MagNA Pure 96 instrument or High Pure Viral Nucleic acid kit can be used for extraction. The three LightMix Modular assays are used to detect the SARS and CoV genes outlined in the table below in human tracheal aspirates or bronchoalveolar lavage samples from individual human donors. These assays are not intended for use as an aid in the diagnosis of coronavirus infection. [Italics added]