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Masks and schools

CDC BC poster which states "Wearing a mask is not an effective measure to keep yourself safe from viral infection" From March / April 2020


  • 2009 a textbook on the common cold concluded that "Evidence for the effectiveness for physical barriers, which include masks to reduce aerosol transmission... come from a variety of studies".[1] Added the protective effects of masks for the common cold to Wikipedia in 2011.[2][3]


  • Jan 28 First case of COVID-19 announced in BC in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region.[5]
  • Mar 3 Academics from Taiwan publish 124 measures they used to address the pandemic.[6](the measures)
  • Mar 9 "Authorities advise people to stay 1-2 metres apart, but researchers found that a bus passenger infected fellow travellers sitting 4.5 metres away."[7]
  • Mar 12 Vancouver Coastal Health announces attendee at Pacific Dental Conference tests positive for COVID-19, says risk to participants is 'extremely low.' No need for participants to self-isolate.[8]
  • Mar 16 DBH reverses course on advice to Pacific Dental Conference participants. All 15,000 participants must now self-isolate. The College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC) said it recommends all elective and non-essential dental services be suspended at once.[9]
  • Mar 17 The Pacific Dental Conference is linked to a 'significant' number of COVID-19 cases, including in Ontario and Alberta. The President of the British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) said health officials green-lit event. Burnaby Dental Clinic Manager Shannon Gu had warned the BC Centre for Disease Control and conference organizers about the risk of holding such a big event, advised on masking and limiting crowds to less than 2000 per day, but she said her advice was ignored.[10]
  • Mar 17 Province declares first state of emergency related to Covid-19.[11]
  • Mar 20 with respect to Masks DBH “It’s not something that, when I’m out in public, is going to protect me in any way. And as a matter of fact, people often fiddle with it, and contaminate themselves, and it can lead to more risk.”[12]
  • Apr 6 DBH on fabric masks “It’s not going to protect you from getting infected with this virus. But for short term, it is a similar analogy to coughing into your sleeve or coughing into a tissue,” she said. “It is not a recommendation, it is a permissive use, if you will.”[13]
  • Apr 16 NEJM "aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days"[14]
  • May 21 BHD “In that sense, it certainly is something that people can consider, and we would recommend in certain situations, for those small periods of time where you may not be able to control your distance.”[15]
  • July 14 Universal mask use in hospital (both pts and HCWers) significantly lowered the risk of COVID in HCWers.[16]
  • July 29 In adults "Mask wearing was associated with reduced face-touching behavior, especially touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth, which may prevent contact transmission of COVID-19 among the general population in public areas."[17]
  • Aug 5 without evidence BCCDC states "masks aren’t recommended for elementary school children because they increase likelihood of kids touching their faces" and “I actually don't believe there's evidence to support mask wearing by children in the classroom,” said Henry.[18]
  • Aug 20 "There is no evidence that clearly identifies specific populations that are at risk of adverse outcomes/harms related to the use of masks (medical or cloth) in public spaces."[19]
  • Sept 1 1 meter distance deemed acceptable in BC schools by DBH.[20]
  • Sept 2 PHO prevents the roll out of an in class mask policy in BC.[21]
  • Sept 11 Children in BC only required to self isolate for 24 hours from the start of symptoms if they improve.[22]
  • Sept 21 “Early suggestions that children are considerably less important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than adults are not confirmed by more recent research,”[23]
  • Sept 22 "Runny noses and sore throats" no longer included among worrisome symptoms in BC for schools[24]
  • Sep 30 "Largest COVID-19 contact tracing study to date finds children key to spread, evidence of superspreaders"[25]
  • Oct 2 per CDC "Children aged <10 years can transmit SARS-CoV-2 in school settings" "promoting and reinforcing behaviors that reduce spread of COVID-19 (e.g., wearing masks, maintaining a social distance of ≥6 feet, and frequent handwashing) can reduce COVID-19 spread in schools and communities"[26]
  • Per WHO Oct 21 "Large outbreaks can occur in specific circumstances" in school. Specifically when few measures are in place. Masks recommended in school for those 6 and over.[27]
  • Oct 30 6 times more children have had COVID than are detected by symptomatic testing in Germany.[28]
  • Nov 5 In the healthcare environment "Direct contact with COVID-19 patients increased the likelihood of seropositivity among employees but study participants who wore a mask during COVID-19 exposures were less likely to be seropositive."[29]
  • Until Nov 6 PHO prevented a universal in hospital mask requirements.[30]
  • Nov 17 CDC "quietly removed controversial guidance from its website that pushed for schools to reopen in the fall and downplayed the transmission risks of COVID-19 to children and others. The documents, one of which was reportedly written by political appointees outside of the CDC, stated that children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults and that children are unlikely to be major spreaders of the virus."[31]
  • Nov 18 school test positivity is high and increasing in BC.[32]
  • Nov 16 In Nature. Closing schools one of the most effective measures to stop COVID.[33]
  • Nov 16 Dr. Henry stated "Ordering universal mask use in all situations creates unnecessary challenges with enforcement and stigmatization... An order can never replace our personal commitment."
  • Nov 18 Premier Horgan "the evidence is fairly clear, kids are not transmitters of COVID"[34][35]
  • Nov 22 CDC "Over 50% of COVID-19 transmissions may result from presymptomatic or asymptomatic spread, the CDC says in an updated scientific briefing that endorses universal face masking."[36]
  • Nov 30 In Toronto elementary "Asymptomatic testing confirms 19 new COVID-19 cases at Thorncliffe Park Public School"[37]
  • Dec 8 400 people in a Canadian school tested, nearly 100 positive for COVID.[38]
  • Dec 11 "A large study from Austria shows that SARS-CoV-2 infects just as many schoolchildren as it does teachers. Other surveys indicate that while young children may show no symptoms, they are quite efficient at spreading the virus."[39]
  • Dec 11 "Health experts in Chicago compared three age groups with each other: children under five, five to 17-year-olds and 17 to 65-year-olds. Surprisingly, they found that the youngest test subjects carried 10 to 100-times the viral load in their throats than older subjects."[39]
  • Dec 11 "The survey found that kids were quietly responsible for bringing the virus into their homes. Despite the fact that they had no symptoms, they infected just as many people as did adults in other households who were proven carriers of the virus."[39]
  • Dec 15 per CDC. With universal masking schools relatively safe. Without they are not.[40]
  • Dec 19 Evidence in BC of COVID19 spreading from a school to a staff member of a care home. Masks not mandatory in common areas of LTC homes. People in care homes still eating communally.[41]
  • Dec 23 "Transmission of COVID-19 in schools still 'very unlikely,' Dr. Bonnie Henry says"[42]
  • Dec 29 "Growing evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne indicates that infection control interventions must go beyond contact and droplet measures (such as handwashing and cleaning surfaces) and attend to masking and ventilation. Observational evidence suggests that masks work mainly by source control (preventing infected persons from transmitting the virus to others), but laboratory studies of mask filtration properties suggest that they could also provide some protection to wearers (protective effect)."[43]


  • Jan 1 School in BC is set to return on Jan 4 while other provinces with similar rates are delaying the start of school at least for some.[44]
  • Jan 4 "B.C. Ministry of Health said there is no indication that the coronavirus is spread through airborne transmission... If the virus did spread through airborne transmission, the restrictions that we have in place that are stopping the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing, would not be working"[45]
  • Jan 5 BC CDC accepts airborne transmission "Smaller droplets come out of the mouth and nose at the same time as larger droplets. These smaller droplets are light, and they can float in the air for a longer time."[1]
  • Jan 8 "counties with large colleges that opened with in-person instruction in fall 2020 saw a 56% increase in mean COVID-19 incidence in the 21 days before through 21 days after classes began. In contrast, counties with colleges that began with remote instruction saw an 18% decline in COVID-19 during a similar timeframe, and counties without large colleges had a 6% decline."[46]
  • Jan 11 School principle in Grand Forks preventing from increasing mask requirements in a BC school.[47]
  • Jan 14 BC Premier declines to release school data as he fears "creating hysteria". In context "Creating hysteria when there may not be a prospect of transmission is what we want to avoid."[48]
  • Jan 18 Children with COVID are MORE infectious than adults within a household, though less likely to be infected.[49]
  • Jan 26 "Contributing factors to this outbreak included crowded classrooms with insufficient physical distancing, exemption from face mask use"... "all recommended mitigation measures in schools must continue: requiring universal face mask use, increasing physical distance by dedensifying classrooms and common areas, using hybrid attendance models when needed to limit the total number of contacts and prevent crowding, increasing room air ventilation, and expanding screening testing to rapidly identify and isolate asymptomatic infected individuals"[50]
  • Feb 10 Premier Horgan says BC's "reluctance to use rapid tests extensively is tied to findings in his province that they are resulting in high rates of false positives and false negatives." [51]
  • Mar 29 Masks required in school but ONLY for grades 4 and up.[52]
  • Apr 11 Whistler makes international news as having the largest P1 variant outbreak outside of Brazil[53]
  • Apr 12 Vaccines redeployed to Whistler, BC. Adults 18-54 living and working in Whistler are eligible to book an early dose due to P1 outbreak[54]
  • May 6 Data shows BC has used 1.1% of its rapid tests, the lowest recorded percentage of all provinces and territories.[55]
  • May 12 Leaked data that was gathered in Burnaby from Jan to Mar 21 shows that COVID spreads between children in school.[56]
  • May 27 The Ontario government recognizes schools as a major source of outbreaks.[57][58]
  • July 1 Mask requirement for indoor public places removed in BC (including during shared transport and including by the not fully vaccinated). At the time of removing the mask requirement, one third of BC adults had been fully vaccinated.[61] BC and Alberta are the first two provinces to remove mask requirements.[62][63]
  • July 6 Study confirms "children and youth had highest rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada before third wave" Ie November 2020 to April 2021.[64]
  • July 7 Israel "Recent figures have shown that a significant proportion of vaccinated parents are being infected at home by their virus-carrying children."[65]
  • July 14 BCCDC website states "Children (ages 0-12) are at low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19," despite data that shows children and youth had highest rates of SARS-CoV2 infection in Canada before third wave.[66][67]
  • July 19 Study finds airborne virus released by just breathing (also by talking and singing).[68]
  • Another timeline [2]


  • "Symptoms persist at 60 days for two-thirds of people with mild to moderate COVID infection."[3]



  • 2009 Calgary Flames jumped the queue to get vaccinated for H1N1[4]


  • Dec 5th "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other political leaders of all levels will be waiting their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccine like most other Canadians."[5]
  • Dec 10th predicted excuses for queue jumping “I think the leagues would try to message that by saying they are leading by example, that having the games on are good for people’s mental health, and that we’re only talking about a few thousand doses of vaccine”[6]
  • Dec 11th "86 per cent of people in B.C. are looking and intend to receive the vaccine"[7]
  • Dec 14th "Manitoba's top doctor says many people have been trying to jump the queue and get access to the first round of COVID-19 vaccines that are reserved for health-care workers in critical care units."[8]
  • Dec 16th CEO of Pfizer says "he won't jump the queue to procure a dose for himself"[9]
  • Dec 16th "Premier Jason Kenney says he won’t tolerate queue jumping."[10]
  • Dec 16th First doses of the vaccine were GIVEN by their chief medical officer to front line health workers.[11]
  • Dec 16th Isaac Bogoch states "unlikely that there will be opportunities to jump ahead in line"[12] but than on Dec 25th supports queue jumping.[13]
  • Dec 18 Survey found that among care home workers 57% plan to be vaccinated, 28% are unsure, and 15% plan to refuse.[69]
  • Dec 20th "The optics of the privileged jumping the COVID vaccine line ahead of essential workers will be terrible and should be damaging."[14]
  • Dec 22nd Bonnie Henry and Richard Stanwick vaccinated (the later being a VP at Island Health)[15][16]
  • Dec 23rd "Seeing politicians jumping the queue to get the #COVID19 vaccine in British Columbia is so incredibly disappointing. These people have the luxury to self isolated / socially distance, a luxury not available to front line health workers."[17]
  • IHA begins immunizing on Dec 22nd[18]
  • Dec 27th "black-market" for the vaccine forms in NY[19]
  • No vaccine was given in BC on Dec 25th and Northern Health on Dec 24th to 27th.[20]
  • Dec 28th BCNU criticizes queue jumpers, stating vaccine being given to people in "administrative roles", "clinical pharmacists and general physicians".[21]
  • Dec 28th rich people are offering to pay 2,000 pounds / 25,000 USD for the vaccine[22][23]

Vaccine rollout

Efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, with a blue arrow marking 3 weeks when the second dose was given.

Doses give in Canada / Doses delivered by province / Graphs

  • Dec 14th First dose of vaccine given in Canada[24]
  • Dec 15th First dose of vaccine given in BC[25]
  • Dec 24, Publicly agreed with front loading the vaccine[26]
  • Dec 24, Canada will have 168,000 doses of Moderna by the end of the year[27]
  • Dec 24 Health care providers lining up for hours to get vaccinated in Vancouver.[70]
  • Dec 25th no vaccination clinics in BC. Slow down on the 26th, 27th, 28th. None in Northern Health Dec 24th to 27th inclusive.[28]
  • Dec 27th "Extra doses" going to executives and their family members[71]
  • Dec 28th Ontario Government claims that hospitals asked to stop giving the vaccine over the holidays as they "ensure proper staffing levels on wards and in long-term care homes during the break".[29]
  • Dec 28th Ontario has only given 13,200 out of the 96,000 doses they have.[30]
  • Dec 28th MD who works in a vaccination clinic says staff were willing to work but were not permitted to do so in Ontario over the holidays[31]
  • Dec 28 in Canada only 52,179 doses have been given while 350,000 sit in freezers.[32]
  • General Hillier apologies for shutting down rollout over the holidays.[33]


OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other political leaders of all levels will be waiting their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccine like most other Canadians.

“We have really based our priorities on burden of illness, so people who have died most of the disease or have been most touched with complications, and frontline health-care workers, as well as Indigenous communities and remote communities. Political leaders are not part of these groups,” said Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) in an interview on CTV’s Question Period.[34]

"Although American politicians seem eager to lead by example, Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases faculty member at the University of Toronto, said unless they are in the vulnerable population category, they should wait their turn.

“I think that people can certainly promote the vaccine publicly, but I really think it sends the right message when the appropriate people are vaccinated at the appropriate time,” he said.

“And while it would be wonderful for very high profile individuals in the community — so political leaders, business leaders, sports leaders and arts leaders — for them to promote the vaccine, I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to jump the queue and be vaccinated before their time.”

Bogoch added that the U.S. is in a different situation than Canada, which is why more politicians may be standing in line to get a vaccine."

Not able to be vaccinated?



  • Oct 7th 2021 Boosters after 5 months from the last Pfizer does decreased risk of infection 11 fold and severe disease 20 fold.[72]
  • Oct 14th 2021 A delay between first and second doses offer no greater benefit out to at least three months.[73]
  • Oct 29th 2021 NACI claims "Evidence suggests that delaying the second dose by several weeks leads to higher antibody titres and greater VE (22, 36, 37) which is likely to result in a more durable immune response and longer protection over time." The last bit they appear to pull out of thin air.
    • 22 is a preprint which warns against it being used to guide clinical practice. Additionally they looked at protection only 1 month after the second dose.
    • 36 looked at results after 2 to 3 weeks after the second dose.[74]
    • 37 is another preprint and looked at blood tests up to 6 weeks after the second dose.
  • As of Nov 4th Canada has 10.8 million doses of vaccine in central inventory.[35] Another 64.4 million doses have been distributed of which 59.1 have been given (another 6.3 million sitting with the provinces)

COVID ICU/hospital admits

Deaths per year in BC[75][76]

It appears that ICU cases are NOT included in hospitalizations, for at least some health regions.[36][37] But maybe they are...

  • Nov 10: 46
  • Nov 17: 63, 198 = 261 (32%)
  • Nov 20: 57, 227 = 284 (25%)
  • Dec 1: 76, 336 = 412 (23%)
  • Dec 15: 93, 361 = 454 (26)
  • Dec 30: 77, 379 = 456 (20%)
  • Jan 7: 78, 381 = 459 (20%)
  • Apr 8: 105, 330 = 425 (32%)
  • Apr 12: 121, 368 (33%)
  • Apr 14: 120, 397
  • May 2: 174, 511
  • Sep 14: 139, 278 (50%)
  • Nov 5: 129, 441 = 570
  • Jan 7 2022: 90, 324
  • Jan 12: 102, 500
  • Jan 19: 115, 895
  • Jan 20: 119, 891

Graph here with highest at ~73

Graphs here

  • 5610 acute care beds, ICU beds (206) ventilators (384) as of 2020 at "Intensive care unit beds at 17 primary COVID-19 hospitals only" [38]
  • maybe up to 914 "ventilator-capable critical-care beds" as of 2020 [39]


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