TO: Premier Stephen McNeil, Dr Robert Strang, Minister Randy Delorey, Minister Patricia Arab
Since you have, to date, ignored all common sense reasons why mandating masks in the current state of the pandemic in NS, and have provided absolutely zero evidence or information as to how you have come to this decision. Nor have you provided evidence to counter any claims that these masks could be dangerous to some people other than a vague statement about what the Canadian Thoracic Society has said, and a complete disregard for anything to do with mental health with your "get over it" approach.
Here is the last bit of information I can provide you and implore you to change your mind on making masks mandatory in public places beginning July 31.
1) Here is the official position of the WHO as it pertains to masks. To be clear, the NS mandated mask policy is in direct contravention of WHO recommendations, as we do NOT have (and never had) widespread transmission.
"Non-medical, fabric masks are being used by many people in public areas, but there has been limited evidence on their effectiveness and WHO does not recommend their widespread use among the public for control of COVID-19. However, for areas of widespread transmission, with limited capacity for implementing control measures and especially in settings where physical distancing of at least 1 metre is not possible – such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments – WHO advises governments to encourage the general public to use non-medical fabric masks."
2) Here is an opinion piece just published by former Manitoba Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joel Kettner
3) Here is another recent piece collaborated on by 18 prominent health experts in Canada including 2 former Chief Medical Officers.
4) Here is BC Chief Medical Officer Dr Bonnie Henry's take on mandatory masks, calling it a heavy handed approach and something she is not currently considering
5) Here is New Brunswick's assertion that they will not be following the NS approach to masks
6) Below is a letter written to Alberta's Chief Medical Officer by Chris Schaefer, a certified expert authority on masks:
Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Chief Medical Officer of Health
Edmonton, AB Deena.Hinshaw@gov.ab.ca
Open Letter to Physicians and the Public of Alberta
Dear Dr. Hinshaw,
Re: Alberta Health recommendation that Albertans wear N95, surgical or non-medical
masks in public to reduce the likelihood of transmitting or developing a condition
from the coronavirus known as COVID-19
I have been teaching and conducting respirator fit testing for over 20 years and now currently for my company SafeCom Training Services Inc. My clients include many government departments, our military, healthcare providers with Alberta Health Services, educational institutions and private industry. I am a published author and a recognized authority on this subject.
Filter respirator masks, especially N95, surgical and non-medical masks, provide negligible COVID-19 protection for the following reasons:
1. Viruses in the fluid envelopes that surround them can be very small, so small in fact that you would need an electron microscope to see them. N95 masks filter 95% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns or larger. COVID-19 particles are .08 - .12 microns.
2. Viruses don’t just enter us through our mouth and nose, but can also enter through our eyes and even the pores of our skin. The only effective barrier one can wear to protect against virus exposure would be a fully encapsulated hazmat suit with cuffs by ankles taped to boots and cuffs by wrists taped to gloves, while receiving breathing air from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
This barrier is standard gear to protect against a biohazard (viruses) and would have to be worn in a possible virus hazard environment 24/7 and you wouldn’t be able to remove any part of it even to have a sip of water, eat or use the washroom while in the virus environment. If you did, you would become exposed and would negate all the prior precautions you had taken.
3. Not only are N95, surgical and non-medical masks useless as protection from COVID-19, but in addition, they also create very real risks and possible serious threats to a wearer’s health for the following reasons:
A. Wearing these masks increases breathing resistance, making it more difficult to both inhale and exhale. According to our Alberta government regulations on respirator (mask) use, anyone that is required to wear a respirator mask should be screened to determine their ability to safely wear one.
Any covering of the mouth and nose increases breathing resistance, whether the mask is certified or not. Those individuals with pre-existing medical conditions of shortness of breath, lung disease, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, chest pain in exertion, cardiovascular disease, fainting spells, claustrophobia, chronic bronchitis, heart problems, asthma, allergies, diabetes, seizures, high blood pressure and pacemakers need to be pre-screened by a medical professional to be approved to be able to safely wear one. Wearing these masks could cause a medical emergency for anyone with any of these conditions.
Pregnancy-related high blood pressure is possible. More research is necessary to determine the impact of wearing a mask for extended periods of time on pregnancy.
It is dangerous to recommend, much less mandate anyone with medical conditions to wear a mask without educating them about the risks involved in wearing them without having been pre-screened and approved by a medical professional first.
B. In order for any respirator mask to offer protection to a specific user, that user must be individually fitted with the right type, right size, if male – face must be clean shaven (only short moustache allowed). Next, the user must be fit tested with that respirator by a trained professional to determine whether or not the respirator is providing the user with an air-tight seal – a requirement for any respirator mask.
C. N95 masks – N for not resistant to oil particles, 95 for the percentage of protection – the lowest level of all respirator masks
These masks even when properly sized and fitted will not protect against virus exposure, however they are capable of adequate protection from larger particles such as pet dander, pollen and sawdust.
Surgical masks (the paper ones that loop around the ears) – do not seal to the face and do not filter anything.
Nonmedical and/or homemade masks are dangerous because:
● Not engineered for the efficient yet protective requirements of easy inhalation and effective purging of exhaled carbon dioxide
● Could cause an oxygen deficiency for the user
● Could cause an accumulation of carbon dioxide for the user
● Shouldn’t be recommended under any circumstance
D. They increase body temperature and physical stress – could cause a high temperature alert on a thermometer gun
E. They impede verbal communication
F. N95, surgical and nonmedical masks can create infections and possible disease all by themselves by causing exhaled warm, moist air to accumulate on the inside material of the mask, right in front of the user’s mouth and nose, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to form, grow and multiply. That is why N95 and other disposable masks were only designed to be short duration, specific task use and then immediately discarded.
So if masks are not effective in preventing illness, what is? How about the age-old tried, tested and proven method of protecting our health with a healthy diet, clean water, avoidance of processed, junk and fast foods, plenty of fresh air, sunshine, moderate exercise, adequate restful sleep and avoidance of stress?
We all have an immune system that can fight and overcome any COVID-19 threat if it is healthy and we nurture it.
Thank you for reading this open letter and letting me share my expertise. I ask that you share this with the public via media statement as we are all committed to promoting good health for all Albertans. If you or any of the public wish to contact me with a question or comment, I would love to hear from you. I can best be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
SafeCom Training Services Inc.
I have sent several emails on this subject in recent weeks and haven't even had so much as a courtesy reply of any kind. Given the alarming implications of this overreaching mandate that could cause significant harm to many people for a variety of reasons already discussed, I am requesting a detailed scientific overview and explanation to counter all points raised in this email. Given Dr Strang made it very clear that his perspective is that there are essentially no valid reasons to not wear one and people with anxiety can get on with it with a bit of practice, it should be very easy for you to counter all points laid out in this email, which will clearly indicate why the WHO is wrong, why Dr Kettner is wrong, why Dr Henry is wrong, why New Brunswick is wrong and why 18 other prominent health experts are wrong.
I also expect to have a clear guideline as to how you feel this is a reasonable forced mandate that would pass a Charter of Rights challenge, given the reality of the situation in NS as it relates to COVID-19 (0 cases for an extended period of time. Zero transmission happening and no evidence there ever had been transmission in places like grocery stores where physical distancing is easy).
Thank you for your consideration and look forward to a timely reply to this very urgent matter that impacts nearly every one of our nearly One Million residents.