Public health officials have warned that B.C. could see a spike in coronavirus cases heading into the respiratory season — but many locals say the province isn't doing enough to prevent transmission of the virus.
COVID-19 is expected to surge around November through January, and the flu is expected to peak early this year around the same time, based on the experiences of Australia and New Zealand, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a Sept. 28 press conference.
The hashtag #bringmasksback was trending on Twitter in Canada this week, with numerous Metro Vancouverites sharing their thoughts about the relaxed mask rule.
Many locals remarked that the majority of Metro Vancouverites aren't wearing face coverings on transit, at polling stations, in shopping malls, or in other public places.
No one on the train is really interested in not wearing masks anymore.— Furt Furtney (@furtney) October 12, 2022
West End polling - 80% staff in masks, 20% voters in masks.— Elaine Carol (@ElaineCarol3) October 14, 2022
B.C. officials lifted the mandatory mask policy on July 1, but public health officials encouraged people to continue to wear them in public while indoors, particularly on public transit. Many locals expressed concern for their health and for people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness from the virus.
A couple of people have mentioned that B.C. has seen drastically fewer influenza cases in the past couple of years due to public health measures, such as face coverings.
We haven’t had a flu wave for two years. Why? Masks! Clearly even more effective against flu than COVID. This is ridiculous.— Tristen (@tristengee) October 13, 2022
B.C. coronavirus cases expected to surge in the fall following relaxed face mask rule
Canada dropped the travel vaccine requirement on Sept. 30, and Transport Canada dropped the travel mask requirement to a recommendation on trains and planes.
But numerous locals underscore that a face mask requirement is the only way to prevent rising cases of the virus and that the general population won't follow a mere recommendation.
I wonder IF the knowing flu virus is spread by DROPLET infection (eg. close proximity to others expired breath, or expelled droplets with talking, sneezing, coughing, singing) surely with last winter's near nil flu cases when everyone wore masks, it would make sense to reduce— Wendy 🇨🇦 (@perfectrose2011) October 13, 2022
Just a little reminder that despite our leadership’s worst decision of the year coming into action today, THIS VIRUS IS JUST GETTING STARTED.— #VaccineEquity (@TheShoeLady33) October 14, 2022
PUT YOUR MASKS ON 😷#bcpoli @SafeSchoolsBC @CKNW @cfax1070 @Protect_BC @ctvottawa @CTVVancouver
Do enough people (to have a community benefit) wear mask’s without a mandate NO— Jenkins (@jenkinsglows) October 14, 2022
Do enough people (to have a community benefit) wear mask’s with a mandate? YES
Meaning the Public Health recommendation to wear masks means jack💩 & they know it but it suits their political agenda
Some people have mentioned that public health hasn't done enough to encourage people to wear masks, either. While they are recommended, they say there aren't enough campaigns with messaging encouraging people to don them in public.
Except they're not. The last time @VCHhealthcare mentioned masking on twitter was March 15th or 212 days ago, and it was to let people know that masking is a person choice. That's not exactly recommending masks. https://t.co/Zfxq9sJI2J— The Real Haunted 👻🏚️ HousePeople of COVID-19 (@haus_ppl) October 14, 2022
For many people, the relaxed rules mean that their loved ones, such as their elderly family members, are at a much higher risk of contracting the virus.
An Ontario woman shared a photo of an 86-year-old family member and asked: "Haven't we lost enough of our loved ones?"
She’s 86. I fight like hell to keep her safe. Nobody, absolutely gets in her front door without a mask. I’ve taught her what she needs to do to mitigate risk. Haven’t we lost enough of our loved ones? #BringMasksBack #COVIDisAirborne #CovidIsntOver https://t.co/jrI3DOz4Il pic.twitter.com/uXiosQqRj6— Christine Cooper 💪🙋♀️🦹♀️ (@coopSpeak) October 13, 2022
In the wake of the trending discourse, however, a few locals have taken to social media to underscore that they prefer the relaxed rules.