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Doctors, academics, activists call for removal of top Vancouver doctor from her role over COVID-19 claims


Vancouver’s biggest health authority is facing demands to remove its top doctor from her role over claims she made about COVID-19 during a radio interview earlier this month.

Protect Our Province BC—which describes itself as a grassroots group of physicians, nurses, scientists, activists and community advocates—published an open letter Monday, asking for the removal of Dr. Patricia Daly as Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical officer.

The open letter highlights seven statements of concern that Daly made on the CBC’s “BC Today” show on May 5—the same day that the World Health Organization declared the end of the COVID-19 global public health emergency—as evidence that she is no longer suited for her role.

Academics from universities in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Calgary and Colorado are among the 26 signatories, as are both active and retired physicians, policy analysts and members of the disability community.

“Public health leaders cannot broadcast unscientific misinformation that puts the public at risk. They must be held accountable for their actions and for their public communications,” the letter reads.

PoP BC is blasting Daly for encouraging listeners to think of COVID-19 “like other respiratory viruses, especially the coronaviruses that cause common colds.”

In its open letter, the group points out that there have been at least 12 studies to date that link COVID-19 infections to later diabetes diagnoses.

PoP BC also linked to a CTV News Vancouver article that covers the latest study, in which the provincial health officer acknowledged the long-term impacts COVID can have on different body organs.

“It's not just affecting the lungs,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We know it can lead to heart disease, we know that people who have post-COVID symptoms have things like neurological issues, they have fatigue and brain fog and some of the other things that we have seen are related to things like diabetes."

The group is also pushing back against Daly’s claim that, between high rates of vaccination and infections, B.C. has a strong hybrid immunity, meaning the population is protected against severe COVID-related illness and death. PoP BC describes this claim as "unsubstantiated."

During her May 5 interview, Daly also made comments about young people being at low risk from COVID-19, and said the risk of experiencing severe illness and death from that virus versus the common cold is about the same for people living in long-term care homes.

PoP BC’s letter disputes both of those claims, as well as ones Daly made about long COVID, post-COVID conditions, the efficacy of face masks and the availability of antiviral agents being available to the public.

“Dr. Daly’s public statements are not based in science and they minimize the real risks of COVID-19 infections,” the letter reads. “We expect public health leaders not to negligently misrepresent the accumulating scientific evidence related to SARS-CoV-2. We expect these authorities to protect all British Columbians who still put their trust in provincial public health leaders, not put them at risk of harm."

CTV News has reached out to the Health Ministry and this article will be updated if a response is received. Top Stories

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