Theresa Tam deletes her past flip-flopping on mask use from official report

Theresa Tam deletes her past flip-flopping on mask use
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Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam’s report on her agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic neglected to include her past flipflop on mask use.  

According to Blacklock’s Reporter: 

Canada’s chief public health officer yesterday in an official report on the pandemic deleted all references to garbled advice on masks. Dr. Theresa Tam as late as April 3 claimed there was no evidence masks protected Canadians from Covid-19.

“It is absolutely mind-boggling,” Conservative MP Tamara Jansen (Cloverdale-Langley City, B.C.) earlier told the Commons health committee. “We are trying to get clarity and transparency with regard to these issues of mask use, and what Dr. Tam knew.”

The Public Health Agency did not comment. Tam’s 85-page report From Risk To Resilience: An Equity Approach To Covid-19 contains a single reference to masks. In a timeline entitled Selected Key Milestones the report states: “April 7: Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health issue statement supportive of wearing non-medical masks as an additional layer of protection.

No mentions of Tam’s previous advice to Canadians that mask-wearing was unnecessary for the healthy and an unproven way to mitigate Covid 19 spread was noted in the Risk to Resilience report.  

Earlier CBC reports noted:

On March 28, Tam said "most people haven't learned how to use masks" and "there is no need to use a mask for well people."

Speaking to reporters on March 30, Tam said that "putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial."

On March 31, Tam's remarks were consistent with those earlier statements discouraging healthy individuals use masks.

"What we worry about is actually the potential negative aspects of wearing masks where people are not protecting their eyes, or you know, other aspects of where a virus could enter your body," said Tam.

"And that gives you a false sense of confidence, but also, it increases the touching of your face. If you think about it, if you've got a mask around your face, sometimes you can't help it, because you're just touching parts of your face.

April 1, Tam again downplayed the efficacy of masks when used by healthy people:

 "The effectiveness of the use of non-medical masks hasn't really been well demonstrated” and she warned that masks may be a point of contamination: “But you have to be really careful then that you are not putting your finger in your eye when you're pulling your mask on and off, that you're [not] touching your face in other ways."

However, 3 days later,  April 6, Tam had changed her stance, saying “Wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms, is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you in situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, such as in public transit or maybe in the grocery store”

Tam’s  Risk To Resilience report also strayed into social issues not normally in the realm of the Public Health Agency: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has jolted our collective consciousness into recognizing that equity is vital for ensuring health security.

This means incorporating a health equity approach to pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery. It relies on leadership at all levels, commitment of all Canadians and support by a strong public health system.



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