Tuesday, 3 Oct 2023

ANALYSIS: The face of B.C.’s coronavirus fight is a soft-spoken straight shooter

One of the most important and potentially powerful people in B.C. right now is a soft-spoken but straight-shooting doctor who is also becoming one of the most familiar faces in the province during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her name is Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer who is beamed into family living rooms and various devices on a near-daily basis, as she calmly stands in front of an array of television news cameras and provides the latest update on the looming crisis of COVID-19 and what to do about it.

Right now, the virus is like a giant dark cloud on a horizon that is drawing ever nearer. Each day brings word of more British Columbians contracting it, and soon that cloud will be upon us in ways seldom envisioned before.

Which makes someone in Dr. Henry’s position all the more critical.

Providing information in a pandemic is a key part of the B.C. government’s strategy in dealing with one. There are a lot of moving parts — involving health authorities, front-line health-care workers and government ministries — but the need to keep the public well informed (and therefore educated) on all aspects of a pandemic is considered crucial.

Dr. Henry is the public face in B.C. of the efforts to combat the virus, as well she should be. Health Minister Adrian Dix (who has deservedly been given kudos by even his political opponents for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis) wisely decided early on he would take a distant back seat to the Public Health Officer.

In other words, politics is getting out of the way in favour of science. Dix appears at the daily briefings along with Dr. Henry, but she takes the lead at all of them.

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