Fighting COVID In The Skeena: Why Public Health Advice Keeps Changing

One key takeaway from Skeena Strong’s recent event.

One key takeaway from Skeena Strong’s recent event.

When the COVID pandemic was just starting, public health officials told people not to wear masks. But then the advice shifted, and now you’re required to wear a mask in many public places–what gives? 

That was one of the questions answered by Dr. Tara Moriarty, one of Canada’s foremost infectious disease experts, during a recent virtual event hosted by Skeena Strong called

“Fighting COVID In The Skeena.” 

“The ways that different viruses make us sick depends on the cells of which part of our bodies they can stick to via receptors,” Moriarty said. “If they stick to cells in the lungs, they make our lungs sick. If they stick to cells in our blood vessels, which it’s possible that COVID-19 does, they can make our blood vessels sick.”

She went on, “Viral infections can make people sick in a whole bunch of different ways, and they’re always mysterious. Whenever there’s a new one that emerges, you don’t quite know how it works.”

This is why things like the official advice on mask-wearing changed: scientists learned new information about COVID-19, and that gave us a different perspective on how to fight it.

“It depends on all kinds of people observing [the virus] and saying, look, ‘it’s doing this, Oh no, it’s doing this.’ You have hundreds and thousands of people who are studying this,” Moriarty said. “A lot of what’s going on right now with COVID-19 is because of that. We’re trying to figure it out. That’s partly why things change and advice can change over time because we learn more and then we change our minds or adjust what we think.”

In addition to the thought-provoking and energetic Facebook live conversation, the live event also featured a team of Canada’s top health scientists answering questions in the comments thread below. That meant that anyone in the live audience who commented or asked a question during the show had instant access to some of Canada’s brightest minds at their finger tips.

We’ll be posting more in-depth pieces on key takeaways about COVID over the coming week. And be sure to check out future events with Dr. Moriarty, which we’ll be running throughout the Fall.

Written by The Skeena

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