Having 20/20 vision used to mean seeing clearly, but in these post COVID times, that’s taken on a whole new meaning. In 2020, social isolation and masking narratives were stringently enforced, opposing opinions were muzzled, and the lockdown and mandate dogmas of authorities prevailed in the absence of data. Its  2023 and COVID times are over, except in Manitoba’s dental offices where narratives prevail over science.

Dentists can’t help but get close to patients and they already use masks on themselves and patients during dental procedures as much as is possible. Nevertheless, the Manitoba Dental Association remains full-on Covid Panic 2020 in its long list of protocols for dentists.

“While temperature measurement may be employed, pre-appointment screening for COVID symptoms using the Shared Health Screening Tool remains best practice for all patients,” dentists are told.

“Minimize movement of patients within the facility and take measures to prevent congestion in common spaces. Floor markings may be helpful where congestion occurs or lines form.”

Oh no, I thought Walk This Way was in the past, like an Aerosmith / Run DMC song.

“Consider posting notices to promote hand hygiene, physical distancing and respiratory etiquette.” What is that? Not breathing moistly?

“When possible, minimize use of waiting rooms and promote separation and/or physical distancing for those in waiting rooms. Remove non-essential items when appropriate.”

Excuse me? What constitutes a “non-essential” item? A video game or book in the hands of bored children accompanying their parent? A purse? On that note, “Encourage cashless or no-contact payment” is another command.

The mask mantra also remains.

“According to Health Canada, masks are one of the most effective individual public health measures that we can use to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19.”

Right. And how well did that work?

“It is recommended that patients and visitors wear a mask or cloth face covering upon arrival to and throughout their stay in the dental setting. It is prudent for dental practices to continue promoting mask use…. Communicate your clinic masking policy expectations to patients and visitors.”

It was public knowledge by September 2021 that a cloth mask is wishful thinking. A Yale University study found that brand new three-layered cloth masks only filtered out 37 percent of SARS-CoV-2. (Sixty-three per cent sails through—feel safe now?)

As for surgical masks, consider a disciplinary hearing of a different professional in another province. Dr. Curtis Wall, a Calgary chiropractor, faced discipline for not requiring masks of himself or patients. A microbiologist testified that, extrapolating the data from a large randomized trial in Bangladesh, it would take every single one of Alberta’s 1,100 regulated chiropractors wearing masks for eight weeks to prevent a single infection.

Meanwhile, occupational health and safety consultant Chris Schaefer testified masks brought oxygen levels so low and carbon dioxide levels so high that if such conditions occurred naturally in a workplace, OH&S rules would require it to be shut down.

At least the Manitoba Dental Association is staying within its lane with its outdated and useless covid protocols.  Other professional associations (most notably Ontario’s College of Psychologists vs. Jordan Peterson) are straying into the perilous areas of policing thoughts with diversity and sensitivity training.  But that’s a topic for another day.

The MDA needs to stop extending the Covid panic.   Paranoia by professional bodies is distinctly unprofessional and only reinforces fear. While patients are made afraid of the virus, dentists are left afraid of their professional bodies. Now that is unhealthy.


Lee Harding is a Research Associate for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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