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No, hot yoga won’t kill the coronavirus, say B.C. health officials after studio’s misleading email

In this Sept. 27, 2003, file photo, Bikram Choudhury, front, founder of the Yoga College of India and creator and producer of Yoga Expo 2003, leads a yoga class at the Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In this Sept. 27, 2003, file photo, Bikram Choudhury, front, founder of the Yoga College of India and creator and producer of Yoga Expo 2003, leads a yoga class at the Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File

No, hot yoga won’t kill the novel coronavirus.

That was the somewhat exasperated message from B.C. health officials Thursday, after being made aware of an email sent out by a Bikram Yoga studio in Delta, B.C. making claims about the practice’s alleged effects on COVID-19.

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“Fact – This supposed virus can not live in the heat,” states the post from Delta Bikram Yoga, which also claimed the practice is the best way to boost one’s immune system to fight the flu.

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In fact, there is nothing “supposed” about SARS-CoV-2, the very real coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Vancouver mixed martial arts studio live streams classes
Vancouver mixed martial arts studio live streams classes

The virus has killed eight people in B.C., and at least 271 people in the province have contracted it so far.

What’s more, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the sweat and close quarters associated with hot yoga studios make them among the worst places to be during the pandemic.

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“That is a perfect environment to spread this virus, if somebody is shedding this virus,” Henry said.

“[The email is] probably a misinterpretation of the fact that respiratory viruses like influenza, like some of the other coronaviruses that we’ve seen, tend to fade away when it gets warmer and we have increased amounts of ultraviolet light during the spring.”
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Challenges of social distancing during coronavirus pandemic
Challenges of social distancing during coronavirus pandemic

Health Minister Adrian Dix used the incident to take aim at online rumours circulating about alleged cures for COVID-19.

There is no cure for the disease at present, nor is there a vaccine.

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“If anyone is making such claims or making such suggestions, then as I say, if you encounter them online, block them and unfollow them,” he said.

“And if they’re in your community making claims like that, then if they’re registered as health professionals report them, because those claims are false.”

North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon responded to the yoga studio’s post, calling it “reckless.”

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Kahlon said everyone in the community is doing their best to try and follow rules about social distancing and hygiene.

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“And then to see a business in our community essentially undermining that and then trying to use that to drum up more potential business was just too much for people,” he said, adding he’d reported the ad to health officials.

Delta Bikram Yoga did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-With files from Richard Zussman and Srushti Gangdev