The moment was captured when provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Premier John Horgan and vaccine coordinator Dr. Ross Brown arrived atypically early for the afternoon briefing.
Network cameras were already rolling and the event was already being streamed live.
When told there would be a two-minute wait before the briefing started, Henry performed a tap-inspired dance move to the jazzy “hold” music playing in the Victoria press theatre.
The moment was captured by people at home who were already watching the live stream, prompting one Twitter user to quip “Protect Dr. Bonnie Henry at all costs.”
Reaction to the unscripted moment was immediate.
Many people responded that Henry, who has been the public face and authoritative voice on the province’s COVID-19 response, deserved a moment of joy after 10 months of stress and bad news.
Others pointed out that the reaction showed humanity, calling back to the several times that Henry has become visibly emotional when announcing COVID-19 and overdose deaths.
However, not everyone had the same reaction, highlighting how the provincial health officer has become a lightning rod for polarized opinions in the province.
A number of people took to social media to criticize the doctor for what they said was unprofessional behaviour, given the continued surge in cases and restrictions being imposed over the holidays.
Others responded with their frustrations over the province’s COVID schools plan.
Several argued that dancing ahead of a briefing that would announce 16 new COVID-19 deaths was cold.
It is not the first time Henry has captured the public’s imagination. Her love of Fluevog shoes prompted the Vancouver footwear designer to create a shoe in her honour.
But not all of the attention has been positive.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Henry, who has been required to make difficult and often unpopular decisions in her role as the province’s chief pandemic administrator, has faced death threats.
In September, Henry said she’d been forced to acquire security for her home, and that her staff had received abusive and threatening phone calls and letters.View link »