Declaration of Criminal Mischief Regarding SARS Outbreak in Ontario, Canada

If a car-maker sold freshly-painted sports cars to the public, said they ran very fast, advertised them in newspapers, but failed to disclose they lacked engines, he would be liable for consumer fraud and litigation, even if people failed to look under the hoods prior to making their purchases. Likewise, if a dentist explained that you risked loosing your teeth, but the only preventative or treatment for your condition was mouth-washing, the doctor would be liable for negligence and malpractice for failing to administer generally accepted standards of care.

Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz


Health Canada,
Dr. Colin D’Cumba, Commissioner of Public Health, Ontario; and
 Tony Clement, Ontario Health Minister

This declaration of criminal mischief presents the same elements and illegalities as each of the examples cited above. This article involves the illness known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the "Sickening and Repulsive Scam."

In this case official Canadian public health communications, and resulting mainstream media proclamations, failed to communicate the risk of contracting SARS according to scientifically-based standards of care in the fields of risk communication and preventative health care. As a result of this negligence, and public health malpractice of the standards of care in risk management, and risk communications, the defendants have induced a widespread phobic response evident throughout Ontario’s population.

Phobia is defined as a psychological pathology affecting social behaviors in which an individual’s level of fear and arousal is disproportionate to the actual size of the threat. The condition is associated with personal and socially destructive avoidance behaviors.

As a result of authoritative negligence by the defendants in this case, serious economic hardship has been suffered by businesses and individuals across Canada.

This case alleges negligence and public health malpractice bordering on fraud. Its elements are supported by the following facts:

1) The officially reported numbers of SARS cases, and mortality rates from SARS, have been consistently grossly and knowingly misrepresented by the defendants.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “fraud” as “A misrepresentation made recklessly without belief in its truth to induce another person to act.”

2) The defendants have consistently failed to practice a standard of care in “risk communication” and “risk management” so as to appropriately inform the public regarding each individual’s risk of contracting SARS, and what people might do, besides the use of hand-washing, barrier protections, and quarantine to safeguard personal and public health;

3) The defendants' health communications have induced a widespread behavior change, including phobic responses, evident throughout the province to the detriment of certain industries (e.g., travel and tourism), businesses (e.g., restaurants and hotels) and individuals victimized by the misconduct.

Regarding the first fact, the defendants have consistently limited their communications to “confirmed” and/or “suspected” SARS “cases.” At no time did public health officials indicate that such “cases” represent a very small, if not minute, fraction of the total infected population limited to only those who reported their symptoms to healthcare providers.

In essence, vast numbers of unreported, untreated, and naturally healed persons came in contact with areas or individuals considered at high risk for SARS and then developed, and recovered from, flu-like symptoms. More honest health risk communications should have reflected this knowledge as well as simply “confirmed” and/or “suspected” cases.

Mortality rates from SARS, officially said to be between 3-4%, have been, likewise, grossly misrepresented. True mortality rates, communicated honestly, according to public health professional standards, should have reflected the number deaths within the infected population as a whole, not simply those reported “cases.”

Such false and misleading health communications were admittedly issued by the defendants in efforts to direct the public’s response, which has been definitively debilitating in terms of economics, pathological and specifically phobic.

Thus, the reckless manner in which official messages were issued by the defendants professing to accurately represent SARS’s epidemiology and the public health community, in efforts to direct the public’s response to SARS, borders on fraud as a criminal tort.

Additional evidence of this civil, if not criminal, tort derives from British Columbia wherein provincial health officials acted more reasonably and professionally in response to the SARS threat. Their quarantine procedures, and health communications, generally reduced the threat of SARS, and phobic behavior change, for the citizens of that province in contrast to the defendants’ actions in Ontario.

Regarding the second allegation of harmful misconduct, the defendants’ have persistently neglected two of the most fundamental tenants upon which the entire field of public health and infectious diseases rests. The medical edict, “above all, do no harm,” serves as a basis for the overriding public health doctrine that states, if any harm is to come from public health policies and procedures, it must be predetermined with scientific evidence that more good than harm will come from the official response to any threats to the public’s welfare. Clearly this maxim was disregarded by the defendants lacking any evidence-based support for issuing misleading communications, while omitting most vital statistical accuracies.

Furthermore, the defendants neglected to apply the standard of care in public health communications, based on the respected field of science known as “risk communication,” to appropriately educate the public regarding the actual risk posed by SARS, rather than the magnified misperceived threat. Such proper methods of “risk communication” relay risks to the public with messages designed to accurately inform and personally empower individuals to make health-conscious choices in responding appropriately to threats while avoiding misperceptions, hyper-sensitization, and phobia induction.

Generally disregarded by Ontario health officials was the fact that the threat posed by SARS paled by comparison to other flu-like illnesses. Tens of thousands of immune compromised persons died across North America in 2002 following flu virus infections (nearly 36,000 people in the United States alone that year)—a death toll that barely received media mention compared to Toronto’s press response following the official proclamations concerning the first few deaths from SARS in this city.

Rather than focusing official statements and the media’s attention on the vast numbers of people (beyond “confirmed” and “suspected” cases) who had undoubtedly recovered rapidly following infection with the SARS agent(s)—a population far beyond the 96% alluded to by the defendants, these agents and their agency spokespersons merely reinforced magnified threats and limited preventive methods—exclusively hand-washing, barrier protection (e.g. masks), and voluntary of forced quarantine for health care workers and the general public.

The defendants neglected imperative dialogue regarding host resistance, the number one most important determinant in stemming the tide of an epidemic.

They further failed to promote myriad self-care strategies for immune enhancement and infectious disease prevention that is responsibly and inexpensively achieved through safe and practical methods such as improved nutrition, adequate hydration, and proper rest.

All of this resulted in the public’s ill-informed and chaotic response, approaching mass hysteria, in which much untold harm has been suffered, particularly among individuals psychologically and medically predisposed to phobia induction.

It was the defendants’ responsibility to recognize that a significant percentage of the populace was predisposed, psychologically and medically, to suffer anxiety disorders and phobic responses to arbitrary messages concerning this threatening outbreak. These issues and needy persons have yet to be addressed by the authorities—an official failure reflecting criminal negligence and dereliction of public health duty.

Finally, as a result of the predictable avoidance behaviors generated by the defendants (heavily influencing the media’s) responses to SARS, businesses and entire industries have suffered economic hardships for which this litigation seeks to gain compensation.




Posted courtesy of Dr. Len Horowitz and Tetrahedron, LLC

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