A Calgary doctor who has been an outspoken supporter of government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions appears to have contracted COVID and live-streamed himself breaking isolation rules this week. 

Joe Vipond, an emergency room physician and climate change activist, posted a long Twitter thread on Apr. 23, beginning with a “grumpy acknowledgement” that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Vipond, who said he was in Ottawa and travelling to a conference, obsesses over having contracted the virus despite his three doses of COVID-19 vaccine and his dogmatic use of a respirator mask and goggles while indoors. 

“I was super careful. on the airplane, goggles and respirator mask. in taxis, respirator mask with window cracked. Daily RATs. Ensured others around me masked indoors. Never took off respirator mask indoors. Air purifier in each room I slept in.”

Despite confirming with three rapid antigen tests that he had contracted the virus, Vipond appears to have posted a now-deleted livestream of himself on Parliament Hill on Apr. 26 – only three days after testing positive on Apr. 23.

The province of Ontario recommends self-isolating for five days after testing positive for COVID, or ten days if the subject is immunocompromised. Vipond’s Twitter thread where he announced his COVID infection proclaims he has deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, which would suggest he is indeed immunocompromised. 

“I’ve mentioned before I have a pre-existing condition,” he said. “This past summer I was diagnosed with DVT/PE, suspect from a hereditary problem, and am currently on blood thinners.”

When questioned on Twitter about apparently breaking provincial COVID restrictions by being out and about, Vipond replied that he had “consulted with Ontario Health” and that he would be “self-isolating” en route as he travels by car back to his home province of Alberta.

Although Vipond appears not to have followed the provincial guidelines, he frequently documents his hyper-cautious behaviour on Twitter, calling himself a “super paranoid dude” who wears a respirator mask at all times when he is indoors and avoids “any high-risk situations.”

In the aforementioned Twitter thread, he theorizes what led to him contracting COVID, concluding that he caught the virus on a train from Ottawa to Toronto. Although he said nobody was sitting beside him, he said he believes he caught the virus when he wasn’t wearing his goggles and had taken off his mask to eat orange slices. 

Vipond has been a vocal critic of the Alberta government’s response to the pandemic, arguing the province has not gone far enough to impose restrictions.

“Our government (Alberta) may no longer care about us, but we can care about each other,” Vipond wrote in a January article in the Edmonton Journal, while the province was still enforcing its mask mandate and vaccine passports.

Vipond recommended masking children in schools, vaccinating school-age children, and declaring that “(u)ntil the entire world has access to COVID vaccinations, this pandemic will not end. None of us is safe from COVID until we are all safe from COVID.”

While Alberta did impose mask mandates and instituted a vaccine passport program last fall, the province’s response was considered more lenient than most. In a recent ranking by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on the worst rights offenders during COVID, Alberta came in second only to Saskatchewan as the “least worst” province.

True North reached out to Vipond for comment but received no response by time of publication. 

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