Back at the start of the pandemic, when things were growing frighteningly out of control, there were a lot of charts and diagrams being published about the present and future potential “Time to Double”. When you’re dealing with exponential growth, the steeper the curve, the quicker the numbers double from where they are today. For a while, things got frantic. Then they got flat. Now they’re not so flat anymore, but certainly not as steep as they were back then. Which is perhaps why there’s less panic about these ever-increasing numbers.
But maybe there should be a bit more concern than what’s actually being seen. It’s harder to move bigger numbers. But that’s because they’re already big, and we’re not just dealing with relative numbers here. We’re dealing with absolutes.
If you look at B.C, it’s pretty consistent over the last week… a 3% growth of cases on a daily basis. That translates to a TTD of about 25 days… meaning, at the rate things are increasing, we will go from 23,500 cases to 47,000 by Dec. 12th. We’d be hitting 100,000 by early January. The demand on hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators will scale up proportionally as well. Today’s hospitalization and ICU numbers are the highest ever in this province. What’s also the highest, by a lot, is the 11 deaths over the last 24 hours.
I’m growing uneasy at the nonchalance that’s out there, potentially starting at the top. I’ll be honest, if I were in charge, commanding traffic, there would be some stiff measures being thrown into place. I’m clear on the reasons being given as to why that’s not happening; that the majority of transmission is taking place in private homes, by the nonchalant crowd who simply won’t listen to reason. And while that’s going on, restaurants and many other businesses are all open, because they have all the safety measures in place.
That’s all fine in theory, but for some reason I keep hearing about people catching this; people who are taking all the safety measures they can, and they simply get it, and they have no idea when or where or why. So yes, I would be heavy-handed and I would take a lot of flak for it and some businesses might fail, especially those who count on the holiday season to see them through the much leaner rest-of-the-year. But I would mitigate this with some intelligent guesswork with respect to what the future has to offer. Nobody likes to make announcements they can’t live up to, so we get ‘safe’ guesses. On the flipside, never underestimate the human potential when our backs are against the wall.
I have a bet with a friend that I think I’m going to cash, made back in March – me saying there will be a vaccine by the end of the calendar year; perhaps not one readily available, but the one we’ll all eventually get by the time they manufacture enough. But the public, not just test-subjects, will be getting jabbed with it by Dec 31st. And it’s looking likely that might happen.
We’ve all heard vaccines typically take 3 to 5 years. We’ve all heard this one will be super-rushed to get it down to 12 to 18 months. Here we are, 9 months into it… with a very real possibility that this particular finish line has already been hit. Way to go, humans.
Which brings me back to the point… a very viable finish line on the horizon, with a time period of “now till then” which is shorter than what we suffered through the first time. We’re hearing summer. We’re hearing by this time next year. And I’m saying it’ll be sooner than that… because it won’t be a magic switch. This will be like trying to get a car going, starting in 6th gear. You have to let that clutch out super-slowly, and you might damage it, but if you do it right, you won’t stall the car and eventually you’ll be up to speed. It’s a painful process to get there, but at some point, you realize your foot is completely off the clutch… and you’re driving normally. Similarly, as things slowly re-open for real, one day you’ll realize it’s back pretty-much back to normal.
When we locked this province down back in the spring, there were outcries of “overkill” and “our economy” and all that. But it worked. With a big, vast unknown future in front of us, we bought into it, we did it, and it worked.
I think it’s time to take that deep breath, suck it up, and do it all again… this time, with that finish line well in sight. Call me Captain Overkill – I don’t mind. I know a bit about risk/reward, and I’m not known for not taking risks… but that means carefully thinking about it and picking your spots. And this one, to me, is a no brainer. Everyone go home for a few weeks, close schools early, suffer through a very weird holiday season… and then things, sooner than later, will be better. A lot better. I promise.
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