Here’s an interesting fact that means nothing but is an interesting coincidence… the vast majority (ie. 49 out of 50) U.S. states are mostly south of us. South of what? The 49th parallel. Forty-nine states are south of the forty-ninth parallel. Yes, I’d never realized that. Yes, Puerto Rico would like a word with me. Yes, it’s spelled forty, not fourty… even north of the forty-ninth.

Comparisons to our neighbours (not neighbors) to the south get made all the time, and this pandemic is no exception. “At least it’s better here than in the states” is often heard, and it’s true… but that’s not a great comparison, because nobody on the planet is doing worse than the U.S.

But apples-to-apples, exactly how do we compare? Where would we fit in?

If you look at the daily new cases per million (DNCpM) of population for each particular state or province, here’s how it looks…

First of all, similar to how difficult it is for Canadian musicians to establish themselves in the American market, pandemically-speaking, we haven’t cracked the Top-40… not even close. If Quebec, our worst-performing province, were a U.S. state, it’d barely make the Top-50… being out-performed only by Washington, Oregon, Vermont & Hawaii.

The worst three states have DNCpMs that look like this:

California: 985

Tennessee: 927

Arizona: 800

North of the 49th, it’s this:

Quebec: 265

Alberta: 235

Saskatchewan: 152

For comparison, B.C. is 58

So… 50 states plus 10 provinces plus 3 territories… bundle them all together and what do you get? With the exception of a little bit of overlap in the 48 to 52 range, the U.S. occupies the entire top of the chart, and Canada, the bottom. You can literally draw a thick line through spot 49 and it would cleanly separate the two countries. Another interesting yet meaningless coincidence.

Except it’s not so meaningless… especially because while these numbers are an interesting snapshot today, they will soon change, possibly rather drastically as news arrives that the far-more contagious U.K. variant is here. We’re not exactly sure when it flew into town, though likely Dec. 15th… but it’s arrived, and undoubtedly the Boxing Day crowds (including the one-hour-plus lineups to get into the airport’s shopping mall) aren’t going to help things.

The numbers are expected to go up anyway, but this 70%-more-contagious curve-ball will likely affect the models. By how much…? Good question. We’ve talked about how it takes just one person… it was one person who flew in from the U.K. that brought it into B.C. It was one person who flew in from the U.K. and did not follow the quarantine protocol in Ontario and then gave it to a couple there. That’s all it takes, and now it spreads like wildfire.

Everyone is tired of hearing it… but, unfortunately, it’s true. Not following the simple rules has far-reaching consequences. This soon-to-be rapid spread… the one that that will unfortunately push Ontario and B.C. up the charts… is more than just coincidence.

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