To be honest, I don’t really like surprises. Don’t ever throw me a surprise party.

But today’s surprise update at 1pm from the PHO wasn’t really a surprise… not after last week, and what things looked like heading into the weekend. Add to that the end of Spring Break, and there are enough worrisome moving parts that it all needs a serious look.

That serious look is providing us with new restrictions, much to the delight of some, despair of others. Either way, necessary… and possibly more than people can appreciate. In the U.S., the head of the CDC is warning of “impending doom”. It’s not that bad around here; at least, not yet… and there’s no reason it should get to that point. And it won’t, if enough people actually listen to and respect the rules. Many people do. Many people don’t. And many people are somewhere in between, and like a close election, they’re the ones who might make all the difference.

The numbers were trending towards exponential growth, and they still might… Spring Break ended today, it’s a week or more till the results of that shows up… and a week after that for hospitalizations, or worse.

It’s concerning enough to implement a “circuit breaker” – the same thing we’ve been hearing since Day 1: Break those chains of transmission. Case counts are up, test-positivity rates are way up, and the ever-growing presence of the more contagious variants… all of it is concerning.

Accordingly, for three weeks – till April 19th, starting at midnight tonight – a series of restrictions; some we’ve seen and some are new. Here are the highlights:

– All students grade 4 and up will wear masks
– All indoor dining in restaurants and pubs, suspended. Outdoor dining and take-out is ok.
– Indoor fitness classes are suspended. One on one training is ok, but that’s it
– Indoor religious services suspended
– Whistler/Blackcomb closed

All of that on top of what’s already in place… don’t socialize indoors, don’t socialize outside of your group of 10. Essential travel only. Wear a mask. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution. If you’re not feeling well, stay away from other people and do not go to work or school, period.

This erring on the side of caution, some would argue, is excessive. I will simply go back to what I was saying around this time a year ago; we can’t afford to be wrong, especially now, with a clear finish line in sight. “Short term pain for long term gain” has never been so relevant. It’s exactly where we’re at.

The erring on the side of caution has also dragged the AstraZeneca vaccine back into the discussion, because now, the number of younger people in Europe who’ve developed blood clots is up to 30. This is out of five million people… so, one in 166,667… which is 0.0006%. The typical random rate for getting a blood clot in any given year for any given person in Canada or the U.S. is around one in 1,000… 0.1%… a far higher number. I’m still going to put it out there; in the future, the AZ vaccine will be used to mitigate the risk of blood clots… because – and someone correct me if I’m wrong – my numbers suggest a far lower prevalence of blood clots among those who’ve had the AZ vaccine. Certainly not the other way around. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there’s more to the story.

For the moment (and I’m guessing it won’t last long), the AZ vaccine will be used in B.C. only for those aged 55 and over. I suspect that’ll have changed by next week.

Either way, it doesn’t make a big difference… we’re being told there’s enough Pfizer and Moderna showing up that there will be enough for one dose for all eligible adults by the end of June. Let’s hope it works out… now *that* would be a nice surprise.