June 22, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Summer is only one day old, but it’s certainly making a statement. Glorious warm sunshine… hopefully a continuing sign of things to come, and I don’t just mean the weather. Blue skies, calm seas, smooth sailing… pick your metaphor; they all apply.

I’ve replaced the usual graphs today with others that are pretty cool to look at… and that tell an interesting story. These are vaccination rates since March 1st… for Canada, the U.S., and the usual provinces we’ve been tracking. These graphs show the daily totals (how “tall” each line is) as well as the breakdown between first and second doses… first doses near the bottom, in the lighter colours… and second doses above them, in the darker colours.

I posted one of these graphs for B.C. recently, but here’s all of them… and what do they tell us…?

First of all, with respect to the Canadian ones – the national one and the individual provinces – you’ll notice that the tips of the lines mostly trend upwards or are, at worst, flat. The flatness of some of those lines, for the moment, has more to do with supply limits than demand shortages. You’ll also note the disparity between first and second doses… a pattern that’s mimicked across the country; sometime around June 1st, there began a big push towards second doses… and today, in all provinces, second doses make up the vast majority of vaccinations. Here in B.C., today… close to 80,000 jabs… of which less than 10,000 were first vaccinations.

It’s also interesting to note what the U.S. graph has to say; that they’ve been doing second doses for a long time, and continue to do so… but with diminishing demand. And first doses…? Today’s levels are less than half of what they were seeing in April.

I’ll keep some version of these graphs around from now on, because… unless things really slide backwards, the story is shifting away from new daily cases and hospitalizations and ICU admissions… and now it’s becoming all about how vaccinated we all are, how immune we all are, and how ready to get back to normal we all are.

On this beautiful day… when B.C. crossed the 1,000,000 fully-vaccinated threshold… when the pharmacy where I got my AZ shot two months ago finally got around to calling me for the follow-up.. “Yeah, no, I’m good… thanks anyway…” and when there wasn’t a single C19 death west of Manitoba… yep… it’s Summer… in more ways than one.

close

Subscribe by Email

June 21, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

First things first… the contest! Congratulations to Shahar Ben Halevi! – whose guess of 231 was only two off the actual total of 229. Shoutout to Theresa Christina who guessed a few minutes later and was also only 2 off, but in the other direction, with her guess of 227. Shahar, let me know where you’d like it donated!

** EDIT ** Oops… ignore most of that last paragraph. Garry Saitz, congrats… 228 is closer to 229 than anything else. Shahar, I’m not going to pull a Steve Harvey here… we have two winners. Shahar, let me know. Garry… you too!

Secondly, to put to rest my decision-making with respect to dose two: My research, as I’ve written, has led me to think that, given the option, an mRNA vaccine for the second dose would be the way to go… if it was literally a choice, right at that moment. As it turns out, I wasn’t given the choice… I would’ve expected the pharmacy who gave me the AZ on Apr 22nd to have reached out by now, but they haven’t. The provincial system, however… the one I registered with ages ago – they did. And last week, booked me for an appointment for today. So… today I went, received my 2nd shot (Moderna) and, as far as I’m concerned, at least for now… that’s that. Almost exactly 15 months ago, I was writing pieces about how I expected vaccines would be available in 12 to 18 months. In hindsight, given my penchant for little contests, we could’ve held a pool where people guess, to the day, how long it would’ve been till vaccines show up. That would’ve been fun, and we could’ve raised a lot of money for charity. Oh well, a missed opportunity. Maybe next pandemic.

Finally… today, June 21st… often the longest day (ie most sunlight) of the year… the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer… has held, for the last 5 years, a more profound meaning. June 21st, 2016, was the day my dad passed away… and so now, every year, this particular day has a lot more meaning. It sometimes, appropriately, lands right on Father’s Day as well.

I wrote a lot about him five years ago… and, if you missed it the first time around, here you go:
https://www.facebook.com/kemeny.ca/posts/10154263810837481

Happy Summer everyone – it’s going to be a good one.

close

Subscribe by Email

June 20, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Happy Summer Solstice!! Happy longest day of the year!! And, of course, Happy Father’s Day!!! To all the dads out there, hope you’re having a great day and being spoiled appropriately. I certainly am, and I’m enjoying every well-deserved minute of it. And it’s not over yet… but before the festivities continue, dad or not, guess what day it is… hint, look at the two rows of yellow where the BC numbers should be…

Yes, indeed, it’s contest time… a contest so popular three people jumped the gun yesterday and started posting guesses. The contest starts *now*, and runs till noon tomorrow… and it’s simply this: Guess the three-day total of new daily new cases… for yesterday, today and tomorrow… and after tomorrow’s weekend numbers are released, whoever was first to guess closest wins the coveted bragging rights… *and*, a $100 donation the charity of their choice.

Enjoy what’s left of this beautiful weekend… and… good luck!!

close

Subscribe by Email

June 19, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I’ll be honest… before last year, I’d never heard of Juneteenth. Then again, why would’ve I? It’s a uniquely American holiday, established in Texas. Even though it’s been around longer than Canada – the holiday was first observed in 1866; Canada was born in 1867 – it’s not part of our history. I was in some version of school from 1972 to 1994, and that word never came up. It has nothing to do with us. Except, of course, it has everything to do with us, as any holiday should that has to do with human rights and the welfare of people… a topic as relevant as ever here in Canada.

I had some further thoughts on this… how it relates to our own history… but have now written and deleted several paragraphs numerous times. I think I’m going to leave it at that, because… while I have the privilege of sharing my thoughts on a topic that isn’t necessarily mine to chime in on, I’m not entirely sure it’s appropriate to do so. I’ll summarize it like this; perhaps we need a federal holiday here in Canada… one that recognizes our own past. One good reason would be that there’s no federal holiday at all in June. But I can also think of at least 215 better reasons.

Whether you’re choosing to celebrate Juneteenth… or just observe it, or you’re just enjoying this chill Saturday… cheers.

I realize this is not the most thought-provoking thing to ever occupy this space, so if you want something to think about, start giving some thought to what the local weekend numbers might look like; tomorrow is contest time!

close

Subscribe by Email

June 18, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If you grew up in these parts and have been around long enough, you certainly remember Expo 86. The world came to visit, and the city hasn’t been the same since.

One thing that most people who visited the World’s Fair had was an Expo passport. You’d carry it around and get stamps from everywhere you visited at the fair. Somewhere in my basement storage is my well-tattered Expo passport, and it’s full of pretty-much every stamp that existed. Every pavilion, every restaurant, every ride, every kiosk… all had their own unique stamp, and it became my mission to get them all. Even the Expo 86 mascot, Expo Ernie, had one… and if you could find him wandering around, he’d stamp your passport too.

There were a few very rare ones… like, for example, Jimmy Pattison. He had his own stamp, and the story of how I got him to stamp my passport is pretty good. Jimmy P, the well-known legendary-yet-ruthless businessman / epic philanthropist / CEO of Expo 86, at least back then, drove a monster of a car… like one of those 8-gallons-to-the-mile Lincoln Continentals from the early 80s. And maneuvering a big car like that around the tight spaces surrounding the fair wasn’t so easy, I guess… and, on one bright sunny summer day in 1986, he almost ran me over. It wasn’t actually that close, and I wasn’t actually that shaken up… but he stopped and made sure I was ok and asked if I needed anything. Yes, Jimmy, in fact I do… and that is how I got the coveted JP Expo 86 passport stamp.

It’s starting to feel like any sort of vaccine passport will have the look and feel of an Expo passport, where instead of visiting countries and getting their stamp, you’ll visit their vaccines and get those.

What’s starting to become apparent is that there is no such thing as *the* vaccine. That was a concept we all collectively came up with last year; “once *the* vaccine shows up, we’ll all be saved.”

Not so simple now, is it.

All vaccines are not created equal. And even if they were, it seems some vaccines are more equal than others. We’re starting to see some hints of vaccine “protectionism”… like, in the U.S., if you want to go to the Springsteen concert (yeah, how appropriate… Born… In The U.S.A….), you will need an American-made vaccine. Pfizer? Yeah man. Moderna? Sure dude. AstraZeneca? Not so fast, old chap.

This morning, Singapore began offering the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, and clinics were overrun with demand. This, notwithstanding the fact that Pfizer and Moderna have been available there for a long time, and half the population of 5.7 million have already had one or the other. And notwithstanding that Pfizer/Moderna have efficacy rates of around 95% while Sinovac is only 51%.

None of that matters. What matters is… that if you’re a Chinese national who lives in Singapore and wants to travel to mainland China, the only way to avoid quarantine upon arrival is to have the Sinovac vaccine. Oh, you’ve already had two shots of Pfizer and are completely immune? That’s nice, but if you want to visit our country hassle-free, you’ll have to have this one as well.

And so, perhaps, once it’s established that there’s no way to O.D. on vaccine, people will have some decisions to make. If AstraZeneca is going to be treated like a second-class citizen south of the border, what do you do? What does it mean for those who’ve had two doses of AZ and want to cross the border? What if you’ve had one AZ and one Pfizer/Moderna? What if you’ve had AZ, Sinovac, J&J *and* Sputnik? What if you’re so loaded with vaccine that you’re immune till 2027 and serve as your own 5G beacon?

These are not irrelevant questions. The U.S. may consider AZ a 2nd-tier vaccine just like China considers Pfizer/Moderna… but Canada will end up making its own policies as well. And it’s going to get messy, because people will scream discrimination. And, of course, that’s exactly what it is. Little of this has anything to do with actual science or vaccine efficacy or actual practicality. It’s mostly just bullshit politics.

One of the tag lines of Expo 86 was about “Inviting The World”, which we certainly did. And we still do… though, in future… well, bring your well-stamped passport with you.

close

Subscribe by Email

June 17, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Well, my fellow Gen-X AstraZeneca peeps… our time has come. We’re in the midst of the rolling 8-week follow-ups, and, with a ton of vaccine making its way here (including a bonus one million doses of Moderna that was just announced), we’re in great shape. On top of the endless stream of Pfizer we’re getting these days, we’ll have gotten 7 million doses of Moderna in June. Fourteen million doses of something will have shown up between now and July 1st.

There’s a sort of “the world is your oyster” feeling you get sometimes… like, if you’re skiing, and you time it just right, and you get to the top of the run just as it opens… and nobody has skied on it yet, and it’s all fresh, pristine snow from the night before; an endless ocean of powder… all yours. Or, on a much simpler level, the feeling you get when you open a box from Amazon, and whatever is in there is packed in bubble wrap… and not the cheap, tiny half-popped useless ones that have been endlessly recycled; I mean a sheet of fresh, un-popped big-bubbles… and there’s no one around, so you can take your sweet time popping every single one of them. Aaaahhhhh……

Anyway, that is the feeling I got this morning when I received my vaccine second-dose invitation. As we all know, the right move at this point is to pick up the phone and call; that is the usual way to get the soonest appointment possible, because the people on the other end of the phone have access to a schedule view that we don’t. We have to go location by location.

But… before I called, I thought I’d check online… on the day I wanted (Monday) at the location I wanted (nearby community center) hoping maybe with some luck, there’s something. Anything.

Instead, I was flooded with options. Every single timeslot at that location had availability, from early morning to late at night. A pristine ski run. A big long sheet of huge unpopped bubbles. And this… oh, how beautiful it was.

For what it’s worth, I’m booked for an mRNA vaccine; whether it’s Pfizer or Moderna, they’re interchangeable with respect to today’s NACI recommendation of following-up an AstraZeneca jab with either version of an mRNA vaccine.

As I’ve said before, I’d “probably” already decided on a Pfizer/Moderna follow-up because of the emerging research; research which was meant to show up right around the time I would’ve been needing to make a decision. As it turns out, both things landed within hours of each other… but I’ll say it again, the “take whatever is given to you” is by far not the worst strategy. If my decision were AstraZeneca tomorrow or Pfizer/Moderna in two weeks, I wouldn’t be waiting. It’d be AZ tomorrow.

Indeed – there’s no wrong answer; some studies seem to imply that two doses of AstraZeneca offers a stronger cellular immune response than the mRNA alternatives. Choose whatever works for you. “The sooner the better” might be the only decision that really needs consideration… but as long as you get it, it was the right choice.

You’ll eventually reach the bottom of the ski hill. You’ll eventually have popped every bubble on the sheet. And eventually, with a notable shout-out to this smorgasbord of vaccines, we’ll have put this pandemic behind us.

close

Subscribe by Email

June 16, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

If you’ve come to the conclusion that I like to play with numbers and present them in interesting ways, you’re right… because sometimes, a picture is worth not necessarily 1,000 words, but maybe 1,000x the understanding.

I wrote a while back what I would consider a logical strategy for gearing up second doses. At some point, for numerous reasons, after going nuts with first doses, we need to turn a corner and start giving out lots of seconds. When and how many? I provided my optimized formula that gets us hitting numerous finish lines on exactly July 1st… and, in my version, it meant really firing up the second doses starting last week… at the expense of first doses.

I’m not saying the province is listening to me, but it’s at least nice to feel a bit validated that whatever I came up with isn’t complete nonsense, and that someone in some provincial health office came up with something very similar.

Accordingly, check out the cool new graph on the bottom right; there’s a very visual breakdown of first/second doses… with firsts being the lighter colour and seconds being the darker colour… stacked up, on top of each other; the sum of the column is the total doses administered that day.

Even though vaccinations began trickling in back in December, this graph only goes back to March, up to which point is was all first doses, just in smaller numbers. In fact, it wasn’t till late April that we even began with anything more than a handful of second doses. You can see the dark spots barely a pixel big appearing on the top of those columns.

But… recently… a major shift. These days, the majority of jabs are second doses. The vast majority.

Notwithstanding the gaps of weekend data (which I’ve extrapolated to smooth out gaps), the B.C. trend is still upwards. The provincial government has stated the infrastructure is in place to deliver as many shots as we get, and for now, I’m not doubting it. Today saw 62,237 jabs… that’s 12 out of 100 British Columbians getting a dose, and 95.4% of available doses have been administered.

All of this bodes very well for the near future… the sum of even more vaccine shipments coupled with demand that is still going strong.

When you combine it all together, all things considered, it paints a very pretty picture indeed. Far more than a thousand words’ worth.

close

Subscribe by Email

June 15, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I managed to get out to the racetrack last night, for the first time in ages. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces, many of whom are reading this (Hi again!)

My horses didn’t win (a second and two thirds), but, regardless, just being there was a win. A huge win.

On a similar note, I look at the graph on the bottom left… the inter-provincial vaccination rates, which is some ways has turned into a two-horse race; Quebec out in front and B.C. trying to catch up… and never quite getting there. But again, there are no losers in this race… only different rates of winning.

And… on that note… in the global vaccine horse race, check out the next two graphs. As of this moment, when it comes to “at least one vaccination”, Canada is number one in the world. And if this were a music chart, we’d be number one with a bullet.

Just a month ago, we were behind the U.S, Israel, the U.K. and Chile. And… we are now ahead of all of them. The steepness of the angle with which that thick red line cuts through all of them is impressive. Let’s hope we don’t chart like a one-hit wonder that starts tailing off, never to be heard from again.

That being said, the graph on the right tells an important story; the darker colour means fully vaccinated. Above that is the single-dose crowd. By that measure, we’re still far behind… but…

… as per below, you can see the rate at which we caught up and continue to run. It’s impressive, and there is, from everything I can tell, no letting up. Recent numbers in Canada have implied that the anti-vax crowd has shrunk… and that the sum of “hesitant to no way” is now below 10%. All of this while we’re vaccinating 450,000 arms a day, whether it’s first or second dose. More than one out of 100 people is getting one shot or another… every single day.

The staggeringly impressive drop-offs in case numbers is indicative of a strategy that seems to be paying off… what’s better, give a single dose to 100 people, or fully vaccinate 50 and leave the other 50 un-jabbed. Clearly, from what we’re seeing – and as much as some might disagree with messing with the science – it would appear the former strategy, the one Canada adopted a while back… was the way to go. “Lots of people who may get a little sick” is a lot better than “some people who won’t get sick, coupled with others who definitely will.”

I think the analysis, in hindsight, will show that single-vaccine people infect far less people than those with no vaccination… so illness (serious or not aside), the more people are jabbed, partially or not, the quicker this all goes away. We’re in the home stretch.

close

Subscribe by Email

Share...

June 28, 2021

By |June 28th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|5 Comments

It really is too hot to sit here any type too much; I hope you’re reading this in whatever version of “Ahhhh… nice and cool…” you’ve managed to find for yourself.

So… as I said… we’re down to incredibly low and optimistic numbers… to the extent the correct number was exactly guessed, and four other people were off by 1. Way to go Denise, Esther, Carey & Sharon… almost!

But congratulations Mark Johnson, who nailed the three-day total of 145 right on the nose… after changing his guess, having realized someone ahead of him had guessed the same. See? Good research pays off! Mark, please let me know where you’d like me to direct the $100 donation.

The last 24 hours saw 38 new cases… the lowest number since last August. And, looking over last August, that was probably also the last time the temperature exceeded the case count. That’d be a nice trend to start today… and especially heading into the fall; any day from now on where the temperature exceeds the case count will be a good one.

And given what the rest of the week looks like, that shouldn’t be too tough to achieve.

OK, back to the shade…

close

Subscribe by Email

June 27, 2021

By |June 27th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites|35 Comments

The only thing hotter than the infernal weather is… the anticipation for this week’s contest!

Yes, indeed… it’s that time again… and, perhaps, for the last time… because given how the numbers are looking, pretty soon we’ll be at the point where there are 3x as many people guessing as there are reasonable guesses. This is, of course, a great thing. Here are the daily new case averages for recent weeks:

Today: +74
Last week: +104
Two weeks ago: +161
Three weeks ago: +210
A month ago: +315

Beautiful trend… so what’s our three-day total going to look like? Guess way… the contest is open from now till noon tomorrow – and, as usual, apart from the coveted bragging rights, $100 to the charity of choice to whoever is first in guessing closest to the actual total.

If you were to base it on recent averages, 3 x 74 = 222… a number that would’ve counted, on its own, as a good day a month ago. Exponential growth? Now we’re dealing with exponential decay. Beautiful.

Guess away, good luck… and with respect to these numbers dropping drastically, let’s hope the outside temperatures also follow suit…

close

Subscribe by Email

June 26, 2021

By |June 26th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|4 Comments

On a completely different topic… man, it’s hot as Hell out there… and speaking of Hell – here’s a good segue… you know who belongs in hell? Paul Bernardo… who was briefly in the news a few days ago, and will be again in the future.

Paul Bernardo is brutally psychotic rapist and murderer who was put away decades ago, but as long as he’s alive, we’ll keep hearing his name every few years.

Here is the Paul Bernardo news cycle from now on:

parole hearing/denied
parole hearing/denied
parole hearing/denied
dead.

Not sure how many cycles there will be, but you get the idea. It ends when he finally arrives in Hell.

When Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976, they instituted the “faint hope” clause… which, after fifteen years of a life sentence, allowed the convict a chance to ask for a parole hearing… a long-shot chance to get out… one that would never apply to monsters like Bernardo, but the hoops need to be jumped through… and it’s problematic, because it requires testimony, often from the families of the victims… tearing open wounds from the past – every 2 or 3 years.

The idea behind all of this was that if the convict thought he’d have a small chance… effectively, a small chance in hell… perhaps he’d behave better and make better efforts to better himself, etc. Most of those dangerous offenders are beyond rehabilitation, so the whole thing is a pretty big and expensive and stressful waste of time.

Accordingly, the whole faint hope thing was abandoned in 2011, but everyone whose crimes occurred before that were “grandfathered”, so they still get to play the game… a game that will die off along with these remaining prisoners. Then, they can all hang out in Hell together.

You’d think I that’s all I have to say on this particular topic, but I’ll tell you a interesting story related to all of this… some other time. Right now, I’m going to go cool off… because, do you know how hot it is? Exactly.

Follow & Discuss … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

June 25, 2021

By |June 25th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|14 Comments

When this pandemic started, my daughter Sophia had recently started grade 11. That was at the time when we were all worrying about this getting totally out of control; watching those exponential-growth graphs; looking closely at the TTD (Time To Double) numbers. I can still tell you… that if cases are growing at 10%, they’ll double in a week. At 6%, it’ll take 12 days.

Slowly, those percentages dwindled to the point where they became far less concerning… and, eventually, irrelevant. Today’s percentages are actually close enough to zero that unless something drastic happens, I should just remove them. But in March of 2020, that number was over 40% in Quebec… a TTD of 2. Cases doubling every two days. Today, that number is 0.02%. Go Habs.

And that’s not the only thing that’s changed. Sophia went from grade 11 to grade 12, and today is the last day of that particular adventure. Right around the time I’m posting this, she and her classmates will be walking across the stage, receiving their well-deserved awards and diplomas, and putting the whole high-school experience (with a pandemic thrown in for good measure) behind them.

The crappy part is I can’t be there. I’m watching the livestream from home, as are all the other parents. The good part is that family from all over the world can also watch. And even though I’m not there, I think the screaming and cheering at the TV will be loud enough that even though the school is several kilometres away… they’ll hear it.

For Sophia, the end of a big adventure… and, also, the start of an even bigger one.

For us… well, this uncalled-for adventure isn’t quite over yet… but if we were all in grade 12, we’d be at the point where the final papers are all handed in, and all of the exams have been written. The stage is set… and soon, we all get to walk across it. And then we get to collectively throw our caps (ie masks) in the air and, with the same sense of anticipation being felt by this awesome group of graduates… get on with our lives.

… [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

June 24, 2021

By |June 24th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|4 Comments

Bruce Hornsby has had more than one hit in his illustrious career… he’s no “one hit wonder”… but if you’ve ever heard of him, there’s no doubt you know his most famous song. And maybe that’s the only one you know. If he’d never written another song, his legacy may not be that different. It was pretty much the first thing he ever put out… it won Grammys, it went multi-platinum, etc. Deservedly so. And for many, that’s the last they remember of him.

The song, of course, is “The Way It Is”.

Bruce Hornsby’s song answers a lot of questions (that are typically rhetorical, but shouldn’t be) with that answer. Why Black segregation? Why such a divide between rich and poor? That song would go on for years if you kept adding relevant questions to it. Any well-entrenched part of society that’s unfair, unbalanced and/or just plain insane – gets defended by that answer.

The answer, “that’s just the way it is” is the ultimate cop-out. The ultimate passing the buck. The ultimate “not my problem”.

That song came out right around my 18th birthday, just a few months after graduation. And that is exactly the age where teens get thrown into the real world. Accordingly, they look around at where they landed… and ask lots of questions. And that particular answer is never accepted graciously.

Side-note, it was an argument with a university prof that was the final nail in the coffin of my academic career… me telling her that her sorting algorithms may have been great in the past, but recent advances in computer theory — and the languages that have emerged as a result — offer other possibilities. Nope, it’s her way or the highway. And her final response to my well-thought-out and logical and correct arguments? Too bad… that’s just the way it is.

After all is said and done, once this pandemic is over, we’re all looking forward to getting back to normal. Or are we? What, exactly, *is* normal?

Getting into your car, driving 25 minutes in rush-hour gridlock, finding parking that’s $19.00 for the first hour and then ten cents an hour for the rest of the day – when all you need is 30 minutes… wandering into an office and waiting, being guided into a room with lots … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

Share...

close

Subscribe by Email