May 5, 2021

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

Yogi Berra was hall-of-fame baseball player with numerous World Series wins and All-Star honours… but he’s just as well-known for some great sayings. One of his most famous Yogisms: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Indeed, there seem to be a repeating cycle around the world; different places and at different times, but it’s the same pattern:

1. Things get bad
2. Restrictions are imposed
3. Things get better
4. Restrictions are lifted too soon
5. Go back to 1

But now there are entries that fit in-between all of those lines…

1.5 vaccines
2.5 vaccines
3.5 vaccines
4.5 vaccines

What effect do they have? Well… there’s some good/bad déjà vu there too. Chile and Israel are among two of the better vaccinated places on earth, but headed in diametrically opposite directions. In both cases, feeling the invincibility of vaccines, they opened things up and things got careless. One of those countries has figured it out; the other, not so much.

Add to this whole thing… the Seychelle Islands… where, per capita, it’s the most vaccinated nation on earth. But they’re seeing a surge in cases, and are now having to impose restrictions… again. Two weeks of no school and cancelled sporting events.

The Seychelles have a population close to 100,000. More than 60% are fully vaccinated. The problem is that they rely almost entirely on tourism, and, rest assured, 60% of those incoming tourists are not vaccinated.

Here’s a rule that needs to be remembered with respect to herd immunity: Even if you achieve it, it needs to be maintained. You don’t just reach it and throw the doors open and forget everything it took to get there… or you will quickly find yourself back to square one.

Closer to home, our provincial neighbours to the east are in lockdown mode. Better late than never, but guess what would’ve helped avoid this in the first place… yeah, a little more patience would’ve helped.

All of that being said… vaccines. At the end of the of the day, vaccines work… and they work very well. In places where a little patience has helped them take hold properly, the numbers are very encouraging. In the U.K., where 52% of people have had at least one dose, cases are down 96% from the recent high in January. In Israel, where 60% of people have had at least one dose, new cases are down 99% and things are, indeed… relatively back to normal.

There’s a lot to learn from how these success stories did it… as Yogi once said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”

But, of course, there’s the most famous thing Yogi Berra ever said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

close

Subscribe by Email

May 4, 2021

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

Facebook is kind enough to remind me every single day of what I wrote last year… on this exact day. A rolling one-year reminder of what I posted.

It’s interesting… to see where my mind was at, and what may have changed. Some of it is still very relevant. Some of it is so incredibly out of date; who knew.

In any event, it’s also convenient… on days like this, where I didn’t have any time to actually sit down and write something… so I will simply plagiarize myself a bit… and if some of this sounds familiar as you read it, thanks… it means you’ve been here almost as long as I have. In light of the conflicting vaccine news we’re getting these days, it’s as relevant as it was last year.

Consider this sentence: Over 20% of people tested positive.

Now consider this one: Only 20% of people tested positive.

Without even knowing what we’re talking about… without even knowing if testing positive is a good thing or a bad thing… like, perhaps we’re talking about infections. Perhaps we’re talking about antibodies. Perhaps we’re talking about random drug testing in your office. Perhaps we’re talking about cyclists and performance-enhancing drugs. Perhaps we’re talking about asking random people on the street what their outlook is for the future.

We don’t yet have a clue what we’re talking about, but the very first word of that sentence is already guiding your thought process. Better stated, the writer of that sentence (that’d be me) knows what he wants you to think, and is subtly suggesting it. I want you to agree with me. Maybe I want you to think that anything under 20% is fine. Or maybe I want you to think that anything over 20% is bad. But wait a minute, what if testing positive is a good thing? Then it’s the other way around.
Let’s take out those first words… what are you left with…. “20% of people tested positive”

Yeah… now what. What are you supposed to do with that? Think for yourself and decide? Indeed, the vast majority of content we consume these days is written more towards getting you to think a certain way, or agree with a certain viewpoint — than to simply present the information. And further to that, once the algorithms have figured out what you like to think/read, they’ll spoon-feed you those sorts of stories… mostly because they know you’ll click on them, and that’ll generate ad revenue for them. This has pretty-much nothing do to with conveying news.

“Shockingly, close to 1 in 100,000 people who’ve taken the AZ vaccine will develop blood clots!!!”

“An insignificant number – less than 1 in 100,000 AZ vaccinations — will lead to blood clots.”

Happy Stars Wars Day… May The 4th be with you… and may it empower you with The Force of critical thinking.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

May 3, 2021

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

I’m writing this while watching today’s provincial update with Dr. Henry and Minister Dix. I used to watch this every day, but not so much anymore. What’s interesting is that, recent details aside, it’s the same old thing… and why wouldn’t it be? The message hasn’t really changed. Or, at least, shouldn’t. This is a perpetual Public Service Announcement. Act responsibly, be kind, do the right thing, etc. To a great extent, I think they realize they’re preaching to the choir. There’s not a single person watching this today thinking, “Gee – that’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll start doing that.”

One thing to clarify… hearing them claim that 41.5% of eligible B.C. residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. The key word there is “eligible”… because if you remove that word, the correct number – the number I’ve been tracking – is 36.5%… and the reason is that, at some point, the eligibility list, which at present does not include anyone under the age of 18, will change… and that denominator will change, and the percentage will drop. But for now, according to what they’re saying, it’s 41.5%… and that number should grow to 100% well-before July 1st. It won’t, because, as we know, not everyone who’s eligible for a vaccine will want one… but it’s a good target. It would be achievable, but it won’t happen… not because of lack of supply or logistical challenges. It’ll simply be because of vaccine hesitancy and denial.

What happens after that is as good a guess as any. Will that mean we’ve reached herd immunity? Probably not. The answer last year might have been yes, but these new variants are more contagious, meaning a higher Rø… meaning a higher percentage threshold of immunity is needed. The hard-set 15% of naysayers were never going to have their minds changed. But it’s in the next 25% where you’d find that tipping point… the “maybe” crowd. Somewhere in the 60% to 85% range, where herd immunity exists.

But also, reaching herd immunity here in B.C. might not mean much when we’re such an international hub of travel. We’re 30km from the U.S., which will never reach herd immunity. We have flights coming and going from every high-risk area, present or future.

I am all in favour of vaccine passports and anyone screaming about freedom and human rights might be forgetting the convenient fact that nobody has the human right or freedom to impose disease upon anyone else. Keep your mask-less face and anti-vaxx attitude far away from those who want no part of it. If you think you’re free to not wear a mask or get a vaccine, you must to agree that those who disagree with you should be free to not want you around. I fully support a “Covid-free passport” requirement for entering this province… and notwithstanding the optimism with respect to locally getting things under control sooner than later… we are not an island, and we will never be truly isolated from this virus.

But that doesn’t mean things can never get back to normal. They can… and they will. It might just take longer and it might look a little different. One way or the other, though… we are racing towards a finish line.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

May 2, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , |

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

That’s perhaps the most famous opening line of any novel – “A Tale of Two Cities”.

Charles Dickens was talking about London and Paris… but today I’m going to write about a tale of two provinces… B.C. and Alberta… which these days are about as different as those two cities during the French Revolution. It’s interesting though… you read that paragraph, and you might find yourself relating it to present day. It fits.

Here at the 7-day daily new-case averages for the two provinces:

four weeks ago: AB 1,221 / BC 1,122
three weeks ago: AB 1,413 / BC 1,041
two weeks ago: AB 1,573 / BC 942
last week: AB 1,870 / BC 818

You don’t need to graph it to see the pattern, but I’ll describe what it looks like… it’s a big less-than sign (“ < ”) … where AB is going up and BC is going down. As usual, we don’t have weekend numbers here, so tomorrow we’ll get some idea where things are going… but it should be noted we’re entering the period of time where the effects of the latest set of restrictions should start becoming evident. I would expect things to follow this pattern of improvement… or, at least, be no worse. But that’s just here in B.C. There’s no large English-Channel-like body of water between these provinces… there’s barely a border… that you might miss if you’re going too fast and blink at the wrong time. And we’re certainly not at war. We want both sides to win. I hope they figure out and take the steps necessary to control things; it’s a tough spot to be in… and it’s a bumpy ride to the finish. But it’s not as bumpy as the end of that fine book, where the protagonist, Carton, is having some final thoughts as he heads towards the guillotine… “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” That’s a little extreme. Then again, he was about to go get his head cut off. If you wanted to map that closing line to the present day, let’s keep it simple… do, as usual, the right thing… and then get a good night’s sleep.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

May 1, 2021

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Sports & Gaming|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today is the Kentucky Derby, so while horse racing is on my mind, let me tell you about a certain match race.

A match race is quite simply a race between exactly two horses. Always very exciting, because they’re relatively rare. There’s usually between 5 and 20 horses in a race, not 2.

Mike Smith is a very-well-known hall-of-fame jockey. A tough, ragged and talented guy who’s ridden some of the best horses in the last 30 years.

Chantal Sutherland is a Canadian model, TV personality… and jockey. She’s been in in Sports Illustrated, Vogue, and has been one of People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People”.

Those two dated for a while. Then they broke up… and then someone decided they should do a match race – a Battle of The Exes. A winner-take-all sort of thing.

This was ten years ago, so who cares… except that it was one of our horses that was chosen to race. The track that hosted the event, Del Mar, picked two relatively-evenly-matched horses… got the OK from the owners/trainers (that was a very interesting phone call with our trainer, Carla Gaines…) and once the horses were picked, a coin was flipped to decide which jockey got which horse. Or vice-versa, I suppose.

As it turns out, Chantal got our horse “Parable” and Mike Smith got the other one, “Joker Face”… which added an extra layer of competition… American owner/jockey vs. Canadian owner/jockey

That was a fun weekend… we flew down for the race, participated in all the pomp and circumstance, had a great time… and, as you might expect when Canada goes up against the U.S., finished second.

In the race, Mike Smith controlled the pace beautifully. Forgetting how evenly the horses may have been matched, he really out-jockeyed Chantal. He went out in front, stayed exactly where he needed, kept her exactly where he wanted, and, as they say, had plenty of horse left to win easy.

But let’s talk about another match race that we’re all involved in…

When it comes to vaccinations, the U.S. got off to a terrific start… just like Mike on Joker Face, exactly where you’d expect them to be. Except… if this were a horse race, you’d now say they’re running out of horse. They’re fading. And here comes Canada, flying on the outside.

If you look at the two larger graphs below, you can see what I mean… the one on the left is a graph of what percentage of the population is being vaccinated every day. There was a time where it hit above 0.60% in the U.S., but they’re down to around 0.35% these days… and that number keeps dropping. In Canada, we’ve slowly been rising… and are pretty-much doubling our southern neighbours. We’re in the 0.70% neighbourhood, and have been out-performing the U.S. since around April 8th.

The graph on the right shows how the gap in vaccinated population is narrowing, and assuming things continue at this pace, the Canada horse will blow by the U.S. around May 26th… and will never look back. This extrapolation is relatively consistent with what the government is telling us… that 75% of adults will have had their first jab by mid-June. It looks like 80% by July 1st, according to how things are trending. And if this holds, the U.S. may have trouble breaking 60%… though this is all speculation and just numbers.

It’s speculation and numbers that just lost me a few bucks on the Kentucky Derby… but this other horse race is far more important… and I know where my money is.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

April 30, 2021

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

So… are we close to reaching herd immunity? The short answer is NO… but, following up on two days of depressing news that vaccinations may not, after all, be the ticket out of this mess… for no other reason than people refusing to take it… comes a bit of optimism… of the game-changing sort. And the short answer to that, interestingly… might also be NO.

Forget the herd immunity upon which you were hoping to depend. What if you could shift control of the risk entirely back on yourself? What if you could simply protect yourself from getting infected? What if you’re not able to receive the vaccination for other reasons, but there’s still a way to be protected? What if you’re about to be headed into a crowded restaurant or concert hall or sporting venue for the first time in more than a year and, as protected by vaccines as you may be, are still feeling a little uneasy?

Trials of locally developed nasal spray are going very well. The company behind it, SaNOtize, has recently been pushing to receive emergency approval in Canada and in the U.K. They’re also now trying to figure out how to get it to India – ASAP.

To summarize what this particular product brings to the table in four succinct points:

– A 95% reduction within 24 hours in viral load given to those who’d tested positive

– A 99% reduction in viral load within 72 hours

– A 100% prevention rate in getting infected in the first place

– Zero side-effects

You might think the capitalized “NO” implies NO Covid… but it’s more to do with Nitric Oxide, the key behind it. That, and their delivery method, kills the virus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs. A little blast of nasal spray… and that’s it. One in the morning when you get up, to clear out what may have accumulated over night. One before bed to clear out the day’s potential infections. Maybe one or two if you’ve been on a plane or crowded place for an extended period of time.

It’s safe, it’s effective, and one day it may be as common as eyedrops.

I’m looking forward to hearing what the crazies have to say about it… “You see! They want you to spray the 5G chip straight into your brain!”

Yeah, whatever. This could be a serious game-changer, and I hope they navigate the regulatory bodies as efficiently as possible. If this thing is as good as it sounds, things could be back to normal…. like normal normal… like… you know, the good old days… much sooner than later. This NO looks like it might be a big YES.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

April 29, 2021

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

Today’s brief summary requires nothing more than a brief look at the vaccination graph I’ve posted below the usual charts. And if this were being presented as a brief summary in some boardroom somewhere, there would be some hushed whispers. “Hey… what’s the deal with the blue line?”

We’ll get to it.

This is a graph of smoothed-out daily data of the number of people being vaccinated by region, normalized to a number per million.

If you look at the tail-end of the graph, which is from the last day or two, you can see the thick red Canada line somewhere near 7,500… which means, on a daily basis, 7,500 out of a million Canadians are being vaccinated. That number was 4,500 a month ago.

In fact, here’s a look across the country of rough seven-day averages:

BC, a month ago: 4,600. Today: 7,100
AB, a month ago: 3,700. Today: 7,300
SK, a month ago: 3,600. Today: 6,000
MB, a month ago: 3,000. Today: 8,800
ON, a month ago: 4,700. Today: 7,600
QC, a month ago: 5,200. Today: 7,400

Across the board – very good. Vaccination programs across the country gearing up and/or delivering at increasingly-effective rates.

Now, let’s look at that thick blue line… our neighbours to the south. That’s the line that seems to be going in the wrong direction, opposite to all the others.

US, a month ago: 5,300. Today: 3,700

The irony of course is that the U.S. is comparatively drowning in vaccine… but demand is waning. This is the pattern that took them to a 43% vaccination rate, but the next 43%… well, it’ll be beyond difficult. It may actually be impossible.

Forget all of the complicated supply/demand market elasticity theories you may have come across. All of it is irrelevant. If this were a business, the boardroom presentation would be a PowerPoint full of lousy explanations and poor excuses… because the fundamental value proposition is gone. The business model is going to fail, because, as good as the product may be, demand is drying up. R&D department? They did what they were asked and delivered beautifully. Legal? Check. Logistics and distribution? Check. Marketing? Ouch.

It still boggles the mind. This is the part that I and many others simply didn’t see coming. That, after creating, in record time, what’s arguably one of the greatest achievements ever in medical science, an awful lot of people simply don’t want it. A massive failure, arguably due to nothing more than awful, irresponsible, criminally negligent messaging. The marketing department responsible got fired in November and the new team took over in January… but as hard as they’re trying to fix the damage, it may be too late.

Brutal. Meeting adjourned.

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

April 28, 2021

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

“It is often easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

It was Admiral Grace Hopper, a legend and pioneer in the world of computer science, who said that… though it’s possible she didn’t quite realize the extent to which people would eventually lead their lives by it. It makes sense sometimes to bend the rules, but you have to know where and when to pick your spots. It’s not a free-for-all for reckless decisions.

You think you already know what I’m about to say, so instead of repeating what I’ve been saying for a year, here’s are some different examples.

Perhaps the shortest existence of a professional sports league in the history of the world took place last week. If you don’t follow football (ie soccer) on a global level, there’s a good chance you missed it entirely. Basically, a small group of the biggest teams in the world, spanning multiple leagues, announced they were forming their own super-league. Forget rankings and playoffs… this league of elites is by invitation only, and here’s $5 billion TV deal to go along with it, just for them.

Imagine the uproar you’d hear in Canada if the top 6 NHL teams decided to break away and form their own little league… and now imagine it on a global scale. The backlash from literally millions… of fans, players, coaches, reporters… pretty much everyone… was a tidal wave that, when you think about it, was completely to be expected.

“OK ok we’re sorry… forget the whole thing!! Jeez!!” – said the ringleaders… who no doubt are re-thinking their ridiculous, stupid assumptions that led to it in the first place. And who are now facing significant consequences for their failed mutiny.

Closer to home, the existence of Playland being open lasted just as long. The backlash was swift and expected. What else is going to happen when a few hours after announcing no inter-provincial travel, you announce the opening of one of Canada’s biggest amusement parks? “Sorry sorry yeah you’re right”. Playland will be open one day, just not when anybody from out of town isn’t supposed to be there in the first place.

Speaking of Playland, I really like that midway horse racing game… the one where you’re trying to fire the balls into the right hole which makes your little horse-in-lights move along. If I can’t have real horse racing, I’ll take that for now.

And speaking of horse racing, this weekend’s running of the Kentucky Derby notwithstanding, there’s an interesting sort of horse race that’s easier to explain if you visualize it… so, see below.

Replacing all of the tiny vaccination graphs today is one big one; this is what the provincial horse race of vaccinations looks like. This graph is based on vaccination percentages, using 10% as the same starting point for everyone.

What exactly does it tell us? You’d never have known that Manitoba seems to be vaccinating people, per capita, faster than anyone. Conversely, Alberta is the slowest.

At the end of the day, it’s not a big difference. It took Manitoba 23 days to go from 10% to 25%. It took Alberta 31 days. Everyone else is somewhere in between (B.C. is 26 days). By any definition, it’s a tight race. Also, who cares… the idea is we all get to the finish line, and then we all win.

But just to circle back to the premise of this entire piece, we get there not by doing stupid things and begging for forgiveness. Better to ask first… and act responsibly.

close

Subscribe by Email

Share...

May 20, 2021

By |May 20th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|3 Comments

Not much going on today, so let’s set aside the pandemic for a day… and here’s a PSA of sorts… something to keep in mind.

There are always lots of fun little games floating around on social media… especially on Facebook… where it’ll ask you to figure out your stripper name or thug name or porn-star name… by combining something like your first pet’s name with the street you grew up on. Or maybe your middle name and the first car you owned.

I don’t mind revealing that my stripper name may be Tippy Cypress or my porn name may be Claudio Mustang… but the reason I don’t care is that none of those things are passwords I use anywhere, nor are they answers to security questions….

… and that’s the thing. Many people use exactly those sorts of words for passwords and security questions. Like when you lose your password, it’ll try to verify who you are by asking things like that… most commonly used to be “mother’s maiden name”, but most places now let you choose the questions and supply the answers. People will typically choose the questions with answers they’ll never forget… like the street you grew up on. Like your first car.

And somewhere… some bad guy… intent on stealing identities… now has a bit more to work with. If he already knows your name and email address and home address and phone number… there’s a lot he can do. People who wonder how it’s possible their online accounts were compromised… this is one way. And for bots who hammer away relentlessly trying to crack into accounts, throwing these few words into their mix of “things to try” can be very helpful.

Some suggestions… don’t use obvious answers to security questions. Don’t post your stripper name if it contains information that you’re suddenly realizing may be sensitive. Another strategy for security questions is use wrong answers you’ll never forget.

I was amused to hear of one guy who uses the word Buffalo for everything. Favourite city? Buffalo. Nickname you grew up with? Buffalo. Favourite animal? Buffalo.
Last aircraft you flew? Street you grew up on? Favourite style of chicken wings? Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo.

Some of you are now thinking, “Oh shit” and are running off to change some passwords and security questions and answers. … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

May 19, 2021

By |May 19th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|8 Comments

I am one of those Gen-Xers who jumped at the opportunity to get vaccinated ASAP, and got jabbed with the AstraZeneca 29 days ago. A lot of my peers have been asking me… do you regret it? And what are you going to do for your second dose?

To take a step back… at the time, a month ago, when the opportunity presented itself… knowing what I know today, would I have done it? I rhetorically ask this on behalf of the many people I’ve heard from, some with “vaccine regret”… who sadly say they’d have waited a few weeks if they’d known a Pfizer/Moderna possibility was on the near horizon… not sometime in August.

Given the misunderstanding with respect to what efficacy actually means, people have attached a 95 to Pfizer/Moderna and a 70 to AZ. They’ve also attached “blood clots / no blood clots” labels.

The PR mismanagement of AZ has been nothing short of spectacular, and I’ve written about it before. Without rehashing the awful messaging, I will summarize my thinking of it like this:

If AZ causes blood clots in exceedingly rare cases (and it might – but it might with the same frequency the other vaccines do too) – anyway, *if* they do (and notwithstanding catching Covid-19 elevates your risk of blood clots by 1000x), what are the chances?

Take 10 dice… throw them hard onto the floor and watch them bounce around. Now go look at them. Are they all the same? Bad luck if they are; you’re dead of blood clot. Otherwise, no worries. If you were to do nothing but throw dice for 10 hours a day, taking 10 seconds to pick them up and throw them again… after 20 years, you’d be at a 50/50 chance of having rolled that bad luck. At those odds, I’ll take a chance. For me, the blood clot thing didn’t enter the picture. What did… was the simple knowledge that armed with nothing but AZ vaccine, the U.K. has pretty-much beaten this thing; good enough for me.

Would I have waited a month for Pfizer/Moderna? No. Two weeks? No. A week? A day? Yeah… sure. Perhaps somewhere in there is a tipping point… but it wasn’t an option… and knowing what I know today, I’m happy that turned out … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

May 18, 2021

By |May 18th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|5 Comments

There are plenty of different racing styles when it comes to horses, but as the far extremes go, it’s like this:

On one ends of the spectrum are horses that have only one gear… the “GO” gear. Most jockeys are unable to control these horses’ pace, so there’s no sense in trying; it only frustrates the horse… and uses up their energy anyway. So… they let the horse floor it, and the horse sprints to the front… and you hope there’s enough gas in the tank (ie. stamina) to hold that lead to the end.

On the far other end of the spectrum are horses who are in no hurry. They’ll start slow, sit dead last, and at some point, hopefully, find another gear or three to make a late run for it.

The latter ones are the most nerve-wracking… whether you own/train/groom the horse… or just bet a few bucks on it, seeing it dead last by half a mile is never a relaxing experience. I can think of many examples of horses coming from out of nowhere, but perhaps the best example is the 2009 Kentucky Derby; that’s worth a look on YouTube if you’ve never seen it. The winner, Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot, was so far out of it, you can barely see him in most of the video. At one point, the announcer loses track of the fact that there’s yet another horse behind the one he thought was last. What happens next is quite remarkable. Look for the #8 horse with the pink saddle cloth.

Similarly, Canada, in the horse race of vaccination, was a good 40 lengths behind the leaders, taking its time while everyone sprinted off towards the finish line. But recently, Canada, like Mine That Bird at the quarter pole, managed to find a gear nobody was expecting.

In the next day or two, as per the numbers and pictures below, Canada will have, per capita, more first injections into people than the U.S… and we’re blowing by other countries at the same pace Mine That Bird reeled-in his competition.

Recently, Canada, on a daily basis, is averaging vaccinating around 0.9% of its population. The U.S. never really got above 0.7%, and now they’re averaging around 0.2%… and today, they barely managed 0.1%. … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

May 17, 2021

By |May 17th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|0 Comments

Encouraging local numbers today… and if you don’t like analyzing numbers, just look at the pretty pictures… specifically the B.C. one… which, in a nutshell, shows the rise and fall of the 3rd wave. Our numbers these days are exactly where they were at in early March, when things started to go sideways.

And, actually, not sideways… just up… sharply. But as you can see, as quickly as they went up, they’ve come down. That little plateau was in the second week of April, and it’s been downhill (in the good sense) ever since then. What’s going up sharply these days is the temperature… and vaccinations.

Looking across the country, as it turns out, nobody has managed this third wave as well as B.C. Quebec would be a close second though; their worst is over and they’ve slid down to the bottom of their own hill.

Alberta has turned the corner, but has a ways to go. Saskatchewan as well, though slower… but Manitoba is still arguably headed in the wrong direction; really not sure what happened there, but this week will tell a lot.

And Ontario… certainly headed in the right direction… their daily numbers and their average is lower… but it’s still wildly volatile and it always feels like they’re near a tipping point. Aided by warmer weather and lots of upcoming vaccinations, their worst is also likely over.

I don’t want the maritimes and the northern territories to feel left out… all looking good.

Locally, nothing will change before the May long weekend… but, by then, we may be poised to see some significant relaxations. Don’t hold me to it; I don’t make the rules… but given all of the above, given what we’ve learned in a year, given where we are with vaccinations, given what we now know about the colossal difference in risk between indoor and outdoor gatherings, given that we know it’s a tiny number of people who infect lots of others.. not everyone infecting one or two others… given all that, it wouldn’t be difficult to put some rules in place that really open things up in an effective way.

To be honest, they would’ve done it already if they could count on people sticking to the important parts. Like, golf? Out golfing with friends? Risk of transmission … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

May 16, 2021

By |May 16th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|11 Comments

Today’s update is being posted an hour earlier than usual; the numbers aren’t going to change much in the next hour, and this timing works better for me today.

Speaking of timing…

The smallest increment of time people generally use is one second. Or, perhaps half a second… as in, “Hey, gimme half a sec…”

Funny to note that if you’ve ever said, “I’ll be there in a jiffy”, it actually means something. A “jiffy”, for computer/electronics people, is the measure of time between alternating power cycles. In North America, that’s 1/60th of a second… to correspond to our 60Hz convention, the rate at which our alternating current flips back and forth from positive to negative.

As technology has evolved, the ability to time things more accurately has greatly improved. Some sports now time things down to the thousandth of a second… but beyond that, unless you’re delving deeply down into science and technology, you won’t be using anything smaller than that. I’ve never seen any handheld timing device that goes beyond milliseconds.

A million times smaller than a millsecond is a nanosecond, something entirely irrelevant for most of us… though it’s also interesting to note that the word “shake” means 10 nanoseconds. If you’ve ever said “I’ll be there in a shake”, it’s probably not what you literally meant… I’m going to guess it took you a bit longer than that.

A trillion times smaller than a nanosecond is a zeptosecond… and, at present, the smallest fragment of time we’re able to actually measure is 247 zeptoseconds… and you’d need the world’s most accurate atomic clock to do so.

Eventually, you reach the bottom… where the smallest fragment of time conceivable can be found. The smallest length we can measure is a Planck length, which is 100 quintillion times smaller than the diameter of a proton. The fastest speed that exists is the speed of light… so, how long does it take light to travel the distance of a Planck length? Not long. The Planck time unit, measured in seconds, has 44 zeroes after the decimal point. That’s the limit of physics, so there can’t be any smaller measure of time.

Except yesterday, I actually discovered a unit of time that’s a bit smaller than that; it’s the unit of time you’d use to … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

Share...

close

Subscribe by Email