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Day 7 – March 23, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , |

The lack of data over the weekend left a bit of a gap… which I filled in with some guesswork. I know where we were on Saturday, and I know where we are now. How we got here looks to be pretty consistent, but the next few days are more important than the last few. We are tracking very closely to the US, trailing by 10 days… just before things started getting really out of hand down there.

It’s important to note that I’m tracking new cases — not active cases. It was good news to hear that 100 cases in BC considered active have been resolved to “cured”. More than 300 in Canada overall.

As time goes on, we can look forward to that number of resolved cases growing, but note that its growth doesn’t affect tracking new cases. Those will always go up. In fact, at some point, it’s (hopefully) likely we will have “negative” days — where there are less new cases than resolved cases… but the idea of these graphs is to simply track the spread (and control) of new cases. What we do with them is a whole other question, and I’ll be happy to offer my opinion on that as time goes on. So far, comparing it to what’s going on elsewhere in the world, it’s pretty good. And will gradually look a lot better if you all just #stayhome!!

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Day 6 – March 22, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Life in Vancouver, Sports & Gaming|Tags: , , , , , |

I don't like posting incomplete data, so stick a huge asterisk next to this… because there was no BC update today, so the Canada number is incomplete. Nevertheless, the other numbers are accurate, so here it is… and with tomorrow's update I will back-fill what's missing from today's and we'll see where we're at.

Hope you all got out for a bit of outside social distancing! Because most of the rest of the week is miserable rain, and for once — Vancouver rain — if that's going to stop people from clustering outside on the White Rock pier or the basketball courts at Kits beach… good.

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Day 5 – March 21, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Sports & Gaming|Tags: , |

To put it in very Canadian terms, what you want to see on the graph is for it to not "hockey stick" up to the right. So far… we're good. I keep saying the same thing, but seeing numbers grow isn't bad; it's expected. And linear growth flattening out is the best-case scenario. Exponential growth is what's bad, and as numbers grow, we'll have a better sense. The next several days will tell a lot.

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a really nice day of social-distancing outside in the sun… which means hang out outside, alone or with the people closest to you, ie the people you live with. And stay away from everybody else!

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Day 4 – March 20, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , |

We’re still at relatively low numbers, tracking pretty closely to where the US was 10 days ago. It’s a continual rolling 10-day window to see how effective our efforts have been. It’d be really nice to see that red line detach from the blue one and continue straight across with no upswing and it’d also be very nice for our neighbours to the South to see their line flattening out.

The colour coding on the rightmost two columns of numbers signifies change from the previous day. The growth factor is a comparison between today’s new cases vs. yesterday’s. The column to its right is the percentage increase of cases nationwide. Green is good, because it implies a smaller increase than the previous day. A streak of green days in a row would be very nice to see.

Needless to say, especially this early in the game, these numbers are very susceptible to how many tests are being administered and who’s being tested. As time goes on and numbers get bigger and the data is more generalized, it’ll all mean more and be clearer. The localized clusters we’ve witnessed (especially in B.C.) are not indicative of the entire country. If we based our assumptions entirely on what’s unfortunately happened at the Lynn Valley Care Center, we’d be appropriately far more worried.

Shoutout out to Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix, whose 3pm updates are not just informative but also reassuring. And to the sign-language guy… if we are all as passionate in treating this as seriously as that guy is with the way he conveys the message, there’s no doubt we’ll be ok.

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Day 3 – March 19, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: |

I added a couple of rows and columns of interest. Mark Twain said something like "Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics". Indeed, there are many ways to paint different pictures with the same colours. This simple chart has grown in complexity and I've received a lot of comments and some criticism from people.

To be clear, and I'm not a statistician… I was curious how Canada's response, at this critical time, looks compared to three other cases… Awful, Bad, Bad-then-good. It's still early to tell, and I have my opinion… but pictures are worth more than words, so here you go.

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Day 2 – March 18, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Follow-up to yesterday’s post… and I will try to update this daily, around 5pm. To make it consistent, I’ve normalized the numbers for that. The data comes from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

The individual Canada chart looks a little curvier than it did yesterday, but that’s only because I added a bit of earlier data and while the trend was indeed increasing, the historical numbers are small. Check the y-axis, not just the pattern.

Also, while yesterday saw an increase of 157 cases nationally, that number was lower (129) today, according to this source of data. And that’s what it’s all about… slowing the growth, because it will grow for the foreseeable future. The question is how fast.

I’ve also added South Korea as an example of how it looks when you do things right; that is the trend everybody wants to see. Still growing, but way slower than before.

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Day 1 – March 17, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Follower Favourites, Travel Stories, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , |

There’s a table going around showing what’s happened in Italy and the US so far. Here it is, with Canada added in… and a couple of rows of extrapolated data. I added the graphs, and what they show is simple — it’s up to us, ie Canada, to do everything we can with respect to flattening the curve. It’s not too late, because it’s still a straight line… but there’s zero wiggle room. In a perfect world, that red line stays straight, stays well-below those exponentially-growing green and blue lines, and eventually flattens out and goes down to zero. We, today, are where the US was a week ago and Italy was 2.5 weeks ago. And neither of those are trends we want to follow. Listen and follow what we’re being told. They are strict guidelines for a reason; they work.

 

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September 21, 2020

By |September 21st, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Sports & Gaming|6 Comments

Dr. Henry’s “back to school” ad rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and I was one of them. It painted a completely unrealistic picture of what classrooms would look like. As any student or teacher or parent (of either of those) will tell you, most classrooms have more than 6 kids and most classrooms don’t have a sink for convenient and frequent handwashing. The explanation given was that it was simply a setting for Dr. Henry to be explaining things to a group of kids; it didn’t necessarily represent the norm. They could’ve shot that ad outside or in a gym or in a playground or wherever, but they chose to talk about classrooms… in a classroom – but a classroom that doesn’t actually look like what classrooms will look like. Hmm.

When I was in school, the most frequent thing from teachers was “Settle down” or “Be quiet”. Until recently, it was “Get off your phone”. These days, all of that has been replaced with “Put on your mask”.

Seeing some of the pictures my kids are sending from school (both are in high school), it seems one thing hasn’t changed; a lot of kids aren’t great listeners and will do whatever they want.

In another sort of horse race that nobody wants to win, the province of Alberta has recorded more than 100 school outbreaks, and they’re growing quickly. B.C. is presently at around 20. For comparison, as of a few days ago, Ontario had seen around 90 school outbreaks… and Quebec, around 270.

Interestingly, a few minutes after I signed and submitted some forms promising to keep an eye out for symptoms in the kids before sending them off to school, the B.C. Ministry of Health removed more than half the symptoms, among them sore throat and runny/stuffy nose. To be clear, the directive is this: IF you are a kid and IF you have only that symptom… sore throat and/or runny/stuffy nose – chances are, you’re ok.

I get it, and I don’t get it. It’s a tough situation. As anyone who has kids (or has ever been a kid) knows, every single kid at some point between now and March will have a sore throat and/or runny/stuffy nose. All of them. And, for the vast majority of them, … [Continue Reading]

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September 20, 2020

By |September 20th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Philosophy, Art & Literature|3 Comments

The air has finally cleared… unlike my schedule… so just a brief note before tomorrow’s numbers come out, because I am going to enjoy the usually-taken-for-granted crisp, fresh air.

The AQI at the moment is 18, which is exactly what it was before the fires, and about as good as it gets. For a week, it was fluctuating between 150 and 225, which is labelled Unhealthy at best, Very Unhealthy at worst. And to be clear, this only means our problem has gone away (for the moment) … the AQI is 450 in some parts of California. Anything above 300 is labelled Hazardous, as in don’t breathe the air outside or you’ll likely get sick.

Not like there isn’t enough to occupy your time on the internet… but waqi.info is an interesting site. A world map of AQIs, and you can hover and zoom around easily. At a glance, you’ll quickly notice (as I have over the last week) that many places around the world are perpetually stuck with bad air. Parts of Brazil, India… and, of course, China.

It's good site to check out next time it’s pouring rain and you’re stuck at home… for two reasons. One to see that it could be a lot worse, and two to remind us how fortunate we are to live in a part of the world where the air scrubs itself. I wish my schedule could do the same.

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September 19, 2020

By |September 19th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories, Space & Astronomy, Philosophy, Art & Literature|10 Comments

For a while, I was putting in guesses for the weekend numbers… since neither B.C. nor Alberta publish anything until Monday. I was further extrapolating that to give a good guess for Canada overall.

I’ve stopped doing that, because as good as my guesses were (sometimes), it’s effectively false advertising and could lead to false assumptions, so what’s the point. Let’s wait 2 days; no big deal.

Unfortunately, false advertising is all around us. I actually fell for it… something popped up on my Facebook… a radio-controlled near-indestructible plane. Surprisingly inexpensive. Cool, that’ll be fun to play with over the summer. For my son, of course, not me…

What arrived was nothing like what was promised. A tiny, very cheap single-layer Styrofoam cut-out stencil of a plane… that barely flew. No radio control of course. Nothing at all like the pictures or video. And, for the price-point, not worth pursuing, not worth sending back, not worth complaining. They know; just enough to grab your money and run. Not enough for any consumer silly enough to fall for it… to care. Had I done the tiniest bit of research, like read the comments below the item, I’d have seen plenty of entries like “Don’t fall for it!!” and “This is a scam!!”. Oh well, lesson learned.

Indeed… as a result of falling for it, my FB feed is now flooded with offers. Some are, I must say, really cool. Most, if not all, are scams. I fell for it once, and FB has decided I’m a sucker and, accordingly, tries to sucker me in one more time. The latest one that almost got me was a self-solving Rubik’s Cube for $12.99. Wow, cool… except, upon reading the comments, I learned it was a useless, cheap knock-off cube that did nothing special… least of all, solve itself.

Somewhere along the line, slim credibility went to zero… probably right around the time accountability did the same thing. With zero repercussions to just “making shit up”, here we are. Advertisers, politicians, whatever. Say whatever you want… to sell whatever you’re dishing out.

"Caveat Emptor" — it's been around so long that "Buyer Beware" originated in Latin, back in the Roman era. You remember, that great Republic of centuries past, that indestructible centre-of-the-universe Empire that would last forever.

What's the relevancy … [Continue Reading]

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September 18, 2020

By |September 18th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics|5 Comments

Looking at today’s B.C. number is sort of stressful. Although 40 of today’s 179 are “retrofitted” cases… ie cases that should’ve been counted earlier but weren’t… it’s a lot, no matter what.

There’s a well-known test, the 43-question Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale (you can find it online) which adds up different things going on in your life, and lets you know how at-risk you are to get sick, as a result. If you’re presently dealing with that particular issue, you simply add the associated points to your total.

It’s interesting to note that while the majority of points are assigned for negative things, such as:

Death of a spouse – 100
Divorce – 73
Jail term – 63

… many positive things (or, at least, that should be positive) also cause stress:

Marriage – 50
Outstanding personal achievement – 28
Vacation – 13

There’s no broad 5th category that you could label “Pandemic”, but I’ve taken the liberty of filling this out for all of us; we’re all going through some similar things, and here’s how they add up:

Revision of personal habits – 24
Change in work hours or conditions – 20
Change in recreation – 19
Change in social activities – 18
Change in number of family get-togethers – 15
Change in eating habits – 15

All of that adds up to 111, which is, on its own, ok. Anything below 150 puts you in the “only low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future”.

Unfortunately, that was painted with pretty broad brushstrokes, and many people are, as a result of the pandemic, also dealing with things like:

Change in health of family member – 44
Change in financial state – 38
Change in number of arguments with spouse – 35
Change in church activities – 19

And the list goes on.

Between what we all have in common, and 150, there isn’t much wiggle room; just 39 points to cram in all your other stresses, because north of 150 is categorized as “moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future”.

Something not on that list is “Heading a national strategy for combating a global pandemic”… but if I had to assign a score to it, I’d give it a 185… and … [Continue Reading]

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September 17, 2020

By |September 17th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Life in Vancouver, Philosophy, Art & Literature|10 Comments

Not a great day for numbers… our one-day new test-positives total is the largest one to date: 165 new cases. To compare, Ontario had 146. And Quebec, once looking to have had things under control… saw 499 new cases. More than 1,000 new cases in Canada, for the first time since late May. We’re going to run out of chances to say, “last chance”.

Also, for those around here… most of didn’t know much about pandemics until March of this year, but we’ve learned a lot. Similarly, few of us knew much about of smoke and haze and bad air, but here’s 2020 to educate us all.

The one question everyone is asking… when will the smoke clear? I must say, I was disappointed when it recently rained (pretty heavily) and nothing much changed. Historically, isn’t that the deal in Vancouver? Some things are implied trade-offs… like, you go to a movie… they get to charge you $5 for 10 cents worth of popcorn. Correspondingly, you get to leave it spilled all over the floor and not feel guilty about it.

Similarly, ok, rain on us… but crisp, fresh, clean air is (supposed to be) part of the deal. As it turns out, it’s not so simple.

The short answer to the question is… complicated. Rain, wind, time, high/low pressure… potential new smoke… it all contributes in some fashion, but the consensus seems to be that by the middle of next week, things should clear noticeably. But as far as the weekend is concerned, not much is likely to change.

There’s an app called “Shit! I Smoke” which translates the air quality number to equivalent number of cigarettes. If you were out and about earlier in the week, you “smoked” the equivalent of more than 8 cigarettes a day. Ugh… as if you need one more reason to wear a mask…

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