May 21, 2021

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

If you look at the B.C. chart below, you’ll notice that the black 7-day moving average of cases is remarkably consistent. You could put a ruler to it and not be far off. Someone asked, given that slope, when would we see zero cases?

Extrapolating it, if it stays that consistent, we’d hit zero on June 16th. There’s a picture of it in yesterday’s comment section. Is that actually possible?

Above and beyond the restaurant closures and social restrictions and masks and all the rest of it, is the very real and excellent fact that lots and lots of us are getting vaccinated. Let’s remember… this is a virus, not a live bug. It needs a host. If the virus has exhausted its time on a particular host and wants to go elsewhere, it needs to find a viable destination. A host that’s not immune… and that’s, fortunately, becoming more and more rare.

So… what does that mean for a return to normality?

We’ve been told we need to exceed 75% / 20%… meaning 75% of people with at least one jab and 20% fully immune with two.

If 50% of the population has one jab and 3% of the population has two jabs, what’s the shortest period of time it could take to get to 75% / 20%?

OMG, it’s your worst nightmare coming to life – an actual real-world application of a math *word problem* – the sort your prof promised you’d never have to deal with if you study really hard and just pass this one last final math exam. Wait, come back! – sit down… I’ll do it for you.

We’ll make the math conveniently easy, because it’s very close to this; we are 38,000,000 people and we are vaccinating 380,000 people a day. Exactly 1%. And note that not all 38M can get vaccinated, and that 380,000 number could go up… so these numbers are conservative.

If the intent were to get to 75 / 20 as fast as possible, we’d have to allocate vaccine so that, on a daily basis, we’re incrementing both of those numbers in such a way that we hit 75 / 20 simultaneously… but a simple way to look at it is to get to 75 right away, and given the present strategy, it’s almost what’s happening… all first jabs. In 25 days, well before the end of June, , we’ll be there. And then, there are only 17 days needed for second jabs… if you stop giving people the first ones entirely for 2.5 weeks.

So… might I suggest this strategy… keep red-lining first jabs for another three weeks… that’ll get us to 71% by June 11th, and then, start splitting doses 50/50 till Canada Day… at which point we’ll be at 81% / 14%… and then, spend a week primarily on second doses. Then, another couple of weeks for all of that to kick in. If we do that, by the fourth week of July, we’d theoretically be ready to throw open the border.

We were far behind with our vaccine rollout, but we’re catching up. Perhaps we’re a bit behind with our “back to normal” rollout too, though I still believe in “better safe than sorry.”

But… around here, restaurants are opening up on Tuesday… and given everything I know now, and given that I’d be surrounded by people who already have one or two doses in them… yeah, why not… you might find me in one of them sooner than later.

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May 20, 2021

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

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. Good call… go for it.

And for the rest of you, ok… one bit of pandemic news… I’ll share it because it’s good… today’s number of new cases in B.C (357) is the lowest since mid-February. That’s really good… no question about that.

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May 19, 2021

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

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 to be the case; I’m exactly where I’d want to be.

Here in B.C., we’re being offered an option… get the second AZ jab, as per the successful U.K. model… or get a Pfizer for round two. For those who want that second AZ jab, it’ll be available a lot sooner than later, especially as the doses we have all dry up by the end of June, and there won’t be any more coming. If you want to be certain you’re fully vaccinated sooner than later, there’s your ticket, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Further to that, however… has been my personal intention to wait for the results of a U.K. study that’s following the AZ/Pfizer people… results coming soon, and before I’m due for any second jab. Similar studies are also ongoing in France and Germany.

But, in the meantime, a Spanish study following 600 people who did the AZ/Pfizer combo has come out, and here’s what it says:

The people who got AZ/Pfizer combo, compared to the double-dose AZ/AZ people, had IgG antibody levels 30 to 40 times higher. Also, the presence of neutralizing antibodies was 7 times higher. This is consistent with the anecdotal evidence so far; it’s what’s led to the studies, that this particular combination packs a particularly powerful punch. Also being investigated is what the ideal gap between jabs may be; and it’s looking like the answer is to be measured in months, not weeks. Also, in the study, less than 2% reported severe side-effects… and they were limited to headaches, muscle pain and general malaise. These are not symptoms one should consider serious. These are, in fact, the very reactions many of us got in the first place.

So, if you ask me what I’m going to do… I’m going to wait.

If there was no alternative, I wouldn’t hesitate in getting that second AZ jab… and I’d push it back to late June if possible. But a July or August Pfizer jab sounds even better… so that’ll be me.

Needless to say, I’m not a doctor… and any of the above shouldn’t be viewed as medical advice. And, given the results of the studies underway, this might change. But this is my opinion and my answer for today, to all of my fellow AstraZeneca’d Gen-Xers… wait a bit longer and Pfizer it up.

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May 18, 2021

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

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%. It’s like one horse, in top gear, screaming down the lane… and the other one, out of gas, easing back… out of contention. Up ahead, the jockey on Canada (I guess that’s all of us, collectively) can see some other front-runners starting to tire… Chile, Hungary, the U.K. We’re going to pass them all.

That being said, a win here is not finishing ahead of anyone; a win here is everyone hitting the line together, sooner than later… and there are two issues that conspire to prevent that: supply and demand, often at odds with each other.

In Canada, we have lots of both, and the politicians weren’t lying; the infrastructure to deliver everything we can get our hands on is in place, and it’s working very well. We’re taking full advantage of it. Until recently, I thought my 17-year-old daughter wouldn’t be vaccinated for another few months. It’ll actually be in another few… hours.

How long will this momentum last? When you assume infinite supply, it all comes down to demand… and that’s the wall the U.S. has hit. Everyone who wants a vaccine has had every opportunity to get one, so now it’s a trickle of people, not the full-on stampede we’re experiencing here.

The real win, for any particular country, province, state, region, whatever… is to surpass the threshold of herd immunity. The U.S., by virtue of vaccinations alone, will not get there. At least 25% of Americans have flatly stated they refuse to be vaccinated. Unless they change their mind, their theoretical best-case scenario is 75%.

Will Canada? It remains to be seen. Our “No way I’m getting vaccinated!!” number is 9%… while 88% of Canadians have said they will or already have. If we don’t “run out of horse”, at the current pace, we’ll be hitting that threshold by mid-June. In fact, at the current pace, we’d theoretically hit 100% by mid-July.

It’ll be interesting to see at what point that line flattens out. Anything north of 80% would be huge… and I wouldn’t bet on it exceeding 85%… but then again, I didn’t bet on Mine That Bird either, so who knows; once in a while, those long-shots pay off… and if this particular horse comes in, it doesn’t matter who you bet on… we all win.

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May 17, 2021

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

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 on the golf course… near zero. Risk of transmission on the 19th hole, downing a pitcher of beer? Much higher. Can we count on people to play a round of golf, but then not spend three hours in a crowded, poorly-ventilated pub? This is where the give an inch/take a mile issues come into it, and managing that, going forward, will be the bigger challenge.

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May 16, 2021

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

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 measure the time between the moment I hit [Post]… and the moment my mom called to check in on my damaged leg.

On that note, thank you all for your concern. At the end of the day, I didn’t go to the ER… because having had a number of doctors remotely evaluate and discuss, figured the course of action I was taking at home would be exactly what the hospital would do… and given how long it’d been and how it was healing… ok, just leave it. I’m up to date on tetanus vaccinations and I have everything I need to irrigate, disinfect and dress it here… and it’s looking a lot better today. And yes mom, if it shows the slightest hint of infection, I’ll be head straight to the hospital…

And actually, on this beautiful day and with no local C19 update, that’s all I have time for… but I’ll be back in a jiffy with all of the updated numbers… give or take 25 hours.

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May 15, 2021

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

Let’s do some good news bad news…

The good news is that numbers all across the country are down. The bad news is that here in B.C., we don’t actually know… until Monday.

The good news is that today was spectacularly beautiful. I hope you took advantage of it. The bad news is I did… and went for a wonderful, long bike-ride… and right at the end of it, managed to gash my leg open. I’m now looking at it wondering if I should be headed to the ER for stiches instead of sitting here writing this. Ask me in a few hours…

The good news is that you’re exceedingly unlikely, given everything that’s happened and is now going on…. to die from Covid-19. The bad news is that, unfortunately, for a lot of people, it’s a little too late.

How many people? We’ve talked about it before, but let’s distill it down to the inarguable number: Excess deaths. Neither the concept nor the numbers are hard to grasp; if every year, x% of people typically die, and in one particular year it’s (x+y)%, you need to be able to assign a cause to y. A tsunami that kills 250,000 people is a good example. So is a war. And, of course, if there’s a global pandemic going on and you can’t find any other reasons, it’s a reasonable logical leap to assign y to the pandemic, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated.

How are global deaths looking with respect to excess deaths?

The official death toll of C19 is 3.4 million… but the vast majority of those explicitly documented stats come from first-world countries. We know that unfortunately, 4,000+ people a day are dying in India. But without a doubt, that’s an undercount. Russia’s C19 death count is officially less than 100,000… but for some reason, over 500,000 people have “inexplicably” died. With few exceptions, every country is in a “deficit” – and when you add it all up, the world needs to find a reason to explain somewhere between 7.1 and 12.7 million excess deaths.

That’s bad news, no matter how you look at it.

The good news is, as we can all hope and expect… is that that’s in the past… and that the future looks a lot better.

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May 14, 2021

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

After so much abundance of caution, the CDC has finally realized that there simply may no longer be cause for alarm… a conclusion reached after analyzing actual data that confirms what’s been evident for a while now.

The CDC has simply said… if you’re fully vaccinated, you have nothing to worry about. Masks off, forget social distancing… you’re good. Go live your life.

The blanket assumption, borne out by the data, simply suggests that if you’re fully vaccinated, your risk of illness is now at the same level of other things we hardly pay attention to. To be clear, we fasten our seatbelts and we wear bike helmets… but we drive and we cycle.

Vaccines are not 100%. Some fully vaccinated people will get infected… but… will they get really sick? Will they wind up in the hospital? Will they die? Exceedingly unlikely, to the point of not needing to worry about it.

There are numbers out with respect to “breakthrough infections” – people who’ve tested positive after vaccination. Here in B.C., breaking down the ~79,000 positive tests between Dec 7th and May 1st, ~78,000 (98.1%) were people who were unvaccinated. ~1,000 (1.7%) had one vaccine. ~100 (0.2%) were 7 days past their second vaccination.

How many of those test-positives wound up in hospital or worse? It’s not broken down with respect to one dose or two doses, but 141 required hospitalization and 30 died. The average age of those who required hospitalization was 81, and the average age of those who died was 87.

It’s important to note that vaccines simply don’t work for everyone, and one of the reasons is that our immune systems deteriorate as we get older. For some people, there is no immunity response to the vaccine; and overwhelmingly, those are the ones who show up in the stats.

Summary – for the majority, vaccines work, and they work very well. They’re the quick path out of this… and, here in Canada, “out if this” means 75% of us fully vaccinated. At present, while our partially-vaccinated number is around 43%, our fully-vaccinated number is just 3.4%.

Restrictions may come and go until we get to partially-75% / fully-20% — sometime this summer – but when we get to that point, we’ll be gliding down towards the finish… and assuming enough of us are fully vaccinated, by fall… we should be arriving where others have already landed.

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June 8, 2021

By |June 8th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19, Space & Astronomy|9 Comments

“What could possibly go wrong?” – famous quote, and not words that should be spoken out loud. It’s a rhetorical question, best left to your inner thoughts; when you speak it out loud, you’re daring the universe to answer: “Well… let me show you…”

In the midst of the optimism of re-opening and getting back to normal comes a curveball being thrown at the world… the Delta (formerly “Indian”) variant of C19.

To begin with, it’s undoubtedly more contagious than any predecessor. The original UK variant (now known as Alpha) is 50-100% more contagious than the original strain that dominated 2020. And Delta is 50% more contagious than Alpha. Let’s hope this frat-house-inspired naming convention never gets to Omega.

One positive is that, generally, the more contagious it is, the less harmful it is. That’s not for sure, yet… but quite likely, this strain isn’t going to cause disease any worse than the previous strains. It’s just that it’s much easier to catch. Indeed, all the little spikes we’re seeing in different places – little spikes for now, but we all know what that can grow into – are caused by upticks predominantly of the Delta variant.

So… vaccines… how much protection do they have against it?

To begin with… the vast majority of people who’ve become infected with Delta have had zero vaccinations.

With one dose – you’re not there yet; the one-shot effectiveness of Pfizer/Moderna/AstraZeneneca on Delta is only about 33%, compared to north of 60% for other variants. It’s the second dose that makes a huge difference in this case.

But, beyond that… in the U.K., only three people who’ve been fully vaccinated have been hospitalized as a result of Delta. Three people out of 40% fully-vaccinated people out of a population 66 million people equals one in 9 million.

So, there’s no guarantee you won’t catch it. You may well catch it and never know it. You may be exposed to it and never know it… or catch some mild symptoms. But the big takeaway: If you’re fully vaccinated, you have a one in 9 million chance of being hospitalized due to the Delta variant. Sure, those numbers will get worse… bit it’s a good starting point. The equivalent of throwing 9 dice onto the floor. As long as they don’t all land … [Continue Reading]

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June 7, 2021

By |June 7th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|7 Comments

LottoMax has like $100,000,000 to give away tomorrow… but who cares! There’s far more excitement right here, trying to guess the weekend numbers!!

So… shout-outs to:

The pessimist award goes to Patti Tubbs with her guess of 766

The optimist award goes to Shalom Feigelstock with his guess of 317

The close-but-not-close-enough awards go to Asia Green (479) who missed it by 3 one way, and Elaan Bauder Gudlaugson (485) who missed it by 3 the other way…

And the winner is…

Well, to back up a moment… I never really clarified what I’d do in case of a tie… and especially in the case of a 3-way tie.

For today, there is indeed a 3-way tie. Three people guessed 480, and all three are 2 away from the correct answer of 482.

So… congratulations Sherry Keane! She was the first to guess 480, so she gets first prize! And I will award a second prize, to be split equally, between Melanie Segal and Andrew Brownsword – who also guessed 480… but after Sherry.

And if there’s a next time (yeah, there will be a next time) – the only person who’ll win is the person who guessed the answer first. I guess there can be ties if the answer is 100, and one person guessed 99 and the other 101… that’ll count as two wins. But duplicate guesses won’t count. In the future, only the first one gets it.

But today – all three of you, please send me your charities of choice!

Also interesting – but not surprising – I’ve attached a histogram of all the guesses. It’s not surprising to see a pretty even distribution… there’s definitely a bell-curve of sorts there. And it’s not surprising to see… the tallest column, the range of (475 – 525) – the one with the most guesses — that’s where the answer was.

There are two things I remember from stats class… one was the time a fly landed on the overheard projector – you know, the old-school ones where the transparency is on roll… and after you fill up the page with scribbles, you scroll it a bit… anyway, this fly had been bugging the prof for a while… and at one point it landed right in the middle of the transparency. He slammed his hand down on … [Continue Reading]

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June 6, 2021

By |June 6th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites, Science of COVID-19|51 Comments

Happy Sunday!

You might think there’s nothing good about B.C. being the only province that doesn’t update C19 numbers over the weekend… but you’re wrong!

… because it means… contest time!

I’m not sure how long I can keep doing this, because at some point the numbers get too low… but that’s a good thing. I hope the “It’s not worth running a contest” thing happens sooner than later… but, until it does, we’re doing it again: Take a guess at what the cumulative (Sat/Sun/Mon) new daily cases will be – put your guess in the comments below – and whoever is closest will get (besides *coveted* bragging rights) $100 donated to their charity of choice.

To help you with your integral calculus, statistical analysis, regression… or just good old-fashioned, plain, intuitive guessing… here’s what the last several weekend totals have looked like… and please note the very-encouraging and consistent dwindling towards zero:

Apr 24,25,26: 2,729
May 1,2,3: 2,174
May 8,9,10: 1,759
May 15,16,17: 1,360
May 22,23,24: 974
May 29,30,31: 708

Guesses will be accepted till noon tomorrow. Henry, Dix, Horgan & their associates are banned… but anyone else can play!

Numbers will be released tomorrow at 3pm… and I’ll post the winner at 5pm.

Good luck!

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June 5, 2021

By |June 5th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|0 Comments

There are lots of discussions going on with respect to what exactly happened to the flu this year. It was certainly expected that the social distancing and masking would have an effect, and that numbers would be lower… but nobody really expected it to be virtually zero. The number of pediatric flu deaths in the U.S. this season was exactly one (where it’s normally in the hundreds), and you can be sure that unfortunate kid caught it from a foreign traveller.

How do I know that? Because the flu, like C19, is a virus… and viruses need a breeding population of hosts that they can infect.

Unfortunate side-note for those of you who want to believe in Bigfoot or the Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster or the Ogopogo; perhaps the biggest show-stopper in there being a possibility of them existing is that you can’t have just one. You’d need a breeding population, and it’d have to be significant enough to perpetuate the species. They’d take up a lot of space, and there would be ample evidence (droppings, dwellings) to find, even if not the creatures themselves, whether on land or in the water. It’s not like “I saw *the* Ogopogo”; Lake Okanogan would have to have been teeming with them for centuries.

The masking, and sanitizing surfaces every 10 minutes, had a drastic effect. Flu probably arrived in North America on various airplanes, but died out with nowhere to go. No breeding population of hosts. In fact, so drastic was its demise that there are two common flu strains that may well be extinct. Around the world, there were zero cases reported of two particularly common strains; two that are always part of the annual flu-vaccine concoction. That, on its own, doesn’t yet mean they’re gone forever… but if they don’t show up next year or the year after that… well, it’s a virus. Unlike 200 BigFoots (Bigfeet?) that might be hiding in a cave somewhere in Sasquatch Park, there’s no hiding place for a virus. When the last one has no place to go, it’s gone forever.

It’s ironic that a couple of flu strains might be eradicated simply as “collateral damage”… while C19, with its variety of variants, is going to be around for a lot longer.

The bigger irony would … [Continue Reading]

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June 4, 2021

By |June 4th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|3 Comments

For old time’s sake, I’ve thrown in the graphs showing the progression of this pandemic from day one. If you look below, you’ll see three rows. The first row is the shape of the entire pandemic, going back to Feb 15th of last year. The next row is the second wave onward, starting Sep 8th of last year. You can easily see where that second wave fits into the graph above it. And the third row is the 3rd wave, as of Mar 10th of this year. You can also see where it fits into the one above.

It’s very interesting to note, looking at the column of the 3 B.C. graphs… that our first wave was relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things; it’s barely a blip in the big picture. That tiny little bump at the bottom left of the top B.C. graph; that’s it. Daily new case counts never broke 100 that entire time… compared to today’s number, +183, which sounds kind of low… and it is. It’s the lowest number since Oct 20th. It’s below what we’re considering the start of the third wave, where, at its worst, we were seeing more than 1,200 new cases a day. The same can be said for hospitalizations and ICU admissions… lowest numbers since November.

Looking at those towering subsequent second and third waves should remind us that, while things are certainly trending in the right direction, it’s not quite over yet. Those flare-ups happened for a number of reasons; reasons which haven’t gone away.

But, of course, one big thing has changed, and it’s not going away… and that is vaccines. And that’s what’s made the biggest difference of all.

On that note, I got my second-dose email today… the one asking what I want to do… get a second AZ shot, or wait a bit longer and get Pfizer or Moderna. Given the results I’ve been observing from what’s been published so far, for me, mixing it up with Pfizer might be the way to go.

There’s obviously a lot of discussion going around asking what’s the right move, and the answers differ. The original adage of “get whatever is offered to you” will never be wrong, especially for first doses. Get the one being offered to you. But what … [Continue Reading]

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