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April 27, 2021

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

Take a map of Canada and tip it to the left… like rotate it about 45 degrees. Now you have British Columbia on the bottom. If you imagine the population being 38 million little specs of dust all over the map, you shake it a bit, and the specs all fall towards B.C. To some extent, this is the understood path of migration of people in this country. Should you choose to move from wherever you are, there’s a good chance you’re heading west. Vancouver is continually voted one of the best cities in the world to live in; choosing to move somewhere around here is pretty sane.

On the flipside, our neighbours to the south do it very much the other way around. First of all, you have to tip the U.S. map 45 degrees to the right. That leaves Florida on the bottom. And then, the little shakeout is not the sane people… quite the opposite. How else can you explain disproportionate insanity that seems to emanate from The Sunshine State.

News headlines from Florida are in a league of their own… things like “Thousands of gun owners in Florida planning to ‘shoot down’ Hurricane Irma”

In fact, whenever you see a news story that starts off with “Florida man…”, you know you can expect the crazy. It’s such a thing that there’s even a Twitter account of exactly that – a collection of Florida Man headlines… with gems like:

Florida Man tries to rob GameStop while wearing transparent bag on his head

Florida Man denies drinking and driving, says he only swigged bourbon at stop signs

Florida Man stabs tourist despite having no arms

Florida Man asks trooper if he can leave the scene of crash to get more meth

Florida Man bursts into ex’s delivery room, fights her new boyfriend as she’s giving birth

Florida Man bored, calls 9-11 to talk about Hitler

Florida Man tries to evade arrest by cartwheeling away from cops

Florida Man trapped in unlocked closet for two days

This is an endless list that grows on a daily basis, and serves as a perfect introduction to the “crazy of the day” – a private school in Miami that’s barring contact between students and vaccinated teachers. Because, somehow, vaccinated teachers may pose a threat.

The school’s position: “Tens of thousands of women all over the world have recently been reporting adverse reproductive issues from being in close proximity with those who have received any one of the COVID-19 injections.”

That’s bullshit. There have been no such reports.

Also, “No one knows exactly what may be causing these irregularities, but it appears that those who have received the injections may be transmitting something from their bodies to those with whom they come in contact.”

Also bullshit… of the spectacular sort.

There is, of course, zero scientific credibility to any of this… and it’d be next to impossible to come up with anything plausible to explain it. Magical evaporation of vaccinated blood somehow making its way to bystanders? Just make up the insane narrative, shove it down peoples’ throats, and hope they swallow it. And many do.

The school’s response to being questioned on this policy: ““We’re doing what we think is in the best interest of the children because children shouldn’t be around teachers who are vaccinated.”

This is amusing at first glance, and then terrifying when you think about it some more. It’s frightening to think what else might be being taught to the kids there. We rhetorically ask… how can there exist people who think this way? The question and the answer are the same. Where do university-educated anti-vaxxers come from? Places like this.

The bigger problem is that this is all part of why the U.S. may actually never get to a vaccination percentage high enough for herd immunity. They have millions of doses available for whoever wants one… but the demand is waning. They’re at 43% of the population having at least one dose, but now some are saying they don’t want the second one… so there’s no real purpose in arguing what’s needed for full herd immunity. 70% 80% 90%… they’re all the same, because the way things are going, none of them will get reached.

It’s not incorrect to label this an issue of ignorance and bad messaging. The previous administration, the demonizing of science, the miseducation of large swaths of people… factors which add up and conspire against critical thinking and common sense. It’s perhaps not a lost cause for those who genuinely don’t know any better, but it’d require a big public-service effort of education. Back to school for everyone. Just… please… not that one in Florida.

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April 26, 2021

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

I play around a lot with my 3D printer… it’s here, beside me, in my home office, and the little series of sounds it makes while operating is good background noise; it’s not distracting… on the contrary, it helps me focus. And, at the end of it, you end up with some interesting (and sometimes useful) object. I have an endless list of things I and the kids have designed and printed… and I’m fascinated with the technology. This printer is already three years old, and there have been upgrades to it… many of which I’ve printed myself. How’s that for innovation – instead of sending you a part, they just send you a 3d blueprint – then you print the thing yourself. So cool.

That being said, it’s still an evolving technology. Some of these prints take several hours… and sometimes, halfway through them, just when you think it’s all going well, one little thing goes wrong and the entire thing is ruined. We’re all familiar with that concept these days.

I’m looking forward, as the technology progresses, to being able to print things with better consistency, and with more and more detail… and with a greater variety of materials. This one only does plastic, but this is the same technology that’s printing metal. And food. And houses. And human organs… one day.

Soon, these things will be printing with the finest detail possible… atom by atom. What would I print with that?

The first thing I would print is the tiniest violin imaginable… suitable for playing the sympathetic music due to the likes of the soon-to-be-former owner of the Corduroy restaurant on Cornwall, Rebecca Matthews… and Alaska Republican state Senator Lora Reinbold.

These two have misunderstood something, and they’re beginning to pay the price for it. What they don’t understand is that nobody gives a crap about them, and long after the issues of the day have become non-issues, they will be left holding the bag for the misguided messages they were propagating.

After Rebecca Matthews loses her business license, liquor license and whatever court case the City of Vancouver throws at her, she’ll be wondering where all of her supporters have gone. Where are the people that were chanting “Get out!” to provincial health officials when she was illegally operating her restaurant? Where is the crowd that was chanting outside her restaurant yesterday, reminding everyone that social distancing and masks and vaccines are all useless? Where’s Mark Donnelly?

Restaurants in Vancouver are a fickle business. 70% of restaurants fail in the first year. 90% are gone by year 3. Where’d everyone go? To the next one… the new one… the latest and greatest. That’s where all those people will have gone, and her GoFundMe will be puzzlingly disappointing. But that’s what you get for being the voice of unreason.

Similarly, Senator Reinbold is one of these freedom-fighting anti-maskers who doesn’t want to wear a mask in an airport or on a plane. Accordingly, Alaska Airlines has banned her indefinitely… a significant issue when Alaska Airlines is the only airline that services her hometown of Juneau. As a result, what would have been a routine one-hour flight getting home for her turned into a 14-hour road-and-ferry adventure. And, for the foreseeable future, she’s somewhat stuck if she needs to get anywhere in a hurry. Now she’s whining about the monopoly of air transport to/from Juneau… an issue that, of course, was non-existent a few days ago. I actually hope she resolves that “issue”…. so that United and American and Delta and JetBlue and Southwest… can also all ban her.

One thing that’ll never be 3D printed is intelligence, and the ability to think big-picture. And that’s too bad… because, as per above, there are at least two people who’d benefit greatly from it.

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April 25, 2021

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

Lazy Sunday… good one to sit on the couch and not do much… but a special shoutout to all my fellow Gen-Xers who managed to secure an AstraZeneca vaccine and are feeling somewhat hungover. Like the old days, the hangover fades after a few days… and, like in those old days, you sit around and wonder if it was worth it. And the answer back then is the same as the answer today.

Well worth it, eh… we’ll be all ready for next weekend. Let’s meet at Luv Affair or Twilight Zone… then maybe head over to the Purple Onion after a bite in Gastown somewhere.

OK, so this isn’t 25 years ago… none of that is likely to happen… especially since none of those places are still around… but this hangover is still totally worth it.

Back tomorrow with updated numbers across the board… then, with a clearer head, we’ll see where we’re at…

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April 24, 2021

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

The last time I wrote about India, it was to congratulate them on how well a country with some pretty awful conditions for large parts of its population was managing to keep things so well under control. It is actually possible to keep people in less-then-ideal situations safer than you think, and there’s no better example then our own Downtown East Side… which has pretty much reached what’s being called “significant herd immunity” thanks to the persistent effort of getting all of the at-risk and homeless population vaccinated… even resorting to bribing them with $5 gift-cards to do so. Whatever it takes. It’s the least Covid-infested part of town.

But whatever squalor you imagine on the DTES, it pales in comparison to vast areas of India… which is why it was so impressive that they were keeping things under control. Masks, social distancing, etc. So much for that.

I’ll resume the usual graphs tomorrow, but for today, here is a view of what’s going on over there.

The graph on the left is daily new cases counts since mid-March, with Canada and the U.S. thrown in for comparison.

That’s an insane graph to look at, but raw numbers aren’t necessarily fair when you’re comparing vastly different population sizes… so, the graph on the right normalizes it for every one million of population.

When you look at the graph on the left, you see the sheer numbers and how quickly they’re growing. But the graph on the right tells the real story; a month ago, they were doing well; better than us, and better than the U.S… as far as new cases go. Both countries have been bouncing around an average of ~200 new cases per million population for a while now, but India was down at less than 50 about a month ago… but now, as you can see from the graph, there’s no bounce in their step… it’s straight up.

That is textbook exponential growth, and I really have no idea what they’re doing over there to try to mitigate it… but if you were wondering what happens when you don’t do enough – or when you allow things to derail — there’s your answer.

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April 23, 2021

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

I can’t say I’m feeling particularly well today… but, on the flipside, it’s never felt so good to not feel so good. Hit me with the side-effects… I’m happy to have them! Headache, sore arm, zero energy, random little pains. It’s all good.

Here’s what’s not so good… if I told you the average C19 hospitalizations in B.C. over the last 5 weeks have looked like this:

Five weeks ago: 425
Four weeks ago: 441
Three weeks ago: 456
Two weeks ago: 483
A week ago: 502

… you’d say jeez… that’s not good. And it’s not… but what’s worse is that those aren’t weekly averages; they’re the daily numbers going back five days.

Let’s rewrite the day-over-day growth as a percentage, leading up to yesterday:

4/18 – 4/19: 3.8%
4/19 – 4/20: 3.4%
4/20 – 4/21: 5.9%
4/21 – 4/22: 3.9%

The average of that is 4.3%, but let’s just call it 4%.

At this pace, here’s how many hospital beds would be needed by these dates:

4/26: 611
4/30: 715
5/07: 940
5/14: 1,237

Fortunately, that’s unlikely to happen… but there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t have if things had remained unchecked. If people wonder why “senseless” restrictions get imposed, it’s precisely to avoid scenarios like this.

From the time a case is diagnosed to the time they make it to hospital, it’s about 10 to 14 days. Accordingly, the alarming numbers above are a reflection of that really bad stretch in the second week of April, and things have improved slightly since. Numbers have come off a bit, and today saw a 3.2% *drop* in hospitalizations… but both hospitalizations and ICU numbers are near all-time highs.

The travel restrictions imposed today raise lots of questions… and I would suggest everyone simply drop any questions that contains the words “technically speaking”. It would take a lot longer than the length of these restrictions (to the end of the May long-weekend) to come up with rules and wording that everyone would agree with. So, forget the wording… and just think about the spirit of what’s trying to be achieved here – which is to not spread cases from region to region, hot-spot to hot-spot. And when you don’t know where those regions or hot-spots are likely to pop-up, you mitigate for all of them.

I totally agree with the intent of these measures because it’s not hard to see the evolution of these numbers, and something needs to be done… but I do wonder how effective they’ll be. We will not have militant checkpoints and rogue cops. We will simply have, as usual, things being left up to us. I guess we’ll see how that pans out. Other words I really don’t want to hear one day are… “If only we’d…”

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April 22, 2021

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

What a beautiful day… to get vaccinated. Though, technically, any day you manage to get vaccinated is a beautiful one.

So… finally. It was my turn.

At the start of this thing, I optimistically agreed with the 12-18 month guesses, as opposed to the 2-3 year pessimists… and I landed right at 13 months.

How does it feel? Perfectly fine for the moment. Not even a sore arm… but if my reaction to the Shingrix vaccine is any indication, I may be in for a rough couple of days.

But that’s not the correct “How does it feel?” answer.

The correct one talks about profound gratitude… to the countless people, brains, hard work and perseverance that led to this. What’s the big deal, a little shot in the arm… the whole event taking less than 2 minutes?

The big deal, of course, is everything that led up to that moment… and the bigger deal is the implications for me and for everyone around me that lead from it. My chances of getting really sick or dying from C19 are near zero. My chances of getting sick at all, even a mild case, have gone down dramatically. And if I do catch a mild case, so what. Most people don’t care about catching a cold; you expect it every year. A few days of discomfort, and that’s it. And that’s how it’ll be with this… the next time I have the sniffles, it might be C19. Probably the rest of my life, every time I catch a mild cold, I’ll wonder. But won’t really care.

For now… relief. Every moment of every day is the beginning of the rest of your life… but we all have those moments where the impact hits hard; the day of your high-school graduation when you’re handed your diploma on stage. Or the day you hear “You’re hired.” Or the day you bring your kid home from the hospital, and there he or she is, a few days old, still strapped into the car-seat… staring at you, with a look in their eyes: “Now what?”

Yeah, now what… well, here’s what. For me, the beginning of the end of worrying about getting seriously ill from this thing. It’s actually a pretty wonderful feeling, though tempered by the fact that the kids who stared at me from that car seat so many years ago are themselves not yet vaccinated. But we’re getting there… every day is one day closer to the end of this thing for all of us… and that day, which will also be a beautiful day, can’t come soon enough.

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April 21, 2021

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

Finding a pharmacy that’s dishing out AstraZeneca is very hit-and-miss. If you’re fortunate enough to call up and find one that’s got vaccine and is booking appointments, please feel free to share the info here in the comments. Even though that info may be stale 10 minutes later, there are a lot of people looking… and they’ll be happy to take a chance. If you’re trying to find a place, feel free to check these comments as often as you like. Facebook doesn’t mind you refreshing this page every 10 seconds.

In the meantime, there’s a bit of confusion with respect to where you’ll be allowed to travel after Friday, once some temporary restrictions kick in. Essential travel is ok, but if you just want to go somewhere for fun, can you? And, if so, where can you go?

To simplify things, I’ve come up with a very simple formula that lets you know where you can travel. If you’re in Metro Vancouver, simply do this:

a. Take the first number of your postal code

b. Multiply it by 3

c. Add 3

d. Multiply it by 3 again

e. Whatever number you’re at now, add up all the digits in it

f. Look that number up on the list below. That’s where you can go:

1. Victoria
2. Kelowna
3. Nanaimo
4. Kamloops
5. Prince George
6. Vernon
7. Courtenay
8. Campbell River
9. Stay at home
10. Port Alberni
11. Fort St. John
12. Cranbrook
13. Terrace
14. Salmon Arm
15. Powell River
16. Quesnel
17. Prince Rupert
18. Williams Lake
19. Kitimat
20. Oliver

See… not so complicated. Easy-peasy-travel-easy.

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April 20, 2021

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

Yesterday’s vaccine announcement – the one where now, anyone 40+ can go and get the AstraZeneca vaccine – wasn’t entirely unexpected… and some intelligent, forward-thinking people, earlier in the day, booked themselves appointments. At worst, you cancel it if you don’t ultimately qualify… and, if you do qualify at the end of the day, great.

I wasn’t one of those people, so by the time I started browsing London Drugs and Shoppers and other big pharmacies, all appointments were solidly booked. That being said, being resourceful meant getting on the phone and calling little pharmacies – the mom-and-pop shops that aren’t part of the provincial system and/or don’t have online booking. It took a while… but, finally… success. Booked for Thursday!

In the meantime, I’m on numerous waiting lists… Shoppers, LD, the provincial system. I guess the thing to do would be to remove myself from those lists (*after* Thursday, of course…), but I think I’ll stay on them. Not because I’ll show up to any of those appointments… and it’ll be easy to say “No thanks” when the email or text comes in… but because I’m genuinely curious to see when I’ll actually sift to the top.

The truth is, the system shouldn’t actually work this way. There should be exactly one list, and if you didn’t know any better, you still might think there is… the big provincial list that’s a bit confusing; the one where anyone can register any time, but you’re told to wait till it’s your turn to register. And where registering only means you’re now on the long waiting list, till your cohort comes up.

But there’s more than one list. Shoppers has one. London Drugs has one. Ostensibly, the provincial system should feed into that, but this pandemic will long be over by the time that integration would ever take place.

That part of the system is broken, but what’s not broken is the demand. As obscure as it is to figure out how to book an appointment, it’s not like pharmacies are dealing with overflowing fridges of vaccine. It’s getting into arms as fast as it’s showing up. As long as that keeps up, great. We keep hearing that we’ll all have one shot at least by July 1st… and, at this pace, perhaps that’ll turn out to be true.

With parallel lines of vaccine deployment and demand still ahead of supply, the important part of it is happening. It’s not entirely fair, but I’ll put out there what I did to a lot of people yesterday: If you’re having problem trying to find a pharmacy to give you the shot, send me a PM and I’ll happily give you the contact details of the place I found. The one where me, my cousin, and several friends will all be visiting on Thursday. I am so looking forward to it.

And speaking of looking forward, we are in the midst of the third wave, so no need to keep looking at first and second wave info… the graphs below are all current and concise as to what’s been going on since March 10th… and also looking forward, below those are vaccination graphs. It’s nice, for once, to look at exponentially-growing graphs that convey good news. To hell with flattening the curve; these ones we want getting steep as soon as possible. And, to be honest, they’re looking pretty good.

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May 15, 2021

By |May 15th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report|9 Comments

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.

… [Continue Reading]

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May 14, 2021

By |May 14th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|3 Comments

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 … [Continue Reading]

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May 13, 2021

By |May 13th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|4 Comments

The concept of social engineering usually has a sinister implication… like when someone calls you up and cleverly extracts your banking password. Less sinister is a charity calling you up and guilting you into donating… by craftily knowing which heartstrings to pluck. There’s a whole spectrum of social engineering, and anyone who’s ever parented a kid has engaged in it, possibly without even knowing it.

Getting a toddler to eat food they don’t want? Make it fun… the train going into the station, the plane going into the hangar… whatever. Weeeee zoom…. munch munch.

When the kid gets older, convince them it’s food they like. Eat along with them… ohhhh so yummy!! MmmMmMMm!!!

When they’re older than that, bribe them… ice cream after dinner if you finish your vegetables. Or blackmail; eat your vegetables or you’re grounded this weekend.

To the extent it’s getting someone to do something they otherwise might not want to… but end up doing so – and it’s their decision – that’s a successful implementation of social engineering.

On a separate note, if you’ve been reading what I’ve been writing for a while, then you’ve heard me talk about planning… and you’ve heard me talk about the strategy of starting at the finish line… and working backwards from there. Rather than defining a starting point, simply start at the end… as far away as it might be and as impossible as it may seem. Then plan the baby steps that aim in that direction.

And… perhaps you’ve also heard me say… that if a problem is too big to solve, break it in half. Solve the halves separately, and once you’ve done that… problem solved. And if the halves are too big to solve on their own, break them in half again. Break it down till you have a small piece you can solve.

So… putting all of that together… one finish line that’d be nice to reach (though likely impossible) is: everyone socially distances, everyone wears masks, everyone gets vaccinated.

That’s a big problem, and is easily broken into three distinct pieces… so, how do you solve them individually?

The answer might involve some social engineering, but… sometimes, incredibly, some problems solve themselves.

The anti-vaxx/anti-mask crowd has put the word out that vaccines are dangerous. They’re dangerous because people who’ve been vaccinated … [Continue Reading]

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May 12, 2021

By |May 12th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|4 Comments

A few months ago, I was talking about vaccine envy… how all these people around the world had access to vaccines, and we didn’t. The natural consequence of that is to develop “reopening envy”… which is something we’re going to see a lot of in the next few months. Sure, we’re all getting vaccinated at a record pace now… but we’re months away from everyone being vaccinated, and even longer for getting back to normal.

I’ve been hearing from friends around the world, but you don’t need to go far. Wander into any nightclub in L.A. and it’s like 2 years ago… crowds, no masks, party time. “How irresponsible” you might think… except every single person in there has been fully vaccinated, and their second shot was several weeks ago. This is what the world looks like when things go back to normal, so don’t be shocked; it’ll take some getting used to after more than a year of paranoia, but if there’s any silver lining to being effectively last in the first world with getting back to normal, it’s that when we get the all-clear, the world will be waiting for us with open arms… because we will pose zero risk. Vaccination works, and the places who’ve been doing it for a while are now reaping the rewards. The U.K., where daily cases are down 99% and daily deaths can be counted on two hands, is set to significantly ease restrictions in 5 days… and, assuming that goes well, is set to fully re-open June 21st, the first day of summer. And fully reopen means just that. Fully. Full blast. Restaurants, clubs, theatre, concerts, museums, sporting events. No masks. Life as we once knew it.

We get to watch from the sidelines because we’re behind, but… rest assured, we’re very much heading in the right direction. Locally, more than 40% of B.C.’s population has been vaccinated… and that’s counting everybody. If you count only those who are currently eligible (18+), the number is over 50%… and we start approaching the lower levels of assumed herd immunity at round 70%.

Also, if you look below… I’ve thrown my two vaccination graphs. The one of the left shows the comparison between us and the U.S. with respect to daily vaccinations… what percent of people … [Continue Reading]

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May 11, 2021

By |May 11th, 2021|COVID-19 Daily Report, Science of COVID-19|6 Comments

Since 1980, the Vancouver Canucks have won fewer than 10 Stanley Cups. Also, since 1980, the Edmonton Oilers as well… have won fewer than 10 Stanley Cups.

While both of those facts are entirely accurate, they certainly fail to convey the real picture. But someone who’s not too sure can make that blanket statement, and nobody will argue it… though it might make you wonder if the person who said it actually understands what they’re talking about.

Similarly, the CDC has announced that “less than 10 percent” of C19 transmission is occurring outdoors. This number was picked up by the media and repeated… and has become the “de-facto” standard accepted description for the frequency of outdoor transmission. And sure, it’s without-a-doubt – accurate. The number is most certainly less than 10%.

What’s the real number? The actual number of documented outdoor transmissions may actually be lower than 0.1%, and even that is questionable. It may be a lot lower than that.

Part of it is defining what’s an outdoor space. A poorly-ventilated tent is not an outdoor space, though some stats have classified it that way. A huge outlier in outdoor transmissions has been data from construction sites in Singapore. For example, one particular study of over 10,000 worldwide instances of transmission found that only 95 of them were outdoors… and all 95 of them were from construction sites in Singapore. What gives?

That’s pretty simple, actually… those guys work outdoors in the hot sun, but eat lunch and congregate and relax in cool construction trailers, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. But since the job overlaps with indoor and outdoor spaces, and the classification needs one or the other, they erred on the side of caution and labelled it outdoor.

This erring on the side of caution is a problem, because it’s led to a lot of confusion and uncertainty. What exactly is risky? When exactly do you need a mask?

What the evidence is showing (though the guidelines still have to catch up) is that the highest risk – perhaps the only risk – is indoor spaces, especially ones that are poorly ventilated. Should you wear a mask while shopping? For the moment, absolutely. Vaccinated/not vaccinated/healthy/recovered… whatever… wear a mask. And understand why being in a crowded restaurant or bar for several hours is a … [Continue Reading]

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