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Day 13 – March 29, 2020

By |March 29th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

Today’s update will be brief… because B.C. doesn’t update numbers on Sunday, so anything I post is incomplete and/or speculative. Just for fun, I’ll do just that… we do have numbers for Ontario and Quebec (as well as a few, much smaller numbers from other provinces), so I am going to make an educated guess about how many new cases B.C. had today, fill it in with all sorts of warnings that this is pure speculation based on math, and we will retrofit and adjust things tomorrow when the official numbers are announced.

Given recent trends, I’m going to assume 105 new cases today, bringing B.C.’s total to 989, and adjusting that to the national total, 6,385 total cases in Canada. Which, might I add, if accurate, would make it a pretty good day all around. But I won’t comment on any of it until we have some real numbers; more on that below.

But while I’m here, let’s talk about recent numbers and recent trends. Not counting today’s guesswork.

The “how often is it doubling” question is being thrown around a lot, in many different contexts. Let’s call it Time To Double (ttd). Since I am dealing primarily with new cases, I will focus on that.

The higher the exponential growth, the quicker the ttd. I’ve included a little chart below the graphs that shows the ttd with relation to the percentage growth. The cells highlighted in yellow show the crossover point where the number has doubled. In this example, how long does it take to double a 10 to a 20?

For 10%, it doubles somewhere between the 8th and 9th day.
For 25%, somewhere between the 4th and 5th day.
For 40%, it’s somewhere between day 2 and day 3.

[I've edited this post and removed some numbers — I'm not comfortable making projections based on guesses. Real numbers come out on Monday and I will provide more (accurate) detail.]

As I keep saying, we’re in the middle of this grey zone where the social isolation number hasn’t caught up to the incubation period number. Provincially and nationally. Every day we don’t see a huge spike is one day closer the bottom of the big rollercoaster drop I mentioned yesterday. But without real numbers, I think we’ll leave it at that … [Continue Reading]


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Day 12 – March 28, 2020

By |March 28th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

There’s that feeling you get when you sit down in a rollercoaster… first of all, what the hell am I doing, do I really need to be doing this… but once the thing starts moving, there’s no way out, so the impending dread as you start going up that first big hill… click-click-click as the chain underneath pulls the train slowly… wow, this thing is going a lot higher than I thought… click-click-click… this was such a stupid idea… click-click-click… ugh, this is a lot steeper than it looked… click- ohh.. no more clicks. We all know that means…

… and as the train gains momentum and sends you flying down that first huge drop, two things will come to mind… one, this part of it will thankfully be over soon and two, now you have a clear idea just how steep it was. Which serves to illustrate where we are today with respect to the numbers coming our way in the next little bit… there is a finish line to them, a week to ten days… and we once we hit that bottom, we will know exactly how steep things were.

Given where we are today and as per what I wrote yesterday, I don’t think we need to close our eyes and scream and hope for the best. It’s looking better than that. At least, on paper and at least, for now.

In B.C., although we had the largest one-day increase in cases yet, it’s perfectly in-line with our linear growth. Dr. Henry, for now, would like to see that number consistent at 12% which is roughly where it’s been. The average of the last 10 days is actually 11.1%. Today’s number was 11.6%. Yesterday was 9.2%. Nice solid straight yellow line, right in the sweet spot. And might I add, I am tracking total cases as they accumulate, not factoring in recoveries and deaths. The outcomes of these cases is a whole separate topic. But on that note, while we saw an increase of 92 new cases, we also saw 121 cases moved to the “recovered” column. As far as these numbers are concerned, today in B.C., there are less active cases than yesterday.

Canada’s number is bigger, but also consistent and also, slowly, hopefully, for now… going down day by … [Continue Reading]


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Day 11 – March 27, 2020

By |March 27th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Life in Vancouver, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

To circle back a bit on something I said yesterday… with a bit more detail…

The incubation period of a virus (which is up to 14 days in this case) indicates the period of time where someone might be infected, but not show any symptoms. Some viruses can be contagious during that time… as is this one.

In B.C., we were told to go home (and stay home) sometime around March 16th — 11 days ago. It was a bit of a loosey-goosey following to begin with… but it tightened up a few days later… 19th or 20th. Let’s call it 8 days ago.

With an incubation period of max 14 days… and without a serious lockdown until 8 days ago, we have a trailing 6 days where we were all going about our daily business, feeling fine and possibly not too concerned about the possibility of either passing this off or getting this from — someone else. Unfortunately, during that time, both of those things could have happened.

Which means, at this moment, we have this big unknown for the next 6 days… where we might see a spike in cases. The degree of that spike remains to be seen. That’s the potentially bad news.

The potentially good news, however… is that not all cases take to the last minute to show up, so we can learn a bit about what’s happened so far. During these 8 to 11 days of isolation, cases have certainly shown up… and our (for the moment, and hopefully forever) very capable medical infrastructure has been dealing with them.

Also, every single case that developed during that time in (proper) isolation, infected, at most, the people isolated around them. Let’s say that person is isolated in a home with 2 others. The N went to, at most, 3N.

What would have happened if that person were wandering around, not isolated?

R0 (“R nought”) is the number assigned to describe on average how many people someone who’s infected is likely to themselves infect. COVID-19 seems to have a R0 of around 2.2.

So… that one person, instead of infecting just those closely around them, might be outside somewhere infecting 2 or 3 random people. And those people might each infect more people. And if that’s happening every few days, after 3 weeks, that’s repeated … [Continue Reading]


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Day 10 – March 26, 2020

By |March 26th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

Fun fact: Both South Korea and the U.S. reported their first case of COVID-19 on the same day: January 20. The present-day outcomes are so different that it’s worth understanding what they did (or didn’t), and where our approach, provincial and national, fits in.

The answers are long and complicated and will be discussed and argued for centuries, but it can all be distilled down to one brief and accurate summary: South Korea did a lot; the United States did not.

One thing South Korea did was test the hell out of this thing, as far and wide as they could. They developed and administered thousands of tests almost instantly — like a week — and were quick to isolate those that tested positive. The U.S.… didn’t. They stuck their heads in the sand for a bit, called it no big deal, and did little except stop incoming flights from China… but as far as I know, the COVID-19 virus is not a member of any particular frequent-flyer club. It doesn’t care what airline it flies, nor where the flight originated. Once it’s on the plane and headed somewhere, it’s landing and it’s sticking around.

It was initially thought that community transmission wasn’t a concern… the U.S. thought it, we in Canada (and here in B.C) thought the same; we will find cases, we will isolate them, the cases will resolve and it shouldn’t be a big deal. The risk to you and me is low. A month ago, there were only 7 cases in BC, and all of them could be traced to close contact.

South Korea’s initial jump of cases had a lot to do with their prolific testing, but what comes after is what’s worth noting. Their impressive flattening of their curve has everything to do with their reaction… isolate. And when it became apparent that community transmission was indeed happening, that’s the only reasonable course of action: Social/Physical distancing.

Since our testing hasn’t reached everyone, and since we don’t yet have antibody tests that would tell us who’s already had it, the only reasonable course of action is to pretend everyone has it, and act accordingly. Indeed, the way to think about it isn’t to assume everyone has it… and keep away. It’s to assume you have it, and … [Continue Reading]


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Day 9 – March 25, 2020

By |March 25th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Sports & Gaming, Space & Astronomy, Philosophy, Art & Literature|12 Comments

At some point, we are all having “one of those moments” these days… it can last a minute… or an hour… sometimes, all day. The first thing I do when I update these charts every day is to enter the date, and today, when I entered Mar-25, I had one of those moments.

Seeing that date reminded me… that in some non-pandemic-infested parallel universe somewhere, the Canucks are playing the Sharks tonight, and I have tickets to the game.

I was really looking forward to it… because it was bound to be an exciting game. This is exactly the time of year when we’re typically fighting for a playoff spot, and usually, it’s a situation like the Canucks have to beat the Sharks, but also, the Ducks have to beat the Flames. And it’d really help if the Avs could beat the Oilers, just in case we lose, because then, next game, yada yada…

All of that occurred to me because… wow, do I miss that. I would so much rather be doing that sort of math… than this.

But here we are, so let’s look at these numbers… and hope that one day soon, all of us can get back to the things that feel so incredibly far away right now.

And, for what it’s worth, today was a good day. BC had a good day, and Canada overall did as well.

That yellow BC line looks good… for now. That will change in the coming days, and Dr. Henry was asked about how many cases she thinks are out there, as opposed to just confirmed cases. She will discuss it Friday morning, with some detail on the modelling they’re using to arrive at these estimates. There is a big difference between confirmed cases and actual cases… how big remains to be seen. But at least today, around here, it was a sunny day in many respects.

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