June 10, 2021

The most notable fact that emerged from today’s C19 update was one that was implied by the numbers… but it was nice to hear it stated officially: that the Ro (R nought) of C19 in B.C. is now below one. This is the number that indicates, on average, how many people get newly infected from someone who’s already got it. A number less than one simply states this thing is fading away; if everyone is infecting, on average, less than one other person, we’re very much headed in the right direction.

The Delta variant is likely to affect the velocity with which we ultimately get close to zero, but it doesn’t matter too much. If we keep doing what we’re doing – primarily, keep getting vaccinated – it’s hard to imagine that number bouncing back up. Like I said yesterday, it’ll never go away completely… but it’ll be relegated to just one more other annoying seasonal disease that’s very controllable.

One thing that’s clear with respect to how the PHO handles things; they will be cautious and certain before they pull the plug on any restrictions… for one big reason: once a restriction is lifted, it’s not coming back. It would take a serious derailment for something to be re-imposed after it’s been removed. At least, that’s the idea… which is why even though it looks like today is a good day to take a step forward, it’ll always wait till next week. This comes from watching what’s happened around the world and, unfortunately, will happen again… where people’s impatience, rather than the science, drives the policy. But here, they’ve set conservative but achievable goals… and they’re sticking with them. Accordingly, everything is pointing to moving to the next re-opening phase on June 15th, where outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed, indoor parties of 50 people will be allowed (with C19 provisions in place), provincial travel restrictions will be lifted, liquor will be served till midnight and a number of sport and gym-related restrictions will be eased.

Dr. Henry has taken a lot of crap from people for what they consider her heavy-handed, draconian and excessive policies… but the fact is, these policies have worked really well. In hindsight, all the people telling you “You see, it wasn’t so bad” should be reminded that it was *because of* — not *in spite of* — these policies that we made it through this relatively unscathed, compared to so many other places.

And again, don’t take my word for it. Those other places who are so keen and impatient on reopening ahead of schedule… are places where things are likely to look a lot different.

May 25, 2021

When airplanes land, there’s a lot of maneuvering that takes place in the last 40 minutes… you start descending from the cruising altitude, and you navigate in such a way that you’re lined up with the runway. Depending on other traffic, there may be a holding-pattern loop or two… or you might need to speed up or slow down. You’ll hear the flaps being deployed, which gives the wings more surface area, and the ability to “lift” at slower speeds. But after all the turns and changes in velocity and changes in control surfaces… eventually, you’re lined up with the runway on final approach… and you’ll know you’re there because you’ll hear the landing gear drop. There are no more turns once the gear is down; barring some unforeseen circumstances, you’ll be landing shortly.

Today’s optimistic provincial update felt that way; it felt like the landing gear coming down. There is a clear, straight path ahead of us, and, barring something unexpected, we all step off the plane in early September… and this bumpy, nightmarish, turbulent 15-month flight is over.

Today’s dropping of the landing gear also brought about dropping the circuit-breaker restrictions… as well as a number of social-distancing measures. It was a great day for restaurants and other small businesses.

Step two, in mid-June, with further restrictions being lifted, will feel like the moment when the plane kisses the runway and then slows down and heads for the gate… and you, also, will be kissing people… in gatherings of 50 or more… indoor and outdoor.

Step three, in early July, will be that moment when the plane stops at the gate, goes “ding”, and everyone takes off their seat-belts and gets up. And it’s not just you lifting your sore butt off that seat; that’ll be the moment the provincial state of emergency is lifted. The moment the public health emergency is lifted.

And then… that waiting period… of “just open the damn door and let me out of here”… a couple of months of that, but, by then, things will be feeling pretty normal. We’re on the ground and plane has stopped. We’re not going to die.

I won’t fill in all the detail of what happens on all of those dates; check out the official government site for all that… but I will mention that an important aspect of all of this is that we stay on the path that got us here. At the moment, our excellent vaccination rates are causing our case counts and hospitalizations and ICU admissions to plummet, and that’s a necessary part of this; these steps rely on the adult population continuing a path towards complete vaccination.

We’ll never get to 100%, but the targets set out by this plan are easy to achieve. In fact, although I doubt they’d shift much, there’s room to bring these dates forward. We’re at more than 60% of the adult population vaccinated today, and it only needs to get to 65% in mid-June and 70% by July. If we achieve that, we’re there.

A lot has been asked from all of us throughout the last 15 months, but perhaps the biggest ask is this last one; get vaccinated. It makes a profound difference for all of us, something we can plainly see from the numbers.

I’ve been on flights where moments from touchdown, suddenly you’ll hear three things in unison; the landing gear going back up, the flaps being retracted, and the engines revving higher. This is the good-old aborted landing, and it causes three things to go up by at least 20: the minutes of flight time, your diastolic blood pressure… and the percentage chance of you missing your connection. It sucks, and that’s what this would feel like if vaccination rates tail off or numbers stall in their descent.

We’re almost there, and this part is now pretty easy… because if you’re already vaccinated, you can do a lot more than what you could do yesterday. And if you’re not… what a great day to pick up the phone or go online… and get registered.

Look out the window of the plane; it’s a beautiful day and we’re close enough to the ground that you can see lots of familiar sights. Did you miss them?

Me too… but you’ll be visiting them soon enough. Let’s just land this thing.

May 24, 2021

These long weekends used to scare me a bit because it’s like flying blind for a few days. We might wake up Tuesday morning to find 3,000 dead and 400,000 new cases. It never happened (not even close), thankfully, and I guess that’s why when B.C. decided to pull the plug on weekend updates, they never came back. But I certainly appreciated they updated numbers today… and they were as good as we can hope for… beautifully following that descent to zero. Today’s less-than-300 new cases was the lowest since Feb. 1st… before the 3rd wave.

For the most part, the other interesting numbers to follow these days (barring a 4th wave appearing suddenly and out of nowhere) are the vaccination numbers. On a per-capita basis, we’ve pulled ahead of our southern neighbours, and it’s to no great surprise. We are vaccinating as fast as we can; they are not.

Other broad brush strokes… our military is 85% vaccinated, and that number would be higher were it not for logistics… so it’ll keep rising. On the flip side, the American military refusal rate is somewhere between 33% and 50%, depending who you ask.

Military aside, what about the general population?

In the U.S., it looks like this…

Democrats: 67% vaccinated + 24% asap or waiting = up to 92% eventually, with 8% saying never.

Republicans: 46% vaccinated + 22% asap or waiting = up to 68% eventually, with 32% saying never.

In Canada, it looks like this…

Already vaccinated or will eventually / outright refusal:

NDP: 79% / 9%

Liberal: 84% / 5%

Conservative: 69% / 19%

Seriously, what is it with right-leaning mindsets? Why does conservative equal vaccine hesitancy? Is it because they don’t trust the government? Is it because they don’t trust science? Is it because it’s not in the bible? Or it IS in the bible in some hidden way?

The first time I ran across this sort of horseshit was when I was only 13 and it was pointed out to me that the new American president (Ronald Wilson Reagan) had 6 letters in each of his names. 666… the sign on the beast. Clearly, he was the anti-christ… notwithstanding he was himself a staunch Republican. Seems about as valid as the fact that Reagan can be spelled/pronounced Ray-gun – queue the space lasers and World War III.

If you like this sort of nonsense, get this:

C=3
O=15
R=18
O=15
N=14
A=1
——
6 66 — run for the hills!!!!

… or just trust the science and get vaccinated. Jeez.

May 21, 2021

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.

May 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 26, 2021

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.

April 19, 2021

The “Presidency” of Augusto Pinochet in Chile lasted until early 1990. But you can’t really call him a President, because the Republic of Chile never actually democratically elected him into power.

So… in other words, when I was living there in 1987/1988, life under a military dictatorship was in full swing. It meant that a lot of the civil liberties we take for granted here in Canada simply didn’t exist. But other things, that we do take for granted *not* to exist… did. Such as… checkpoints.

Whenever you run into a checkpoint here… 99.9% of the time it’s to sniff out DUIs. The checkpoints are strategically placed so that if you find yourself heading into one, there’s no escape. Just over the hill on the Granville St. bridge, southbound – heading out of downtown on a Saturday night – is a good example.

And as you approach it, you will feel one of two things. If you’ve been drinking, dread. Fear. A complete freakout. And now you get to pay the steep price for making the poor decisions that put you in this situation.

Or, you haven’t been drinking, and you feel a mix of relief and indignation. Relief that you get to have a brief and friendly chat with the cop before you’re on your merry way… and a bit of indignation. How *dare* they stomp on my civil rights. Who do they think they are. I should be free to drive wherever I want. This is a free country. I should be able to do whatever I want.

We’ve been hearing a lot of those sentences recently, in a very different context… but these two different contexts will be merging a bit on the near future, much to the horror of civil libertarians.

Living under a military dictatorship kept you on edge. Every single time I went through one of those checkpoints… and, might I add, they not only popped-up unexpectedly, but many were semi-permanent. Imagine a checkpoint in the middle of the Lion’s Gate Bridge. In both directions… License and registration and insurance, please. Why isn’t this car in your name. Why are you going downtown. Who do you know on the north shore. How often do you travel this route.

That would be a permanent checkpoint… a little hut in the middle of the bridge, manned by a solider 24/7. Except it wasn’t 24/7… just to mess with you, sometimes the hut was empty and you could just go through. Just to mess you with and keep you on edge.

But usually, it was manned… so, you’d jump through the hoops; you let them execute their little power trip, you acquiesce to their bullshit. And unless you’re actually up to no good, you’re unlikely to have a problem. I was asked a lot of stupid questions… “Where’d you get that car radio?” “Canada? Is that one of those little states way up north?” but it was never more than a few questions before “Have a nice day”.

I’ve been back to Chile many times post-1990, and all of those checkpoints are gone… but the little huts are still there. And I drive by them now and think… what was the point of that. Seriously, what was the point.

Well, the point was that they wanted to keep you in fear. They wanted to constantly remind you… don’t forget who’s in charge. We control you. Don’t, for a minute, think you’re free.

It took a radical change in government to get rid of that but, rest assured, the right-wing military junta of Augusto Pinochet had zero in common with today’s NDP government of John Horgan… something to remember when people start screaming about today’s announcements… that for several weeks, travel restrictions… where you simply shouldn’t leave your local area. And you may run into a checkpoint. It’s temporary and it makes sense, but, oh boy… here comes the screaming and yelling from the freedom/liberty crowd.

I don’t expect to get pulled over at any checkpoint because I don’t expect to be transiting from home any time soon… but in a warped way, I’d look forward to it… because I wouldn’t be able to not compare it to my experiences from 30 years ago… the difference between slowly pulling up to a young, potentially itchy-trigger-fingered solider armed with a loaded semi-automatic weapon… and some VPD or RCMP cop whose only job in this context is to try to keep people safe. I’d look at today’s checkpoint and realize that the cop is on my side, that this is temporary, that this is necessary… and resign myself to the fact that we put ourselves in this situation.

It’s more serious than many people realize, but that’s counteracted by the measures already in place which *are* having a positive effect… and warmer weather, and vaccines. The outcome of this collision course is approaching… do we go the Israel route or the Ontario route in the near future?

Well, let’s look at the Chile route. Way ahead on vaccinations, and fully locked up… because they took that freedom and abused the hell out of it and things went from being under control to totally messed up. That’s what can happen. That’s what might happen here if strict and sudden measures weren’t put in place. So ironic that checkpoints in Chile might have prevented their full-on lockdown.

Around here… may I say… temporary. Can I repeat… temporary. As in – what we need to do today, so that we don’t all have to be doing this forever. I’m pretty sure we can do this for just a few short weeks.

I sure hope so. Otherwise, it won’t be short and it won’t be weeks.

April 15, 2021

In answering a lot of “Ask me next year” questions, I can’t help but touch upon a topic I wrote a lot about last year… but haven’t touched recently.

Just my opinion, but the U.S. has gotten itself into quite a pickle. If you’re a typical, normal, right-leaning American who usually votes Republican because, above all, you favour their economic policies, you’re not facing a great situation. You want the Republican party, but you don’t want the racist misogynist narcissist that presently leads it. Your former president is as unhinged as ever, and that will never change… just get worse. From his point of view, you’re with him or you’re against him. His VP, Mike Pence, stuck with him through high and low, but that didn’t stop Trump from sending him to the lions on January 6th.

Mitch McConnell made his own deal with the devil… one he’s very much regretting. True to form, now that he and Trump are on the outs, he’s facing his own version of getting kicked to the curb. A few nights ago, Trump called McConnell a “stone cold loser” and a “dumb son of a bitch”. That honeymoon is certainly over.

The problem is that the populist Trump has a huge crowd of support and, as we’ve all learned, a significant percentage of that crowd is unshakable. And if Trump dumps the GOP and goes Independent, he will take most of those people with him, and those people, at present, make up half of the Republican voting base. In that scenario, if the GOP votes were to be split in half, there’s a reasonable chance the next election might be a 50-state sweep for the Democrats, a scenario no Republican wants to contemplate. Third-party candidates appear all the time, but rarely have a significant impact. One has never swung an American election one way or the other… but Trump certainly would. Sweep or not, the election wouldn’t be close, and it wouldn’t be a reflection of what the majority necessarily want… a scenario that’s actually not so uncommon.

Municipally, left-leaning Kennedy Stewart is the mayor of Vancouver… elected in 2018, having beaten the NPA’s Ken Sim by only 1,000 votes… something like 50,000 votes to 49,000 votes. Wai Young, who’s further to the right than Ken Sim, got close to 12,000 votes… the vast majority of which would’ve gone to Ken Sim.

Provincially, we saw it here in 1996 when the right-wing split-vote brought in a Glen Clark NDP government with only 39% percent of the popular vote.

Chile similarly saw it in 1970 when Salvador Allende won that election with only 37% percent of the popular vote, the right-wing having split the other 63%.

The U.S. could be next… so, for the moment, the GOP is stuck with Trump… and their bigger problem is that with cult populists, it doesn’t necessarily go away when the head guy goes away. We’re living it here, where the ghost of Pierre Trudeau lives on in Justin. In the U.S., there can potentially be 8 years of Don Jr. followed by 8 years of Ivanka followed by 8 years of Eric. By then, Barron will be over 40 and it can be his turn. Don’t think this isn’t exactly what they’re try to do.

Indeed, now that the cult of Trump is well-entrenched in the Republican party, those who don’t like it find themselves in quite a conundrum… because, perhaps, there’s no way out. But that’s what happens when you dance with the devil. Sometimes you wind up in a mortal embrace. And then you get burned.

April 14, 2021

About as close to hell on earth as one could ever imagine was Auschwitz. A final destination for countless innocent people, murdered for no reason other than their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or mental capacity. Most people know that part of it… but here’s something perhaps you didn’t know…

Most of the people arriving there didn’t know the fate that awaited them; they thought they were being resettled, and this was just a temporary stop. That’s what they were told. And they were told they could bring with them up to 100lbs of personal belongings.

As you might imagine, if you had to move on to a whole new life and could take only 100lbs of stuff with you, what would it be? Jewellery, watches, furs… your best clothes. Tools, medications, things for kids. Tinned food for the journey, alcohol… as many things of value as you could within the allowable limit.

Many of those people were murdered within hours of their arrival. What happened to all that stuff?

It wound up in an increasingly-growing and well-organized storage complex which ultimately occupied more than 30 buildings and “employed” more than 2,000 prisoners to sort through the stuff. For the prisoners who managed to get this work detail, it was the dream job. While they were tasked with organizing the goods for distribution for use in not only the camp, but all of Germany, they also would secretly procure what they could for themselves and their friends and family.

And what was it called, this large storage facility… this place of abundance and food and opportunity, smack in the middle of hell? It was called Kanada. Indeed, for all of these people caught in hell, the Kanada warehouses were named after this abstract distant place where nobody had ever been, but they could only dream… of freedom and abundance and wealth and opportunity. One of the very few who escaped Auschwitz (and wrote the report that blew the whistle on the whole operation) was Rudy Vrba, who made his way to Canada. To Vancouver, in fact, where he wound up at UBC, a professor of pharmacology.

We here in Canda take for granted what all of those people only dreamed of. This ever-lasting abundance of wealth and opportunity… but, more fundamentally, food and drinkable water… the latter of which literally falls from the sky. Sometimes endlessly.

Which is why it’s weird for us when all of this stuff we take for granted isn’t readily available. What do you mean you’re out of toilet paper? What, you don’t have a single bottle of hand sanitizer back there somewhere? How can you be out of masks? Many of those questions from last year have been replaced with a single one: Where’s my vaccine?

It’s odd for us here in Canada to be feeling that mindset. For many people, their entire life is a struggle to procure those basic necessities… but never here. And what makes it more odd is seeing the rest of the world having access to something we want, and being unable to get it.

The “out” we have here is that we know it’s coming; just be a bit patient… and that’s certainly the way it’s always been in Canada. Not so much in Kanada… which is why, while I grumble when I read the news that forty-nine percent of Republican men don’t want the vaccine or that forty percent of the U.S. military were offered it and refused it… well, that really sucks. But we’re in Canada, so… eventually, it’ll be ok. We have the privilege of hanging in there a little longer, not something everyone, presently of historically, has had. So we’ll take it.

April 13, 2021

The good old “abundance of caution” is back in the news, thanks to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which, like the AstraZeneca, is in the spotlight for potentially causing blood clots. Both of those are adenovirus vector vaccines, as opposed to the mRNA Pfizer/Moderna vaccines (no accusations of blood clots there), so that adds to the correlation.

Here are some numbers:

In the U.S., close to 7 million doses of J&J have been administered. There have been reports of 6 potential cases of blood clots. That’s less than a one-in-a-million chance of developing this particular complication… and one of those cases was lethal, so there’s a close to one in 7 million chance of dying from the J&J vaccine. If it’s responsible for that.

Of the 6 cases, 100% of them were young women between the ages of 18 and 48.

Here’s something else that young women ages 18 to 48 do… they take birth control pills, and they have babies. If you throw that into the mix:

We hear that 1 in 1,000 women on birth control develop blood clots. The number is actually a little lower… more like 0.3 to 0.9… as in 3 to 9 out of 10,000. Also relevant is that in the 3 months after giving birth, that number goes up to 40 to 60 out of 10,000.

I really have no idea how much of that applies to these particular women, except to note that throwing a one-in-a-million factor into it changes nothing. It’s the sort of rounding error that gets lost in the mix. Insurance companies view events beyond one-in-a-million as “impossible”, which makes them easy to insure.

Nevertheless, in this age of litigation and ass-covering and risk mitigation, the CDC and FDA slammed on the brakes until everyone dances around a bit and indemnifies themselves, and then they can get back to it.

In the meantime… as with AstraZeneca, I assume the U.S. is sitting on large shipments of unused J&J vaccine. J&J has, for the moment, halted shipments to Europe. Don’t let it go to waste! We here in Canada would welcome it with, literally, open arms.

Dr. Henry and Premier Horgan and Minister Dix continually remind us all that our infrastructure presently supports much more vaccine-delivery capacity than the supply that’s feeding it. Great! Please secure a few million unused doses of that J&J and get it up here. Perhaps don’t make it the first choice to give young women (optics), but I know a lot of old men (I’m one of them!) who’d happily, unquestionably, without hesitation and with profound gratitude accept it.

Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen… one, because we here in B.C. have zero leverage to be asking for anything… and two, the Americans will quickly come to their senses and realize that even if these two vaccines, J&J and AstraZeneca, actually introduce a one-in-a-million chance of a complication, the benefit is far outweighed by the risk… and the intelligent thing would be to resume vaccinations as soon as possible. As soon as the $2,250-per-hour lawyers are done with it, they’ll be back in business.

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