June 12, 2021

Heading into the weekend without anything too exciting to report… other than I ran into a virulent (haha!!) anti-mask / anti-vax bike mechanic. The way some people reason things out… it’s quite remarkable. I won’t bore you with the details of it… by now we’ve all had those sorts of discussions with someone… but my front brake needed attention halfway through my ride this morning, so I walk into a random bike shop…

“Hi… I’m sorry, I don’t have a mask… I wasn’t planning on…”

(the guy rips his own mask off)

“Yeah, don’t worry about it… these f’n things don’t do anything anyway”

I’ve wondered out loud before how it is that those two things go so well together. Does anybody know anyone who’s anti-mask but pro-vaccine? Or vice-versa? I’d be interested in listening to rational arguments, but have yet to hear one.

And this guy?

“I’d rather die from Covid than from the vaccine. You don’t know what they put in it.”

The human brain… how it functions, and the twisted logic it supplies to some people… it’s a real mystery.

Instead of pursuing the rest of that discussion… speaking of mysteries… here’s a good one for you to rattle around your brain…

A long time ago, there were three friends who went camping. After a few nights, they’d had enough… and decided to head home early, and spend the night in a motel somewhere. They packed up their stuff, hopped in the car, and drove off, planning to stop at the first motel that had room.

Unfortunately, it was a busy time of year and everything was booked. They passed an endless stream of “No Vacancy” signs… but eventually, there was one where the “No” wasn’t lit up. So they pulled in.

The guy at the front desk told them he only had one room left. They asked if it’d be ok for all three of them to share the room. Yeah, sure, no problem… it’ll be $30 for the room. Great, said the three guys… and each dug into his own pocket and pulled out $10. They each handed their $10 to him; he counted out the $30… all good… and then they got their keys and headed to the room.

A few minutes later, the guy at the counter remembered that there was a special deal going on… and that a room for 3 people was actually only $25. Being an honest person, he opened the cash drawer and pulled out five one-dollar bills…and instructed the janitor, who happened to be sweeping up the lobby, to deliver the $5 to the room.

The janitor, however, wasn’t so honest… and as he walked over to the room, thought to himself… how are 3 guys going to split $5 anyway? He decided to just give them three of the bills and keep two for himself.

So… he knocked on the door… one of the three guys answered… and the janitor handed him three of the $1 bills.

Cool, thought the guy… and took the three bills, and handed a dollar to each of his friends.

So… since each guy originally paid $10 and now got $1 back, you could say each guy paid $9 for the room. $9 x 3 = $27. The bellhop kept $2. That makes $29.

What happened to the other dollar?

It’s a mystery! – and if you know the answer, don’t just blurt it out in the comments… let some people scratch their heads a bit.

Hint: the anti-mask / anti-vax bike mechanic doesn’t have it.

June 11, 2021

What does life look like post-pandemic? It’s pretty straightforward; it looks like it used to before, but with the back-of-the-mind consideration that Covid is still around. Having a clear understanding of what’s risky and what’s not — you keep it in mind — and life goes on. If this were a movie being told in flashbacks, we’re at the point where the past and the present start to converge… you know, those great movie scripts that weave all the timelines into something seamless.

What’s not so seamless is the return to normality, and differing opinions as to what’s ok and what isn’t. For example… there is both a huge outcry – and also a lot of “whatever” shrugging – with respect to the fact that the first cruise ship to embark in this soon-to-be post-pandemic era had a couple of people test positive. Was that to be expected? The ship’s captain – perhaps Captain Obvious – probably thinks so.

The most effective vaccines claim efficacy rates of no higher than 95%, and there’s a big difference between 100% and anything below it. That certainly doesn’t mean that 5% of people who are fully vaccinated will get C19. But it certainly does mean that there will be “breakthrough” infections, and until this virus is eradicated from existence, that’ll continue to happen.

If you’re fully vaccinated, your chances of getting infected are small. Your chances of getting infected and having symptoms are tiny. Your chances of getting infected and having serious symptoms, requiring hospitalization… are tiny squared – to the point of “don’t even worry about it.”

Out of the thousands of people on that cruise ship, the majority of whom were fully vaccinated and tested 72 hours prior to boarding, two (who were sharing a cabin) subsequently tested positive. Not surprising. They were completely asymptomatic; also not surprising. They don’t seem to have infected anyone else; still not surprising. They’re in isolation, but life aboard the Celebrity Millennium continues unabated. Nothing cancelled. No masks. The cruise company is sticking to its protocols and nothing is changing.

This is a very different scenario than the Diamond Princess… the cruise ship that set sail from Yokohama on January 20th of last year, with one infected passenger… and subsequently turned into a floating petri dish that at one point accounted for half of all of the world’s known cases. It wasn’t until March that they managed to get everyone off that ship… and there will be books and movies and documentaries made for years about what went on, at every level, during those 6 weeks. At least they didn’t scuttle the ship with everyone on board; you know some psycho in some board room must have come up with that idea at some point.

Back to today, and those two passengers. If they’d never been tested, they’d never have known. They had no cough and they had no sniffles and they had no problems breathing. For a few years at least, if not decades… if not forever… this virus will be in our midst. But at some point, a point we’re quickly approaching, we’ll all have done everything we can. And, at that point, the exact right thing will be to get on with your life as you know it.

Many of us are still in freak-out mode, and that’ll take a while to dissipate… the PTSD of C19 paranoia… which is why many of the reactions to this news story we were of the “I can’t believe anyone would be so stupid as to get on a cruise ship today!!1!1!!!!” sort.

While I recognize that it’s an uncomfortable idea to many, I can also totally understand the mindset of the people on that cruise. Eventually, we’ll all get to a level of comfort where we can lead our lives based on the best quote of the best script of the best movie ever made: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

June 4, 2021

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 about second doses for those who had AstraZeneca for round one?

It’s up to you.

“ASAP” is never wrong.
“The same as the first dose” is not wrong.
“Recent reports imply Pfizer for round two is a good idea” is also not wrong.

Some people are making noise that this goes against the manufacturer’s recommendations and, indeed, NACI’s original recommendation was also against it; stick to what you got.

But, guess what… originally in this pandemic, we were told we wouldn’t need masks. Suddenly, we were told we do. Why? Because it’s all a scam and a sham and fraudulent and Bill Gates and Fauci and 5G and…. No… it’s not that. It’s because *science*. That’s how it works; you learn something new and you course-correct. Nobody was “wrong” at the time; they made their suggestions as best they could; with incomplete information. And as information rolled in, better decisions could be made.

Here’s a decision I hope most people agree with; no matter what flavour it is… get that second dose. It gets us all one step closer, and looking at the pretty graphs and numbers, there’s no doubt we’re going in the right direction.

May 22, 2021

Masks / no masks, vaccines / no vaccines, social distancing or not, 5G, Bill Gates, Fauci, Tam, Henry, Chinese conspiracy, whatever… there are many things to disagree upon… but one thing upon which everybody seems to agree is that healthy doses of sunshine and vitamin D (don’t overdo it) are a good combatant against Covid. Early on in the pandemic, it was noticed that the vast majority (if not 100% in some cases) of seriously ill patients were found to be Vitamin D deficient… and this is one vitamin where, if you’re lucky, you can get plenty of it for super-cheap.

So that’s what I’ve been doing most of this day, and I hope you’re out there as well, infusing yourself with this free healing power… especially since next week, we’re back to little pills if you want your Vitamin D fix. Vancouver, you know.

By |2021-05-22T17:04:29-07:00May 22nd, 2021|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

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 14, 2021

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.

May 13, 2021

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 are “shedding certain proteins” onto the unvaccinated, and that can cause the defenceless unvaccinated people some serious health problems. Let’s be clear: they’re saying that it’s dangerous for an unvaccinated person to be near someone who’s vaccinated.

I’ve written about this baseless nonsense before, and destroyed the logic behind it into the tiny pieces of crap of which it consists. This is beyond stupid, and anyone who believes it should just… oh… wait a sec…

The anti-vaxx/anti-mask/anti-social-distance/anti-intelligence/anti-science crowd also says… the only way to protect yourself from these dangerous vaccine proteins is… socially distance and wear a mask.

Yes, you read that correctly… the anti-everything crowd… they’re not afraid of a virus that’s affected 160,000,000 people worldwide, killed between 3 and 10 million of them, and has caused tens of millions more some serious lingering or permanent health issues… no, that’s not the problem. The problem is the vaccines to neutralize all that. But the solution? Masks and social distance. Huh.

I guess perhaps if you ride the crazy train long enough, you end up at the same station where everyone else has already arrived.

You know what… great. Wonderful. All that social engineering? Not needed. Whatever works.

See that guy over there, respectfully standing a few metres away and wearing a mask? He might be a level-headed intelligent, informed person such as yourself. Or… he may be a stark, raving lunatic. Does it matter? Hell no. Welcome aboard, crazy-guy. We’re all in this together… and you just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We’ll both be ok. And, with that… two thirds of the problem is solved.

The final third… how do you get that guy to get vaccinated? That’s more difficult.

One of the simpler social-engineering tactics is already being thrown at it: Bribery. It works for some little kids and food… perhaps it works for some adults and vaccines.

Locally, homeless residents of the DTES have been offered $5 gift-cards… but that pales in comparison to the U.S… where you can get beer, pizza, train tickets, scholarships and, starting this week in Ohio… $1 million dollars. Yes, a random name will be pulled once a week for the next 5 weeks… and if the name pulled is someone who’s been vaccinated, they’ll receive one million dollars. Expensive… but, one would have to assume, effective.

Or… for the truly crazy… who’ll believe anything, and like propagating nonsensical conspiracies… how about this…

Put it out there that they’ve created a vaccine that prevents your skin from absorbing the evil C19-vaccine-shedded proteins! It’s really hard to get; they don’t want you knowing about it… but… I know a guy… and, hey… totally coincidental and ironic how that new secret vaccine comes in little vials that are identical to what you get from Pfizer or Moderna… and the side-effects are similar too… but no no no… it’s totally different. See the label? Totally different.

It’s worth a shot.

May 12, 2021

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 got a shot today? Less than 0.2% there, More than 0.7% here… and that trend is widening, and we are days away from, per-capita, having a more vaccinated population than our neighbours to the south… even though they’ve been drowning in surplus vaccine for a long time. Yo, once again… if you’re not using it, send it up here… we have lots, and we’re plugging through it, but we could certainly use more.

So… in a nutshell… there’s bad news in the past, there’s good news in the future… and there’s a bit of frustration that it’s going to take longer than we’d hoped to go from one to the other. But… rest assured; we’re getting there, and, rather than being envious, perhaps it’s comforting to see other places that already have. That’ll be us.

May 11, 2021

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 lot different than a quick in-and-out at the mall to pick up something you need.

There are a lot of people wearing masks outdoors, but the science is implying that it’s almost entirely unnecessary. Sitting outside for several hours in close proximity to a lot of people is still not a good idea. Sitting outside next to one particular person, talking for hours, is also still not a good idea. It’s not an issue of being inside or outside; it’s an issue of proximity and potential viral load. Someone infectious breathing on you with conversation for hours is a risk, no matter what the venue. But when you’re outside, even a concentrated blast of virus dissipates very quickly. The distinction between droplets and aerosols and where they come from and how far they can reach and how long they can linger… all of it becomes rather moot when you’re outside, as in truly outside. It disperses… quickly.

So what about walking around on the street? Sitting around on a park bench by yourself? Should you be wearing a mask? As it turns out, the negligible risk implies maybe not. It might be the equivalent of walking down the street wearing a helmet… just in case a flowerpot falls off a window ledge.

An analysis of over 7,000 cases in China found exactly one case of outdoor transmission… but it was two people in conversation, in close proximity, for a lengthy period of time. And many other studies have concluded the risk of outdoor transmission to be insignificant.

That particular 0.1% number comes from analyzing numbers in Ireland… roughly 260,000 cases, roughly 260 of which were classified outdoors… but, again, that included construction sites and people in close proximity for long periods of time… with perhaps some indoor time included. Also, some sporting events… but it’s changing rooms before and after that are the real threat. Covid-19 ripped through the Canucks dressing room and affected most of the players and coaches and some others. But no opposing players caught it from any Canuck.

But… we’ve been erring on the side of caution, and we’ve gotten used to it… and it’ll be a while before people are comfortable with the idea of being around others without a mask, no matter where you are. And for the all-or-nothing crowd – where the only choices are black or white, right or wrong… there’s no easy way to convey this information. At the end of the day, there are circumstances where a mask is absolutely necessary. But by providing one single case where it’s not, you’ll hear back “You see?! We don’t need masks blah blah blah I’m not listening blah blah blah!!” – end of discussion.

So… as exaggerated as it’s been, that’s been the messaging. It covers the all-or-nothing crowd, much like saying the Canucks have won fewer than 10 Stanley Cups.

I, for one, would love to see the Canucks win at least one in my lifetime… and I’d like it to be in a crowded Rogers Arena along with 20,000 other people. And the silver lining of this is that, of course, by the time the Canucks are in any shape to win a Stanley Cup, masks will long have been a thing of the past.

But for now, if you need a general rule, wear a mask. And if you understand the big picture of all of the above, and especially if you’ve already had a jab or two… you can certainly start thinking about taking it off outdoors, especially if there’s nobody around.

I realize this isn’t yet the official messaging, but soon enough, it will be… because if you believe in science… and it’s the science that’s helping get us out of this mess… this is what comes next.

May 3, 2021

I’m writing this while watching today’s provincial update with Dr. Henry and Minister Dix. I used to watch this every day, but not so much anymore. What’s interesting is that, recent details aside, it’s the same old thing… and why wouldn’t it be? The message hasn’t really changed. Or, at least, shouldn’t. This is a perpetual Public Service Announcement. Act responsibly, be kind, do the right thing, etc. To a great extent, I think they realize they’re preaching to the choir. There’s not a single person watching this today thinking, “Gee – that’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll start doing that.”

One thing to clarify… hearing them claim that 41.5% of eligible B.C. residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. The key word there is “eligible”… because if you remove that word, the correct number – the number I’ve been tracking – is 36.5%… and the reason is that, at some point, the eligibility list, which at present does not include anyone under the age of 18, will change… and that denominator will change, and the percentage will drop. But for now, according to what they’re saying, it’s 41.5%… and that number should grow to 100% well-before July 1st. It won’t, because, as we know, not everyone who’s eligible for a vaccine will want one… but it’s a good target. It would be achievable, but it won’t happen… not because of lack of supply or logistical challenges. It’ll simply be because of vaccine hesitancy and denial.

What happens after that is as good a guess as any. Will that mean we’ve reached herd immunity? Probably not. The answer last year might have been yes, but these new variants are more contagious, meaning a higher Rø… meaning a higher percentage threshold of immunity is needed. The hard-set 15% of naysayers were never going to have their minds changed. But it’s in the next 25% where you’d find that tipping point… the “maybe” crowd. Somewhere in the 60% to 85% range, where herd immunity exists.

But also, reaching herd immunity here in B.C. might not mean much when we’re such an international hub of travel. We’re 30km from the U.S., which will never reach herd immunity. We have flights coming and going from every high-risk area, present or future.

I am all in favour of vaccine passports and anyone screaming about freedom and human rights might be forgetting the convenient fact that nobody has the human right or freedom to impose disease upon anyone else. Keep your mask-less face and anti-vaxx attitude far away from those who want no part of it. If you think you’re free to not wear a mask or get a vaccine, you must to agree that those who disagree with you should be free to not want you around. I fully support a “Covid-free passport” requirement for entering this province… and notwithstanding the optimism with respect to locally getting things under control sooner than later… we are not an island, and we will never be truly isolated from this virus.

But that doesn’t mean things can never get back to normal. They can… and they will. It might just take longer and it might look a little different. One way or the other, though… we are racing towards a finish line.

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