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April 11, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.


I lifted this image from the Sunday edtion (April 11) of the New York Times -
FRONT PAGE, TOP OF FOLD.
For those of you who don't remember when news was printed on paper, that means 'this is the most important news in the world today!!!' To make it onto the NYT Sunday Edition means 'this is the most important news story in the world this week'. To get a 4-colour infographic there means 'this is the most important news story in the world this month - or longer'. Now that they have our attention ...

Have a good look at the 3 panels. Here's my interpretation for you. Panel 1: Dec. 7 2020 - it took 8 months after the pandemic was declared to reach this state, while many of the most powerful national leaders were explicitly telling their citizens the pandemic was a hoax, no countermeasures were needed, and actively obstructed health guidance.

Panel 2: Feb. 1 2021 - it took only another 8 weeks to get to this point because the B.1.1.7 variant completely changed the game, despite the fact that health countermeasures were now mandatory in the countries shown in colour, and citizens certainly knew by then that the pandemic is not a hoax.

Panel 3: March 22 2021 - in another 7 weeks with all these countries on high pandemic alert or in lockdowns of one kind or another, somewhere between 60% and 100% of the COVID-19 viruses being screened are the B.1.1.7 variant. And case counts in most of these countries are rising - despite heightened awareness and countermeasures - as the VoC ratio rises.

We know the B.1.1.7 and P.1 variants are more transmissible and more potent than the original COVID-19 variant, and we didn't really shut it down.

Canada ski resort linked to largest outbreak of P1 Covid variant outside Brazil
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/11/canada-ski-resort-p1-covid-variant-whistler

South African variant can ‘break through’ Pfizer vaccine: Study
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/11/s-african-variant-can-break-through-pfizer-vaccine-study-says

On a positive note, my wife was called into work today (not the positive part) because the pharmacy where she works was overwhelmed by the volume of walk-ins for vaccinations. This is the way. (They still have lots of supply).

Take care of you. Get the shot. Follow the health guidance to reduce virus spread.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For world vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

How 'excess deaths' show COVID's real impact, and point to better ways of combating pandemics
https://nationalpost.com/health/how-excess-deaths-show-covids-real-impact-and-point-to-better-ways-of-combating-pandemics

TLDR 1: Disinformation on COVID-19 has killed people, and continues to do so
TLDR 2: An economics researcher who set out to prove the lockdown measures were excessive did some actual research and analysis. The results of his study changed his mind. Good data and analysis matters.

Curious takeaway - it's more dramatic than the excess deaths data show. Jurisdictions that implemented real health countermeasures actually LOWERED mortality rates over the baseline during the pandemic. Australia's mortality rated dropped 3%, saving 4,500 lives compared to their expected deaths trend line.

Australia is regarded as a fairly right-wing, libertarian, pro-extravism country by most. But pikers on the COVID-19 disinformation file by comparison to Alberta.
17 UCP MLAs revolt against Alberta government’s renewed COVID-19 restrictions
https://globalnews.ca/news/7744125/alberta-covid-restrictions-ucp-mlas-letter/
It's as if 2,000 mostly preventable deaths (and rising) in Alberta didn't matter.

COVID-19 hit Canadians harder than it should have, thanks to an epidemic of mediocre government
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-covid-19-hit-canadians-harder-than-it-should-have-thanks-to-an/

Empty Appointments At Mass Vaccination Sites Mark New Priority: Hesitant & Hard-To-Reach Oklahomans
https://www.kgou.org/post/empty-appointments-mass-vaccination-sites-mark-new-priority-hesitant-hard-reach-oklahomans

Ten cases of COVID-19 at Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa since Wednesday
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ten-cases-of-covid-19-at-loblaws-real-canadian-superstore-and-shoppers-drug-mart-in-ottawa-since-wednesday-1.5382525
(My wife works at one of these locations. Trust me, these are essential front-line workers. The stakes are higher with UK, SA and other variants of concern on the ground locally now.)
https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/reports-research-and-statistics/daily-covid19-dashboard.aspx

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
'Nuff said above.

;-) Still not feeling it.

Take care of you. Don't become a statistic.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 10, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

All I can really say for today's COVID-19 items is, I couldn't make this stuff up.

Canada sets new single-day COVID-19 record with 9,244 cases
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canada-sets-new-single-day-covid-19-record-with-9-244-cases-1.5382102

“Over the past week, the number of new variant cases has more than doubled,” [Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa] Tam said Friday.

That terrifies me, particularly in the context of plague province inaction on real health measures to date. If that doesn't terrify you, look up the Rice And Chessboard Story, and do the math.
https://www.dr-mikes-math-games-for-kids.com/rice-and-chessboard.html
Your starting point is 27,901 confirmed variants of concern cases for Canada on April 9th.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/tracking-variants-of-the-novel-coronavirus-in-canada-1.5296141

If the doubling rule is valid (and the graph suggests it is), by next Friday that number will exceed 54,000, and by April 23rd, over 108,000. We will have broken the emergency health system in the plague provinces by then.

Related headlines from yesterday:
B.C. reports 1,262 new cases of COVID-19
https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-reports-1-262-cases-of-covid-19-as-province-tops-1-million-vaccine-jabs-1.5380927
Alberta adds 1,521 COVID-19 cases on Friday
https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/alberta-adds-1-521-covid-19-cases-on-friday-1.5381719
6 COVID-19 deaths, 358 new cases reported in Sask.
https://regina.ctvnews.ca/6-covid-19-deaths-358-new-cases-reported-in-sask-1.5380929
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Manitoba school
https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/covid-19-outbreak-declared-at-manitoba-school-1.5381456
Ontario reports 4,227 new cases of COVID-19, nearly topping single-day record
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-april-9-2021-1.5981122
COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Quebec with 1,683 new infections
https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/covid-19-cases-continue-to-rise-in-quebec-with-1-683-new-infections-1.5380973
For the other 7 of Canada's provinces and territories: TANZANC.
New case reports April 9th:
NB:7; NS: 2; PEI:1; NL: 3; NU: 0; NT: 0; YT: 0 Total for 7 jurisdictions: 16 new cases reported yesterday.

Does anyone else detect a pattern here?

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For world vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Complacency and Missteps Deepen a Covid-19 Crisis in India
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/09/world/asia/india-covid-vaccine-variant.html
This is sounding dire. India may need to keep all the vaccines it produces in-country for export (including to Canada) to deal with the new outbreak. From the teaser newsletter:
'After cases dropped in December, many Indians shed masks and resumed normal life. Leaders also began acting as if the problem were solved, allowing large Hindu religious festivals and political rallies.

'The variants of the virus may have also played a role, but the country doesn’t do enough genetic sequencing to know for sure. India’s sluggish vaccination drive has also been dogged by complacency and public skepticism. If inoculations don’t quicken, experts say it will take India more than two years to inoculate 70 percent of its population.

'The surge in India is a troubling development for the broader pandemic. The sheer number of new infections creates a breeding ground for possible new variants that could be resistant to vaccines, or better able to reinfect people who have already had the virus. India is also a large producer of vaccines, and the Serum Institute of India has said that practically all of its daily production of about two million doses will over the next two months go to the government, delaying commitments to other countries.

'“India’s size is going to dominate the global numbers — how the world performs on Covid is going to be very dependent on how India performs on Covid,” said Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington. “If it is not over in India, it is not really over in the world.”'

Michigan’s scary slide
The outbreak in Michigan is bad and getting worse. Hospitalizations have more than tripled in the last month, and cases continue to spike. About 7,200 new cases are being reported each day, a sevenfold increase since late February.

The state is home to 16 of the 20 U.S. metro areas with the highest per capita new infections
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/23/upshot/five-ways-to-monitor-coronavirus-outbreak-us.html

Only 71.8% of doses delivered to Canada's provinces and territories have been put into peoples' arms. This number is actually falling, as variants of concern are becoming dominant. In Ontario, that number is 72.9%.
It's not that impressive when you consider these numbers are for all doses received since December 2020, not just recent shipments. Put another way, Ontario currently has 1,541,159 doses in the province which are still seeking recipients. (April 9th data) And more arriving weekly. (I have covered the increased transmissibility - even outdoors - and greater impacts of the newer variants of concern on younger people before. The rules for schools aren't the same now as they were in the fall of 2020.)

Ontario issues emergency orders to bolster hospital capacity as cases soar
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-issues-emergency-orders-to-bolster-hospital-capacity-as-cases-soar-1.5381845

ICES COVID-19 Dashboard
OVERVIEW OF COVID-19 METRICS IN ONTARIO, For the WEEK OF March 28 - April 3, 2021
https://www.ices.on.ca/DAS/AHRQ/COVID-19-Dashboard
My big takeaway from this site: "[Vaccination] coverage was lowest in the FSAs with the highest COVID-19 neighbourhood risk and highest in the FSAs with the lowest risk". (FSA is the initialism for Canada Post's Forward Sortation Areas. For mortals like me, that means the first 3 characters of the postal code, e.g. K1A.) Let's not confuse supposed vaccine hesitancy for lack of actual vaccine accessibility.

We need to get smarter about who we are prioritizing for vaccines, how we deliver them and making sure we don't waste any due to expiry or inept logistics.

Why Mississippi Has Few Takers for 73,000 Covid Shots
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/09/health/vaccine-mississippi-demand.html

“We Are Hoarding”: Why the U.S. Still Can’t Donate COVID-19 Vaccines to Countries in Need
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/04/why-the-us-still-cant-donate-covid-19-vaccines-to-countries-in-need
Spoiler alert (from the article):
'The contracts the Trump administration signed with the vaccine manufacturers prohibit the U.S. from sharing its surplus doses with the rest of the world. According to contract language Vanity Fair has obtained, the agreements with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen state: “The Government may not use, or authorize the use of, any products or materials provided under this Project Agreement, unless such use occurs in the United States” or U.S. territories.'

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
COVID + stupid is a potent combination. It frightens me that our leadership seems unwilling or unable to control either.

;-) No humour today. I don't have it left in me.

Take care of you. Don't become a statistic.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 9, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Virus epidemiology appears to be changing in third wave, expert says
https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1882906691980

Canada on track to surpass U.S. in number of new COVID cases relative to population
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-could-soon-surpass-u-s-in-number-of-covid-cases-relative-to-population

Quebec extends lockdown for Gatineau until April 18 as COVID-19 cases rise
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/quebec-extends-lockdown-for-gatineau-until-april-18-as-covid-19-cases-rise-1.5379912

Canada's past advantage was better health guidance compliance, which led to lower transmission rates of the virus. Sadly, this has been fully undermined by our plague province premiers valuing populism over governing responsibly. And now the slightly more restrictive mockdowns will ramp up in hopes of not completely overwhelming the ICUs and watching the death tolls and counts of long-haulers go up as the younger, healthier people are falling to the variants of concern.

We can still make this worse. Why are our elected officials so determined to do so?

Take care of you. Get the shot as soon as you are eligible.

The only way Canada could have had access to more vaccine doses at this stage is if we had invested in domestic production capacity over the past decade. Our governments chose instead to reject investments in knowledge workers and value-add and focus on extractivism.

Related to above?
Canada's public health data meltdown
https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/canadas-public-health-data-meltdown/

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For world vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Canada has triple the number of cases of the COVID-19 variant P.1 than the U.S.
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/canada/what-we-know-about-p-1-the-covid-variant-devastating-brazil-and-spreading-in-canada

The end of “hygiene theater”
"You can put away the disinfectant and stop wiping down your groceries.
"This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines on the dangers of coronavirus infection from touching a doorknob, a subway pole, or other surface. The risk is extremely low.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/health/coronavirus-hygiene-cleaning-surfaces.html

When the plague won: a history of vaccine hesitancy
https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/when-the-plague-won-a-history-of-vaccine-hesitancy/

3M Brockville Plant begins rolling out Ontario-made N95 respirators
https://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/manufacturing/3m-brockville-plant-begins-rolling-out-ontario-made-n95-respirators-268599/
Good news for domestic PPE production and employment in Brockville.

Canada receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through global vaccine initiative
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covax-first-shipment-canada-1.5979777

'You listen to them die': Blind woman shares harrowing experience in ICU with COVID-19
https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/you-listen-to-them-die-blind-woman-shares-harrowing-experience-in-icu-with-covid-19-1.5380452

I'm not the only one who is taking issue with Ontario's inability to provide internally consistent information on what a 'lockdown' means. At least this version is a little bit entertaining.
https://twitter.com/matttomic/status/1379793885522714630/photo/1

Rome is burning and we fiddle with lockdowns
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/ginny-roth-rome-is-burning-and-we-fiddle-with-lockdowns

Ontario's new 'stay-at-home order' is the province's latest pandemic humiliation
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/chris-selley-ontarios-new-stay-at-home-order-is-the-provinces-latest-pandemic-humiliation

After his latest outing, Doug Ford is officially anti-worker
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/04/08/after-his-latest-outing-doug-ford-is-officially-anti-worker.html

Your money or your life? Scott Moe's tragic miscalculation
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/opinion-lewis-muhajarine-neudorf-1.5978305

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
53% of Canadians on the brink of insolvency: MNP survey
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/53-of-canadians-within-200-a-month-of-insolvency-mnp-1.1587379

;-) COVID Days: Something to look forward to after 'now':
     "I'm having people over to stare at their phones later,
     if you want to come by."
     ~ Anonymous

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 7, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

The big news is that yesterday I got my first vaccination dose. Astra-Zeneca. Estimated time to next round is 120 days, date to be provided later. Pretty painless - like other vaccinations. I'm feeling a bit low on energy this morning, but this is comparable to some flu shots I have had. And now life goes on in COVID-standard fashion for a few more months, because it takes weeks after the injection for the first shot to achieve potency, and the second shot is still to come, but there is a sense of relief and that progress is being made.

Next optics dilemma - what to do with expiring vaccines?
Some Albertans get COVID-19 vaccine ahead of schedule as pharmacies distribute leftover doses
https://globalnews.ca/news/7739141/alberta-health-covid-19-vaccine-pharmacies-leftover-doses/
As much as queue-jumping could be a problem, letting vaccines go to waste when the overall objective is to vaccinate as many as possible as quickly as possible seems the bigger issue to me. However, if an elected official were to show up with a van load of family and friends who were not yet eligible, I don't think that would go over well.

What strikes me as a bigger problem still for now is, the number of people who are eligible for vaccines based on provincial/local rules, but are not signing up for vaccinations, or for whom transportation to the injection site is a formidable barrier. Fortunately, in some areas, there are services like Pink Cars which will help seniors book their appointments, and provide transportation where needed.
Pink Cars helping seniors in York Region get to COVID vaccine appointments
https://globalnews.ca/video/7712596/pink-cars-helping-seniors-in-york-region-get-to-covid-vaccine-appointments/

Free rides in Barrie for seniors getting their vaccinations.
Community organizations help connect seniors to COVID-19 vaccine
https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/community-organizations-help-connect-seniors-to-covid-19-vaccine-1.5355852
There are likely other similar grassroots initiatives popping up in other communities.
(File under 'caremongering')

Ontario's website has this information:
"For help with your booking through the provincial online vaccine booking system , please call the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line (available in more than 300 languages) at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY 1-866-797-0007)"

In Ottawa and Renfrew County, seniors and adults with a physical disability can get help with transportation to and from your vaccination appointment - if other options are not available - via organizations within the Champlain Community Support Network. (Minimum 48 hours notice required to set up with volunteer drivers.)
https://communitysupport.covidresponse.ca/transportationvaccination

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

Climate Change

Net-zero emissions targets are vague: three ways to fix
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00662-3

If we want to show we're serious about reducing GHG emissions, we need to report the validated numbers on a quarterly basis by jurisdiction. I may not like how major corporations are treating our environment, but I do recognize the strength of their measurement, reporting and management systems for focusing action in their desired directions. We also need to change the channel on how we compensate and punish private sector ventures on GHG emisisons. Perhaps we can provide accelerated depreciation for capital investments related directly to reducing net GHG emissions, but make it so that fines and other financial penalties for missing targets are not tax-deductible business expenses.

China generated over half world's coal-fired power in 2020: study
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-china-coal/china-generated-over-half-worlds-coal-fired-power-in-2020-study-idUSKBN2BK0PZ

New research: Photovoltaics can make the world fossil-free faster than expected
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/au-nrp032921.php

New batteries give jolt to renewables, energy storage
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210405143400.htm
"Researchers have been exploring the use of low-cost materials to create rechargeable batteries that will make energy storage more affordable. Now, they have shown that a new technique incorporating aluminum results in rechargeable batteries that offer up to 10,000 error-free cycles."
If this technology makes it to market, will Canada use the aluminum it makes to create the base for a new core renewable energy technology, or just ship aluminum off-shore to create green jobs elsewhere?

Darkened reservoirs can blot out hydropower's climate gains
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00552-8

Mobilizing youth for systemic climate action
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/road-ahead-mobilizing-youth-climate-action-1.5973603

Battery storage system planned for Regina's northwest
https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/battery-storage-system-planned-for-reginas-northwest

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
"To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the
tail and swing you around is another."
~ Katherine Paterson, Jacob I Have Loved

;-) "To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions,
     I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can
     be President of the United States."
     ~ George W. Bush

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 6, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Today is National Family Caregiver Day. It's always been a tough gig, usually unpaid. The pandemic definitely raised the stakes in terms of risk for these invisible heroes.
For more information and support, visit (for Eastern Ontario)
https://www.champlaincaregivers.ca/?mc_cid=2e7f80c22d&mc_eid=6cbd766958
For all of Ontario, visit
https://ontariocaregiver.ca/

As it's also tax season, here's a link for the Canada caregiver credit
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html
During the pandemic, you may also qualify for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html

Almost 2.2 million more vaccine doses coming to Canada this week as COVID-19 cases spike
https://nationalpost.com/news/almost-2-2-million-more-vaccine-doses-coming-this-week-as-covid-19-cases-spike

A local pharmacy called to tell me they received 1,000 vaccine doses Saturday. However, they can't administer the dose unless people arrive with one of the provincial booking system barcodes and an appointment. As of end of business Monday, it appears no one has received a shot from this inventory. Perhaps today.

As of Monday evening, Canada reports 75.5% of vaccines doses delivered to provinces and territories have been administered. In Ontario, the corresponding number is 74.7%.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa medical officers call for provincewide stay-at-home order
https://globalnews.ca/news/7739272/covid-toronto-peel-ottawa-stay-at-home-order/

Deadly variants driving up ICU admissions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCQB2aVHioc

Will the more deadly COVID-19 variants ruin our summer? Here’s what experts are saying.
https://globalnews.ca/news/7738781/covid-variants-canada-summer-2021/

Busy Yorkdale mall frustrates small business owner
https://dailyhive.com/toronto/busy-yorkdale-small-business-shutdown
Photo in this article illustrates what a Doug Ford 'emergency circuit breaker' lockdown really means in Ontario.
"The mall says it closes doors once it reaches 80% of its allowed capacity to control for crowding."
That's not the same as 25% capacity nominally allowed for stores under the circuit breaker rules.

Health Canada issues advisory for disposable masks with graphene
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/health-canada-issues-recall-disposable-masks-1.5974867

US removes AstraZeneca and puts J&J in charge of plant that ruined vaccines
https://www.trtworld.com/life/us-removes-astrazeneca-and-puts-j-j-in-charge-of-plant-that-ruined-vaccines-45593

Peel Region orders schools to close, moves to remote learning starting tomorrow
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/peel-region-orders-schools-to-close-moves-to-remote-learning-starting-tomorrow-1.5375073
Another reason regions in Ontario need to be able to call their own pandemic health measures. Conditions vary from area to area, and we need our health officials to protect us when our provincial government is not prepared to do so.

(Digital) Deception

MSSP eSentire says hackers using LinkedIn profiles for spearphishing
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/mssp-esentire-says-hackers-using-linkedin-profiles-for-spearphishing/445461
Don't open .zip files from anyone you don't thoroughly trust. If it is someone you thoroughly trust, contact them using a fresh contact path (e-mail not a reply; text; telephone, etc.) to confirm they did actually send the suspect attachment. If they didn't, delete the email and attachment. If they did send it, scan it for viruses and malware before opening it (and don't open it if a problem is detected). Ditto for .doc, .xls, .tar, .ppt, .exe and any other files which are executable or can contain macros or otherwise launch code on your computer or smart phone.

Is it a problem if someone is prepared to give away your possibly outdated, personal, private information, when you gave it away previously?
Leaker says they are offering private details of 500 million Facebook users for free
https://nationalpost.com/news/leaker-says-they-are-offering-private-details-of-500-million-facebook-users-2

There's Something Phishy Going On
https://www.tangerine.ca/forwardthinking/insights-and-perspectives/theres-something-phishy-going-on

At Least 30,000 US Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft's Email Software
https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/03/at-least-30000-u-s-organizations-newly-hacked-via-holes-in-microsofts-email-software/

Hackers breach thousands of security cameras, exposing Tesla, jails, hospitals
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/hackers-breach-thousands-of-security-cameras-exposing-tesla-jails-hospitals-1.1574681

Microsoft warns of new threat against unpatched networks
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/microsoft-warns-of-new-threat-against-unpatched-networks-1.1576057

Ransomware the top attack type in Canada last year: IBM report
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/ransomware-the-top-attack-type-in-canada-last-year-ibm-report/442909

Ontario’s Lakehead University hopes to resume classes this week after cyberattack
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/ontarios-lakehead-university-hopes-to-resume-classes-this-week-after-cyberattack/442792

Infosec expert says mandatory cyber incident reporting is worth considering in Canada
https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/infosec-expert-says-mandatory-cyber-incident-reporting-is-worth-considering-in-canada/442869

GameStop shares sell off after company finally decides to cash in on frenzy and issue new stock
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/gamestop-1.5975680

Sorry CBC, you need to do your own homework and not trust Associated Press for fair reporting on this story. GameStop did not issue new stock. On the contrary, today's announcement was that they had updated a 2020 filing to increase the amount they may raise by selling up to 3.5 million shares (unchanged) due to the recent increase in share price since December 2020, and may not exercise this offering because they are in good shape financially and flush with cash. April 5, 2021 filing:
https://ih.advfn.com/stock-market/NYSE/gamestop-GME/stock-news/84747200/prospectus-filed-pursuant-to-rule-424b5-424b5#D160986D424B5_HTM_SUPPROM160986_3

There was a drop in the price of the stock on Monday morning before the retail markets opened, but it was based on a very small number of shares traded. By the end of the trading day, the stock had recovered almost to the closing price from Thursday, US$185 rather than the $161 stated in the article. There is a story about GameStop here somewhere, but the AP article isn't it. Not financial advice.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
Be part of the solution. Don't be part of the problem.
Learn enough to know which is which.

;-) I'm glad I don't have to hunt my food,
    I don't even know where sandwiches live.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 5, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

In international news, Ontario takes the spotlight.
Ontario hastily reverses reopening as new variants usher in a third wave of Covid cases
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/04/canada-coronavirus-third-wave-variants-ontario

‘We’re devastated’: Whistler reeling amid ski resort closure, rise in P1 COVID-19 variant.
https://globalnews.ca/news/7727512/whistler-blackcomb-covid-19-closure-bc/
Hmmmm, who knew? Stupid has consequences, for everyone.

Based on Sunday's data, over 25% of the vaccines which have been delivered to the provinces and territories by the feds are yet to be administered to people. (6,302,985 of 8,610,870 - 73.2% - have been injected.)
In Ontario, 29% of doses in province are in storage.
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Is Quebec's mixed messaging on COVID-19 leading to defiance?
https://ottawacitizen.com/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus/is-quebecs-mixed-messaging-on-covid-19-leading-to-defiance/wcm/03380ff0-a483-497e-92ad-2afdd8655141

This seems like a logical step forward. (Perhaps paid sick leave during COVID would make sense, too.)
All B.C. part-time and full-time workers will get job-protected leave for COVID-19 vaccine.
https://globalnews.ca/news/7734096/bc-part-time-full-time-workers-job-protected-leave-covid-19-vaccine/

It's not all rosy in the U.S. either per a recent report (taken from https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?nl=coronavirus-briefing&segment_id=54711&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2Fd74c4018-e2f2-5789-8d94-4f4207f9c887)

"Nationally, the number of cases has begun to tick up again, even as the vaccination campaign has quickened and the country is approaching universal eligibility for all adults. Two states — Michigan and Maryland — show the issues on both sides of the struggle.

"Michigan is giving the country a glimpse at the threat of the new surge, as the state is facing one of the most alarming outbreaks in the country. Cases have soared to more than 5,600 a day from about 1,000 in late February. The nation’s top five metro areas in recent cases per capita are all in Michigan: Jackson, Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Monroe. The state’s hospital system is being stretched thin as the number of coronavirus patients has doubled in the last month, to more than 2,200."

Ford's latest lazy lockdown plan shows he hasn't learned from the last ones
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/randall-denley-fords-latest-lazy-lockdown-plan-shows-he-hasnt-learned-from-the-last-ones
(Note the source, usually reliable supporters of Doug Ford.)

Microsoft revealed the latest truths about working from home. One is truly disturbing.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-revealed-the-latest-truths-about-working-from-home-one-is-truly-disturbing/

Fortress Fossil Fuels Highlights/Gaslights

Big Oil Is Unwilling to Bet on the Future of Crude
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-03-02/big-oil-is-unwilling-to-bet-on-the-future-of-crude

US fossil-fuel companies took billions in tax breaks – and then laid off thousands
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/02/fossil-fuel-companies-billions-tax-breaks-workers

The Oil Industry Is About To Become Worthless
https://insideevs.com/news/491697/morgan-stanley-oil-industry-will-become-worthless/amp/

Big Oil Faces Backlash For 'Greenwashing'
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Big-Oil-Faces-Backlash-For-Greenwashing.html

Big Oil’s New Slate of Desperate Buzzwords Are Greenwashing at Its Worst
https://earther.gizmodo.com/big-oil-s-new-slate-of-desperate-buzzwords-are-greenwas-1846395653

Oil and Gas Firms Are Saddling States With Billions in Cleanup Costs
https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2021/03/oil-and-gas-firms-saddling-colorado-and-others-with-billions-in-cleanup-costs/

Fossil fuel cars make 'hundreds of times' more waste than electric cars
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/01/fossil-fuel-cars-make-hundreds-of-times-more-waste-than-electric-cars

Canada Could Become A Superpower In The Global Battery Market
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Canada-Could-Become-A-Superpower-In-The-Global-Battery-Market.html
This one you don't have to worry about. The owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline and Trans Mountain eXpansion (TMX) project - aka the government of Canada - will ensure this does not happen until the EV and utility storage battery markets are saturated. I like Lion Electric, and respect the people running it. However, the plant featured in the article will assemble batteries, not make the core technology.

The Canadian government is betting on - and massively favouring and funding the hydrogen mirage, which is essentially a refined fossil fuel. The much hyped 'green' hydrogen plant in Quebec, expected to be operational in 2024, won't make an appreciable difference to the world's existing hydrogen markets, which are less than 1% 'green' hydrogen.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
"I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious."
~ Albert Einstein

;-) COVID Days: If video games have taught me anything, it's that
    if you encounter enemies, then you're going the right way.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 4, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

Easter Sunday marks the Resurrection in the Christian religion. The real Lazarus story this week is the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. It was within our grasp to end this pandemic by emulating the TANZANC strategy until the vaccines were in wide distribution. Instead, we have these headlines. (This is just a sampling.)

Canada surpasses 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/coronavirus-covid19-canada-world-april2-2021-1.5974786

Situation in Ontario ICUs like a never-ending 'fire' amid COVID-19 3rd wave, says nurse
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/icus-in-crisis-beyond-the-chauvin-trial-unionizing-amazon-china-s-digital-currency-depresh-mode-and-more-1.5973360/situation-in-ontario-icus-like-a-never-ending-fire-amid-covid-19-3rd-wave-says-nurse-1.5973374

How the EU blew it and won't see the COVID-19 pandemic end any time soon
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-how-the-eu-blew-it-and-wont-see-the-covid-19-pandemic-end-any-time/

Variant that forced B.C. ski resort shut is rapidly spreading, sending more young people to hospital
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-covid-19-variant-spreading-rapidly-in-bc/

Ontario reports more than 6000 COVID-19 cases over past two days as infections surge
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-reports-more-than-6-000-covid-19-cases-over-past-two-days-as-infections-surge-1.5373294

Ottawa records highest one-day COVID-19 case count Saturday.
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-records-highest-one-day-covid-19-case-count-saturday-1.5373317

'A question of days before the fire spreads,' doctors say of Montreal schools
https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/a-group-of-doctors-demands-montreal-schools-be-closed
With the variants of concern now driving the renewed pandemic, the rules on schools being safe places for our kids have changed.

47-year-old Ontario teacher who was 'totally healthy' intubated after contracting COVID-19
https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/47-year-old-ontario-teacher-who-was-totally-healthy-intubated-after-contracting-covid-19-1.5373439

Alberta reports 1,100 new cases of COVID-19, highest daily total in months
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-reports-1-100-new-cases-of-covid-19-highest-daily-total-in-months-1.5974624

'Significant' COVID-19 variant outbreak in Alberta announced by Hinshaw Saturday [Brazil variant]
https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/significant-covid-19-variant-outbreak-in-alberta-announced-by-hinshaw-saturday-1.5373506

Outdoor transmissions increasing, Alberta’s top doctor says
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-as-outdoor-covid-19-transmission-in-alberta-increases-experts-warn-to/

Ontario’s ‘emergency brake’ not enough, critics say, as Doug Ford announces new four-week COVID-19 restrictions
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-shutdown-will-bring-few-changes-to-covid-19-hot-spots-toronto/

I wish our political leaders had thrown "everything" at COVID
https://torontosun.com/opinion/levy-when-the-going-gets-tough-our-leaders-repeat-the-same-mistakes
> Note the source for this piece; traditionally a Doug Ford 'fan-boy' publication.

Dear plague province premiers, the pandemic isn't a hoax. Start treating like a real problem. For the rest of us, take care of you.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Sunlight Inactivates Coronavirus 8 Times Faster Than Predicted. We Need to Know Why.
https://www.sciencealert.com/sunlight-inactivates-sars-cov-2-a-lot-faster-than-predicted-and-we-need-to-work-out-why

New standards are being created for LTC homes — and the public is asked to weigh in
https://ottawacitizen.com/health/new-standards-are-being-created-for-ltc-homes-and-the-public-is-asked-to-weigh-in
No "iron rings" need apply.

How to tell if your respirator and N95-style mask is counterfeit or poor quality (Marketplace)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHy937FF16o

This is your brain on pandemic: What chronic stress is doing to us
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/pandemic-brain-stress-effect-lethargy-unproductive-1.5972055

McMaster lab to screen for rare antibody that causes blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccination
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/rare-antibody-mcmaster-screen-blood-clots-vaccine-1.5971270

B.C. biotech company says, despite interim approval, provinces won't use its COVID-19 treatment
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/abcellera-bamlanivimab-carl-hansen-kapelos-1.5974126

(Digital) Deception

When you buy cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin in particular, this is what you are enabling.
Hackers demanded $17 million worth of bitcoin as ransom from city of Saint John
https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/hackers-demanded-17-million-worth-of-bitcoin-as-ransom-from-city-of-saint-john-1.5372347

(Is there any interest in me including some snippets about cryptocurrencies in future editions of this blog? If so, let me know. You can simply reply to this email with the subject 'Interested in Cryptocurrency Snippets'.)

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others
have let go."
~ William Feather

;-) COVID Days: Yesterday, I did nothing, and today I'm
    finishing what I did yesterday.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


April 2, 2021

COVID-19

Warning: these posts are for 'adults'; people with the ability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and prepared to work for the greater good. If that isn't you, remember to wash your hands and face with soap regularly and don't touch anything. Stay home. The Internet has plenty of content to entertain you.

'A very clear shift': Younger people getting sicker, faster with COVID, doctors say
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/a-very-clear-shift-younger-people-getting-sicker-faster-with-covid-doctors-say

After watching Premier Doug Ford mangle the messaging on Ontario's 3rd or 4th go at a mockdown, it seems fair to invoke Yogi Berra - "It's like déja vu all over again."

One definition of insanity is to do the same thing time after time, expecting a different result. If you're wondering about your own sanity at this stage of COVID mismanagement in the plague provinces, I suspect it means you're actually in pretty good shape.

I am seeing commentary from the chattering classes in the past couple of weeks calling out the 'armchair quarterbacks' who are adding to misinformation and confusion. Perhaps there are those who see my posts in that light. Fair enough, there are plenty of opinions to go around.

My take remains pretty simple; there are jurisdictions that got a much better grip on the COVID-19 pandemic and did a much better job of protecting their residents from infection, death and long-term negative health impacts. After more than a year of the pandemic and nearly continuous light restrictions on our actions, our leaders should have learned lessons from those that have done better. TANZANC.

Canada has now passed 23,000 COVID deaths, and is within spitting distance of a million confirmed cases, about 2.5% of the population. For the Ontarians who are still alive and healthy, mockdown 4 starts at midnight tonight. For the official version, this web page sets out the new rules, but doesn't mention they will be in effect for 4 weeks.
https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions
It then goes on to explain the colour-coded zones at length, which won't be in effect for those 4 weeks.

I have now completed the online application for a vaccination at a nearby pharmacy, and have confirmation of the application. And now I wait. It's a skill I have honed to razor sharpness over this past year.

For current COVID-19 numbers, go to
https://epiforecasts.io/covid/posts/national/canada/
and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/ .
For Canadian vaccination numbers, go to
https://covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html
For word vaccination data, go to
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

COVID-19 News Items

Ontario Locks Down With Virus ‘Killing Faster and Younger’
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-01/canada-s-ontario-to-be-in-lockdown-for-28-days-cbc-reports

Province blames two-week-old double-booking issue for slew of vaccine appointment cancellations in Ottawa
https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/province-blames-two-week-old-double-booking-issue-for-slew-of-vaccine-appointment-cancellations-in-ottawa-1.5369304

Tam says pandemic now at 'most challenging' stage, calls on Canadians to give vaccines time to work
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/theresa-tam-challenging-times-pandemic-1.5972000

Ottawa getting shortchanged on vaccines: city officials
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/ottawa-getting-shortchanged-on-vaccines-city-officials/ar-BB1eYaxg
This past week, Premier Ford acknowledged this reality, and said future vaccine distribution in the province would be done equitably based on population. Actions speak louder than words. We'll see.

I noted the story of an Ottawa woman who was told the wait list in Ottawa was weeks, but if she wanted to drive to Toronto which had 30,000 open appointments, she could have a vaccination the next day. She drove to Toronto and back, and got her vaccination.

B.C. officials mum on vaccination appointment data as vaccine supplies pile up
https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-officials-mum-on-vaccination-appointment-data-as-vaccine-supplies-pile-up-1.5365769

Are vaccines safe in patients with Long COVID? A prospective observational study | medRxiv
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.11.21253225v3

Results Forty-four vaccinated participants were assessed at a median of 32 days (IQR 20-41) post vaccination with 22 matched unvaccinated participants. Most were highly symptomatic of Long Covid at 8 months (82% in both groups had at least 1 persistent symptom), with fatigue (61%), breathlessness (50%) and insomnia (38%) predominating. There was no significant worsening in quality-of-life or mental wellbeing metrics pre versus post vaccination. Nearly two-thirds (n=27) reported transient (<72hr duration) systemic effects (including fever, myalgia and headache).

When compared to matched unvaccinated participants from the same cohort, those who had receive a vaccine had a small overall improvement in Long Covid symptoms, with a decrease in worsening symptoms (5.6% vaccinated vs 14.2% unvaccinated) and increase in symptom resolution (23.2% vaccinated vs 15.4% unvaccinated) (p=0.035). No difference in response was identified between Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Conclusions Receipt of vaccination with either an mRNA or adenoviral vector vaccine was not associated with a worsening of Long Covid symptoms, quality of life, or mental wellbeing. Individuals with prolonged COVID-19 symptoms should receive vaccinations as suggested by national guidance.

Hyprogen (not a typo)

Over the past month, I spent quite a lot of time re-immersing myself in the mirage of the 'hydrogen energy economy' in order to give an on-line presentation recently. Here's a key take-away:
Canada's new Hydrogen Strategy is a sham, and a new sop/subsidy to the fossil fuels industry.
You can find the federal government's 8.8 MB PDF document at
https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/climate-change/the-hydrogen-strategy/23080

When I published the Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy in 2006, I wrote:
“the hydrogen economy is a really, really bad idea.”
15 years later, my update is: "Today, it's worse."

In 2006, I closed with a quote (original source unknown):
"Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and always will be."
My updated version from my presentation:
"Hydrogen is the fuel of no future."

The solutions I set out in the book are still valid and needed. The book is still in print, and the ebook version (yes, we had ebooks back in 2006) remains available. No, I won't be writing a second edition on my own dime.

GameStop

The story isn't finished yet. The financial and mainstream media who have headlined that it's 'Game Over for GameStop' are misleading you. I don't know if it that is deliberate or incompetence; could be both. Not financial advice. If you have time and access this weekend, watch the movie 'The Big Short' as a primer.

Life is hard. It's harder during the pandemic.
"Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution
is called whining."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

;-) COVID Days: The longer this goes on, the more difficult
    it will be to return to a society where pants are required.

I hope this day truly is a Good Friday for all of us. Take care of you.

Injection beats infection. But we gave infection a big head-start.
Spread knowledge, not the virus.
Stay well, stay safe, stay sane, stay home if you can.
We're not done yet, but that day is getting closer.
With thanks to those making the effort, every day, for us all.


For earlier entries, see earlier blog file.
For the current blog, see the Econogics Blog.

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