Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Little Good News to Pierce the Gloom

No new Covid-19 deaths in British Columbia in the past five days. A dozen new cases reported, all on the mainland. It's been weeks since there was a new case on Vancouver Island.

Here's the thing. British Columbia is almost exactly one-third as populous as Ontario. We have a lot of active connections with Asia Pacific. People flying back and forth. Lots of ships bringing goods to Canada's largest port. Washington, which had been a virus hot spot right next door.

So what's going on in Ontario which apparently has overtaken Quebec in new covid cases? 251 new cases, 11 new deaths today. Ontario has made progress. New cases reported have dropped below 300 per day for a while now. But why are their numbers still so high? For that matter, what about Alberta, a province just a few hundred thousand smaller than BC but a total infection tally about three times British Columbia's? What's going on. I don't get it.

I got a call from my hematologist today.  He helped set up and staff the pandemic ward at Nanaimo regional hospital a few months ago and has just returned to his practice.

At the outset they were expecting a deluge of Covid cases. That didn't materialize. There were a few cases in Nanaimo but the healthcare types did the tracking and found they had all contracted the disease off-island. They got under medical care quickly. With a lot of great luck they didn't shed the virus to others.

Demographics also played a big role. Covid is especially deadly to the elderly and we've got a big retirement population. They got the word and they reacted accordingly - masks, gloves, isolation, distancing. Diligent geezers helped drive infection rates into the ground (before they wound up there themselves).

My doctor told me that Vancouver Island is one of the most virus-free places on the planet. The trick is going to make that last as long as possible. It will be back, that's almost certain. They've already got their tackle in order for a rematch, recognizing that we might not be as lucky next time.

The other good news is that we've also at least temporarily eradicated most other readily transmissible diseases such as influenza, strep, colds, seasonal flu, measles, mumps, etc. They too will return - eventually.

His parting advice - if there's a vaccine, get it. Pneumonia, influenza, the lot. I see some needles in my future.

But remember - perspective is everything.


Gordie Canuk said...

I think there are a lot of factors at play, not the least of which is population density. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a population of close to 6 million, that's Toronto along with the 4 surrounding muncipalities. Lots of warehouses, fulfillment centres, large grocery stores and other sizeable retail outlets that have been deemed essential. Get out of the GTA and the case numbers are much lower by and large...but there have been outbreaks in farming communities where foreign workers are brought in...while working the farms living spaces are largely communal, ideal for viral spread.

In terms of Alberta, meat processing plants are a big driver there....and the people working in these places of high transmission are out at stores, going to the pharmacy, buying gas etc etc.

Personally I'm of the opinion that in places like Victoria or say New Brunswick where identified case numbers are low to non-existent....I would not be surprised if there's still asympotmatic spread happening. Just because cases haven't been identified doesn't mean there are none out there.

I'm in Ontario and keeping a close eye on the number of patients in this province. The justification for so called lockdown measures was that our hospital system for forecast to be overwhelmed. Prior to the pandemic Ontario had about 414 critical care beds in our ICUs, and models predicted that in a best case scenario that we'd need 1,300.....thankfully things never got anywhere near that bad.

Currently the most recent numbers for Covid patients in Ontario is just 580, included in that number is 118 in ICU with 86 of those being on a ventilator, that as per a CBC news article dated June 10th. This number has been coming down steadily now for weeks.

While I hope the numbers keep going down my fear is that complacency will settle in and that people who are vulnerable will stop being vigilant as well as those who come into contact with them. I have an 87 year old aunt who I want to visit, and I will at some point, we can meet outside with 10+ feet of space between us and for her I'll even wear a mask outside.....for all I know I might be a carrier. Even a test is not a guarantee that's I'm takes 2 or 3 days to get the results from what I understand and one could become infected after getting tested.


Anonymous said...

Of course we old geezers self-isolate so far as was and is possible. Do you want to croak? No. Because when you suffer the ravages of this virus, the end ain't particularly nice. Gruesome might be a better adjective.

Frankly, when I go out I don't worry about catching the virus here in Nova Scotia either. The chances are tiny -- our deaths were 53 of 62 in one LTC. Almost all cases are now "resolved". Vancouver Island was ravaged compared to PEI or NL if you want to toss around real numbers.

But social distancing and wearing my bandana setup (I've tried an N95 which didn't fit and the one-time throwaways) made of linen which I boil after use, and latex gloves, how in hell can I catch it? Well, I could, but I could get run over by a bus too. I wear the get-up to show I'm halfways socially awake and expect others to reciprocate in kind. Yet still the supermarkets have employees with no masks.

You've got here on Progressive Bloggers people on the one hand like Kinsella aghast that Trudeau went to a rally, not caring he was wearing a mask because social distancing wasn't possible, which makes it fine with me but not him, and on the other hand Gordie_Canuk Soapbox arguing as if he were kenney and let 'er rip and the old folks just better watch out for themselves too bad. And your MO is that you're living in paradise and repel all boarders, which is also fine by me.

The nutballs and anti-vaxxers think some mercury compound used in vaccines causes autism and that Gates runs WHO to reduce world population, blah, blah, blah, while walking around with a mouthful of mercury amalgam tooth fillings. They didn't live through the '50s with polio, measles and chicken pox running rampant, so mindless voodoo proliferates. I've had both shingles vaccines myself these past three years and paid for them willingly. I avoided hospitals because of bacterial killers rampant there.

It looks as though the second wave will be caused by young people who don't give much of a damn about social distancing. Let 'em at it and let them get over it by fall is the way I feel. And do some random testing to see what the background level of asymptos is, while public health is at it. Their methodology sucks everywhere. Everywhere. It's so rudimentary it hurts. And they tend to be too conservative at re-opening up full outdoor participatory sports, IMHO. Ontario and Quebec are run by Cons of limited capability - they have their own virus hell to get through. Canada's figures are not very good compared to Germany, and ON and PQ combined are pretty bloody awful indeed on a world comparison. So avoid Toronto and Montreal, basically. Easy to do.

And the enironment? What's that? Alberta is cutting provincial parks so they can be turned into fucking coal mines. Now there is a place I'd avoid like the plague. kenney is out of control.


Owen Gray said...

Gordie has a point. Population density has a lot to do with the spread of the virus. New York City is Exhibit A on that score. But following public health advice -- masks, social distancing, hand washing -- is Exhibit B.

Northern PoV said...

You are lucky to live on an island!
We are lucky to live in BC.

Vietnam & Thailand ... amazing!

45 tourist flights per week from Wuhan

low tech