Sunday, February 20, 2022

O Canada.

     I never suspected there were stupid people in Canada. Smug, yes. Passive-aggressive? Certainly.
    But the kind of towel-biting, conspiracy spewing, chest-thumping, fact-deprived, fantasy-dwelling dumbasses that jam every diner in America? Well, that's a new discovery. Their knowledge might be skewed toward the various flaws and misdeeds of the great vibrant democracy on their southern border. But they were generally up on the way the world worked.
     My fault. Of course ignorance is a universal. The quality that makes us human, really. You don't see many truly stupid animals. No squirrel could last long with the skewed, bullets-cannot-harm-me worldview that people approach COVID with. "That fox can't hurt me, it's just fake ne...."
     I don't know why it took me until now to realize this, to grasp that there are idiotic Canadians too. The anti-COVID restriction truck drivers and their anti-masker allies, have been parading around Ottawa (sigh, the capital of our frosty neighbor to the North) for weeks already. And just now are being driven off the streets of Ottawa (east or west of Chicago? Close to Seattle? Or Maine? You have no idea, right?) and are finally being driven back into their holes.
     I ignored them, both because everything that happens in Canada is so easily ignored, particularly in Ottawa (near far more familiar Montreal, or about 775 miles northeast of Chicago, or 440 miles due north of New York City) and the world political scene is so crazed and random that focusing on any particular lunacy seems overkill. We're fucked, the irresistible gears of history are turning, grinding our country into a miserable powder of screwedness, what's for lunch?
     But Saturday afternoon I was coming from Buffalo Grove, where my parents now live, and couldn't help notice a knot of protesters on the corner of Milwaukee and Dundee, waving heretofore unimaginable mash-ups of the American and Canadian flags. An echo of an echo, the nutsoid anti-COVID movement in the United States, bouncing into Canada, and now bouncing back.
    It reminded me of the mini-rallies that Trump supporters used to hold on the corner of Shermer and Walters, to harangue passing cars and manifest themselves. Trump denied the significance of COVID, initially, to try to get himself re-elected, because of his worldview where acknowledging anything bad is weakness, and even though now he has tried to walk that back, it's too late. Denialism as a political belief has escaped the lab and infected half the country.
     Wearing masks is a bother. Boo-fucking hoo. The dynamic active elder lifestyle community where my parents now reside requires masks. And temperature checks. Which I happily consent to because a) I'm not an asshole; b) I don't want to kill somebody's grandmother and c) it requires almost no thought or effort.
     There is something almost funny that people who are otherwise busy trying to kneecap elections, throttle the media, pull down American democracy and install a strongman in the former of Loser L. McLoser get all frantic over the prospect of being asked to save their lives with a vaccine, or somebody else's with a cotton mask, the wearing of which interferes with your personal freedom to a lesser extent than wearing pants does. It's gotten so bad that now Canadians, in all their decency, have begun acting like Americans—a charge I level in the full knowledge of just how profound an insult they will consider that to be.
     No matter. Insults are now the air we breathe, drawing condemnation of ourselves into our lungs, expelling denunciations of others. It's both immensely worrying and strangely freeing to us in the words-on-paper business. None of it really matters, does it? It's like we're providing play-by-play commentary to a forest fire.


  1. Let's start with some basic data I'm just trying to level-set, without getting into the success of the EUA vaccines, masks, social distancing, lockdowns, financial incentives impact on healthcare or public policy decisions, etc., but a surprising number of people are not aware of some basic facts.

    Unvaccinated, in aggregate, over 99.7% survive being infected with SARS-Cov2. This has been known for almost 2 years. Delta was only marginally more severe, estimated at +20% and Omicron much less so at -90%, so separate IFR numbers may be calculated, but don't deviate signifiantly from the risk analysis.

    Of those that don't survive (0.3%), 75% have four or more comorbidities. Of the remaining 25%, 99% of those have 3, 2, or 1 cormorbidity. The CDC has recently confirmed this.

    Thus, of the aggregate population without co-morbidities, the survival rate from being infected by SARS-Cov2 is over 99.997%.

    Going further into the data, we find age itself is not a co-morbidity, but merely a proxy for the frequency with which the health problems classed as co-morbidities tend to accrue with age. This almost completely explains the increased IFR-to-age characteristic for the aggregate population, and explains why the risk to the healthy 0-19 age subgroup has such a signifantly reduced risk estimated at 99.9999%.

    So whether you support or disagree with the various positions on matters regarding this virus and it's attendant disease, I hope you'll incorporate this data into your thinking.

    1. The above is an example for smokescreen statistics. One of the comorbidities he refers to is obesity; 42 percent of Americans are obese. It's perverse to use the success of actions taken against COVID as an argument for no longer taking action.

    2. I'm happy to see any debate where the statistics are presented with verifiable sources, including this one. However, the argument here seems to focus solely on whether the patient died. Aside from the fact that the zero-point-whatever percentage of deaths still represents hundreds of thousands of people deceased, it also seems to suggest that being only hospitalized instead of buried was some sort of victory, without regard to the staggering number of patients needing long-term Intensive Care and/or ventilators, stretching the country's (or the world's) health resources to the breaking point.

    3. Paraphrasing and condensing PB's 6 paragraphs: "If you don't count the losers who are silly enough to have an abundance of health issues, only 233,000 people in this country have died." That's quite the flex.

      Why, I remember when it was reported that the Biggest Loser blithely said: "I think numbers are just coming out where they're estimating 60,000 people will die. So we're talking about maybe 60,000 or so. That's a lot of people, but that's-- 100,000 was the minimum we thought that we could get to, and we will be lower than that number."

      So, there was a time when even the cult leader acknowledged that 60,000 was a lot of people. Those were the days!

    4. I think the point of PB's statistics is to point out that no matter what preventive action is taken. People are still going to get sick and die from this virus. The question is whether the policy decisions of the government have reduced those numbers enough to offset the other types of losses? We are suffering socially, psychologically and economically to make it a net benefit for the population overall? It seems to me that's a reasonable question. Unfortunately, we won't have the answer until hindsight can be completely employed.

    5. Thanks so much for the clarification, FME. The point of *my* comment is that, if in, say, October of 2020, Covid had "disappeared" (the Biggest Loser's imagined miracle) after "only" 60,000 people had died in the U.S., Covid deniers would have never stopped talking about how the medical establishment had overreacted. Instead, it's a year and a half later, it's still here, close to a million people have died and yet they *still* insist on stressing that it's no big deal.

      I don't envy your need to travel to Montana, Michigan, or wherever else you need to go to make a living. I wish you well, as I have ever since you got Covid. You're right that people who can afford / manage to expose themselves less are fortunate. Also fortunate is anybody who didn't need to visit an emergency room in January for a *non-Covid related* issue.

      Here are a couple more reasonable questions. "Have these vaccines been shunned, nay -- demonized, by many who desperately needed them for legitimate reasons, or because a cable TV network and a political party found it in their interest to demonize them?" "Why does a nation that lived with rationing of sugar, butter, gasoline, coffee and *shoes*, for crying out loud, during WW II find wearing a mask to be a bridge too far and the definition of fascism today?"

      In a more enlightened country, "decisions of the government" would not have needed to involve mandates, because folks would have gotten vaccinated at their first opportunity and worn masks when appropriate rather than whining like spoiled toddlers. We don't live in that country, alas.

    6. Jakash , yes more reasonable questions. I think we know the answers. Still I have a family member who made the decision to remain unvaccinated . They have behaved very responsibly were not influenced by politics , or cable TV. They masked religiously rarely left the house and tested frequently. Haven't up til now been infected.

      I and many others are fully vaccinated , wore a mask even when first told we didn't need to, and likely because of our behaviors somehow did become infected. Maybe the virus landed in our eye ?

      it was probably my fault I got the virus . It could have been someone else fault, I dont know really. But the most likely reason we all get the virus is: its a virus and its not about fault which seems to be at issue here. Americans dont take personal responsibility , they look to blame others or the government, when for the most part they should just look in the mirror and attempt to understand micro biology better . We are in a shit storm not of our making and imagine we can rationalize our behavior while demonizing others to feel virtuous and smarter than our fellow citizens. Im pretty sick of it

  2. After skyrocketing to at least a million positive cases a day , the US is now down to around one hundred thousand a day. Daily deaths are very high but never reached much beyond 2,500 per day and look to have plateaued .

    I've been traveling for work again. On my trip to Montana last month everyone at the airport wore a mask. On the packed plane, everyone wore a mask , N95 . No one demonstrated the least bit of resistance. Case counts were around 700,000 a day. I'm fully vaxed and so is my son.

    But when we arrived in Montana masks were" recommended ". Almost nobody wore one. Except employees. First profitable job I've had in months.

    In Michigan this week masks were recommended . Almost nobody wore one , not even employees. Another profitable job. Materials are available, were delivered on time and we didn't get sick.

    My son caught the virus on the plane ride to New York last month on the fully masked plane - where everyone but him removed their masks to snack! To snack! On a 2 hour flight! Mild case, no lingering symptoms.

    We are all foolish , maybe even stupid, I know I'm idiotic . But I've got to make a living and my son is suffering depression from the lack of social interaction and separation from his fiancé .

    Maybe government mandates should end and a new even more effective vaccine should be developed. The majority of us seem willing to risk our health and that of others to have a more normal life. we could end up dead? But we're all willing to incur substantial risk to have things and do things.

    I'm off to visit my mom today in the dynamic senior living facility we moved her to 3 months ago where after being alone in her home for nearly 2 years she got infected and survived. She's fully vaxed. Fully vaxed! Seems key to survival. Those that aren't face much greater risk.

    I hope masks aren't banned anytime soon cause I want to wear one. But I'm not in favor of requiring them or vaccines for that matter. Like I said im an idiot.

  3. So you probably won't get COVID no matter what you do. Or don't do. That may be heartening, but pure probability analysis can lead one astray. A brutal fact is that a tiny percentage of a huge number can be itself a pretty big number. What is it? Over a million Americans dead so far.

    And if you can avoid getting infected you should. I have lived with a damaged heart for 10 years. When I asked my cardiologist what caused it, he said "probably a virus."


    1. If you can avoid being infected? I guess you can reduce your chances if you're lucky enough or planned well enough to have enough money to just stay home. So many of us have no choice but to go out into the world.

    2. Sorry to hear about your misfortune in having to go out into the real world but even so you can protect yourself by using common sense, getting fully vaxed and wearing a mask where appropriate. I repeat. If you can avoid getting infected, you should.

  4. And let’s not forget about long COVID.

    1. After having struggled through the symptoms of long COVID for 9 months, I am fortunate enough to say it has completely subsided and I can participate in all physical activities and have regained a large portion of mental acuity. At least what I had before I was infected. Back to merely being an idiot instead of a complete moron

    2. That's what drives me crazy when people say it's only like the flu. You never hear about long flu, it doesn't exist!

    3. Actually, that is not true. "Long flu" does exist. It's not as pervasive as long COVID but it most certainly exists.

      See, the study done by Oxford University: "The Oxford University research analysed health records of people diagnosed with flu and Covid, mainly in the US.
      The two groups - both with just over 100,000 patients - included people seeking healthcare for symptoms three to six months after infection.

      These included problems such as anxiety, abnormal breathing, fatigue and headaches.
      There were signs that Covid patients were more likely to have long-term symptoms - 42% had at least one symptom recorded compared with 30% in the flu group.

  5. PB seems an analytical/numbers sorta guy...Ok, fair enough. Here's a number: Three hundred and fifty-three. One in every 353 Americans have died due to Covid 19. (It's astonished me that this quotient/metric gets no attention.)
    It's a simple calculation: approximately 330 million Americans divided by approximately 934,000 deaths, to date. If it hasn't touched one's door, may that continue to be so. If it has, you'll know the precise value of references to comorbidities.
    Further commentary is surplus to requirement.

  6. I've enjoyed many pleasant visits to Canada and was always struck by the attitude of "While I don't believe personally, I do believe this (fill in the blank) is overall good for the Canadian people and I support this position. Obviously, things have changed. Probably has to do with Burger King buying Tim Hortons donut chain!

  7. I have no love for anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers. NONE. More like...hatred...

    A year ago this week, I was wheezing and gasping for breath and I was scared shitless that I'd be taken to the hospital and that I'd never come back.

    If the maskholes and anti-vaxxers want sympathy from me, they can find it in my dictionary.

    Many, many Americans have posted online comments that expressed their anger and fury. Some have even said "Canada shouldn't negotiate with domestic terrorists."...and they wanted to see the truckers gassed...or even killed.

    The vaccinated and the masked in America are sick and tired of the antics of the refuseniks. Had everyone kept on repeating the original mantra of "We're all in this together" (which they did say...for about a month) and stayed on the same page, the Plague would have ended in six months. Instead, we're going into Year Three.

    I am so very sorry that Trumpers and Kool-Aid drinkers have invaded The Great White North. Canadians were lucky to escape the Orange Madness...until now.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.