There's a sign in my neighbourhood just by the closed ice rink that reads as follows:
"THIS IS WHERE WE WILL SING TOGETHER AGAIN. SEE YOU WHEN IT'S SAFE."
But sadly we won't be singing again anytime soon, because my neighbourhood is locked down.
And the coronavirus' second wave is surging all over Canada.
Vaccines may be coming, but it will take a long time before we are all vaccinated.
And unless we can reduce our social contacts, which won't be easy during the holiday season, we could be heading for disaster.
Releasing new modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) today, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that if Canadians maintain their current contact levels, more than 12,000 new cases will be recorded daily by January.
If people increase their level of contacts, however, that number could surge to more than 30,000 cases daily by January, according to the modelling sheets.
But what can we do, when pandemic fatigue has so many feeling so desperate, and others don't seem to care about the welfare of others?
It’s not a common occurrence around the holidays, but one mailbox delivery has some Calgarians upset this week.
Flyers promoting pandemic misinformation have been popping up across the city.
Some claim COVID-19 is a hoax. Others say masks are useless. Some even say the government created the virus.
And to me it seems the only thing we can do, short of turning the country into a police state, is to radically improve the messaging. So maybe it's time to try scaring people.
As the United States faces out-of-control spikes from Covid-19, with people refusing to take recommended, often even mandated, precautions, our public health announcements from governments, medical groups and health care companies feel lame compared to the urgency of the moment. A mix of clever catchphrases, scientific information and calls to civic duty, they are virtuous and profoundly dull.
For the messaging in this country is as lame as it is in the United States, and it's time to try something different.
Mister Rogers-type nice isn’t working in many parts of the country. It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism.
Like showing what it's really like to be a Covid patient...
Maybe we need a P.S.A. featuring someone actually on a ventilator in the hospital. You might see that person “bucking the vent” — bodies naturally rebel against the machine forcing pressurized oxygen into the lungs, which is why patients are typically sedated.
Another message could feature a patient lying in an I.C.U. bed, immobile, tubes in the groin, with a mask delivering 100 percent oxygen over the mouth and nose — eyes wide with fear, watching the saturation numbers rise and dip on the monitor over the bed.
Show patients close-up gasping for every precious breath, and in many cases even if they survive taking a long time to recover. The so-called long haulers.
For 32-year-old Hanna Lockman of Louisville, Kentucky, it all started March 12. She was at work when she suddenly felt a stabbing pain in her chest.
Five months, 16 emergency department trips, and 3 short hospitalizations later, Lockman can’t remember a lot of things.
“I joke, ‘Well, COVID has eaten my brain, because I can’t remember how to remember words, keep track of medication,’” she said. “My brain just feels like there’s a fog.”
I haven't seen any statistics on the number of long haul Covid patients in Canada, but I have heard it's a major and growing problem, and along with damage to the heart and lungs is another reason health officials have to step up their messaging.
I'm still waiting for ads that can reach Canadians, especially younger ones. But these from Alberta of all places, are definitely a step in the right direction.
I'm sure we can do better, those ads still aren't scary enough, even if they are both original and watchable.
But if we are going to scare more Canadians into behaving responsibly we better do it quickly.
Or the next few months could be more deadly and more frightening than most people can even imagine...
No advertising campaign can overcome the government's message that short-term corporate profits are more important than lives.
Ontario was down to 30 new cases a day in August and the government yelled "party time!" Restaurants and bars were allowed to open indoors and people gathered in each other's homes. Compare that to Australia's state of Victoria, which went into lockdown in the summer. People were allowed to leave home only for work, to get essential items like food or for services like medical care and caregiving. No travelling more than 5 km from home, no visiting other households and mandatory facemasks outside the home. There was strict quarantine for those entering the country. Victoria's lockdown lasted 3 months.
The results speak for themselves. Victoria, with a population of 6.5 million hasn't seen a new Covid case since October. The economy is just about back to normal as is daily life. Ontario, with twice Victoria's population, is at 1,850 daily cases and rising. Toronto's daily cases are over 500 and rising, yet our lockdown ends in 9 days.
Our government? They're gone for the holidays. Given up. Decided they'll accept the deaths and the long haulers until enough people get vaccinated. And we wonder why people are cynical and planning parties? The fish rots from the head.
Good post with which I agree.
I would however point out that Covid-19 is not surging all over the country. As usual, we in the Atlantic region, well over two million souls, are forgotten by the rest of the country who have managed to mismanage the pandemic from the beginning. The virus is not surging here, although of course it could at any time if we relax our vigilance.
The provincial premiers from Quebec-west made me want to barf with their demands for more healthcare money from Ottawa this week -- as if they somehow deserve a bonus for being grossly incompetent in handling the pandemic. I wouldn't give 'em a nickel more based on their useless performances, their lack of inspections of LTC homes, their outright stupidity in allowing indoor gatherings while maundering on about business. But Trudeau has been too polite to remind them out loud them what a silly bunch of Cons they are, or incompetent like Dr Henry out in BC.
Retail stores are open in Halifax, merely limited to one-quarter capacity with mandatory mask wearing. Indoor gathering places like bars, restaurants and gyms are closed and have been for some time. But after being too lax elsewhere, now most Canadians face more severe restrictions than we do, because of pathetic performances by provincial premiers kowtowing to ideological nonsenses in their heads. They've led their populations down the garden path.
You don't reward stupidity by handing the stupid more money to continue being stupid, the way I see it. Merry Christmas.
PS This Atlantic article about sums up the uselessness of the premiers, merely in American context.
Ctv news did a report a few weeks ago and said 98 percent of all Covid deaths were in old age homes.
Where were those numbers from? According to Public Health Ontario, the province has seen a total of 3,916 Covid-related deaths as of December 10. Of those, 2,460 were long-term care residents and 8 were LTC workers. That amounts to about 63% of all Covid deaths in the province.
It's infuriating when I see people young and old doing their best to wear masks and social distance and then along comes the righteously indignant covidiots spreading the virus among themselves and ultimately among those trying to do the right thing. I don't think any amount of scaring them will work, Simon, unless it hits home and even then I wonder. The only cure for such selfishly irresponsible behavior is removal from society until the threat has passed but we're much too "civilized" for those draconian measures it seems.
With the vaccines coming soon and an eventual end to this nightmare, there is hope but in the meantime our health care workers are once again bearing the brunt of this latest surge. The bulk of our provinces have failed spectacularly by trying to close the gate after all the cattle have escaped. Too little too late. Con premiers afraid to anger their base of anti-maskers/vaxers/science/common sense is what's gotten us to this point. Of course, somehow they'll try to spin it as JT's fault. Once we've gotten covid under control, deadly serious conversations need to be had to prepare for the next one. And if you want to scare covidiots into following the rules? Threaten them with incarceration. It's the only way to break down the barrier of stupidity.
For a technically advanced society we are caught in a classic prey predator loop common to other species. In summary we are the prey and the mindless Covid virus is the predator. The loop goes something like this: daily party at the watering hole, the predator pounces with deadly force, the heard retreats and finds a boring alternative sources of water, eventually the mindless brave venture back to the watering hole and most return relatively unscathed, timidly at first then in numbers the herd joyously returns, Covid pounces again .....
Living next to crazy town hasn't helped but most of the provinces have embraced the prey predator approach but with the additional constraint of closing down the watering hole before victims overwhelm the health care system and the slaughter spirals totally out of control. Generally trying to instill a higher level of fear would just increase the yo yo effect but perhaps at this juncture it could compliment arrival of the vaccine if messaging was uniform. What are the chances of that? So here we are, evolution's finest faring no better against a mindless predator than our tree swinging cousins would!
I dont know what to say but the oZZIe PM said dont give us a vacine, give it to people who need it. What are we not like OZ?
The link to the story about the flyers being sent to mailboxes in Calgary tells you all you need to know about who is spreading the misinformation. If you visit the site listed in the story, they refer to Rebel News offering to pay fines for people and feature Dr. Hodkinson's comments about it all being a hoax despite these statements having been debunked.
What I don't think these people protesting mask restrictions, social distancing and lockdowns realize is that they're only prolonging these measures with their defiance which is affecting everyone. Nobodies happy about any of this. The government isn't going to suddenly stop the measures just because a segment of the population who listens to far right media and believes in conspiracy theories are ignorantly complaining about their "rights and freedoms". It is these people who are causing these inconveniences to last longer than need be.
Analysis of the Stats Can Covid 19 data base confirms that the death rate for those below the age of 50 is rare. However data also shows that a significant number of those younger than 50 require treatment in an ICU which is the place of last resort between life and death.
On average approximately 1.2% of those infected with Covid require treatment in an ICU. The median age is around 60 with 1/2 below that age and requirements only trail off for people in their 30's or younger but still not zero. These units are highly specialised and the last line of defense between living or dying. The number of units vary by geographic location but information suggests Canada has an average of 15 units per 100000 people or approximately 5500 beds. The specialized people and equipment required to operate them cannot be conjured up overnight so the only way to free up beds for Covid patients is to try and squeeze out a bit more efficiency, postpone other treatments that could require an ICU stay and tighten admission requirements. Desperate choices!
At present there are 76000 active Covid cases in Canada which suggests a need for 900 or approximately 16% of the ICU beds. On average that's likely manageable but there are also likely locations at over capacity and people will die as a result. If the case count doubles beds will not be available and many will die unnecessarily. Lets hope our government put the brakes on in time and most sensible people heed the call over the Christmas holidays. It would also be helpful if the Covid idiots signed a waiver not to occupy an ICU bed should misfortune strike.
Whatever happened to the House Hippo spot? I know it's too cute to be scary, but at least his message was clear about purveyors of bullshit. Needs to be updated to condemn QAnon/pandemic hoax online troll cults -- and the likes of Derek Sloan and the CPC. Cons will complain about partisanship, but as Stephen Colbert used to say, reality has a Liberal bias. Canada needs another hippopotamus for Christmas.
So we are now in rollout and this has already cured one big blackspot on the Canadian body politic. The raving cons raving about Canada being a failure.
Hi anon@ 11:27 PM....I remember how Doug Ford all but urged people to get out an enjoy themselves, and how he put business interests before the lives of those he was supposed to be protecting. It's something all Cons seem to have done all over the world. From Donald Trump to Boris Johnson to Bolsonaro. And now their people are paying a terrible price. When will they learn that Cons simply can't be trusted to govern any country?
Hi BM...yes that's true, thank goodness the Atlantic provinces have handled themselves as all the other provinces have done. I don't want to generalize, but they seem to have more of the community spirit that once set Canadians apart from Americans. If you can bottle it please send us some. Greed is always bad, but in a pandemic it can be fatal. And Merry Christmas to you too...
Anon@6:21 AM...I don't know where you got that figure from, but it doesn't seem right. For while it's true that the LTC death toll was frighteningly and shamefully high, community spread has since accounted for most cases, and is why the virus is now spreading so rapidly...
Hi anon@10:13 AM... Thanks for digging those numbers up. They seem to reflect where we are now. While deaths in LTC are still occurring, the virus is infecting others in their own homes, which makes it even harder to control...
Hi JD....I share your frustration, and believe me when I see Covidiots parading down the street I have to control myself from doing something I would regret. It's bad enough that they are so criminally selfish, but when I see some of them posing as freedom fighters it drives me up the wall, and I do think that maybe jailing them is the only way to bring them down to earth. Having said that I recognize that some of them are small business owners who are simply desperate, and for them I have a huge amount of sympathy. But what can we do? The more we fail to flatten the curve by whatever means necessary, the longer the nightmare will continue...
Hi RT....I agree with you that a more uniform message would make it a stronger one, but in a country so large that is hard to do. How can you impose the same restrictions on places where the virus has hardly made it presence known, as you do on the pest hole where I am presently living? And then there's our federal system which may be the only way to govern such a large country, but is a real problem when we're in the grip of a pandemic. I am proud of the way Scotland has been handling itself, but even there the virus is still surging, and it's such a small country. I like your prey watering hole metaphor, but when I think of a predator I think of Doug Ford on all fours and it's pretty scary...
Hi Steve....I'm not quite sure what you mean about giving the vaccine to the people who need it. That's what we are doing here, but it's going to take time to vaccinate everyone, and we just have to be patient....
Hi AKA Joe....Trust Levant and his Rebel crazies to be cheerleading the anti vaccination mob. I know some Canadians are genuinely afraid of vaccines and for them I have some sympathy and am willing to spend time convincing them they'll be OK, and it's for the greater good. But the Rebel scum are opposed to vaccines for ideological and fundraising reasons, and the health authorities should treat them like they treat rabid animals. We are in a horrifying war and it's one we won't win until we all do what we need to do to crush the virus....
Hi RT....That's an excellent summation of the threat to ICUs. People forget that Covid patients aren't the only ones who need them. So a sudden surge can compromise those recovering from cancer surgeries or whatever. And in the worst case scenario actually prevent those necessary surgeries from taking place, and contribute to the death toll. Many hospitals in Toronto are now teetering on the brink of disaster,
and if they are swamped it will be a medical nightmare like this country has never seen before...
Hi Jackie....I must confess that I never saw that house hippo ad, but thank you for showing me because I absolutely loved it, which is probably not the reaction those who made it intended. I would like David Lynch to make an ad that would make the anti vaxxers wake up at night screaming. It is I'm afraid the only way to convince those fanatics to do the right thing...
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