It’s hard to get our heads around this pandemic. Let’s start with the important stuff instead of (note to self) watching the gong of doom all day.
How to avoid catching Covid-19.
Knowledge is power. For starters read this excellent blog post from an epidemiologist, it’s well worth the investment of your time as well as this article by Jonathan Kay that inspired it.
Bottom line: “Any environment that is enclosed, with poor air circulation and high density of people, spells trouble.”
We were first told that face-masks were ineffective. Canadian medical officers of health are still tepid as to their protection value. Despite that, it appears that masks are very effective in containing the spread of Covid. Look at this comparison of jurisdictions and their use of masks along with testing and contact tracing.
Despite the evidence, health experts continue to twist themselves into pretzels and argue that their conflicting advice was correct each time.
Long term care homes:
The infection and death rate in profit-making homes is significantly higher than in non-profits and it’s even lower in civic-run homes. Legislation from an earlier P.C. government and low funding from Liberals along with decreased inspections has cost lives. Legislated staffing ratios and more frequent inspections are needed for all facilities. This is something that the Ford government doesn’t seem interested in. All Personal Support Workers – even those from agencies – should be paid well with benefits and restricted to one location only. Do we want anything less for the most vulnerable members of our society? (ambiguity intentional)
Isn’t it odd that many of our (now) most important workers were stiffed by Premier Ford when he blocked a minimum wage rise back in 2018. Now he’s offering some of them a temporary (4 month) $4 an hour raise, no doubt until it’s safe to ignore these essential workers once more.
We’re hearing a lot more from politicians and health officials these days. The B.S. alarms should go off when any public figure says:
- …thoughts and prayers…
- You won’t believe…
- We’ve made historic investments…
- Each and every…
- Let me be clear…
- We’re gonna be laser focussed…
- We’ll put an iron ring around our seniors…
- Don’t go to your cottage to check on the plumbing…
- …my career
- Sentences using the first person pronoun (I).
- No-one likes _____ more than I do…
Things that will never be the same again:
Many office-based businesses have discovered that work can carry on from home quite efficiently with the added bonus of employees ponying up the accommodation and utility costs. Will we need as much office space in the future? Probably not. It’s not all sunshine and roses. Some friends work from home and hate the lack of social contact with colleagues along with the intrusion of work tasks into all hours of the day and night. If business can solve these issues, there will be a lot fewer commuters and less need to live in the city.
The act of spitting can carry huge virus loads. If basketball, golf and tennis players can go a whole game without spitting or firing snot rockets, hockey and baseball players, cyclists (and everyone else) can and must.
Handshakes and hugs:
The ancient custom of bowing or the namaste hand clasp is looking better and better. “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci.
TTC ridership is down 80%. Many people are fearful of travelling on any form of transit. Projections are that when numbers recover after the pandemic subsides, they will climb to less than 50% of pre-pandemic levels. This includes airplane and cruise line traffic.
We need more:
Pedestrian and park space:
We need more and it seems that Toronto is cautiously (what else) moving to improve pedestrian space so that people are able to occupy more of the road space since they are now in the majority in many parts of Toronto. How great would it be if Toronto restaurants could occupy patios outside their establishments with a minimum of red tape? Then again we live in Toronto the Careful™.
When Toronto Council right-winger Denzil Minnan-Wong proposed to “…direct the General Manager, Transportation Services to explore the feasibility of implementing new technology including heated pavement to promote year-round cycling.“, our own Councillor Nunziata voted to defeat the motion. Doncha know there’s a pandemic on?
Oddly Mr. Minnan-Wong voted against his own motion. Toronto Council never fails to entertain.
|Vote (Adopt Item)||Apr-30-2020|
Bless the Diavolitsis family although it’s sad that we need to raise charitable donations for our hospitals.
Canadian inventiveness and ‘Made In Canada’ labels may become a more common sight as we realize the sense of supporting local industry.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce has got his wish of increased distance learning and almost every student in the province is taking part in a giant online / distant learning experiment. The original goal of the Ford government was to cut education costs by requiring high school students to take four online credits. After an outcry the number was reduced to two credits but the pandemic may make online learning a necessity.
Lastly, universities coining gazillions of dollars from overseas students are learning that their golden goose has been cooked by Covid-19. In early 2020, more than 600,000 foreign students made Canada their learning playground. There’s simply no point in overseas students paying top dollar for courses at U of T or McGill if they can’t have the physical student experience of skipping classes and getting shitfaced, which is after all a major point of the exercise. No doubt accommodation and other repercussions will echo across the land when the students’ $22 billion and 170,000 related jobs disappear.