We’re doing better than most people think when it comes to COVID-19

Beyond DoFo’s bungling (see last point), we’re actually doing much better than most people realize:

  1. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the US or UK. Both dwarf us when it comes to economic power and population and manufacturing capabilities. The fact that we are only trailing these two countries is impressive (more on that later). Neither are exporting any vaccines (beyond the US loaning us AZ).
  2. The US most definitely has a third wave in areas where the Variants of Concern (VOCs) have hit – for example, look at Michigan. Testing is also way lower (eg Texas), so really it’s a battle of vaccination vs VOCs. “The Upper Midwest and Northeast right now are experiencing major upticks in cases,” says Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the University of Minnesota.
  3. The VOCs are a concern, and are far scarier than “classic” covid. The prelim data shows that B117 (UK variant) is ~50% more contagious and results in ~50% increase in deaths. Eg India just broke 100,000 cases in a single day (record high). Poland hit a new high for infections. It’s serious. And things are going to get worse.
  4. Current data says the vaccines protect pretty well against the VOCs. There is one study on AZ/SA, but it should be noted that zero people were hospitalized in either groups. The concern (here in Canada) is sans vaccinations, the VOCs can cause far more problems (which they are – third wave). Smart people think the vaccines should take care of the variants.
  5. Data from Israel (and US/UK) show that once ~30-50% of the population has one shot (and remember it takes 2 weeks for the shot to work), new covid cases start coming down. Early data also shows that the vaccines are doing a pretty damn good job of suppressing spread too. Note that UK and Israel both had far stricter lockdowns than we have here in Ontario. And to be clear: that is what I am advocating for — actual measures to limit spread. Why are people hanging out in the malls?
  6. Similar to the US/UK, stop comparing ourselves to Israel. Israel made a bet that Pfizer would win, and they a) paid a lot more per dose and b) gave Pfizer access to aggregate health records. Israel also paid 2x more than everyone else and has 1/4th the population of Canada.
  7. On a per-capita basis, Canada is actually doing pretty good. 16% of the eligible population has received one dose, and 73% of 80+ have received at least one dose. Considering a majority of deaths come from 65+, that’s pretty solid. And comparing ourselves to low-population countries like Seychelles, Maldives, Monaco, Malta, and more just exposes you as a bad-faith charlatan.
  8. Speaking of per-capita, Canada is now third in per-capita single shot received in the G20, trailing just the UK and US. France, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc are all well behind Canadia.
  9. A single dose does a pretty damn good job (with an exception for those that are immuno-compromised and potentially 65+). It’s the same strategy that the UK has adopted and seems to be working. For example, a study found that in frontline health care workers, a single shot lead to an 80% decrease in spread after a single shot (and then 90% after the second). That’s massive!
  10. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not about where you are 50% of the way through the race, it’s about how you FINISH. At the current pace + factoring in incoming vaccine shipments, Canada is outpacing almost everyone else. 2.2 million doses coming just this week!
  11. Canada also took the broadest approach – more vaccines were purchased per capita than any other country. And novavax (ETA Apr/May) will be eventually produced domestically too.
  12. We know spread happens a lot more indoors, so wear a proper mask – N95 or equivalent. You can reduce waste/save money by wearing a cloth mask on top of it to extend the life of the more expensive N95 masks. We have CAN95 locally.
  13. The third wave is serious. Even though cases are rising and deaths have stayed relatively flat, the hospitals are getting stretched hard. There’s finite capacity (regardless of having more ICU beds, you still need people to staff it), and the more it gets loaded, the more of a shitshow it becomes (these are words from my own MD friends I have).
  14. The official line is that everyone in Ontario will be able to get a shot in the next 10 weeks, but I am far more bullish than that for one simple reason: we have an absolute behemoth just south of us. What happens when supply outstrips demand?
  15. 2 weeks ago, Walmart guessed supply would exceed demand in 4-6 weeks. There’s already of diverting supplies from low-demand areas to high. All while the US keeps upping their supply. The most obvious place for the US to dump their excess supply is… Canada. And to make a previous comparison – the US loaned enough AZ vaccines for 4% of eligible Canadians, whereas Mexico got enough for 1.9% of their vaccines. “Arkansas clinics say the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine is outweighing the demand.” (and that’s with it open to everyone). There definitely will be a redistribution from low-demand to high-demand states in the US, and 39% of Republicans have consistently said they will not get it. Also this comment is worth reading.
  16. On Thursday and Friday, the US administered enough doses (8 million) to give ~25% of all eligible Canadians a single shot! As such, I’m generally bullish that by Canada Day we should be pretty damn close to normal, and that within 8 weeks we should all have had single shot.
  17. If you want to blame anyone in Ontario, Doug Ford is it. It could be an entire post on its own, but from communications from the COVID taskforce has no actual ID/Virologist experts (eg David Fisman quit because they would not listen) to focusing on more politically-convenient interventions than stuff that ACTUALLY reduces transmission (eg – why did they start opening up indoor dining when cases were already rising 2 weeks ago) to the “mockdown” (the latest “shutdown” barely changes the rules from the previous lockdown) to allowing indoor gatherings while banning patios to more. This is before we even TOUCH the fact that they refuse to re-instate sick days, the non-equitable distribution of vaccines (even in Toronto – per neighborhood, the richest have the highest availability even though the poorest are by far the hardest hit), and that he is literally sitting on billions that the Feds released for COVID relief. Doug Ford’s actions have directly lead to both deaths and the annihilation of small businesses.

TL:DR — Canada is doing much better than people realize, and things should be better much sooner than later. We’re in a bit of a race of vaccination vs variant-spread, so keep avoiding indoors with others + wear a proper N95 mask.

Oh, and Doug Ford is legitimately a problem.