The Fluronacold Racing Season

The 2021-2022 Fluronacold Racing Season has been an exciting one! Team SARSCoV is leading in points with the Omicorn1 superbuggy ahead in overall points, though Omicron2 has been moving up in the standings. Team Flu has pinned their hopes on the normally strong ACatH3N2 . Their BCat  has been sidelined for most of the season. Team Cold has two strong entries, Rhino and Corona. Both Team Flu and Team Cold were more or less sidelined last year due to new restrictions that affected their ability to even race. Fluronacold officials have been under extreme pressure to reinstate all the restrictions, but there is strong evidence that the restrictions have caused some serious collateral damage…

On a personal note, I am on day 17 of ‘Fluronacold’ symptoms. (I do not know which virus I had so I made up the word ‘Fluronacold’…)  I’m inclined to think my current muscle and joint aches and pains are virus related, but as I am constantly reminded by the ‘Correlation is not Causation‘ approach to life, this may not be so.

The Car Guy, he of the Pea Pod and Black Coffee school of health, now has a Frog in his Throat, but is otherwise feeling fine.

I’ve looked at the chart of ‘Fluronacold’ symptoms (below) and I have to say that my symptoms fit all the viruses to some degree and none of the viruses completely.

Source: https://fortune.com/2022/01/12/omicron-delta-cold-and-flu-symptoms-chart/

Meanwhile in Canada:  here is my take on the The Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy.

Pea Pods and Black Coffee

Green Pea Pods

My Virus Update – a cold, the flu or Covid? Don’t know and stubbornly don’t care. The medical treatment (so far) is the same as it has always been for a cold/flu and the isolation/masking is socially required these days…

The Car Guy and I have not been tested for Covid yet and we hope to make it through the whole pandemic without having got one. Call it Baby Boomer defiance to the last two years of government mandates and mass media fear mongering…

So, I’ve made it through the sniffles and the cough and now I’m at the tired stage. I wouldn’t say fatigue, just ‘walk around the block and then lay down for a while’ tired.

The Car Guy has not succumbed to the virus at all. I didn’t think he would. He never gets colds or flu. There are too many variables to figure out why this is, but in the true spirit of finding spurious correlations and claiming them as causes, I present raw green pea pods and black coffee. He consumes both in significant quantities. I don’t. So there you have it.

Frog in my Throat

“A Frog in my Throat”

I have been invaded by a virus. I have a runny nose, a scratchy ‘frog’ in my throat, and a dry cough. I don’t know if I encountered the virus while still in Alberta, or if it caught up with me during the three day drive from Alberta to Arizona. I don’t know if it is a common cold or if it is one of the Covid variants like Omicron.

I do know that medical advice in both places says stay isolated at home for 5 days after the start of symptoms and don’t clog up the medical system unless the symptoms are well beyond what I’m experiencing. In Alberta, PCR tests are not available unless you are deemed to be severely sick. I’m assuming the situation is similar here in Arizona too.

What isn’t the same in the states we traveled through to get here, is mandates. In Canada, we have been ‘mandated’ up to our eyeballs. Today, if The Car Guy or I wanted to get back into Canada, our vaccine status alone would not be good enough; nor would a promise that we would drive immediately to our home and quarantine for 2 weeks. No, we would also have to have proof of a negative molecular test OR we will be fined $5000 per person. (When we crossed into the USA from Canada we didn’t have to provide any proof of even having been vaccinated. The restaurants and motels we used did not have mask mandates, though some had mask recommendations that few people were following.)

To put this difference between Canada and the United States into perspective (recognizing there are state/provincial/municipal differences), I’d like to start with  a section of a post from Mike Rowe (Mike Rowe Works Foundation):

How much more mandating are we willing to endure to avoid a virus we’re all going to get?

…I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. I’m worried that mask mandates will lead to vaccine mandates, and vaccine mandates will lead to vaccine passports, and vaccine passports will lead to QR codes on our phones, which we’ll all need to present at every restaurant, every gym, every library, every theater… everywhere we go.

Yes, I’m also worried about overcrowded hospitals and stressed-out healthcare workers. And of course, I’m worried about those who won’t survive this thing. But I’m more worried about the path we’re headed down… and that path is paved with mandates.

In my province (as in most Canadian provinces) Mike Rowe’s fears have mostly all come to pass. We have to wear a mask to enter all public settings and workplaces. We need to show our vaccine passport (with a QR code) to enter restaurants, theatres, concerts, fitness facilities etc that want to operate at normal capacity. We can’t board a plane or train without our vaccine passport… and we can’t enter our own country without a vaccine passport…

“I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. – Mike Rowe. Graphic Source: https://xkcd.com/

On a safety spectrum, I’d say much of Canada is highly Safety first. Some parts of the USA – maybe not so much. Which makes it kind of funny that the
Canada Travel Advisory is to Avoid Non-Essential Travel to the United States; the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory: Canada – Level 4: Do Not Travel Due to very high level of COVID-19…

My post on A Safety Third Philosophy in a Safety First World

Tom Swifties Quotations #2

A ‘Tom Swifty’ is a play on words. It usually starts with a quotation, followed by an adverb that describes how Tom was speaking. (For more Tom Swifties, and a brief history of this type of parody, see Tom Swifties Quotations #1.

“Blow on the fire so it doesn’t go out,” Tom bellowed.

“Company should be here in about an hour,” Tom guessed.

“Dawn came too soon,” Tom mourned.

“I couldn’t believe we lost the election by two votes,” Tom recounted.

“I’m losing my hair,” Tom bawled.

“I suppose there’s room for one more,” Tom admitted.

“It’s made the grass wet,” said Tom after due consideration.

“I used to own that gold mine,” Tom exclaimed.

“I’ve had my left and right ventricles removed,” Tom said half-heartedly.

“I’ve never had a car accident,” said Tom recklessly.

“Measure twice before you cut,” Tom remarked.

“My hair’s been cut off,” Tom said distressfully.

“Please put some folds in these trousers,” Tom pleaded.

“Thanks for shredding the cheese,” Tom said gratefully.

“That’s no purebred,” Tom muttered.

“Where did you get this meat?” Tom asked hoarsely.

“We’ve taken over the government,” Tom cooed.

“You dropped a stitch,” Tom needled.

“You look like a goat,” Tom kidded.

‘Rona Virus – The Alberta Picture

After nearly two years of varying degrees of shut down and a never ending daily dose of fear delivered by Mass and Social Media – how has Covid impacted Albertans? Was the collateral damage suffered by children, teens, isolated seniors and the work force a justifiable sacrifice? Did ‘we save Grandma?”

Here are some stats. Does the reality match your impression of the pandemic?

COVID STATS in ALBERTA

1. Hospitalizations and ICU Combined:  16,028 Covid patients were Hospitalized in the almost two years of Covid (March 2020 to January 2022). That is .36% of the total population. Reality Check:  The total number of Covid patients were about double the daily number  of patients treated in Alberta’s hospitals in 2019 (the year prior to Covid.) 400,000 patients are discharged from Alberta Hospitals each year.

2. ICU:  3049 patients or .07% of the population needed care in ICU. (Reality Check: In 2019, 24,010 patients were in ICU.)

3. Deaths: 3338 people died or .075% of the population.  A distinction has not been made as to how many deaths were caused by Covid and how many deaths had Covid as a contributing, but not primary factor. That distinction is now being tracked in some jurisdictions since a growing number of patients are coming to the hospital for other treatment but are asymptomatic for Covid. Reality Check: In 2019, 26,268 Albertans died, which is .6% of the population.

4. Covid has predominantly been a disease of the elderly with existing health problems. The Average age of death was 7875% of Covid deaths were people over the age of 70. Though the elderly have the highest vaccination rates, they can have less robust immune systems in general.

Weekly Deaths from Covid in Alberta: (October 1 2020 to Jan 5, 2021)  Red line: Under Age of 50; Blue Line 50-79 Years of age; Green Line: 80 + years

5. Comorbidities (Exisiting Health Problems): of those who died:
82% had Hypertension (high blood pressure)
52% had Cardio-vascular disease
50% had Renal Disease
44% had Diabetes

Of those with Non-Severe Covid: 32% had one or more comorbidities.
Of those Hospitalized but not in ICU: 76% had one or more comorbidities.
Of those in ICU: 77% had one or more comorbidities.
Of those who Died: 93% had one or more comorbidiities.

6. Vaccines: Since January 1, 2020: 
70% of cases were unvaccinated or less than 2 weeks from getting the first dose.
80% of hospitalizations  were unvaccinated or less than 2 weeks from getting the first dose.
75% of deaths were unvaccinated or less than 2 weeks from getting the first dose.

COVID GRAPHS

Note: Alberta is now in what is being called the 5th wave or Omicron wave. Though hospitalizations are rising, the numbers in ICU are not yet climbing as they did in previous waves.
This graph shows how deaths do not always track the same as cases or hospitalizations.

7. Cases: Cases have been the key metric used to scare people. Cases do not necessarily track closely with other metrics (particularly deaths). Alberta has cut back on public testing in order to conserve PCR tests for medical professionals and high risk populations.

FURTHER READING

Omicron and the Endemic Phase Phase of Covid – Dr. Zubin Damania

Fighting COVID-19: The Heterogeneous Transmission Thesis

What COVID-19 Vaccines Can and Can’t do

The History of the mRNA Vaccines

Cold – When Centigrade and Fahrenheit are Equal

JUST HOW COLD IS IT?
Weather wise, it has been a cold Christmas/New Year here in Alberta. Temperatures have hovered in the sub -20C (-4F) range, but dipped to -40C (-40F) several nights. (Yes, at -40, the two temperature scales collide and agree that it is too cold to go anywhere, assuming your car will even start…)

There is nothing as bad as being alone and too cold.
You become totally ice-olated and cut off.
– Author Unknown –

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF SNOW PLOW SEASON
Twelve snowplows in Chatham-Kent (a Municipality in Ontario, Canada) are sporting new names, thanks to a naming contest:
Anita Shovel
Gordie Plow
Blizzard of Oz
Darth Blader
Pillsbury Plowboy
Sled Zepplin
Buzz Ice-Clear
Qunuk (Inuit word for snowflake)
Flurrious George
School’s Not Cancelled
Snobi One Kenobi
Sleetwood Mac

IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Yes, this is how we kept our feet dry inside our boots. Winter boots were often rubbery things that we pulled over our shoes, then buckled up. Spring, summer and fall boots were the same pull on rain boots that we buy today. All boots eventually leaked.  Hence the bread bags that we wore over our feet, inside our boots. (I think we used Sunbeam bread bags.)

Cold? Go Stand in the Corner. It’s 90 degrees.

DID YOU EVER WONDER

Why are there no dead penguins on the ice in the Antarctic? Where do they all go?
Well, Penguins are very ritualistic birds that live extremely ordered and complex lives.
If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, family members and their social circle will dig a hole in the ice with their little wings and beaks. When the hole is deep enough, they will roll the dead bird in to it, then fill the hole back up.
Then the penguins will gather in a circle around the icy grave and sing:
“Freeze a jolly good fellow.
Freeze a jolly good fellow.”
… you really didn’t believe that I know anything about penguins, did you?
– Author Unknown –

If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you are taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crock pot full of gravy.
– Twitter advice from @Chadsu42 –

HAVE YOU HAD THE SNIFFLES YET?
Another kind of circulating cold is the OmiCold. Oh, I know that isn’t what this Covid Variant is being called yet, but when you have mild symptoms (cold, flu or even covid like) and your government tells you to just stay home (isolate) AND you are not mandated to get tested, then it seems like Omicron is being lumped in with its sibling cold coronaviruses – 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1.

 

https://xkcd.com/

For up to date and non-scare mongering advice, I consult my Doctor and watch the videos posted by Dr. Zubin Damania. His Alt-Middle vision of health and communication is refreshing. His latest take on Omicron is Omicron and the Endemic Phase of Covid.

I did an analysis of Covid stats in my province: ‘Rona Virus – The Alberta Picture. Yes, Covid is ‘real’ – but we now know it targeted some groups much more severely than others.

RETURNING TO THE WEATHER
You can read more quotes about the weather at “Weather and Season Quotations”.