It’s Rapid and It’s Positive

The Car Guy likes things to be cut and dried. Once the Frog in his Throat became a cough, the logical thing to do, in his mind, was to take a rapid antigen test to see whether he has Covid or not. He ordered a test kit on Amazon – it arrived in two days.

Other than the discomfort of putting a swab up his nose, the test was straight forward and fairly fast. Within 15 minutes, he had his answer. He was positive for Covid.

I didn’t bother taking the test. If I gave the virus to him, I was probably going to test negative because I am over two weeks away from first symptoms. If I didn’t have the virus then I am going to get it from him in short order. Either way, we’ll both test in about a week. If we test negative, we will be ‘good to go’ visit some of our friends who are at higher risk if they were to contract Covid.

Meanwhile in Canada

The big news in Canada is the Truckers Freedom Convoy. (I did two posts about it at my other blog, Counter Current.) Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau, the man who proudly marched with BLM in 2020, did not meet with the truckers when they arrived at their destination in the Nation’s capital. Why? He has reportedly said that the convoy members and their supporters are a “fringe minority” who hold “unacceptable views.” (He also says he has tested positive for Covid but is feeling fine. He has ‘holed up’ at an undisclosed location.)

The foundational cornerstone of liberty is the free exchange of ideas. Without that, we don’t really have liberty. And that means putting up with a lot of things you disagree with.
And here’s the great thing about freedom of expression – someone else gets to try and convince you of how wrong you are. And all the ideas get to compete. And at some point, enough people will provide enough verifiable information, that hard, irrefutable facts will emerge. But as long as nothing is ever challenged, we will never know if those “facts” are irrefutable or not.
Regie Hamm

This is the same Prime Minister that called a Vanity Federal Election (that was midway through his term and cost taxpayers $610 million) during the Fourth Wave of the Pandemic

Getting back to the truckers, they are equally peeved with American President Biden. Trudeau and Biden have, at this very late date in the pandemic, declared cross border truckers now have to be fully immunized. The truckers, who for the past two years have made it possible for the elitist ‘shelter at home’ people to ‘stay safe’, have decided they have had it with mandates that smack of political virtue signalling.

 

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.

A 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

Spike and the Variants – Will Omicron be the New Lead Singer?

Spike and the Variants – a Zentangle by Margy

‘Spike and the Variants’ continue their highly successful world tour, though their lead singers continue to be ousted and replaced by members of the new generations. In Alberta, Alpha finally stepped back (for the good of the band) and let Delta lead the climb to the top of the charts for the second half of 2021. Today there are rumours that Omicron might push it aside, but time will tell whether the new upstart has what it takes to lead a new wave of ‘dispopularity’.

What Doesn’t Kill you… mutates and tries again…

… doesn’t this sound like elections too?

Good Night, Sleep Tight…

This time last year I was counting the number of itchy bites I got each day, mostly on my legs. I was convinced I was the victim of grass mites, mosquitoes and/or ants. Then one morning  I found three bites under one arm and a cluster of ten bites on my chest. Uh oh…

Bedbugs? Did we bring bedbugs home with us when we drove from Arizona to Alberta at the end of April? Yikes!

A number of years ago a friend’s home got bedbugs and at that time the treatment was to heat the whole house to an even temperature of over 120 F for at least an hour. It was an expensive procedure.

(By now I had worked myself into a lather, as they say). I called the local bug assassin company. They sent one of their  exterminators out that afternoon. He looked carefully at everything in our bedroom. He could not find any sign of bedbugs. He explained that didn’t mean there were no bedbugs – just not enough to constitute an infestation.

If I wanted, he could spray selected surfaces in our bedroom with a product that his company was having a lot of success with. He explained how he would use it and how safe it was for humans once it had dried. We could use the room again in four hours. Oh, and the cost was a bit less than $200.

I said “Make it So!” He instructed me to strip the bed and wash the bedding in hot water. That would kill any bugs residing in our quilts, pillows etc. He told me not to bother washing anything else. Any bugs that weren’t killed in the first few hours would track us down at night and they would be killed too because the spray would keep working for many months.

The spray was a complete success – that was the end of the bites.

Good night, sleep tight
Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
But if they do, then take your shoe and
Hit them till they’re black and blue.
– Childhood Rhyme –

More About Bedbugs

Bedbugs were all but eradicated in the developed world by the 1950’s because of pest control products like DDT and chlordane – and the widespread use of vacuums and washing machines. Today, however, bedbugs are on the rise again because of increased travel and fewer chemical control products.

Adult Bed bugs are the size and color of a flat apple seed. They hide during the day in mattress crevices, box springs, baseboards, behind electrical switch plates, in picture frames, and even behind wallpaper. At night, the carbon dioxide we exhale lures them out of their hiding spots. Once a bed bug finds a host, it will usually feed for 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the feeding shows up as a pattern of three bites in a cluster or row. The host usually isn’t wakened by the feasting because bed bug saliva is an anaesthetic.

If you think you have bedbugs, call a professional. In my humble opinion, this isn’t a do it yourself job.

‘Rona Virus – Efficacy and Straws

Straw efficacy: Tim Horton’s has retired their red plastic straws. In my ranking system, these straws had a 95% efficacy at removing the contents of a Tim Horton’s Iced Capp. The new white cardboard straw has only a 90% efficacy because it is wider than the ‘valley’ that holds the “good to the last drop” stuff at the bottom of the cup. The red straw has a 100% efficacy rate for durability. The white paper straw has a 75% efficacy rate because it starts to get squishy about 3/4 of the way through the drink.

The word ‘efficacy’ is very old. It dates back to the 1200’s! It didn’t enter my consciousness until this year, when the term was used in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine Efficacy
A vaccine with an efficacy rate of, say 85%, means it demonstrated in trials that it could reduce moderate to severe disease by 85%. To do that, the vaccines initiated an immune response that  reduced the number of viruses in the lower respiratory tract. To date, the vaccines are not believed to be sterilizing vaccines that completely stop the virus in the upper respiratory tract too.

In time, the vaccine may prove to be a sterilizing vaccine in some or most of the population. Until then, some governments, such as the one in my province, explain the vaccine in terms of effectiveness in preventing severe disease, hospitalizations and death from COVID-19′.

Here is an excellent explanation of the Covid Vaccine: University of Colorado.

What about Mask Efficacy?

I somehow doubt there will be a mask efficacy rating for the products used by the general public during Covid. There are simply too many variables – material, fit, care in use; indoors vs outdoors; social distancing and other factors limiting people’s activities;  age, immunity, viral load and length of exposure of participants… Analyzing masking is going to be either a statisticians dream or nightmare.

In preparation for the (hopefully) soon removal of mask mandates, last week I performed a small test on public perception of an unmasked person (me). I had to drop a sample off at a medical lab. I walked two car lengths across a parking lot, stood in an outside lineup of one (me) for about two minutes then handed the sample (while still outside) to the masked attendant who, by protocol, stepped outside to receive it.

While I was being a line of one, there was, for a few seconds, a lineup of two – another ‘client’ arrived. Unlike me, she was masked. When the attendant moved to the door to summons me, the masked lady behind me swiftly moved forward to try to hand her item to the attendant. As she came up beside me, she suddenly drew back. I don’t know whether it was because she saw I was unmasked or whether she realized that I was handing a sample to the attendant too.

Either way, I didn’t learn anything about public perception because the attendant and the client were masked – I couldn’t read anything in their faces.

Efficacy of the Virus

Efficacy isn’t actually the term used to describe Covid mortality – it is called  Case fatality. In both Canada and the USA it is 1.8%. There are, however, an unknown number of people who have had Covid, but were not diagnosed with it, which drops the case fatality rate by some unknown amount. The fatality rate in terms of the entire population are .07% for Canada and .18% for the United States.

I’m hoping we aren’t invaded by a new and more deadly variant so that our province  can move towards full removal of restrictions by the end of June… inshallah…

‘Rona Virus – We Got Shot

Vaccines are in short supply here in Canada – so The Car Guy and I decided we would delay getting ours (we are retired seniors who can easily continue to shelter in place). We hoped  that ‘our shot’ would go to younger, but more vulnerable people. (That part worked well – our younger siblings got their shots a few weeks ago.)

We would have kept delaying ‘shot’ time for several more months if the various governments and venues hadn’t  fouled things up a bit. Our Province decided to delay the timing for the second shot by up to four months. Other governments and service providers started to talk about two dose immunization as a requirement to travel or take part in normal life again. We started counting the months until we’d like to visit our home and friends in Arizona and decided we should book our shots.

We ‘got shot’ last Friday. Just in time to be locked down again.

The Province of Ontario is in lockdown too. The Police can’t actually come to your house, of course, but I’m sure there are a few people who wish that officers could do removals…

Hard to forget early 2020 – toilet paper was a major issue. This year, in some places, it is lumber. Prices have gone up by as much as 50%.

Also in 2020 – remember Flatten the Curve?

The goal, you might remember, was to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed. Fourteen months later, we’re doing it all over again. It’s like trying to staple jello to a wall.

There have been a number of Anti-Lockdown Rallies in Alberta. Some people have been pushed to the limit of their endurance. There are concerns that these Rallies will be super-spreader events. The one that caused the most uproar was a Rodeo  that was attended by about 4000 people over the course of 2 days. It has been 10 days since it took place and no cases have been linked to the event so far.

Last June, 15000 people in Edmonton Alberta attended a BLM Rally. That rally, and all the BLM rallies across Canada did not result in an increase of Covid cases either, officials say.

I think many people understand that lockdowns are more damaging to some people than to others. The question being raised in some quarters recently – are lockdowns actually Systemic Racism?

I think we are going to see interesting ‘discussions about best pandemic practices’ once the virus and the world have come to a mutual understanding!

‘Rona Virus – Spike and the Variants

You can find many photos of ‘Spike and the Variants’ on the internet, but the pictures are kind of fuzzy and they make one variant look just like another. Not to worry. With a little imagination and a Pigma Micron No 03 pen, I think I captured their likeness very well.

My home province, Alberta, is currently a hot spot for the wild performances of the spike protein virus, SARS-CoV-2.

‘Spike’, having been booed off Alberta stages twice now, called for some fresh new faces to liven up the act. A group of  ‘Variants’ answered the call.

Experts say there are too many variants to count and most of them are functionally no different than ‘Spike’ the original. However, The WHO has clarified that there are seven variants “of interest” and three variants “with real potential”.

Variant B.1.1.7 from the U.K. has been the most active in Alberta; P.1 from Brazil has tried to make it onto the mainstage, but without much luck. Variants B.1351 from South Africa and B.1.617 from India have so far not been allowed to perform more than a handful of times.

On a more serious note, Government has reacted to ‘Spike and the Variants’ by locking us down for a third time (though in reality, we’ve been in some degree of lock down for over a year now.) Fortunately, the weather has improved considerably – we are ‘allowed’ to meet up with one other family, outdoors, social distanced, as long as there are no more than 5 of us…

All my other ‘Rona stories are at the virus link below.

‘Rona Virus – Pundemic Groaners and Other Funny Thoughts

2020 has answered the question “Hank why do ya drink?”

Anyone else’s car getting three weeks to the gallon now?

At this point I would feel safer if the Coronavirus held a press conference to tell us how it’s going to save us from the government.

Due to my isolation, I finished 3 books yesterday. Believe me—that’s a lot of colouring

Finland as just closed their borders.
No one will be crossing the finish line.

Gwenyth Paltrow said in an interview we should take this time to learn a new language or write a book. I just shook chip crumbs out of my bra and I don’t know what day it is. I’m fairly certain I’m not going to attempt either of those things.

I just Clorox wiped a bottle of Purell and Purelled my hands cuz I touched the Clorox canister. How far down a rabbit hole does this go?

I’ll tell you a coronavirus joke now, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to see if you got it.

I’m not sure how many cookies it takes to be happy, but so far it’s not twenty seven.

It was a quiet Monday morning in September 2053, when John awoke with a need to go to the bathroom. To John this wasn’t just any ordinary day! This was the day he would open the last package of toilet paper his parents bought in the year 2020.

I see a big baby boom coming our way in 9 months. They will be called the C-19 babies and the #1 baby names will be “Charmin” and “Scott”.

Masks are the NEW bra! They’re uncomfortable, you only wear them in public, and when you don’t wear one, everyone notices.

My wife and I play this fun game during quarantine. It’s called “Why are you doing it that way?” There are no winners.

Now is not the right time to surround yourself with positive people.

Ran out of toilet paper… having to use lettuce leaves. Today was the tip of the iceberg. Trying to romaine calm.

Snow White is down to 6 dwarfs. Sneezy has been placed in quarantine.

The grocery stores in France look like tornadoes hit them.
All that’s left is de brie.

There will be a minor baby boom in 9 months and then, one day in 2033, we shall witness the rise of the quaranteens.

The World Health Organization has announced that dogs cannot contract Covid-19.
Dogs previously held in quarantine can now be released.
To be clear, WHO let the dogs out.

To go to the grocery store, they said a mask and gloves were enough… they lied. Everybody else had clothes on.

What do you call panic-buying of sausage and cheese in Germany?
The Wurst Kase scenario.

Why do they call it the novel coronavirus?
It’s a long story…