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Fascinating stuff from the Edmonton Journal:

 

 

“Premier Jason Kenney did not condemn weekend anti-mask rallies on Monday, saying the right to protest is constitutionally protected.

Saturday anti-mask protests in both Edmonton and Calgary drew crowds of hundreds after new provincial rules were introduced last week that ban private indoor social gatherings and limit “private social” outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In question period Monday, Kenney highlighted the legal right to demonstrate.

“We ask Albertans to be responsible in their actions … obviously when it comes to the constitutionally protected right to protest,” said Kenney.”

 

Let’s take a peek at where “ask[ing] Albertans to be responsible in their actions” has gotten us:

Personal responsibility (en masse) isn’t fucking working Mr.Premier.

 

Mr. Kenney did you perhaps wish to stop pouring gasoline on this particular fire?

 

“NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Kenney needs to call out the “irresponsible” behaviour of demonstrators.

“To those people who purposely and knowingly put themselves, their families, their communities at risk, this week you owe an apology for your extreme selfishness to every bleary-eyed exhausted nurse, doctor, and health-care worker in this province who is fighting day and night to fight this pandemic,” she told reporters before question period.

Instead of condemning those who attended, Kenney asked Albertans to be responsible.

“We would ask people not to engage in large-scale protests, and if they do so, please wear masks,” said Kenney, adding enforcement of any measures under the order Hinshaw signed is up to police, not the government.”

I am glad one of our political leaders understands the nature of public health and the ramifications of tacitly condoning behaviour that spreads the virus.  The NDP government of Alberta was far from perfect, but they at least understood that people are the basis of our society and public orders to protect their health are necessary actions during times of crisis.

 

“Kenney has resisted calls to issue a province-wide masking mandate, last Wednesday saying in a Facebook live event that a province-wide mask mandate could be counterproductive.

Kenney cited a rural MLA who told him more people are wearing masks in the local grocery store, but that “a lot of these folks who are doing that now, they’d take it off the moment the government tells them to wear it.”

Yes, because catering to the ‘muh-freedoms’ crowd during a pandemic is going so amazingly well.  I’m not going to let this one go folks – Jason Kenney is catering to his base over the well being of Albertans during a pandemic that is spiralling out of control.  When will we act?  When the hospitals are all bottled-necked?  When the field hospitals are full? When there are dead in the streets?

 

This UCP government is acting irresponsibly and sentencing Albertans to death by COVID-19.  There is no place from them in office, I hope the people of Alberta (especially the rural areas that keep voting conservative) see this.

   Is a sub gig worth the health of your family?

That main question that has been going through my head as of late, since school has started.  I’ve been very lucky to be able to attend schools I know that also happen to have very stringent health protocols.  But I won’t go somewhere new, where I don’t know the people or the lay of the land.  Even with the familiarity and risk reduction, the chance to be infected isn’t zero.

The other side of the coin is, of course, I’m a big fan of eating and keeping up on the bills that, through some dark magic, continue to arrive and require my fiscal involvement even when deep into a world pandemic.

Being Canadian, I had access to the CERB, which while available provided income to keep the home-fires going and remain safely at home with minimal exposure.  I haven’t been more proud of a Canadian Federal government for taking such bold steps to keep its population safe.

Yet, as the second wave comes, the fiscal reality of the government’s finances may dictate that there will be no relief available.  It is very possible that the schools, and thus my employment, may become unavailable for an undetermined length of time.

So then given the uncertainty of future work should I take more risks and work now because no work may be the only option open in the future – but if I catch the virus now I may be out for months recuperating with added negative of possibly killing my vulnerable family members.

This sort of risk drenched future is hell on risk averse individuals such as myself.

I’ll do my best and hope that it is enough for whatever scenario we happen to fall into.

 

*sigh*

 

 

 

 

I am hoping we do not have to learn about how bad the second wave is before it is too late.

History (Straight from Wikipedia)

Timeline

First wave of early 1918

The pandemic is conventionally marked as having begun on 4 March 1918, with the recording of the case of Albert Gitchell, an army cook at Camp Funston in Kansas, United States, despite there likely having been cases before him.[24] The disease had been observed in Haskell County in January 1918, prompting local doctor Loring Miner to warn the US Public Health Service‘s academic journal.[25] Within days, 522 men at the camp had reported sick.[26] By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York.[citation needed] Failure to take preventive measures in March/April was later criticised.[27]

As the US had entered World War I, the disease quickly spread from Camp Funston, a major training ground for troops of the American Expeditionary Forces, to other US Army camps and Europe, becoming an epidemic in the Midwest, East Coast, and French ports by April 1918, and reaching the Western Front by the middle of the month.[24] It then quickly spread to the rest of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Spain, and in May reached Wrocław and Odessa.[24] After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Germany started releasing Russian prisoners of war who then brought the disease to their country.[28] It reached North Africa, India, and Japan in May, and soon after had likely gone around the world as there had been recorded cases in Southeast Asia in April.[29] In June an outbreak was reported in China.[30] After reaching Australia in July, the wave started to recede.[29]

The first wave of the flu lasted from the first quarter of 1918 and was relatively mild.[31] Mortality rates were not appreciably above normal;[32] in the United States ~75,000 flu-related deaths were reported in the first six months of 1918, compared to ~63,000 deaths during the same time period in 1915.[33] In Madrid, Spain, fewer than 1,000 people died from influenza between May and June 1918.[34] There were no reported quarantines during the first quarter of 1918. However, the first wave caused a significant disruption in the military operations of World War I, with three-quarters of French troops, half the British forces, and over 900,000 German soldiers sick.[35]

Seattle police wearing masks in December 1918

Deadly second wave of late 1918

The second wave began in the second half of August, probably spreading to Boston and Freetown, Sierra Leone by ships from Brest, where it had likely arrived with American troops or French recruits for naval training.[35] From the Boston Navy Yard and Camp Devens (later renamed Fort Devens), about 30 miles west of Boston, other U.S. military sites were soon afflicted, as were troops being transported to Europe.[36] Helped by troop movements, it spread over the next two months to all of North America, and then to Central and South America, also reaching Brazil and the Caribbean on ships.[37] From Freetown, the pandemic continued to spread through West Africa along the coast, rivers, and the colonial railways, and from railheads to more remote communities, while South Africa received it in September on ships bringing back members of the South African Native Labour Corps returning from France.[37] From there it spread around Southern Africa and beyond the Zambezi, reaching Ethiopia in November.[38] The Philadelphia Liberty Loans Parade, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 28 September 1918 to promote government bonds for World War I, resulted in 12,000 deaths after a major outbreak of the illness spread among people who had attended the parade.[39]

From Europe, the second wave swept through Russia in a southwest-northeast diagonal front, as well as being brought to Arkhangelsk by the North Russia intervention, and then spread throughout Asia following the Russian Civil War and the Trans-Siberian railway, reaching Iran (where it spread through the holy city of Mashhad), and then later India in September, as well as China and Japan in October.[40] The celebrations of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 also caused outbreaks in Lima and Nairobi, but by December the wave was mostly over.[41]

American Expeditionary Force victims of the Spanish flu at U.S. Army Camp Hospital no. 45 in Aix-les-Bains, France, in 1918

The second wave of the 1918 pandemic was much more deadly than the first. The first wave had resembled typical flu epidemics; those most at risk were the sick and elderly, while younger, healthier people recovered easily. October 1918 was the month with the highest fatality rate of the whole pandemic.[42] In the United States, ~292,000 deaths were reported between September-December 1918, compared to ~26,000 during the same time period in 1915.[33] Copenhagen reported over 60,000 deaths, Holland reported 40,000+ deaths from influenza and acute respiratory disease, Bombay reported ~15,000 deaths in a population of 1.1 million.[43] The 1918 flu pandemic in India was especially deadly, with an estimated 12.5-20 million deaths in the fall months of 1918 alone.[31]

Third wave of 1919

In January 1919, a third wave of the Spanish Flu hit Australia, where it killed 12,000 following the lifting of a maritime quarantine, and then spread quickly through Europe and the United States, where it lingered through the Spring and until June 1919.[12][44][45][41] It primarily affected Spain, Serbia, Mexico and Great Britain, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.[46] It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave. In the United States, isolated outbreaks occurred in some cities including Los Angeles,[47] New York City,[48] Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco and St. Louis.[49] Overall American mortality rates were in the tens of thousands during the first six months of 1919.[50]

Fourth wave of 1920

In spring 1920, a fourth wave occurred in isolated areas including New York City,[48] Switzerland, Scandinavia,[51] and some South American islands.[52] New York City alone reported 6,374 deaths between December 1919 and April 1920, almost twice the number of the first wave in spring 1918.[48] Other U.S. cities including Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis were hit particularly hard, with death rates higher than all of 1918.[53] Peru experienced a late wave in early 1920, and Japan had one from late 1919 to 1920, with the last cases in March.[54] In Europe, five countries (Spain, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland) recorded a late peak between January-April 1920.[51]

I hope the Edmonton Public School Board takes notice

 

“SS: What health and safety measures are your school district and you taking for the reopening of school?

MKS: As of this writing, our district has delayed its start by 2 1/2 weeks for faculty and 4 weeks for students. Required temperature checks daily for staff and students (if temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, individual must go home). Designated room for sick students.

Students will report half Mon and Wed, the other half, Tues and Thurs, and alternate Fridays. Masks are required for adults and for students in grades 3 thru 12. No visitors on campus. At my high school, three lunches, I believe, in a partitioned cafeteria. Scheduled bathroom breaks. Staggered class change. Reserved seating on the school buses. Deep cleaning of facilities each day (evening?), with teachers cleaning their classrooms before school, after school, and between classes. (To limit movement and cleaning, students will follow a block-styled schedule of 110 minutes per class for three classes and 53 minutes for the last class of the day. Desks 6 feet apart; teacher has a designated space and is encouraged to move around room as little as possible. District is also providing Chromebooks to all students, and teachers will be using Google Classroom as the principal teaching and learning platform.

I have also purchased two HEPA air filtration machines for my classroom. I also have purchased scrubs (allowed this year for teachers because scrubs are easy to wash), goggles (2 pair), face shields (2), and masks (multiple). The school will also provide all of these to staff (except goggles), as well as gloves and gowns for staff and masks for students (if needed). The school will provide cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer for staff and students.”

Will it be enough?  Hard to say.

 

 

The second wave of the pandemic now has a date.  The beginning of the school year.

“The Alberta government is targeting a return to “near-normal” conditions with students returning to classrooms across the province for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says.

“Our goal is to get us back to normal learning as soon as possible,” LaGrange said Wednesday at news conference. “We are targeting a return to new-normal operations with some health measures in place.”

LaGrange laid out three scenarios that have been part of the planning for weeks now.

The first scenario would see near-normal operations resume with students returning to daily in-school classes with some health measures…”

Wow.  We’re just gonna throw the kids back into the mix.

“Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said there are outstanding questions about safety.

“If you have a look at staffing as well, as teachers can’t spend the day cleaning their classrooms because they’ll be busy teaching, and if we have students that are in cohorts that are expected to be socially distanced, how is that going to work in some of our classrooms where we have 30 or 40 students? And are they going to split those grades and then hire more teachers?” he said.

“Unbelievable to me that we would move forward on a plan to restart school without making sure that it is adequately funded and that everything that needs to be in place for students, teachers and staff and the broader community, for that matter, are safe.”

Oh, and masks won’t be mandatory.

“LaGrange says wearing masks to school will not be mandated for either staff or students.

“From what Dr. [Deena] Hinshaw has been advising us, the data shows that particularly in young children that it is not something that is required.”

Students or staff who choose to wear a mask may do so, but there is no standalone funding for this type of thing.”

Yep.  Looking forward to the second wave.

 

Source cbc.ca: 12.

 

Peter Franklin’s article caught my eye.   Franklin describes a divide, of sorts, within the libertarian movement in the UK regarding response to the pandemic.  Between those who respect science, and others who think, somehow, their rights are more important that infecting and killing others in society.

I realize my framing isn’t particularly hospitable toward libertarianism, but for the most part I have little time for a philosophy/ideology that boils down to ‘fuck you, I’ve got mine’ as its central tenet.

 

“We think of ourselves as a liberty-loving nation, but seven weeks in and we’re still extraordinarily compliant. The protests we’ve seen in America have not been echoed here. Strangest of all, we’ve had remarkably little dissent from the UK’s small, but normally energetic, band of libertarian wonks.

With the economy crushed beneath state controls like we’ve never seen, where are the howls of rage from the free marketeers? The more thoughtful libertarians realised early on that Covid-19 was to be taken seriously. “This time the warnings are not overdone” warned Matt Ridley back in March. Sam Bowman, senior fellow at Adam Smith Institute, was an early advocate of massive state intervention to prop-up the economy during lockdown.”

 

“However, there’s a very different kind of libertarian, one whose reaction to all of this is more visceral than rational — driven by outrage that law-abiding citizens should find themselves under effective house arrest.Some of these individuals wouldn’t call themselves libertarians at all — and would see the “ancient liberties” they defend as being rooted in tradition not modernity. Others are more orthodox in their ideology, but still populist in style.In any case, it is from these types that we see most of the outspoken opposition to lockdown. Examples include Toby Young, Peter Hitchens and Laura Perrins.”

My question to these ‘visceral libertarians’ and their ancient liberties is this – Do you actually believe, in ancient times, that any real sort of individual liberties existed?  The only way this point of view stays consistent is if we define ‘ancient liberties’ as toiling to death in squalor of  the local Lord’s fields.

Our common ‘rights’ in society are born in communal struggle and the concomitant militant threat to the elite classes of society.  Thus ‘ancient liberties’ were an inherently collective endeavor aka the antithesis of libertarian ideology.

 

“An anti-lockdown march in downtown Vancouver nearly spiralled out of control when dozens of protesters surrounded a hospital entrance and began berating frontline healthcare workers.

Vancouver’s anti-lockdown protests are mainly organized by anti-vaccine activists, along with a flat earth conspiracy group and individuals linked to far-right politics who promote the events through a web of private Facebook groups.

Multiple videos live streamed by participants show the crowd marching down the middle of Burrard Street on Sunday afternoon, before coming to a stop in front of the ambulance bay at St. Paul’s Hospital.

One protester shouted into a megaphone that they wanted to “talk to the doctors.”

Protesters can be heard directing chants of “no vaccines” and “let us in” at several healthcare workers who wandered outside the emergency room in their protective masks and medical scrubs.

“The hospitals are empty,” yelled one protester, along with others who are heard shouting “tell the truth” and demanding to know: “What are you hiding?”

“You’re all corrupt,” shouted another.

Protesters displayed signs referencing several conspiracies related to vaccines and 5G technology, including various messages blaming the government, Bill Gates and Satan for the lockdown.”

Nothing good has come from the Anti-Vax movement.  Prove me wrong.  jfc.

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