Updates from March, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:50 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

    The black bear in the west end Ecomuseum has woken from her slumbers, which her keepers say is a more reliable sign of spring than any groundhog follies.

    • Kate 19:41 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      An 80-year-old man was struck and killed by a car in Hochelaga on Thursday afternoon, mere minutes after another man in his 70s was hit by a dump truck on Bellechasse. The truck victim is in critical condition.

      • Chris 20:01 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Automobiles kill 1.25 million people per year globally, more than double influenza. (We’ll see if COVID-19 beats it.)

      • Ian 10:06 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Looking at more recent data from the WHO, lower respiratory infections killed 3 million people worldwide annually – that’s in a “normal” year. For the most part, it’s not COVID-19 killing people, it’s secondary infections.

        I know you are obsessed with cars but let’s not detract from the seriousness of this pandemic.

      • Chris 13:21 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Thanks for the more recent data. As it shows, automobiles kill *1.4* million per year, up from the 1.25 I cited. To say nothing of the many more injured and maimed.

        I’m not detracting from the serious of COVID, I’m _highlighting_ the serious of automobile deaths, which are substantial and higher than most people know, by comparing it to other large killers.

      • Alison Cummins 14:24 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Chris, the difference between COVID-19 and automobile accidents is that if we don’t do anything we’ll all get sick at once. We have no immunity and no vaccines. As in, 80% x 7.75B = 6.20B. And with that many people sick simultaneously, including 80% of health-care workers, the mortality rate can be expected to be about 6% — so 372M dead in the next nine months or so.

        The goal is to slow the inevitable spread to a rate that our health-care systems can cope with, which should bring the mortality rate down to about 1%. If most of us can avoid getting it for the next year or two, there should be a reasonably effective vaccine and we can start going back to school and work and shit.

        The apples-to-apples automobile crash comparison is more like if cars and paved roads (but not signage or stoplights) appeared overnight and 80% of everyone woke up with a vehicle, no idea how to drive or cross streets safely and no Drivers Ed. Automobile-related trauma would peak quickly and be extremely fatal as trauma departments would be unable to handle most patients.

        Once we’ve all been exposed to COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it, it’ll just be another nasty flu and background noise, and the comparison to automobile accidents will be apt. But we aren’t there yet.

      • Alison Cummins 14:28 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        (Yeah, I don’t know how slowing the spread is supposed to work long-term either. Containment is what we should be doing, so that it goes away and we *don’t* all get it, short-or long-term. But we aren’t doing containment. Canadians are still allowed to travel.)

      • Alison Cummins 14:29 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Also: better-informed people PLEASE correct me.

      • Ian 18:07 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        That’s pretty much the gist of it as I understand it, too – this is why there is so much effort around “flattening the curve” – it’s so the hospital infrastructure doesn’t get overwhelmed like in Italy where triage has gone so far they won’t see you if you are over a certain age. If it does, well…

        There’s a reason they are digging mass graves in Iran so large that you can see them from space.

      • Chris 11:34 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        Alison, sure, but… you seem to have read something into my words that wasn’t there.

        Ian, notice most of those ‘flattening the curve’ images you see floating around don’t have any numbers on the y axis. It’s not at all likely that we can flatten it enough to not overwhelm hospitals. Still worth trying of course, and less overwhelmed is better than more.

    • Kate 19:24 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      The closure of city libraries, arenas, pools and other sports facilities was announced Thursday afternoon by Mayor Plante. I notice the Grande bibliothèque and other BAnQ facilities are still open, but they have a page indicating it would be better to stay away.

      McGill has suspended classes Friday, although who knows what happens later. The city’s other universities are still open for the moment; some students are petitioning to complete their courses from home.

      Although the premier said Thursday that no indoor gatherings of 250 or more people will be allowed, La Presse notes that a crowded Azur train can have as many as a thousand people aboard, but there are no plans yet to shut down the metro.

      • John B 20:01 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        CSMB Schools are closed tomorrow. No information has been given for next week.

      • JaneyB 21:53 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Concordia’s classes are cancelled as well now – just until Monday (as of today anyway). I assume they are strategizing digital delivery of courses for the remaining three weeks of term. They have software for that apparently. We’ll see. This is a pretty disconcerting time. 🙁

      • Ian 22:44 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Just got a notice CSDM schools are closed Friday. No word from any CEGEPs yet…

      • Mark Côté 02:52 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        EMSB schools and centres closed Friday as well.

      • Ian 10:07 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        One small bit of good news – I just got confirmation from the library that they will renew late books without restrictions.

    • Kate 13:17 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      The St Patrick’s parade has been postponed.

      The NHL has suspended the season.

      • Tim F 19:35 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        I heard the spokesperson for the United Irish Societies on Daybreak passing the buck on making the decision to cancel. Everyone has a responsibility!

      • Kate 19:37 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        I suppose it’s possible the city withdrew its permit for the parade, leaving the UIS high and dry.

    • Kate 12:40 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      François Legault held a presser just now, and since one of the rules handed out is that all indoor gatherings over 250 people are cancelled, hockey games will be played at the Bell Centre with no crowd – unless the NHL decides to stop the season.

      Justin Trudeau and his wife have gone into self-isolation after she started showing symptoms of something flu-like.

      No links. I’m scooping news off Twitter.

      Someone on Twitter claimed the 1918 St Patrick’s parade was cancelled but the Irish marched in defiance of the ban. I looked it up in Google newspaper archives, and the Gazette reported that year that the parade was cancelled, but not because of the flu or the war, although they do lede with “Several circumstances combined this year to give the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day a subdued effect” and later the war is mentioned, as well as Lent (although doesn’t March 17 always fall during Lent?). There’s no mention at all of contagion as a reason for the cancellation.

      It was cancelled because of the death of John Redmond, whom I had to look up.

      Later checked the La Presse archive on the BAnQ and they also mention – in the edition of March 18, 1918, page 9 – that the parade was cancelled that year. I was castigated on Twitter by someone involved with the Irish community, for whom it seems to be an article of faith that the parade has been held every year for 197 years, for even daring to mention this entirely understandable hiatus, which doesn’t fit their mythology.

      So the city’s Irish held a fancy mass at St Patrick’s, with Archbishop Bruchési and all the fixings, and no parade.

      (It has always slightly itched at my historical sense that the parade makes that claim, through two centuries that included wars, epidemics and at least one epic spring flood, but I’ve never sought out evidence against it before. No animosity intended against the local Irish, from which my own ancestry comes – but, disons, I’m also very familiar with the cultural tendency to mythologize.)

      Latest: The mayor raises the possibility of closing down public transit if things get bad enough.

    • Kate 08:18 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      The Journal de Montréal notes that Air China flights from Beijing are still landing at Trudeau although it’s down to two flights weekly from the normal five.

      The U.S. has banned all flights from Europe as of Friday. Will we see a lot of folks transiting through Canadian airports on their way home to the United States? Canada was not apprised of the U.S. plan before it was announced, but it’s entirely possible nobody in the U.S. knew of Trump’s intention before he mentioned it on camera.

      Every media outlet now has guidelines for self-isolation. The CBC links to Canada’s Quarantine Act.

      The Gazette has Andy Riga doing a live update feed of virus news of local relevance. TVA also has an en direct page.

      • Kevin 10:50 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Nobody knew what Trump was going to say because he — as usual — misread the teleprompter and had to be corrected within the hour.

      • walkerp 11:01 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        We have a planned trip to Lake Placid, NY for a long weekend of skiing with my sister’s family (coming up from NYC). Leaving this early evening, coming back Sunday. Wondering what the wise folks here at the MTL City Weblog think, should we cancel?

        We are all healthy and not in any risk category. I am concerned more with not flattening the curve, social distancing, etc.

      • ant6n 11:09 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Hows your health coverage in the US?

      • walkerp 11:43 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Seems very good, from both our employers. We are lucky.

      • Kate 12:07 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Do you want to risk having to go into self-quarantine after you return? Because it may be coming to that.

      • Em 12:09 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        @walkerp all people who travel outside the country now asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

      • walkerp 12:09 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Looks like Legault just announced self-quarantine for anybody returning from a foreign country, so your warning is on point, Kate.

      • jeather 12:18 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        I would absolutely cancel at this point. The risk to you might be very low, but the risk to everyone else is not. And much travel insurance did not cover this, so you’d need to pay for your medical care and 2 week quarantine in the US should it turn out someone at the hotel/ski resort/restaurant/gas station/etc had the disease.

      • walkerp 12:24 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Thanks everyone. The news cycle kind of decided for us, but yeah I think the correct choice is to stay at home and not be potential vectors. Now I am going to PA to battle Mile-End yupsters for toilet paper. 😉

      • Raymond Lutz 12:35 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Self-isolation? Quarantine? This: “In the Singapore cluster, between 45% and 84% of infections appeared to come from people incubating the virus. In China, the figures ranged from 65% to as much as 87%. Tapiwa Ganyani, a researcher on the team, said the numbers suggest that isolating sick people would not be enough to quell the outbreak.” https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/mar/12/coronavirus-most-infections-spread-by-people-yet-to-show-symptoms-scientists

      • Meezly 12:39 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        From my understanding, self-isolation at this point is preventing the spread even if you have no symptoms, but have returned from a place that might have put you at some risk.

      • Francesco 13:09 on 2020-03-12 Permalink


      • jeather 13:17 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        We’re trying to slow the spread, not prevent it from arriving.

      • Raymond Lutz 13:19 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        @Meezly, Oui, l’isolation est pertinente (désolé si mon post suggérait le contraire). Elle est nécessaire mais pas suffisante. De plus, combien de gens peuvent cesser de travailler sans avoir de soucis d’argent? Le fédéral et le provincial devraient élaborer immédiatement une aide financière de subsistance pour ceux qui n’ont pas le privilège d’avoir des congés de maladie.

        Playing my armchair specialist: we should max out our testing capacity (emulating South Korea, more then 3000 tests/day). As read here in the comments: keep your distance (2m), wash correctly you hands with soap and don’t touch your face. The HK Centre for Health Protection is a good source of practical info (bleach disinfectant recipes, how and when to wear a mask, etc..) https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/102742.html

      • Meezly 14:15 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Um, yes, I think we all know that the virus is already here. As jeather pointed out, we’re trying to flatten the curve and avoid a huge spike from occurring.

      • Raymond Lutz 14:32 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Flatten the curve so the health system doesn’t collapse (bringing up the mortality rate).

        “Once there are hundreds or thousands of cases growing in the population, preventing more from coming, tracking the existing ones and isolating their contacts isn’t enough anymore. The next level is mitigation.
        Mitigation requires heavy social distancing. People need to stop hanging out to drop the transmission rate (R), from the R=~2–3 that the virus follows without measures, to below 1, so that it eventually dies out.
        These measures require closing companies, shops, mass transit, schools, enforcing lockdowns… The worse your situation, the worse the social distancing.” https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

      • Meezly 15:10 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        Indeed, Raymond Lutz, indeed. Hospitals in Italy are really struggling presently, to say the least.

      • Clee 15:17 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

        I think airplanes from China are much safer than the ones from Italy at the moment. I compared the number of new cases since Monday, China added 197 new cases while Italy added 3290. The quarantine in Wuhan seems to be working, lets hope it will help slow it down in Italy also.

    • Kate 07:54 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

      Police shot a man dead in Hochelaga just before midnight Wednesday after answering a call to a domestic dispute where they encountered the man, armed with a knife. The BEI is investigating.

      • Kate 07:51 on 2020-03-12 Permalink | Reply  

        Merchants along Plaza St-Hubert are all hurting, but while some blame the lengthy road construction (ongoing on the southern portion till the end of the summer) others name high rents and online shopping as the cause of their woes.

        • PL 08:28 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

          Maybe it’s time to open a shop on the Plaza that’s not a shoe, jewelry, wedding dress or hair extension shop.

        • DeWolf 10:30 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

          The area around St-Hubert is gentrifying quite a lot so it shouldn’t a surprise that costume jewellery places are suffering but upscale grocery stores and bars are doing just fine. Also, the many Latin American businesses on the strip seem to be doing well. Sabor Latino moved to St-Hubert just before construction began and it’s always packed.

        • JS 19:14 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

          The used bookstore that used to be on St-Laurent forever that relocated to St-Laurent near Rachel for a few years turned up on St-Hubert last year. I can’t remember the name of the store; you go in and the stock is somewhat haphazardly shelved & piled around.

        • Michael Black 19:17 on 2020-03-12 Permalink

          Westcott Books.

        • Ian 09:15 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

          There’s one of the best places in the central city to buy fish & aquarium supplies, some really specialized gaming supply, cosplay, and anime-related collectible & merch stores, and of course Lozeau, one of the very best camera stores in the city. Not to mention a classic bowling alley around the corner on St. Zo, above the IGA.

          I mean yes there are lots of “nails & wigs” type places and schmata stores but it’s been a long time since that was the bulk of the storefronts on St. Huey. South of Beaubien is actually getting pretty upscale, there is a distinctly hipstery vibe.

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