Updates from March, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 12:21 on 2020-03-13 Permalink | Reply  

    A crane fell on an apartment building in Villeray on Friday morning. Nobody was found in the third-floor flat that was damaged, although someone may be coming home to a real mess.

    • CE 15:38 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      I used to live directly across the street from that building. I knew the guy who lived in that apartment (he might still).

    • Ian 15:57 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      That’s a hell of a thing to wake up to while the world is ending 😀

    • dwgs 08:58 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Especially since it looks like it took out the bathroom.

  • Kate 12:18 on 2020-03-13 Permalink | Reply  

    All daycares, schools, CEGEPs and universities in Quebec are to be closed for at least two weeks.

    Nurses will be able to sign a “doctor’s note” excusing a person from work for two weeks. Normally they don’t do this, but an exception is being made. TVA reports that a CHUM doctor has the virus after a visit to Europe, and La Presse says a health worker in Laval also has it. Yves Boisvert talks about the military discipline needed in a unit dedicated to diagnosing the virus.

    There will also be strict controls over visitors to nursing homes and long-term care centres.

    Parliament is suspended till April 20.

    • Blue 12:36 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      It hasn’t really been made clear if this means that classes are cancelled, but the schools remain open (meaning all non-teaching staff will still be required to come in), or if all the school is shut down entirely.

    • JaneyB 12:56 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      They don’t know yet. At Concordia, classes are cancelled starting today but today the staff is deciding which staff will be continuing to work on-site. Faculty got info about an additional digital class platform a week or so ago. Assignments and marking will continue from home. The goal is to preserve the term – which should be very do-able with all the tech options. Universities have lots of emergency planning protocols in place. They’re really just deciding which ones to use at this point.

    • dwgs 14:23 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      McGill is largely the same. So far it looks like I’m expected to report to work each day even though I run an undergraduate teaching lab which is of course devoid of undergrads for the immediate future. I may die of boredom before the virus gets me.

    • Raymond Lutz 15:11 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      my cegep will be locked up for two weeks without access of any sort (Drummondville).

    • Ian 15:47 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      Same but we are being allowed to teach remotely (Ste Anne)… there is some talk of staff training for those who don’t know how to use these kinds of things. My program is mostly software labs so we’re kind of ideally suited to distance learning.

    • Blork 16:14 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      FYI, according to the tracker at the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins U, we’re up to 17 cases in Quebec. That’s up from 11 on Wednesday.


    • Raymond Lutz 16:15 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      A friend of mine is married to a doctor working at the hospital and another friend is teaching microbiology. Both concurs: no mask and no gloves, even for front lines health workers! Those protections give a false sense of security. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus and is ‘easily’ treated with soap because of its bilipid layer. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Direct transmission? Mostly if someone sneeze right in your face and you happen to inhale droplets through your open mouth. How is it contagious, then? Contaminated surfaces spread + asymptomatic infected persons. SARS-CoV-2 can survive inside droplets on most surfaces. Wash your hands and DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE (I know, easier said than done): the virus will enter through your mouth or eyes. Disinfect surfaces with bleach solutions: “1:99 diluted household bleach (containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite) is used for general household cleaning and disinfection. 1:49 diluted household bleach is used for surfaces or articles contaminated with vomitus, excreta and secretions.” Source: HK Centre for Health Protection Oh, and don’t wipe your ass with your fingers… 😎 Oral-Fecal route is a known mode of transmission… use TP!

    • Alison Cummins 16:33 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      @Raymond Lutz: “Oh, and don’t wipe your ass with your fingers… Oral-Fecal route is a known mode of transmission… use TP!”

      Shouldn’t that be, “Don’t wipe other people’s asses with your fingers”? If your own ass is shedding virus, presumably you are already infected.

      Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands… and cook your own food?

    • Raymond Lutz 16:43 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      @Alison, you’ll spread more virus around with your shitty hands than sneezing…

    • Alison Cummins 18:58 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      @Raymond Lutz,

      Point taken about which way the transmission concern should be going. So… wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

      Note however that TP is not effective in preventing fecal contamination. Hence the universal recommendation to wash your hands after using the toilet or generally coming in contact with any part of the Icky Germ Zone (between your belly button and your knees).

      The cleanest public toilets I have used are squatties with no TP, just a bucket of water and a plastic beaker.
      1. Turn on the light and then enter the bathroom (it’s very gross to have a light switch inside the bathroom where someone could touch it with unwashed hands).
      2. Wash your hands.
      3. Use the squatty. Nice and clean with no toilet to come in contact with and few aerosols to be generated by urine streams in water or by flushing.
      4. Using your freshly-washed right hand, take the beaker and dip water out of the bucket.
      5. Using your freshly-washed left hand and water from the beaker, wash your butt.
      6. Pull your pants up.
      7. Wash your hands.
      8. Leave the bathroom.
      9. Turn off the light.

      The best bathrooms place sinks outside the WC so that
      A. You don’t have to touch a door handle after washing your hands and
      B. Anyone walking by can see whether you wash your hands after going to the bathroom, increasing peer pressure.

      Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. TP doesn’t cut it. People from countries who rely on water think TP is gross: you walk around with a shit-smeared butt until your next shower. Eeeew.

    • Raymond Lutz 19:45 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      Thanks for the description, Allison (was this in India?). I’ll discuss your protocol with my biologist friend… I hope there was a small brush for the nails, though.

    • Alison Cummins 21:01 on 2020-03-13 Permalink


      Bangladesh, Turkey and Uganda.

      Similar protocols will be in common use anywhere there are lots of muslims, or lots of water but no TP. Toilets are comfortable to sit on but a real hassle to keep clean.

    • Kevin 23:16 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      Schools at the EMSB will be open Monday and Tuesday to get essentials. Like laptops or snowpants.

    • Ian 18:05 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      The CEGEPs seem to be varying pretty widely. I’ve been told that at Dawson all classes are cancelled, but at Abbott if possible we are teaching remotely if possible (depending on the department) and the school itself is open, just not for classes.

  • Kate 08:13 on 2020-03-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Here are your road closure notes for the weekend.

    • Kate 07:46 on 2020-03-13 Permalink | Reply  

      Sounds like all schools are closed Friday while school commissions and universities work out what to do next.

      The irony here is that some workplaces will see an influx of kids whose parents have no other means of minding them, which will create opportunities for viruses to cross over generations and possibly infect other adults who don’t usually encounter children. But I do see that it has to be done.

      CTV says shoppers are stocking up as a general shutdown of a couple of weeks feels more and more likely.

      Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau was definitely confirmed to have COVID-19 after a recent trip to the UK, so she and the PM are isolating. (Footnote, this also makes nonsense of Trump’s exclusion of the UK from his ban on travellers from Europe. But how can white, English-speaking people bring disease? It’s unthinkable!)

      A site called Silo 57 is tabulating a list of all the cancelled events.

      Loto-Quebec is closing the casinos. This is getting serious!

      Meanwhile, I find myself getting entirely blasé about the cat drinking from my water glass…

      • Ephraim 09:27 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I think more workplaces are going to let people work from home, which is likely what the government wants, more isolation. What is it about TP… does no one know how to wash their ass in case of emergency? And stocking bottles of water… do they imagine the taps will stop? We will likely go to grocery delivery… stores with few employees just pulling things. Really, people are going nuts for nothing… there are plenty of contingencies.

      • Ian 09:28 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Yeah, the hoarding is just annoying. There’s really no need.

      • Kate 09:35 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Ephraim, I take your point, but the idea that we can rely on stores staying open or deliveries being possible does depend on those workers not getting sick, those businesses not shutting down.

      • Daniel 09:50 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Ephraim, totally agree on TP. Not sure what makes it so special and coveted. I mean, I get that it’s good to have some. But … there ARE other options in this world, if it comes to that. Food, perhaps not. But toilet paper, yes.

      • Michael Black 09:52 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Of course, once there are stories about people buying up stores, it causes others to rush out too. “I better stock up before there’s nothing”. I admit I’m a tad worried, will there be enough just for normal shopping? That’s part of the cycle. I actually had a good stock,but since I’m not yet able to carry much weight, I’ve used it up in the past few months.

        For water let’s not forget the Ice Storm of 1998, they said later we were very close to losing the reservoir because of no power. Since that’s the biggest “disaster” many of us have experienced, that may be behind the thinking. If enough fails, water may be an issue. Besides, they do say you should generally keep some bottled water around, as well as canned goods etc. But “panic” has no real intelligence.

        This is all kind of weird because it’s not really a thing yet, they just want to contain the virus. Closing things down now seems premature, except if it actually stops it. I “worry” that it won’t be enough, so isolation will become a longer thing, because it will spread more later. But there are probably two streams, those wanting to limit the propagation, those fearing they will get it. The former is more important now than the latter.

        I figure the schools are closing one day more to pause, decide if it should be longer. One day won’t help one bit. Poor kids, a day off but not so much to do.

        I don’t plan to avoid anything, I was stuck inside most of the past year, and I’m really looking forward to warmer weather

      • Joey 10:03 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I think most of us are operating as if this is a short-term aberration from life as we know it, and yet the public health discourse suggests the measures we are taking will have to be in place for months, perhaps a year or more, to effectively contain this virus until a more lasting solution (like a vaccine) is available. I hope I’m wrong, but I am thinking more and more about what it might mean, say, for my son’s school to be done for the year.

      • Ephraim 10:04 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        There will be enough people to manage to box up foodstuff, to drive stuff, etc.

        What might change is that people may have to learn how to cook…. and by that, I mean, actually prepare rice, soak beans and bake bread.

        The isolation is to slow progression, so our healthcare system can handle it. Because everyone getting sick at the same time strains things and causes us to have to make decisions about if we think they will recover and what resources we use for that. I’m just wishing that I was on an SSRI still. (Okay, I was on it for pain, but still….)

        Vaccine for a virus? We should be so lucky…. still no vaccine for AIDS.

      • Kate 10:09 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        True, and the flu vaccine is always hit-or-miss. But we do have some solid vaccines for some viral illnesses, so it may be possible.

      • Ephraim 10:30 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Vaccines only work if getting the disease provides later immunity. We already know that being vaccinated increases your immunity for other diseases. But it’s too early to see what the impact will be on the un-vaccinated. Did it help, or more likely, hurt their mortality rates.

        I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop in the US. They were late to testing, as their test kits didn’t work. And even today, they don’t have sufficient number of kits. In fact, their numbers may be low for lack of ability to test… never mind the fact that there is a complete underclass that can’t afford the time off to test, so they just go into work sick. And while the cheeto has said that people won’t be charged for testing, not even their co-pay… that doesn’t cover being treated. 30 million people with no treatment facilities. Which makes me and others ask the question… should our border be closed already.

        Essentially, we need to treat this like a giant STI. We need to inform those who we may have come into contact and so on and so forth and get those people out of the mix.

      • Uatu 10:37 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

      • jeather 11:07 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Metro visibly emptier today, both on green line heading east from L-G and orange line heading south from Montmorency between Sherbrooke and Square Victoria.

      • Meezly 11:42 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Looks like all schools will be closed for 2 WEEKS :-O

      • Blork 11:50 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        There is definitely a bandwagon effect happening. All these cancellations and closures are less because OMG THINGS ARE SO DIRE! as it’s “well that other thing was cancelled so we’ll look pretty bad if we don’t cancel too.”

        The above should not be construed as a complaint against social distancing measures. Just some perspective on why so many things are shutting down in rapid succession.

      • Kate 11:59 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Blork, the effort to interrupt the transmission of the virus will only work if a lot of people can be persuaded to do it at once. Worrying about the effects of peer pressure at this stage is beside the point.

      • Meezly 12:00 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I agree it’s hard to differentiate between public health strategy and mass hysteria. I do appreciate the pro-active measures city & province are making. Yes, some may be over the top, but they are being safe than sorry. Look at Italy. When they imposed drastic measures, it was already way too late.

      • Kate 12:02 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I was particularly annoyed when I read that Jason Kenney had said there was no point in acting till things got worse. But if authorities don’t act, it guarantees things will get worse. I’d rather have politicians snickered at for being too proactive than for being late to act.

      • JaneyB 12:05 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I think we may end up lucky here in QC because our March break was two weeks ago and that’s when people travel. Ontario’s starts next week and many have trips scheduled hence the subsequent two-week isolation measures and the sudden anxiety we’re hearing from TO and the English media. Mostly I’m worried about the effect of the American mess.That’s where we’re most vulnerable, by far. France’s effect would be a close second at least for Montreal.

      • Chris 13:29 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        I’m surprised you’re all surprised about TP selling out. There’s a thousand different food items you can survive on, even though stores are low on some things, there’s lots of food. But TP & kleenex are the only way to wipe your ass, so of course people don’t want to be without that.

        Has a bank run started yet? Anyone notice machines rationing cash?

      • dwgs 14:39 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        Low marks for imagination there Chris.

      • Blork 15:05 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        (FWIW, my comment about the band wagon was meant to be a calming note; just pointing out that it’s not the end of the world, and many companies/institutions won’t jump on the bandwagon until some kind of critical mass is reached, which we seem to have reached.)

      • Ian 15:51 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        There’s still lots of tissues and paper towels – I checked today at a big box Bureau en Gros, Canadian Tore, and Dollarama. I even found wipes as the Bureau en Gros.

        TP though, the shelves were picked clean as if by locusts. I went to a couple of neighbourhood deps though and they all had lots of tp. This is just panic shopping.

        And no, I wasn’t panic shopping, I just happened to inconveniently run out of tissues and toilet paper right when everyone is going nuts for those exact things. I bought my normal amount, no big deal… but some of my students work in suburban grocery stores and they make it sound like a zombie apocalypse 😀

      • Blork 22:30 on 2020-03-13 Permalink

        It should be noted that most of these stores with empty shelves likely have full store rooms, and behind that, full warehouses. What they lack is enough staff to re-stock the shelves before people take pictures of them empty.

      • mare 00:06 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        @Blork You’d be surprised how small store rooms are these days of JIT (Just in Time) delivery. And toilet paper takes up huge amounts of space so you don’t want it to clutter your store room. But in a few days there will be plenty of toilet paper from the Sobeys, Jean Coutu and Loblaws warehouses. And it will be bought up immediately by concerned citizens. In our subconscious mind we remember those empty shelves we saw IRL or on tv, and we won’t be able to shed the urgency of buying toilet paper, even though we have many rolls in stock. (Note: the Jean Coutu on Beaubien and St-Hubert, where cars cannot stop because of the street construction, still had toilet paper. The four other stores I visited today—I’m picky even in my apocalypse shopping, we also ran out of many things after 10 days of self quarantine—, had none.)

      • Chris 11:02 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        dwgs, I guess I should have been clearer: TP & kleenex are the only *usual* way to wipe your ass. Obviously there are innumerable alternatives. But you could say the same about hoarding food: why hoard food when there are alternatives to buying store food: you could hunt squirrels and pigeons after all. But no one wants those crappy alternatives, they want their usual comfortable routine.

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