Updates from May, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:18 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    Monday night’s Twitter thread by Aaron Derfel – who should win some kind of award for doing this – is about overcrowding in emergency wards.

  • Kate 19:46 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s being echoed over social media Monday that the NDG snack bar known as Cosmos (although the sign clearly says Cosmo) is for sale. The old owner, Tony Koulakis, was murdered in 2013 by one of his sons, and the other kept operating it until the lockdown closed it.

    (Admission: I never ate there.)

    • Ian 19:54 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      And called Cosmo’s by a lot of the older locals but of course apostrophes are not allowed., apparently even in reportage.

    • John B 20:22 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I lived a couple of blocks from there for almost 5 years and never made it int. Maybe I should head over before it’s sold.

      Oh, wait..

    • Blork 20:46 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I ate there once in the late 90s. Make no mistake, it was only notable because of the scene it created with Tony yelling and all the commotion and oddness. There was nothing “gourmet” or even particularly good about the food aside from the Brobdingnagian servings and the high levels of salt and fat.

      Definitely a “local treasure,” which only makes sense if you’re a local or at least a regular. As a non-local (I lived on the Plateau at the time), I had no reason to go back. I would never experience it “as a local” and if I just want a mass of eggs and potatoes there is (or at least was) no shortage of places that could provide it, including my own kitchen. So yeah, great for local and/or regulars, but otherwise not a “destination breakfast.”

    • Tee Owe 07:25 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I lived around the corner late 80’s early 90’s, never ate there (like Blork, preferred breakfast at home) but it/he was definitely a well-known local feature. I missed the news about his murder.

    • dwgs 08:52 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I still live around the corner and it certainly wasn’t gourmet, or healthy, or comfortable, but if you were craving a hearty breakfast and grew up in a logging camp there was nothing like it. The only thing they made besides breakfast was a hamburger which was actually one of the best in town in my opinion. Their breakfasts also cured hangovers.
      When Tony died, two of his kids (fraternal twins) took over. In my opinion the guy was a bit of a dirtbag but his sister Nikki was a sweetheart, I would only go when she worked, especially when she worked with Rose, it was like being served breakfast by your aunties, if one of your aunties was Greek and the other one old school NDG Irish, it was wonderful. When my son was little he used to call it The Bacon Store because Nikki knew he loved bacon and would always give him about a half a pound of it with his meal.
      I don’t think there’s much love lost between the twins and the place was only open half time for a couple of months before the ‘Rona hit, I think that may be Nikki had had enough.

    • Kate 13:42 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      dwgs, thanks for explaining the charm people felt about the place.

      Tee Owe, here’s a brief summary of what happened there.

    • Ian 15:36 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I definitely had a few of those hangover cures in my student days. Not many classic greasy spoon breakfasts left in town, and that in a town that used to be rich in greasy spoons.

    • Tee Owe 07:09 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

      Thanks Kate!

  • Kate 19:14 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    I was pleased to see Lufa Farms was offering masks for $10 this week, so I ordered a couple. But I won’t be getting them, because Lufa tells me their supplier – Lowell Mtl, on St-Laurent – was robbed last night, including the whole supply of masks.

    They’re a hot property, folks.

    • DeWolf 00:14 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      How is this not in the news?!

    • Max 11:58 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I’d like to know why none of the face masks from the giant cargo plane have hit the stores yet. Has anyone noticed an uptick in availability yet?

    • Blork 12:11 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I thought the stuff from the big cargo plane was for institutional use (hospitals, etc.).

    • Max 13:21 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      I dunno. All the articles I’ve seen just mention “PPE”. Not one single detail beyond that. We’ve got to get loads and loads of face masks to the people before opening anything up. Yet, the issue of availability doesn’t seem to be in the news at all.

    • mare 15:27 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      AFAIRead about 9 million face masks (that’s one per Quebecker) and lots of gowns and shields, all for health workers. They won’t last very long, I hope they can secure another batch for not too crazy prices. Every country in the world wants them.

      (Yesterday I got a Google ad for a mask making machine for US$ 20,000. I must have done a bit too much mask research.)

    • Blork 15:39 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      The fact that it arrived on that monster plane, likely bankrolled by the government, is a pretty strong clue that the masks were not intended to show up at Jean-Coutu and the Dollar Store.

    • Rosy 20:28 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

      Kate, I wonder if that’s the story because I checked Lowell’s website and the masks are for sale but for $20, if I remember well, they were $10 when Lufa offered them. A case of profiteering onLowell’s part?

  • Kate 15:42 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    The epidemic curve is not coming down in Montreal, according to public health head Dr Mylène Drouin. Some STM buses are going to become mobile testing clinics for some of the “hotter” districts.

    • david100 20:56 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I’ve not seen any reporting on the protocols instituted for interaction with the elderly, but that should be our top priority right now. It’s ridiculous. All the data show that they’re by far the most vulnerable, and there should be police state-like action against care homes and other facilities to ensure that their carelessness doesn’t lead to unnecessary suffering and death.

    • Brett 22:28 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Does anyone have any good data on where these new cases are coming from? We know the vast majority of deaths are in CHSLDs and private nursing homes- that much at least is clear from the age breakdown of covid deaths (70% are over 70). But i’d like to see data which shows the cases that are in institutions (prisons, hospitals and nursing homes) versus the ones are a result of community spread.

    • Kevin 13:36 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Community spread has been the main vector for Covid-19 since late March.

      What we’re seeing in institutions is the result of the same progression of the disease as in society at large. One person has it. Two weeks later several more people have it. Two weeks later each of those people has infected others.
      And we know that the odds of contracting the disease go up the longer you spend time in a closed room with an infected person — which means jails, nursing homes, offices etc… are the perfect place to breed.

      8 weeks ago everyone going in and out of institutions should have been monitored and had strict safety protocols enforced, but that didn’t happen until after the disease got in.

    • Brett 14:16 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Kevin, those are all valid points. As you pointed out, the Sars-Cov-2 virus spreads very easily among populations in institutions and enclosed quarters.

      So what I want to know is, of the cases and deaths we have now, which ones are linked to institutional spread (e.g. health care workers with a hospital acquired infection, PABs) and which ones are outside of institutions (supermarket workers, dog walkers, COVID party attendees, etc.)

      If we know that the vast majority are inside institutions, we can stop talking about the curve not flattening in Montreal and saying that we have an ongoing problem linked to institutional spread .

    • JaneyB 14:51 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      @Brett. As far as I know, the vast majority are inside institutions, mostly the result of the neglect that surfaced a couple of weeks ago so that’s still going around in the CHSLDs. The testing protocols moved to hospitals and CHSLDs in order to contain those outbreaks – that’s partly why Mtl’s case numbers have been holding steady.

      The community spread right now is mostly in Mtl Nord, CdN, RdP, some in Hochelaga and is believed to be due to the large number of people there who work at the poorly paid jobs in those healthcare institutions. I assume multi-generational immigrant families and entrenched poverty problems of Hochelaga are also factors that require special messaging. For instance about 25% of the new cases in Mtl Nord are from healthcare workers (less hospitals, more CHSLDs etc). The public health system is now concentrating its attention there as a result, with expanded community testing. That will mean there will be many new cases added to our city tally which is demoralizing.

      After watching yesterday’s press conference, it seems that Arruda’s team has mostly been focussed on the hospitalization and death rates because that’s the number one concern for maintaining the health care system and its med staff – the primary vulnerability of this whole crisis. The case rates tell them more about where to do urgent contact tracing and strict quarantining than when to de-confine us. I think this is why they are less distressed by the new case increases than those of us who’ve been keeping spreadsheets and watching the ‘decreasing increase’ of cases with hope. Now that we’re learning the hospitalization rates are being muddied by some CHSLD people who are not being transferred back to the still hottish institutions, it is clearer why Arruda is less perturbed by the emerging numbers eg: the hospital numbers now incorporate some of the CHSLD crisis. Bottom line: laypeople can’t read the numbers correctly since we are each thinking our our individual risk not broader trends. Still though, no normal socializing for us over the next while, ughh.

    • Kevin 16:23 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Nobody knows. That requires effective contact tracing and it hasn’t been happening.

      (Why hasn’t it been happening Kevin?)

      Several reasons. Some people who test positive but have mild symptoms haven’t been answering their phones. Some people who test positive haven’t been staying at home. Some people have been answering their phones but cannot communicate with the tracers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Kevin 19:39 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Here’s a Gazette article showing tracing starts by the team getting a fax. And not all tracers have computers https://t.co/66cil64g55

  • Kate 13:11 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    François Legault has pushed back the general reopening of retail businesses in Montreal from May 11 to May 19. Some say May 18, but that’s Victoria Day/Journée nationale des patriotes, as observed, so in normal times that would be a long weekend.

    • Uatu 15:33 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Heh. Plan all you want, but the virus has its own schedule.

    • Douglas 16:27 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Legault should just pick a date and go with it. It’s been 8 weeks already.

      We are approaching 20% unemployment, municipal and provincial budgets in massive deficits. And we are still worried about “potential” hospital overflows. ER rooms are laying off staff because its been empty right now.

    • Kate 17:51 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Douglas, are you of the opinion everything should “return to normal” and that if a percentage of the population has to die, so be it?

    • Chris 18:26 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Kate, answering such a question really requires stating the percentage of the population. I think we’d all agree that if 1% were to die, then no; but what about if 0.0000001% were to die (that’s 3 Canadians), then I’d say yes, we should reopen. The difficulty is answering for the range in between. Where is the cutoff? And of course we don’t actually know what the percentage is or will be.

    • Kate 19:01 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I wasn’t asking you, Chris, and I wasn’t really asking for numbers. I simply wanted to know, would Douglas accept death – accept seeing many more deaths per capita than Quebec has experienced so far – in order to see businesses reopening? I mean, go full Darwin on this thing? Essentially, either you survive it, or too fucking bad?

    • Ian 19:45 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      It’s the old streetcar dilemma except that you are only “saving” the economy, not lives, by reopening. Let’s get real here, this is only to get people off UI because Legault is in the pocket of big business.

    • Kate 22:16 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I’m going to make a separate post about this, but Monday night, the Gazette’s Aaron Derfel reports in his now daily Twitter thread that, so far from being empty, as Douglas claims above, the city’s ERs are getting crowded – “On Monday night, nine city ERs were overcrowded or close to it. The Jewish General’s ER, which for weeks reported an occupancy rate in the 50% range, was above 100% all day long.”

    • Brett 22:23 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      This is because the Government is preventing transfers of seniors out of hospitals into CHSLDs. The Government originally screwed up by transferring sick patients early on into nursing homes which were already understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with the virus. Now the Government is requiring hospitals to hold on to these patients instead of discharging them as they normally would, thus filling up their emergency rooms. See https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-quebec-hospitals-struggling-with-influx-of-covid-19-patients-even-as/

    • Chris 23:50 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Kate, yes, I know you weren’t asking me. Your elaboration is clearer now though. There’s a big difference between your two phrasings: “seeing many more deaths per capita” vs “a percentage of the population”.

      Ian, and it seems most people choose the utilitarian view. One nitpick though: reopening the economy saves lives too*. Think of the people who’ve had vital surgeries cancelled, or the damage caused by depression, unemployment, loneliness, etc. It’s a question of balance. For covid, the potential deaths are so high that the shutdown is a win. Even the capitalists have agreed! OTOH, we go “full Darwin” every year with influenza. Hundreds of Canadians die of flu every year because we don’t shut everything down. That’s a choice we make. Quarantine could (and this year has!) stomp the flu. But they are only hundreds, so the balance favours an open economy there (per the utilitarian view anyway).

      *And keeping the economy closed saves lives too. Deaths from pollution will be down due to way less fossil fuel being burned, etc.

    • Michael Black 00:50 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Then don’t phrase it as “opening the economy”. There are reasons unrelated to money for getting things “back to normal”, or sort of.

      I had an appointment cancelled in March, I guess all is fine but it’s a big drop off from such constant attention for six months last year. I have an IV scheduled for June 8th, that’s the main drug though I’m not sure if I missed it whether things would start shutting down or just dangerous if I catch something.

      For most people staying at home isn’t desirable. There’s no reason to invoke medical terms, or even need an explanation.

      Kids trained in a schooled society kind of need schools, and too many make learning synonymous with school.

      “The economy” isn’t an end for most, it’s a means to other things.

    • dwgs 09:00 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Uh, Chris, you know those people who need vital surgeries will also require the use of the rather busy, rather risky ICUs, right? That’s where you go post op.
      A good friend of ours is an ICU nurse at the Jewish and one of the main things getting the staff down is the knowledge that even after they have made it through the Covid madness, which is already very taxing fo them, they still won’t get a break for months and months because there will be a huge backlog of surgeries to handle. They’ve all been told to forget about booking a vacation until further notice so imagine working that hard and there is no light at the end of the tunnel to be seen. Imagine if they have to do this for a year or more. People will start to quit, not because they are unhappy but because they will have reached their limit.

    • jeather 10:33 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      My father is going for surgery soon at the Jewish (current guess is next week, assuming he tests negative on Wed), and I think in the end I’m happier it’s happening now than before everything reopens for everyone.

    • Kevin 13:48 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Reopening society is just another way of saying the ICU has room for you if needed…

      Yes, people die from injuries and diseases all year round, but we do our best to care for them, and we have built the facilities we need to care for everyone. In a normal year nobody’s dying of flu because they can’t get a ventilator — they’re dying because they’re dying.

      Covid-19 broke that. If Quebec hadn’t shut the schools on March 13, if Quebec hadn’t put the province on pause the week after, if Quebec hadn’t cleared the ICUs, there would be tens of thousands dead.

      I said it in March and I’ll say it again: flattening the curve means keeping ICUs at 90% occupancy rate for months, so that everyone gets the best care they can get.

      Remember: the second wave of the 1918 flu killed 10 times as many people as the first wave. Open everything now, and we’ll have that second wave by the end of the summer.

      That’s why ALL medical personnel in the province were told in March that all out-of-Canada trips were forbidden until Sept. 1. And that is likely going to be extended.

    • Kate 15:24 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Kevin: thank you for your good sense.

      jeather: best of luck to your father.

    • jeather 18:38 on 2020-05-06 Permalink

      The good news is he’s negative for Covid so he’s starting treatment next week. Apparently his doctor pushed to do it ASAP, I believe entirely to get him in before the big rush of everyone going back to the doctor soon.

  • Kate 11:03 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse warns that Montreal and other Quebec towns are facing pandemic deficits and will need help from other levels of government. So far, Montreal is the only major Quebec town that’s already tightened its fiscal belt.

    • david100 20:58 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      At the same time, the feds are about to open the floodgates of infrastructure cash, but only for shovel ready projects. Would that the Pink Line had provincial support and we had a plan to trot out for the feds. In most of these cases, it sounds like the feds will fund 2/3+ of the cost.

    • Chris 23:52 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Anyone else worried public transport usage rates will drop semi-permanently? What with people too paranoid to touch poles, or be close to other people, etc. It’s a great argument for private car ownership.

    • Michael Black 00:33 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Less crowding’s a good thing, until the point where service is reduced.

  • Kate 09:05 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    Testing centres will be popping up in the city’s hot zones, which right now are apparently RDP, St-Michel and Montreal North.

    Professional cyclist James Piccoli biked over Mount Royal 100 times on Sunday in a fundraising stunt that collected $15,000.

    TVA says that, so far, the Plateau’s closed streets have not been used for recreational purposes much. It doesn’t seem surprising that what people want this time of year is parks.

    Four La Presse writers teamed up to examine how the Institut de gériatrie, considered state of the art in looking after old people, became the site of an outbreak that has so far claimed the lives of 59 inmates.

    • DeWolf 11:38 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      It hasn’t been in the news but the side streets between St-Viateur and Bernard in Mile End have also been closed to through traffic.

    • Ian 19:52 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I saw “recreational streets” in Mile End this weekend, I live on JM just north of Fairmount – just all the streets between Parc and St Urbain closed off between Saint V and Barnard… but not actually closed, just signs up saying “local traffic only”. Except that nobody in the neighbourhood was notified so nobody knew what it was for until a few people read it in the paper. It has mostly been ignored because whatever who cares, people still walk where they walk and kids are playing in the alley and going into each others houses like the lockdown doesn’t exist, which is kind of driving me nuts. Of course the cones just got moved aside. by people actually living on the blocks, and people are still driving around as usual.

      This “initiative” only makes a difference if the locals are actually informed of it. Typical PM empty gestures. Shame they are still powerless to do anything about renovictions or gentrification.

      They seem incapable of actually doing anything at all besides randomly putting up temporary street furniture. I wonder what their point is even supposed to be now that all of their endless committees to determine how powerless they are have been suspended.

  • Kate 01:21 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    Aaron Derfel’s Twitter thread of the day is about Quebec’s declining transparency on pandemic issues. There was a sharp leap in numbers after some missing data from April was “found”.

  • Kate 00:22 on 2020-05-04 Permalink | Reply  

    Nice piece by a Le Devoir writer about how Montreal is empty but not quite empty at night. Also a photo essay.

    • Raymond Lutz 17:00 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Ah, I thought the ‘photo essay’ link was for some Blork’s work. Anything in the pipeline?

    • Kate 19:15 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      I’m trying to figure out what I might’ve said to suggest the photos would be Blork’s work.

    • Blork 20:55 on 2020-05-04 Permalink

      Me too, but I’ll take it.

      Sadly, the only photos I’ve taken in the past six weeks have been of birds and deer, birds and deer, birds and deer, and for variety, deer and birds.

    • Raymond Lutz 08:08 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Dunno, Kate. That last sentence was without any verb, seemingly disconnected from the other one. I thought it wasn`t related.

    • Kate 11:25 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      Ah. It wasn’t a complete sentence specifically because it was meant to be read as part of the other one. Stylistic misunderstanding.

      Blork better get out and do a photo essay soon.

    • Blork 12:12 on 2020-05-05 Permalink

      There have been some rather picturesque dust piles accumulating under my desk…

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