Updates from June, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:05 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

    The weather turns nice and bicycles get stolen – but nobody knows how many.

    • Kate 20:04 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

      Malls in Montreal are to be allowed to reopen on June 19.

      • Kate 16:07 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        The indented text is from Facebook by Bob Rutledge, whose posting was linked by Hugh McGuire. The posting was made today, Friday, June 12.

        Mr. Rutledge is an Associate Professor at McGill. I don’t know him, but I do know Hugh and trust his recommendation.

        I was going to edit this down, but on rereading, I think I’ll leave it as is.

        In Montreal, covid19 remains the #1 cause of death of its citizens, today. Covid19 mortality in Montreal is 3x what it is in New York City, today. Montreal has the highest covid19 mortality rate (in deaths/100K population/year) among all major metropolitan areas in North America.

        I can no longer find covid19 daily case and deaths data on public Montreal city websites. That data belongs to the public, and it is essential for understanding our current situation which I regard as extremely poor.

        Montreal Gazette published this data, up through June 11, today at the following location: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/coronavirus-live-updates-most-quebecers-think-worst-of-pandemic-is-over-poll-finds/wcm/dcfba92a-3fad-41ad-9108-8eb3e4708ce3/

        • The current fatality rate in the city of Montreal due to covid19, averaged over the previous 7 days, is **16 deaths/day**. For a population of 1.8M, this corresponds to an annual mortality of 324 deaths/100K population/year (i.e. 16 deaths/day * 365 days/year/(18 * 100K population)).
        • In comparison with “norms” in Canada: The annual “all causes” mortality in Canada is 700 deaths/100K population/year (from 2018). Covid19 remains the single highest cause of death in Montreal; compared with causes of death across Canada from previous years, Cancer is #2, with 214 deaths/100K population/year. Thus, Montreal’s current 7-day average fatalities from covid19 is over 45% of its all-causes mortality, and it remains the number 1 source of death in Montreal. It also targets the disabled, elderly, people of color and those without the best access to healthcare. It is all our responsibility, to protect all. Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310039401
        • In comparison with “norms” across North America. At 324 deaths/100K population/year, Montreal has the highest mortality of any major metropolitan area (>1M population) in North America.

        In that context, these are current headlines from the Montreal Gazette:

        • “Rebooting Quebec: A timeline of reopenings in and around Montreal”
        • “Montreal Restaurants are set to re-open June 22. What are the main concerns?”
        • “Quebec not planning to make masks mandatory — for now”

        As a point of contrast: Houston, TX is talking about “spiking case rates” and re-closing-down their city. The case rates are associated with a mortality rate of 13 deaths/100K population/year – 1/25th of Montreal’s.

        Finally, the attached figure is from a Quebec Santé report, “Épidémiologie et Modélisation de l’évolution de la COVID-19 au Québec: Rapport 3, 28 Mai 2020”. It shows that our current fatality rate is the planned fatality rate during re-opening, for the forseeable future amidst the re-opening of all services (note that this is for “Greater Montreal”, while the city’s figures are for the City of Montreal).

        That is, this is their (the Province’s) plan, maintaining the current fatality rate. There is no plan for bringing the fatality rate ever closer to zero.

        From Montreal’s and Quebec’s public health and political officials, I should like to know:

        • Why is there no plan to lock-down and make covid19 irrelevantly small as a public health threat?
        • What are the target mortalities – in deaths/100K population/year – that guide planning for Montreal, and for Quebec?
        • Douglas 16:44 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          White educated male that went to every single Ivy League university makes $100K/yr at a cushy teaching job and still getting paid a nice salary during covid, telling everyone else to keep shutting down.

          White privilege is dripping from every pore of his body and he can’t even see it.

          It never crosses his mind that “opening up” means “putting food on the table”.

        • JaneyB 16:45 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Rutledge is an astrophysicist. A fine, disciplined mind no doubt but even different branches of medicine have trouble finding consensus because of the focus of their training. Within medicine, cardiologists, virologists, epidemiologists, and public health people and the blizzard of pre-print (not yet peer reviewed) material have all been doing their best to make sense of trends and data but they notice different things.

          Santé Montreal changed their lay-out. The numbers and neighbourhood breakdown are here and are as current as they’ve ever been: https://santemontreal.qc.ca/en/public/coronavirus-covid-19/situation-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-in-montreal/#c41383

          It’s worth remembering that Quebec is very anomalous in some important and relevant ways. It has 3x the number of people in seniors home residences as anywhere else in the world. Until birth control pills became available in the 70s, Quebec was the only industrial society in the world with Third World birth rates. Those babies are the people in the seniors homes now. The vast majority of Quebec covid deaths have occurred there.

          So, some important factors to consider.

        • JP 17:21 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Yes, and those seniors homes have employees who use the STM, go to grocery stores, live with other people. They’re not isolated little bubbles. In any case, I sympathize with those who have struggled financially, and I sympathize even more with anyone who has suffered due to contracting COVID or having a loved one who has. I’ll continue to avoid non-essential appointments & restaurants (I’m fine with takeout).

          Also, yes, people in seniors homes are elderly who will die sooner rather than later, but they still deserve to be able to have visitors & die in dignity surrounded by loved ones. That can’t happen until we get this under CONTROL.

        • Michael Black 18:07 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          People are arguing with figures, and then implying something sinister if the figures they are using disappear for some reason. They act like a dictator is in charge, making arbitrary decisions. But any leader has surely seen all the studies and all the figures that people trot out. Or at least they get synopsis from people who understand.

          Any leader is stuck in the middle. Go one way, and people will complain, go another way and others will complain. They have to synthesize between the two points. They can make mistakes, and regret if they are wrong. But there’s no ulterior motive. They want what’s best, but here the two paths are so far apart that it’s really hard. They know people want this or that.

          Lots of people are working. They have no choice, either they need the money or what they do is a necessity. Not just medical people or grocery clerks, but way up the supply line. Lots of things can be found to be useless, but society would collapse if a while lot of things didn’t keep going. It’s a weird situation to sit at home and say “we shouldn’t open things up” when it’s already open for those people.

          The money can’t keep churning out, but it’s wrong to talk about “reopening the economy”. It’s really about getting back to normal. People need things. Life is on hold. “I’ll do this when…” .

          In twelve weeks I’ve been somewhere twice, both times to hospitals. I know what would happen if I got the Virus, I can picture specific nurses, they aren’t just figureson paper. But oddly, a more immediate reason to not go anywhere is because I don’t think I can live with the rules. I see their value, I just can’t fit in, maybe especially because for over a year things haven’t been normal for me.

          An awful lot of money and time is spent keeping people alive in normal times. I just had an IV yesterday that was at least a thousand dollars, I need it every six months. It keeps my disease in check. withiut it other things will do damage. I’ve never been sick enough to need medical attention since I was a kid, and oddly the pill I was originally given for this caused a bad reaction after I got home last fall, though I have never before had a reaction like that to anything. This is what the government/society does, none of what’s going on now is arbitrary or careless.

          I don’t know where the answer is. But I don’t think things are helped by arguing figures. Yes figures make a viewpoint seem stronger, but it then becomes duelling figures.

        • Kevin 04:57 on 2020-06-13 Permalink

          What do you for a living?

        • Kevin 05:12 on 2020-06-13 Permalink

          I popped into a store Friday and I noped right out of there.

          Nobody was even trying to physically distance—the single most crucial step to slow the spread of the disease.
          Not a single employee was wearing any sort of PPE.
          One customer was masked.

          And this is in a store where people try stuff on before they buy.

          Nope. Unsafe, unclean. Goodbye

        • Alison Cummins 06:55 on 2020-06-13 Permalink

          “There is no plan for bringing the fatality rate ever closer to zero.”

          Aww, crap. NOT what I wanted to hear.

          If we do contact tracing and testing, we can approach zero and life will be normal again. Without it we’re stuck with social distancing forever.

          What social distancing means: closing university dorms. Niece was supposed to move from Vancouver to Montreal in the fall to attend Concordia, but without the option of living in a dorm she’s deferred a year.

          That’s money not coming to Montreal for a year, or perhaps not at all if the dorms never reopen and she ends up going to a school in a different city where they are managing their covid without social distancing because deaths are down to zero. Like Vancouver maybe. They have multiple days in a row with ZERO DEATHS. It can be done.

          Typically what privileged young people do during a voluntary gap year is travel. Well, other countries aren’t letting us in. If we continue to maintain high infection rates, countries like Australia that have achieved ZERO DEATHS from covid (it can be done) will continue to not let us in.

          So Niece is living with her parents and has built a chicken coop. In place of university or travel she will raise four chickens. Yay.

          Her deferral means society has lost a year of the contributions of university-educated Niece.

          She isn’t the only one. Deferrals will stress our universities, as they lose income for this year and try to cram more students in next year.

          Educational opportunities will be denied to people who won’t be able to get admission to university in 2021 because their spots are taken by deferrals. (Alternatively, if dorms close permanently in Montreal then there will be lots of extra spots open for locals as students from elsewhere stop coming here.)

          University students who opt for distance ed instead of dorm life will receive a poorer education, which is a significant long-term cost to society.

          University students who opt for a combination of distance ed and apartment living will take up our scarce housing and drive up the cost of rentals.

          There’s a cost to doing nothing. This is just one tiny example.

          We’ve chosen the absolute costliest option: all the costs of three months of lockdown but none of the benefits. I don’t get it.

        • DeWolf 11:04 on 2020-06-13 Permalink

          Deaths *are* heading towards zero. Keep in mind that many of the deaths reported every day happened weeks or even months ago. Here’s a Montreal Gazette chart that shows deaths by actual date:


          As you can see, the number of deaths in the whole of Quebec has been under 20 per day since the beginning of June, and in past few days there have been fewer than 10 deaths per day.

          Doomsday rhetoric doesn’t help anyone. The best we can do is to follow the guidelines, encourage others to do the same and make sure the government is actually preparing to avoid or at least better manage a second wave. Pushing for mandatory mask-wearing in public spaces is productive activism. Claiming the government is hiding “the real numbers” and suggesting we’re sitting on a ticking timebomb is just fearmongering.

      • Kate 14:21 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        Bill 61 did not pass before the end of the current session at the National Assembly, so it will be put off till autumn.

        • Chris 14:44 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Phew! Hopefully they’ll gain their senses over the summer!

        • Blork 15:16 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Ha ha ha ha! When has that ever happened?

        • Chris 18:43 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Hey, I’m feeling optimistic today! 🙂 But, yeah, maybe they’ll use summer to fine tune their evil plans. 🙁

        • David298 19:30 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          My theory is that this series of measures were meant to go some way to transforming the premiership into something more approximating a French- or American-style presidency, breaking in some fundamental way with the British parliamentary tradition of the various legislatures in Canada.

          My sense of what it hasn’t garnered outrage among the ranks of the two main opposition parties is that they’ve held power before, and see the clear benefits to their purposes. I also think that none are particularly committed, in that fundamental way that you see elsewhere, to the institutional practices of the national assembly.

      • Kate 14:20 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        Two big grocery chains have ended the $2 hourly pay bump for people working through the pandemic. Metro, Loblaws and Walmart? You can do without them.

        Does anyone else feel like things are rushing in two directions? The federal government has just begun to mandate temperature checks at airports and has extended the deployment of armed forces for the pandemic, the virus is still rampant around the globe, and yet corporations rush to behave like it’s all over.

        I was out today for awhile and notice how only about one third of folks on the bus and in grocery stores are wearing masks. I said previously it mostly seemed to be women, but today’s sample ran right across gender, ages and physical types, making it impossible to generalize. Some wear a mask, more don’t.

        • Chris 14:43 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          >…behave like it’s all over.

          What do you mean by “over”? Do you believe the spread of the virus can be stopped? Impossible. That ship sailed months ago. It can be slowed, controlled, mitigated, but there is no “over”. It’s a force of nature and we have to live with it. Even police states like China, Saudi, etc. haven’t stopped it.

          >Does anyone else feel like things are rushing in two directions?

          Yes, I do. There seem to be those that think everyone should stay locked at home forever, and those that acknowledge the virus is here and that we have to live with it, just like we live with other viruses, car crashes, air pollution, heart disease, etc. We make concerted efforts to mitigate them all, but life must go on.

        • MarcG 15:07 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          I think Kate is observing that there is a group of people who are making no attempt to help mitigate it. I don’t know if they’re “acknowledg[ing] the virus is here and that we have to live with it” or just being ignorant.

        • Myles 15:18 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Exactly. The ones who are acknowledging that the virus is here and that we have to live with it are the ones wearing masks.

        • Alison Cummins 15:52 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          As long as the virus is here and we’re living with it with no vaccine, the people whose job it is to work with the public, thereby exposing themselves and others to it, are entitled to danger pay.

          That *IS* living with it.

        • Chris 18:47 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          >there is a group of people who are making no attempt to help mitigate it.

          Lack of mask ≠ making no attempt to help mitigate. Those non-mask wearers could well be washing their hands often, standing 2m away from people, working from home, shopping only once a week, etc., etc. Are they worse than mask wearers that do none of those things? I’ve observed that mask wearers get closer than 2m, they think they are impervious I guess. Anyone else noticed that?

        • MarcG 18:53 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          If you’re on the bus or in the grocery store without a mask I would say you are making no attempt in that circumstance.

        • JP 22:36 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          I went into the dollar store today for a few things. I saw two young employees not wearing masks, with hardly arms length distance chatting and laughing away. I get that it’s hard to always maintain distance, I get that it’s hard to always wear a mask, but it just seemed irresponsible to be chatting so closely that way. (And also not making much way for clients passing). It left an impression on me. Maybe they’re sisters and live together? Maybe we see what we want to see.

          When we were scanning/paying at the automatic do-it-yourself machines, the employees were wearing masks, but kept getting *really* close as we were scanning our items. I think they were concerned about theft, but nevertheless, it was annoying.

      • Kate 08:50 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        McGill had its first Black carnival queen in 1949. Doesn’t say a) how many other Black carnival queens there have been, nor b) when they stopped having carnival queens – which I assume has happened by now.

        • Michael Black 09:36 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Let’s not forget the year, maybe 20 years ago, when there was a black queen of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. There was an incident at the parade and it seemed kind of kept quiet. And no black queen since.

          She had Irish ancestry.

        • Kate 11:47 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Yes, Michael Black. It was 2004. Kristian Gravenor tells the story.

        • Chris 14:32 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          A sad story indeed.

          But Gravenor writes “I attended it [the parade] every year with my family. After 2004 no more.” So in a crowd of thousands, one random racist prick of an attendee, unrelated to the event organizers, causes him to never attend the event again? Strange logic. It’s like some kind of collective punishment or guilt by association.

        • Michael Black 15:06 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          As I recall, there seemed to be an attempt to keep it quiet, though I can’t remember who wanted it that way. I don’t remember details, but it was handled badly.

          So maybe there was some internel disagreement about the choice, and the actual event made people decide “we will never talk of this again”.

          It’s hard to tell, if candidates have to have Irish ancestry (I don’t know the criteria), the pool who aren’t white may be small.

          I know I wrote something about how the black queen represented us all, but I can’t remember if that was before or after the actual parade. I think I said “our queen”. Another example of asymmetry, a majority says “we” and it excludes, outsiders say “we” and it includes.

          I stopped going to the parade, but I can’t remember if there was a specific reason or I just got tired of it.

      • Kate 08:46 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse notes that an awful lot of the protest signs during the last two weekends’ anti-racism demonstrations have been in English and looks into reasons for this.

        • Tee Owe 13:17 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          A lot of them are in English in other (non-English-speaking) countries too – it’s the lingua franca of our time

        • steph 13:56 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          Does anyone use translated hashtags?

        • Chris 18:59 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

          It also struck me that such a large fraction of signs were English.

          >Does anyone use translated hashtags?

          I wouldn’t think so, but even if you discount all the BLM variants, English was still disproportionately prominent. See the photo Kate linked. I was there, and that photo is representative. It’s got to be at least in part because these are largely solidarity protests with the USA, a mostly anglophone country.

      • Kate 08:30 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

        Another excellent piece by Jonathan Montpetit on how Bill 61 has been trimmed back. “So what happened in the week since the bill was tabled? Parliament is what happened. Boring, old legislative procedures that force the government to hear from stakeholders and experts before voting on a bill.”

        A good editorial cartoon by André-Philippe Côté delineates one of the problems (but not the only one) with the bill.

        • Kate 08:19 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

          Bell Canada has deployed its 5G network in Montreal, and it says in this piece that Rogers already began 5G here earlier this month. There has been a lot of nonsense talked about 5G, including the idea that it causes covid.

          • Raymond Lutz 15:20 on 2020-06-12 Permalink

            Ah! In the article, Bell is quoted as saying that they are deploying 5G networks BECAUSE of covid… 😎

            who _needs_ 5G ? IoT, AI, self driving cars, facial recognition systems, mass surveillance products. Not you. Not me. Burn those towers! 😎

        • Kate 08:07 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

          There was an attempted murder in Pierrefonds overnight, a man shot at in a car. He’s in critical condition.

          Update: CBC radio news says the man died, this year’s 8th homicide.

          • Kate 07:57 on 2020-06-12 Permalink | Reply  

            A cigarette smoked on a Village rooftop started a fire Thursday afternoon in a condo building south of Ste-Catherine. Only one person got hurt but CTV says 20 residents were unhoused.

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