Updates from September, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:31 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Probably most people don’t notice the Covid case death tracker on my blog much any more. I check the Santé Québec number every couple of days but it’s only being updated a couple of times a week.

    I last updated it 2 days ago to 18,221. It shows 18,294 now.

    Updated vaccines for the latest Omicron variants are coming.

    Update: Case numbers of long Covid continue to climb.

    • MarcG 21:07 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

      It’s not a case tracker it’s a death tracker, which has a much darker ring to it. Ça va bien aller says what?

    • EmilyG 21:35 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

      Tonight there was a news item about the Quartier des spectacles, and the person talked about the “first show” there “after the pandemic.”
      Which made us wonder when it was that the pandemic ended, and who decided it was over.

    • Michael 22:31 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

      Pandemic ended when majority of human population caught covid.

      Now its endemic.

      “Dr. Fauci. He told Reuters in November, “To me, you want to get to endemic (…) People will still get infected. People might still get hospitalized, but the level would be so low that we don’t think about it all the time and it doesn’t influence what we do.”

    • Kate 23:11 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

      Thank you, Dr Michael. So glad to have an expert on board.

    • H. John 05:34 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      “As strange as it may seem, there is no single, agreed-upon definition of pandemic that all countries, public health agencies, and world leaders use.”

      “Many pandemics eventually become endemic, meaning the infection is still present in a region or population but its behavior is predictable and the numbers of cases and deaths no longer spike. Learning to live with a virus is a key feature of an endemic virus; think flu or even the common cold. But it’s probably true that the transition from pandemic to endemic can only be recognized after it happens.”

      And from: https://fullfact.org/health/who-covid-pandemic-over/

      In May 2023 “the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)—the highest possible level of alarm that mandates countries to act under international health regulations.

      The WHO said the announcement meant Covid is no longer considered an “unusual or unexpected event”, and it was widely reported as being a major step towards ending the pandemic. However the WHO did not say that the pandemic is over, contrary to some media reports. 

      While Mr Ghebreyesus did not explicitly address the question of whether Covid remained a pandemic in his comments, the WHO referred in a statement accompanying the announcement to the “ongoing Covid-19 pandemic”.


      “Epidemiologists say a disease is endemic when its presence becomes steady in a particular region, or at least predictable, as with seasonal influenza. But there’s no consensus on the conditions for meeting this benchmark. By this broad definition, endemicity doesn’t necessarily mean a disease is rare or common, mild or severe. For example, infection rates can still be high; they just have to remain static. Malaria, which is endemic in dozens of countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, has killed more than six hundred thousand people each year.”

      The whole paper is worth a read:


    • Blork 09:07 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Important to specify that even if the pandemic is over, that doesn’t mean Covid is over. People often use the terms interchangeably, which causes confusion and disagreement.

      There are three things here:

      (1) The PANDEMIC STATE OF EMERGENCY. This has been over since early this year. The EMERGENCY was declared over, not the pandemic itself. And even then, the “emergency” refers to the actions and reactions by various governments. It does not refer to how alarmed people feel or felt.

      (2) The PANDEMIC. As noted above, many definitions going around. Arguably over or not over. But this isn’t the disease; the PANDEMIC is the SPREAD of the disease over a wide area. It is not the disease itself. Maybe we’ve transitioned to ENDEMIC, maybe not. Not for me to decide.

      (3) COVID. This is the disease itself. This will never go away. The coronavirus and the disease it causes (Covid) are with us for good, like the flu. Covid will never be over, the way the flu will never be over.

    • MarcG 10:04 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Also important to remember that endemic does not mean “do nothing about”. As mentioned, Malaria is endemic in many places yet the WHO has a big list of preventive measures which are taken. And here’s another great quote from Arijit Chakravarty: “There are many diseases that we neither have eliminated nor eradicated, but we don’t just let spread wildly. Rabies and malaria have neither been eliminated nor eradicated. But as I told you, in India, where I grew up nobody took the attitude of letting malaria rip through. We had mosquito nets, we sprayed things as much as we could. We would never let water gather anywhere. People were absolutely on top of malaria. If anybody had it, it was straight to getting quinine. There was a strong desire to see less malaria. It would’ve been insane not to have taken that point of view.”

    • EmilyG 11:16 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Thank you, all.
      I’m thinking that maybe I was unsure about the pandemic being over, because I’m still a Covid-virgin (one of the few that I know.)

    • steph 12:27 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      This is purly anecdotal but, my older sibbling talked to her doctor about newly developed fatigue my sibbling – he was diagnoised with long-covid. I talked to my doctor about my newly developed fatigue as well – my doctor said I was just getting older.

    • Blork 12:53 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      All thumbs up on MarcG’s comment, above. “Endemic” doesn’t mean “ignore” or “no longer a problem.”

      EmilyG, I’m a viddy virgin too!

    • jeather 14:28 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      @steph is your older sibling male and are you female?

      I’m also free of covid so far.

    • Tee Owe 14:30 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Totally agree that malaria is a pertinent comparison BUT one difference to keep in mind is that we have Covid vaccines whereas we do not have a malaria vaccine (yet) – not to diminish the comments from MarcG and H John, which I too applaud

    • jeather 16:07 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      There are two malaria vaccines currently.

    • MarcG 16:08 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      According to that WHO page there is a vaccine for malaria: “Since October 2021, WHO recommends broad use of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine among children living in regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.” It seems to have the same limitations as the Covid vaccines: rapid waning of protective immunity and so-so percentages at keeping you from being infected or very sick but surely better than nothing. I doubt that countries with access to the vaccine will declare Malaria Is Over and stop using their mosquito nets.

    • jeather 16:39 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      The second vaccine just came out a few months ago, and is likely to be better, but yes, they will also continue to work on prevention.

    • Tee Owe 02:07 on 2023-09-15 Permalink

      I stand corrected, thanks – I did my scientific training in the pre-vaccine era and I guess I am influenced by that, haven’t kept up – agree with MarcG that mosquito nets etc will remain necessary – analogies with Covid (masks etc)?

  • Kate 20:22 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Saddening but wise Toula Drimonis piece on how immigration baiting in the media can lead to hate crime in the street.

    • JP 21:58 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

      I’d like to see the video but don’t know where or how to find it. I like going for walks in Old Montreal and as a person of colour I’m nervous about running into him.

    • Ian 09:15 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Easy enough to find – I suspect this might go against the publication of images of another without their consent so feel free to delete it, Kate – and my apologies in advance if this is the case>


    • Kate 09:23 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Ian, I have no problem with this being published without his permission. The man clearly knew he was being video’d and had no shame saying what he was saying.

      (How would he feel if an Indigenous person said the same to him?)

    • JP 10:14 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Thank you, Ian and Kate.

    • MtlWeb 11:01 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Watching this video makes me ill. His manner, tone of speech, and that finger, pointing ‘here (us) and there (you)’.

    • Meezly 12:26 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Clearly if you’re committing an extreme breach of propriety like that by verbally accosting someone on the street, and being an outright bigot and racist, any sort of documentation of that interaction is justified and would be considered useful info for the public.

    • Daniel 13:40 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Seeing that video was a punch in the gut. It’s infuriating that he’s gotten away with that so far.

    • walkerp 18:02 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      Fucking disgusting. That piece of shit clearly did that to somebody of whom he did not have any physical fear. He needs a straight beatdown.

    • qatzelok 18:11 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      @Kate: “How would he feel if an Indigenous person said the same to him?”

      If an indigenous person had said something like this to one of the incoming European Christians in the 18th Century, the European would have replied that he was bringing Jesus and modernity to Turtle Island and felt like a hero for doing so.

    • Ian 21:27 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

      That guy doesn’t sound like he’s got a Montréalais accent, maybe he ought to go back where he came from.

    • EmilyG 12:14 on 2023-09-15 Permalink

      The mention of “common sense” (as written about in the article) is something that I find troubling. I see that expression again and again from right-wing politicians. They say that their views are “common sense,” or in Poilievre’s case, that voting for him is “common sense.” As though anyone with different views isn’t intelligent enough to have common sense and see things the way that they do.
      It seems to be part of a broader tendency these days for people in general to use the term “common sense” to mean “something that I personally agree with.”

    • Tee Owe 14:33 on 2023-09-15 Permalink

      The thing about common sense is that it’s not so common – sorry, you have probably heard it before

    • MarcG 15:02 on 2023-09-15 Permalink

      “Common sense” is also code for anti-science, anti-intellectual, etc.

  • Kate 18:31 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

    The health ministry says there are at least 10,000 homeless people in Quebec, about half of whom are in Montreal. Numbers are up 44% since 2018.

    • Kate 16:34 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

      The bill for the REM has landed on the table: $7.95 billion, 26% more than projected. The bump is being blamed on all kinds of things but inflation and pandemic top the list.

      • steph 17:16 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        is that only relative to the portion of the first branch to the dix30? excluding the unfinished Griffintown station? It’s impossible it’s the final bill as the airport line has been delayed (where I predict exorbitant over-costs will happen to wrangle money directly from the different levels of government to finalize it)

      • DeWolf 18:04 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        @steph It’s for the whole system. The airport line has already been built and it’s the airport authority paying for the airport station that is currently under construction.

      • Nicholas 19:40 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        It’s the whole system, but from what I understand it doesn’t include what it got for free: the right of way and tunnel inherited from CN, the new bridge from the Feds, the airport tunnel station shell purposely built under the US terminal in 2003.

      • Nicholas 20:02 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        My apologies, they did not use the station shell already built at the airport, they built a new one. So I guess they could still use that for mainline trains from Dorval station in 2070.

      • DisgruntledGoat 06:13 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Blue line extension of 5 stations is projected to cost $6.4 billion, before the inevitable cost overruns and delays.

        SRB for Pie-IX came in at a little under half a billion.

        I’m not a fan of privatization of public goods like transit, but…seems the mandate that the REM generate positive cash flows for a public pension plan means they churned out a semi- decent transit project . And a speedy project timeline from how slow things usually move in Quebec, tbh.

      • Nicholas 10:29 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Not to defend the costs on the Blue Line or Pie-IX BRT, but it’s not fully equivalent to compare a fully underground new tunnel with underground stations and six-car trains with platforms for nine-car trains, or a BRT where a good part of the cost was utility work underground, to a line mostly only in existing right of way and mostly above ground with four-car trains. They could have potentially saved a lot of money by using trains that allowed them to keep the existing tracks rather than rebuilding them, and this would have also potentially allowed HFR/HSR to Quebec City to use the tunnel rather than have to go around the mountain or build a second tunnel.

      • DeWolf 10:44 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        The main lesson from the REM should be that we have a lot of rail corridors in Montreal, and it would probably be cheaper for the government to buy them and convert them into rapid transit instead of building entirely new lines from scratch.

      • Anton 10:52 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Yeah. Except they could’ve probably also done it as a normal 30 year PPP, and listening to a little more input; esp for sharing the tunnel and gare Centrale.

    • Kate 13:36 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

      The CSSDM has admitted that the falling ceiling tiles in seven of its schools contain asbestos, and it’s in a rush now to move students, organize busing and all the rest.

      As has been noted here before, had the CSSDM (and its previous incarnation as a school commission) done proper maintenance, it wouldn’t be in the jam it’s in now.

      • Ian 17:24 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        It’s pretty well known that all institutional buildings of that vintage have asbestos, it’s only considered a safety issue if there is a break in the plaster. It’s also why maintaining and upgrading these buildings is so expensive.

      • Ephraim 18:17 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        We sort of knew that it was going to contain “Val-des-Sources” as Asbestos is now called

    • Kate 13:32 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

      The mayor has confirmed that the Voie Camillien‑Houde will be reorganized and that cars won’t be allowed.

      • Joey 15:56 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        We’ve beaten this particular horse well past death, and I have no desire to kick-start another discussion, but I am trying to figure something out that’s not apparent from what’s been posted/published.

        It’s clear that Plante has chosen to maintain car access to the mountain from the west only. It’s also clear that there will be some kind of road maintained from the east to allow for emergency vehicles, though the roadway will be diminished to allow for tree-planting, etc. These inconveniences seem acceptable (even if it might seem frustrating or silly for, say, a picnicking Plateau family to have to drive around the mountain to be able to access Beaver Lake from Cote-des-Neiges), but I wonder about bus access.

        The news release basically said the city would ask the STM to improve its offering. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a plan, or at least a concept. I’m assuming that there will be some version of the 11 bus that will run from the parking areas along Remembrance and then presumably to Snowdon metro. That’s well and good, but the idea that someone living in the Plateau who relies on transit can only get to the top of the mountain by taking a bus or metro to CDN seems, I dunno, harsh. Maybe buses will be able to use the westbound roadway currently envisioned as an emergency route. It would kill the vibe they’re going for (Camillien-Houde as Chemin Olmstead 2.0) but would make life a lot easier for people who rely on transit.

      • Ian 16:04 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        At least the pedestrian and bike paths are separated. If they’re only plowing the pedestrian path for emergency access I bet the bike path will become an amazing impromptu snowboarding location …

      • carswell 16:49 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        @Ian Is it steep enough (7% maximum grade IIRC)? If not, it’ll be the city’s longest cross-country ski descent.

        Having just lived through this year’s Grand Prix cycliste (street and sidewalks closed for most of the day, hours of media helicopters flying overhead and people yelling whenever a cyclist and sometimes an event car or motorcycle went by and — a first this year — zazuelas), I’m wondering what will happen to that event under the new plan. As things stand now, parts of CH are already narrow for the event, especially at the start of the race.

      • Ian 17:20 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        I’m sure that cross-country skiers will test it out, lots of people use the switchback path to the belvedere already.

        Also it will be nice to walk up through the Outremont woods to the lower belvedere without dodging traffic – besides the bikes anyhow.

      • DeWolf 18:11 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        Based on the renderings that were released today, it seems like it will be the bike path that is used for emergency access, which makes sense as it will be paved with asphalt. The pedestrian path appears to be similar to the existing Olmstead path – hard-packed gravel. I assume it would be hard-packed snow in the winter.

        I think it would be nice to deploy the self-driving buses that were tested on St-Hubert onto the future bike path/emergency road. That would ensure public transit access from the east.

      • carswell 18:23 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        The bike path should be named after Clément Ouimet.

      • bumper carz 18:33 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        This is such great news! Along with Mont Royal, Parc Jean Drapeau could also use a few less roads and a few more pedestrian and bicycle trails. It’s hard to get up to the JC bridge in the current configuration.

      • carswell 18:37 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        Also, if this is built as announced, the Grand Prix cycliste route could be switched to Chemin Olmstead instead of CH or, more likely, Parc > Pins > Cédar > Côte-des-Neiges > Decelles > Chemin de la Polytechnique > Chemin de la Rampe > Édouard-Montpetit > Vincent-d’Indy > Mont-Royal > Parc, though the latter option would be a lot more disruptive to traffic than the current route. Personally, I’d be happy if they just cancelled it; that said, I appreciate that most people don’t share my aversion to any and all spectator sports.

      • jeleventybillionandone 19:03 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        I don’t know if there is a more official source yet, but Marianne Giguere has indicated on Facebook in the “Citoyen·nes du district De Lorimier, Plateau-Mont-Royal” group that there will be bus service in addition to emergency services access to Camilien Houde. I do not know how this jives with the bike path also being used for emergency access.

      • Kevin 21:06 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        The city’s sketches are a fantasy land and depict a person with a cane casually strolling down the mountain’s gravel path.

        What a load of arrogant horseshit.

      • Tim S. 22:03 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

        I’m sure that the new set up will be very nice, give an alternative to Olmstead trail (which is pretty well used) and make a small number of high-performance cyclists very happy.

        But I find it jarring that they’re willing to spend 90 million on this but just announced 10 million for improving safety around schools. Yes, I know there are different budgets and governments can do multiple things at once, but I feel like this is a victory for one particularly dogged lobby group.

      • Anton 05:09 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Plug: let’s convert it to a ski hill (2017)

        At some point my character encoding got corrupted, but it’s not so bad in the English version.

      • walkerp 08:20 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Hooray! Such great news. It will make the mountain so much nicer and every little step to reduce fossil fuel burning helps.

        @Anton my great uncle skied down Camilien-Houde in the 1920s or 30s. If I remember correctly, it used to be just a tram line and it didn’t run when there was too much snow so it was quite common for people to ski down it.

      • Ian 09:06 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        There also used to be a ski hill with a lift in behind where UdeM is – you can still see the lift pylons.

      • DeWolf 10:49 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        The lift cables are still there too, on the ground. You can hike up along the path of the old ski lift but it’s very steep.

      • Ian 21:35 on 2023-09-14 Permalink

        Cool, I hadn’t noticed – usually when I’m up around there I’m poking around the old quarry site so I just head straight up to the music building. I’ll check next time, thanks!

      • orr 14:46 on 2023-09-15 Permalink

        Nice that Madame Plante is fulfilling Camillien Houde’s wish that there *not* be a car road over the summit.

    • Kate 12:07 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

      Montreal police are investigating Kenneth Law, an Ontario man who allegedly mailed suicide kits to people in this city. He has also sent them to people in the UK, which is why the Guardian is reporting on the story.

      • Kate 11:30 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

        CBC visits the east-end workshop where street furniture is made.

        I had no idea the city made fake tombstones for Halloween.

        • Kate 10:57 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

          Shots were fired early Wednesday in the Mile End when police spotted some guys trying to boost a car on Park Avenue.

          • DeWolf 11:15 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            I was surprised the car thieves would have shot at the police instead of just running away, but the story makes it sound like the police may have opened fire first?

            “Alors que les suspects quittaient la scène, les policiers du SPVM ont entendu un bruit sourd et ont ouvert le feu sur les suspects.”

            Seems a bit cowboy…

          • Kate 11:32 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            The CTV version says “As they took off, SPVM officers reportedly heard a “loud noise,” likely gunshots, and opened fire on the would-be thieves” and TVA “Alors que les suspects quittaient la scène, les policiers du SPVM ont entendu un bruit sourd et ont ouvert le feu sur les suspects.”

            Neither account confirms that the alleged noise was a shot fired at police which, as you say, seems unlikely.

          • Ian 12:00 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            i’m imagining that’s why the street was closed, the cops were trying to find a bullet or casings to justify them firing on suspects in a public place.

            I’m sure if they don’t there will be no followup news story as it is quietly swept under the rug while another toothless internal investigation takes place.

          • Bob 15:23 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            I’m wondering where those six bullets ended up.

          • Joey 15:34 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            While ordering lunch today, I was interrupted by a police officer enquiring about exterior-facing cameras at the place I was at (on Parc).

        • Kate 09:27 on 2023-09-13 Permalink | Reply  

          More than 240 camps created by people experiencing homelessness have been dismantled this year in Ville‑Marie alone.

          • MarcG 21:24 on 2023-09-13 Permalink

            How dare you try and survive

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