Updates from July, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:05 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

    Aaron Derfel tells us about the new wave of Covid and the rush to develop an updated vaccine to face a new subvariant.

    • MarcG 07:32 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      The CDC published an article a few days ago titled COVID-19 can surge throughout the year that includes this very illustrative graph.

    • Dominic 10:16 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      Yup. Definitely caught it again last week, still knocked out flat after four days. Its going around.

    • Kate 10:20 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      I’d noticed a few more masks around the streets lately, so there’s definitely some awareness of a surge.

    • MarcG 11:31 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      Something else to consider is that Covid never has an off-season the way Flu and RSV do. There’s a constant baseline of ~5% that we haven’t dipped below in the past couple of years. https://health-infobase.canada.ca/respiratory-virus-detections/

    • EmilyG 12:52 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      I know that Covid is still around, and still pretty common.
      Also, I see a lot of people (and news articles, etc.) talking about “post-pandemic” and “during Covid” as though it’s mostly in the past.

      i still wear a mask in public most of the time. But I sometimes get confused about what to do. What activities are safe, and the like.

    • CE 14:30 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      My girlfriend had it a couple weeks ago. She dusted off the rapid tests and tested twice and it only came up positive when she was almost over it. It was mostly a bad cold that lingered for a while. I live with her and only got tired for a few days (tested negative). Kind of the same feeling I’d get after a Covid vaccine but longer.

      Hopefully as the virus evolves it just becomes a mild cold like the other coronaviruses that circulate.

    • jeather 16:20 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      I know people who were knocked out for a week and still recovering a week later from this variant, generally healthy vaccinated people. I don’t think you want to count on mild yet.

    • MarcG 17:23 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

      There is evidence of SARS-CoV-2 viral persistence which puts it in a different category from the transient coronaviruses associated with the common cold. One positive of the pandemic has been a lot of research into the long-term impacts other viruses like influenza, Epstein-Barr virus (recently shown to be a leading cause of multiple sclerosis), and the possible viral origin of ME/CFS. A good summary here. Don’t judge a virus by the acute phase.

  • Kate 10:06 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

    The CHUM is considering installing a helicopter pad on its rooftop. The MUHC is already planning one.

    • Kate 08:58 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

      A man who failed in his attempt to firebomb the house of Francesco Del Balso a year ago has been sentenced to 27 months in jail. Del Balso was murdered by a more efficient assailant a month later.

      • Ephraim 08:25 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        Sometimes I wonder what the purpose of the jail sentence is. Will this really change this person? Can he be reformed in any way? Maybe we need to look at how we do this…. maybe having to repay the societal costs with a lien and garnishment (non-cancellable) might be more of a deterrent than anything else. I mean, losing your house, your bank account and having your future income lowered is a lot more punishing than 27 months with room and board while trying to dodge sexual advances. Maybe a community service job that you have to do to fill what would otherwise be leisure time. I’m sure we have government buildings that we need to clean and paint. Certainly we could use people drawing new clear road lines in Montreal. We need a much better way to punish people. It’s like telling a kid to go to his room, with all his toys and electronics… it’s not a punishment. They get rewarded in the end for having done the time and not giving up their compatriots.

      • Blork 09:02 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        Interesting perspective, and I often ponder the same questions. However, with people like this I think the garnishment would basically just push the perp further into crime, as he no longer just needs money for food and shelter and to wear flashy clothes to impress his fellow criminals; he needs even more money to pay the garnishment. Thus, descent into higher-stakes (and better paying) crimes.

      • Kate 10:45 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        Garnishment also works only if someone has a regular salary. Do we think the typical perpetrator does?

      • Ephraim 12:02 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        @Kate & @Blork – That’s part of it, he has to get a regular paying job, at least until it’s fully paid. So, they have to get regular work that can pay the garnishment which will limit the hours they are available to do crime.

      • Blork 15:08 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        …unless their “regular job” comes courtesy of Uncle Vinny, who pays him a nominal salary for a non-existent job while his real job is all under-the-table.

      • Ephraim 18:33 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        I’m sure you can require him to hold a job with no mob ties. With a maximum repayment schedule, so they can’t pay it off and get him out of it too soon.

      • Ian 06:50 on 2024-07-10 Permalink

        “Uncle Vinny” could just give them a stipend off the books so it doesn’t matter if our guy gets his wages garnished 100% or1%.This leads us back to the old days when the rich would just buy out their sentence, or just toss coins out the window of their carriage whenever they hit someone.

        It’s like parking fines, if you have enough money it just costs 95-250 bucks to park wherever you want. No big deal to someone that can afford a Ferrari.

    • Kate 08:51 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

      The many French residents of the city are voting again this weekend and the story is making our news. My new next door neighbour is French, as are longtime neighbours across the alley. I have not attempted to discuss politics with any of them.

      Seems like France isn’t going to implode into a right-wing regime this time.

      The UK and France are moving in the right direction for now. Let’s hope Canada doesn’t regress when the time comes.

      • maggie rose 14:15 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        Let’s hope indeed. I think most in the UK, France voted to stop the right more than vote *for* anyone. I hope for the days when leaders can lead without bowing to various lobbyists. Interesting report here from Novara Media on the streets of London on their election night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHrw70vCmwg

    • Kate 08:50 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

      CTV asked Rick Leckner to name the weirdest intersections in Montreal from a driver’s perspective. Also with video.

      (Leckner has been around forever. My mother used to crank CJAD in the morning when I was in grade school, and Leckner did their helicopter traffic reports. At least he was a break from the relentlessly horrible cheery music the station played at that hour.)

      • Mark 09:26 on 2024-07-07 Permalink

        I’m in my late 40s, and definitely had CJAD in the background on my childhood. A few years ago, I found this short film from the NFB that showcases Leckner’s predecessor Len Rowcliffe, but there is also a few times that George Balcan speaks and it’s a jump to my childhood…then other things come up, Kane and Fetterly and Dofasco commercials (our product is steel, our strength is people). Crazy how our sensory memory works.


      • Kate 09:44 on 2024-07-07 Permalink

        Nice! I especially liked how he complains about the bad air and the damage to his lungs – a man who smoked a pipe in the helicopter.

        Does anyone do helicopter traffic any more, or do they only scan traffic cams?

      • Nicholas 11:19 on 2024-07-07 Permalink

        I’m pretty sure not. I seem to remember hearing that the last media helicopter in Montreal was TVA’s, and they retired it in 2023. TVA’s copter was doing traffic when it crashed in 2009, but it was mostly just doing breaking news on demand more recently (I remember it out for the Ubisoft shooting), rather than daily traffic. It’s just too expensive to run it for something cameras and apps can do 95% as good a job for the many, many fewer listeners from their heyday. If it’s really necessary, they can probably get someone to drive nearby and put up a drone.

      • H. John 13:18 on 2024-07-07 Permalink

        I won a raffle prize at a party that allowed me, and a friend, to ride in the CFCF morning traffic helicopter.
        My friend knew how terrified I was of heights and told me if would be fine.

        It was winter, and one of the coldest of days.

        Arriving at the studio at 405 Ogilvy Avenue, the pilot explained that in extreme cold they usually cancelled guests because the ride was so much rougher. Seems the increased air currents rising from the ground make the airspace around skyscrapers rougher on extremely cold days.

        Because of our past army reserve training, they decided to allow us on to the morning flight.

        They were spot on about it being rough. The flight over Square Victoria sticks in my mind.

      • Dominic 15:33 on 2024-07-07 Permalink

        Definitely two not mentioned in the same neighbourhood are Décarie / De Maisonneuve, which is five and a half streets combining into one intersection. Used to avoid that area when I lived nearby.

        Driving gets confusing at Av. Girouard /De Maisonneuve where you have to (wait at a red light) and then cross into the LEFT side of the road to continue straight to get on Decarie Expressway. Scary the first time you do it.

      • Joey 10:13 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        @Dominic it’s crazy that, with all the work done in that area (Turcot, super hospital), this is the solution that we’re left with.

      • Blork 10:26 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        There are many crazy merges and intersections. But I’ll second the Decarie/Jean-Talon one; that’s just madness. You come off of the Decarie Autoroute, heading north with the intention of turning right onto Jean-Talon. You’re in the single exit lane from the Autoroute, but you immediately encounter three lanes of vehicles on your right that you need to cross in about 150 metres in order to make your turn. About half of those cars on the right are trying to cross to their left so they can turn left at Jean-Talon. So you have a weave of X patterns with some cars crossing into right lanes and some into left lanes, with nobody going the same speed and everybody frustrated and annoyed. I’m surprised there isn’t a dozen pile-ups there every day.

      • Ian 10:51 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        There are so many weird intersections where you basically have to know well in advance what to do or you will end up being forced to go totally in the wrong direction that even with a wayfinding app like Waze you should assume you will take a couple of wrong turns if you are going somewhere new – not to mention the many places on the island where you have to cross three or more lanes of traffic to get into the turning lane that isn’t clearly marked in advance.

        For instance, let’s explore an easy commute from, say, Parc Ex to the West Island.

        To get onto the 40 west from Acadie, you have to be in the leftmost lane of Acadie for the turn off before you cross the highway, follow a blind merge into VSL about 50 metres after you turn, keep to the right or you will end up on the ramp to Laval – and be alert as there is no sign indicating this. Be aware that the three lanes then turn into two even though there are no lane markings as you merge with Côte-de-Liesse. Keep to the left this time as you will have to cross three lanes on Côte-de-Liesse to get to the onramp for the 40 west. Once you get on the 40 west be sure to get out of the right lane you entered in as it is the exit lane just after the Circle but don’t go past the 2nd lane left or you will be forced onto the 15 south. This all needs to be done very carefully of course, especially in rush hour, as there are lots of trucks and commercial vehicles with major blind spots, all travelling at highway speeds. The good news is you’re pretty much in the clear until it starts to get busy again after the Côte-Vertu merge.

        Coming back is even more exciting as you have to cross 3 lanes of traffic twice coming up to Acadie after Cavendish because there are multiple merges from the right and a lot of the more aggressive commercial drivers (usually vans and pickups) are jockeying to exit onto the 15 on the left then again trying to edge into a better spot up the line for the Laval exit right after the Acadie exit, although it’s usually Beemers and Teslas being aggressive rather than commercial vehicles at that point. Once you exit from the 40 be sure to stay left because even though there’s no sign saying so, staying on the road will bring you into TMR – if you want to get to Acadie the ramp that looks like it’s going back on the highway is actually the one you want to take. After the ramp stay right because otherwise you actually will end up back on the highway. When you do finally get onto Acadie, be careful because the exit is another blind merge. After that be sure to get into the middle lane as soon as you can because the right turns into a parking lane after the mall and the leftmost is a forced left turn at Jarry – though if you want to go into Parc Ex Jarry might be your best bet.

        It’s often faster to take Rockland instead of Acadie though, becasue so many drivers headed to Laval from Rockland trying to edge in often create gridlock. Of course you’ll have to go all the way to Jean Talon to get back to Parc Ex from TMR. Be careful, because you are coming up to one of The Most Interesting Interesections in Town™ – the Rockland/Graham/Jean-Talon/Dresden/Fleet intersection. Try not to get lost in TMR, they designed the sidestreets not be through streets on purpose. If you’re feeling adventurous it might be best to take Fleet to Beaumont instead of staying on Jean-Talon as it is less crowded and the construction on Beaumont that was there for about 6 months is finally done. Careful which street you pick to go north on though because unless there’s a traffic light it’s pretty treacherous trying to cross Jean-Talon pretty much any time of day.

      • Kate 11:04 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        Joey, Dominic: Whether you’re driving, walking or cycling, the Girouard/de Maisonneuve tangle is a horror. Pedestrians have died there. I think the city’s options are limited by the presence of the train tracks and how the area evolved over a century.

      • jeather 11:39 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        A brief shoutout to Claremont/Sherbrooke, where buses have a stop in the right lane, then immediately turn left.

      • px_voice 21:30 on 2024-07-08 Permalink

        @Ian that sounds very tough on drivers trying to use a densely populated neighborhood with many children residents and elderly people whose crosswalks are clogged with parking and chancers keen to burn through stop signs as revenge for the time tax that park ex takes away as a cut through.

        If only the council made it easier for cars to traverse and clog our streets with yet more drivers fooled by our irregular and arcane motoring customs. Or, you know what, maybe let’s not worry about that stuff and instead focus on transit planning whose objective is not planning the city from the perspective of a car windshield and instead leveraging its proximity to major urban and interurban transit alternatives and sit back to see what might happen.

      • Ian 07:43 on 2024-07-09 Permalink

        If children are playing on highway onramps and offramps, light industrial VSL, on Côte-de-Liesse or on the 40, there are more serious problems at hand.

        That said, good on you for taking this opportunity to show us how much more environmentally and socially conscious you are than the rest of us who actually stayed on topic. You are the better person for sure, and we all look up to you now. /s

        Seriously though, the stupidity of the highway planning & wildly inconsistent street plans in Montreal aside, I would LOVE to see public transit improved to the point that driving from Parc Ex to the West Island takes less than an hour each way. Driving is expensive and stressful. I would far rather be napping or reading. Collective transport is much more efficient and makes sense not just environmentally but from an urban planning / quality of life perspective.

        My own commute takes an hour and a half each way by STM and Exo doesn’t match my work schedule. Even Valerie Plante said that she doesn’t think it’s unreasonable for someone commuting form Point-aux-Trembles to downtown (about the same distance) to want to drive. Don’t you think everyone would want to take transit if it were viable? Why are you stating the obvious like it’s some kind of “gotcha” insult?

        From a transit perspective the whole point of living in a city is that there’s no use for a car – or at least it should be.

      • px_voice 19:20 on 2024-07-10 Permalink

        Yet here you are complaining about weird intersections and how expensive and stressful your commute is, and how inconvenient it personally is to you.

        Safety and transit is a public issue… Instead you and articles like this try and pass the blame onto poor design or wasted money from a bureaucratic system that can barely cope. In large part because of individual choices that citizens have made that have resulted in the incompatible increase of motor vehicles on our roads. Choices that are culturally acceptable today. Luckily culture changes over time.

        It must be tough for you though, having geared your whole lifestyle around accepting cars as an essential part of your life, then being stuck in a maze of ageing infrastructure complaining about a sign or a merge or some other inane detail, inhaling air that makes your life shorter, frozen in your depreciating asset that seals you apart from the city and other humans for hours every day. Good luck with that

    • Kate 08:40 on 2024-07-07 Permalink | Reply  

      There is a big power outage on the South Shore following the crash of a bus into a power pylon by highway 30 on Saturday night. A ripple of power dips hit parts of Montreal at the time, but no blackout.

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