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Say goodbye to choirs for a while

Posted  May 26, 2020  by  Anonymous

When I grew up, of course we were all in the Children’s Choir at church, and every school grade had its own choir every year to perform at the school Christmas concert. Its how I learned all my carols and Christmas songs
Of course its been years now since I was in a choir, but I do remember once, about 40 years ago, when I participated with hundreds of others in a Sing-Along Messiah at the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria —  what a great experience that was.
Now we are finding out that the recent COVID research says choirs are a prime mode of virus transmission:

It may be the single most famous outbreak in the U.S.: the Skagit County, Wash., choir practice.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled the results of its contact tracing. The choir met every Tuesday evening until March 10. At that last meeting, 61 members were present and chairs were arranged close together in six rows of 20 with many empty chairs. They practiced for 40 minutes together, for 50 minutes separated into two smaller groups, and then for 45 minutes sang together again. There was a 15-minute break between the second and third session for oranges and cookies, but many didn’t eat.  No one reported physical contact between members and most everyone left immediately after practice. Hand sanitizer was distributed. But, in the end, 53 of the 61 contracted the coronavirus. Three were hospitalized, two died.
This seems to happen repeatedly. The Amsterdam Mixed Choir gave a performance March 8; 102 out of 130 singers tested positive. Fifty members of the Berlin Cathedral Choir tested positive as well.

I’ll bet it has something to do with the act of singing – maybe the forceful expelling of breath from deep in the lungs spreads the virus droplets further. Who knows? 
Whatever the reason, I think singing together in public is likely not going to be happening anymore, not until a vaccine is available.
So I guess there are going to be no more Choir!Choir!Choir! experiences:

This may be the way choirs will sing together now:

Even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir did an online Sing-Along Messiah this Easter.
But for one last time, here’s the real thing:

Full Story »

 
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Yes, its about time

Posted  May 2, 2020  by  Anonymous
I was computerless for the last week+ so I didn’t post, but here I am again.
And I am so glad that Trudeau is banning assault rifles in Canada. I agree with @Dred_Tory:

Dear people who are pissed that AR-15s are set to be banned:

No one gives a shit.#ar15

— Sir Francis (@Dred_Tory) April 30, 2020

Here’s some funny stuff to end the week:

I must’ve watched this 50 times and I’ll probably watch it 50 more. pic.twitter.com/S7GjgMlH7j

— ѕυzу (@suzy_swears) April 28, 2020

Seals are just dogs of the sea pic.twitter.com/PcSz3mJQKe

— What’s Underwater (@UnderwaterVids) April 26, 2020

This is the best weather forecast in the history of television news pic.twitter.com/LhmoJDCkbZ

— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) April 30, 2020

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) May 1, 2020

And a little Jann Arden to finish things off:

This could be the most Canadian-COVID19 tweet ever. 🇨🇦 https://t.co/t64WghKHCi

— Jeffrey Luscombe (@JeffreyLuscombe) April 27, 2020


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Saving lives

Posted  April 25, 2020  by  Anonymous

Once we recognise that this is a major event in human history, it can actually help gain some perspective. And as Cuomo said “What we have done has saved lives” pic.twitter.com/cZFbE9HTlX

— Helen Jenkins (@jenkinshelen) April 25, 2020

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Saturday Stories: The Week in #COVID19 And Some Stories Worth Reading

Posted  April 25, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Full Story »

 
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Laugh and the world laughs with you

Posted  April 18, 2020  by  Anonymous

Joe Biden could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot Donald Trump and I would still vote for him

— doug wiser (@MyBigRedTruck) April 18, 2020

If you could pick one person to curse Donald Trump out on live television in that press room for one minute straight, right to his face, who would it be? I think I would go with Samuel L. Jackson.

— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) April 8, 2020

What do ya bet if trump ever used an interpreter for the deaf they’d fuck up and get him a mime?

— George Carlin’s Ghost (@OldFuckGCG) April 16, 2020

My best friend sent me this. I can’t stop laughing. It’s spot on 😂 pic.twitter.com/ecTo5MtcaV

— Emmet Kelly (@EmmetSeanKelly) April 11, 2020

Americans dumbest criminal. pic.twitter.com/T39kWEomxw

— Only in America (@Crazzyintheusa) April 15, 2020

Most pointless colouring picture ever. pic.twitter.com/OFcQzoVUab

— You Have One Job, Stay Indoors (@_youhadonejob1) April 15, 2020


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Saturday Stories: This Week’s Worthwhile COVID19 Reads Roundup

Posted  April 18, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Huy-Hao Dao, 44,,who worked at Quebec’s Montérégie-Centre Integrated Health and Social Services Centre in Longueuil and sadly the first Canadian physician to die of COVID19, may his memory be a blessing.

Roxanne Khamsi, in Nature, on the incredible challenges we’ll face producing and distributing a SARS-CoV2 vaccine if/when we find one.

Michael Specter, in The New Yorker, with a profile of America’s real doctor – Anthony Fauci

Apoorva Mandavilli and Katie Thomas, in The New York Times, discuss what serology tests are, and whether they’ll help us all get back to work.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, on our pandemic summer and how the only way out is through.

Maggie Koerth, in FiveThirtyEight, on COVID’s destruction of our medical supply chains and how it’s not impossible the entire world’s supply of medical grade glass (used for vaccine vials for instance) has already been pre-purchased.

Terrie Laplante-Beauchamp, in the Globe and Mail, with her must-read 3 day diary of her experiences volunteering as an orderly in a Montreal based long-term care facility hit hard by COVID19.

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Stages of Grief

Posted  April 18, 2020  by  Anonymous

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
These are the stages of grief and I’ve been through them all since the COVID19 lockdown began. I think everyone else has going through them too.

Denial – how can this be happening? WTF is this? Isn’t there some easier way?
Anger – don’t they realize what they are doing to us and to the economy? Its so terrible for so many people.
Bargaining – well, maybe it won’t last too long if everybody acts the right way.
Depression – how awful this is, and its going on FOREVER!!!
Acceptance – it is what it is. Nothing we can do except to get through it.

Though I must admit, I still feel anger:

What shocks me about #COVID19 is the economic disaster. I never realized we might have no way to control a disease except to close everything down, worldwide, and keep it closed for weeks or months. People starving, businesses bankrupt, economies ruined, lives devastated.

— Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 (@CathieCanada) April 14, 2020


The economic hit from this is going to be so hard, and last so long, and hurt so many innocent blameless people.
But every time I start to feel sorry for myself and for all of us, I remember that whatever I am going through, it is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what others are dealing with.
I don’t think our society will ever be able to repay doctors and nurses for what they are doing for all of us, risking death every day to save as many as they can.
There was one tweet in particular, from a pediatric surgical fellow and single mother in New York, that made me just cry.

My babies are too young to read this now. And they’d barely recognize me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job. #GetMePPE #NYC pic.twitter.com/OMew5G7mjK

— Cornelia Griggs (@CorneliaLG) March 29, 2020


I hope she will be OK.
I hope someday her children will be able to honour her for what she is doing.

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Saturday Story: Only One, Because For First Time in 15 Years, I Accidentally Deleted The Rest

Posted  April 11, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Doug Bass, may his memory be a blessing, the first physician in NYC to die from COVID9

Sorry to those who enjoy these reads, but by accident, deleted the lot of them save one

Dhruv Khullar, in The New Yorker, on his work as a physician in NYC during the time of COVID19, and adrenaline, duty and fear.

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How I spent my summer vacation

Posted  April 10, 2020  by  Anonymous

Here’s the tweet of the week month:

Today is 3 wks in quarantine w/o sugar. Walking 3 miles a day, no meat, dairy or flour! I feel great! No alcohol & vegan diet! A 2 hr home workout everyday. Lost 14 lbs & gained muscle mass! I have no idea whose tweet this is but I’m proud of them so I decided to copy & paste it!

— Alison 🇨🇦🇿🇦 (@AckAlison) April 10, 2020


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Saturday Stories: This Week in #COVID19

Posted  May 2, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Arlene Reid, 51, mother of 5 and PSW in Ontario working in LTC, died from COVID19 on April 27th. May her memory be a blessing.

Gid MK, in Medium, with his meta-analysis of reported infection fatality rates for COVID19

Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee, in Inside, on the out of control “science” of this pandemic.

Joss Fong, in Vox, with a great explainer on how to understand that graph of all the countries’ COVID cases you keep seeing. 

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, with a spectacular guide on how to make sense of the all over the place that is COVID19.

Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, with the 2020 commencement speech you’re never hear (but you should so read).

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FREE Help From My New Venture For Ontarians With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Or Prediabetes But Stranded By COVID19

Posted  May 4, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Are you an Ontario resident recently diagnosed with either type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes where COVID19 has prevented you from receiving comprehensive support to help manage and understand your new condition? If so, my new venture may can help, and better still, for FREE. Built initially to support weight management, Constant Health, our new digital behavioural intervention, is being re-positioned to help people with newly diagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes who in turn have been left stranded by COVID19.

Constant Health’s iOS app (note, this opportunity is currently only available for those with iPhones or iPads as the Android app is still in development), will provide you with 12 weeks of private and secure (PHIPA compliant) access to both a Mayo clinic certified health coach as well as a registered dietitian who together, by way of text messaging and video chats, will work collaboratively with you on your diet and lifestyle to help improve your blood sugar control and teach you about your new condition.

Constant Health’s technology includes a robust, open-ended collaborative goal setting engine, a built-in food diary, a searchable and filterable database of millions of the web’s most popular recipe sites, along with a proprietary real-time dashboard which will allow our team to applaud and encourage your success as well as to help troubleshoot your struggles.

As with my office’s practice (the Bariatric Medical Institute), Constant Health’s services aren’t limited to any particular dietary strategy, but instead work with you on whatever approach you feel would best suit your life and preferences. From low-fat, to keto, to vegan and everything in between Constant Health can help.

Rest assured, there are no strings whatsoever. Currently, thanks to an unrestricted grant from Novo Nordisk, we have a limited number of spots available to freely offer and plainly, we are not currently accepting paid patients. However due to provincial medical licensing regulations for both MDs and RDs, and the need for physician screening, we can currently only extend this offer to Ontarians.

If you’re interested, live in Ontario, and have an iPhone, simply fill out this quick survey and if eligible, our office will contact you to book a consultation with me so that I can explore your medical history and have a peek at your lab results for us to mutually determine if the program is for you.

        
Full Story »

 
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Saturday Stories: The COVID files

Posted  May 23, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Dr.Sudheer Singh Chauhan, Internal Medicine Physician and Associate Program Director IM Residency Program at Jamaica Hospital, New York, died of COVID19 on May 19th. May his memory be a blessing
Kai Kupferschmidt, in Science, on why only some people are COVID super spreaders 
Natalie Kofler and Françoise Baylis, in Nature, on the perils, pitfalls, and disparities of “immunity passports”. 
And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s a segment I did with CTV’s The Social on the very real impact these scary times has on our physical and mental well being
Full Story »

 
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Thinking about the future of Canadian food

Posted  May 23, 2020  by  Anonymous
CNN has a big story tonight about the future of the US food supply – with more questions than answers:

“We don’t know what the food-service sector will look like,” said Jaime Chamberlain, a fresh-produce importer based in Nogales, Arizona. When the pandemic largely shut down the US in mid-March, “I lost about 96 percent of my food-service contracts from one day to the next. That is an incredible hit to my business.”
Now, Chamberlain asks, “Are people going to go back to cruise lines? Will they go to a restaurant that seats 100 people? Will that restaurant be able to operate with the same amount of seating? Maybe there’ll be no more conventions for 1,000 people… I think people are going to be very reluctant.”
Burkett, speaking by phone from his Mississippi farm, shares those and other worries, and not just on his own account.“As a farmer, the dilemma I’ve got right now, is we don’t have a market. I’ve got crops going to be there to harvest, and I don’t know if we’ll have someone to sell to or not.” In a few weeks, Burkett said he will have more than 120,000 ears of sweet corn to harvest — all meant to go to restaurants that may or may not need them. “My biggest fear is the fear of how long this is going to last. I have to decide now what I’m going to plant in the fall. I’ve got to order seeds, get the ground ready,” Burkett said. He’s decided, for example, to go ahead and plant seedless watermelons, so they’ll be ready to sell this fall to the New Orleans school system — and he’ll have to hope the schools are open.

Canada is going to be having similar problems, because nobody knows what is going to happen.

COVID19 has upended the world, and given Trump’s mismanagement in America, which will bleed over into Canada too, we are going to be on our own for a long time, I think.

For us here in the west, the main issue I think is going to be food — growing it, and importing it.  The food production and distribution and processing chains are in shambles and its going to get worse.
Yes, we are planting a garden this spring after years of not bothering. And yes, we have arranged for weekly vegetable deliveries from the local market garden. And yes, I am hoarding jars so I can freeze and can vegetables and fruit for the first time in a long time. And yes, we know a guy who knows a guy who can get us a side of beef the next time they are culling their herd.
But its not going to be enough.
Especially if the meat plants keep on having to close down because the virus is running rampant through their facilities.  Wait till it gets into the fish plants, and into the fruit and vegetable processing lines.
Has anybody yet figured out the safest ways to seed, fertilize, harvest, and process our Canadian crops this summer?  Will we also have to figure out how to get our Saskatchewan grain to flour mills in Ontario, and move BC apples to the food processors in Quebec, instead of following the usual north-south shipping lanes, selling our food south while eating food imported from the US? 
And hey, funny thing, hoocouldanoode? – but maybe it would have been a good thing to keep the Canadian Wheat Board around for just such an emergency, because the Canadian government could tell them what to do and they sorta had to do it – unlike the grain companies who will happily make a pile of money shipping all our grain production to China or wherever even if Canadians need the bread.
Our remaining other marketing boards might well turn out to be useful for the next few years, too – we will need the eggs, and the milk.
Basically, in the long term, I think Canada will have to get more self-sufficient, both in terms of what we produce, and how we sell it.  It won’t be as “efficient” as the globalized food production and distribution system our food producers have spent the last 50 years developing. But at least in a Canada-focused national system, Canadians would be the first in line.
But its going to be a painful time while we sort it out.
Full Story »

 
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#ObamaGreat

Posted  May 17, 2020  by  Anonymous

Here are Obama’s two addresses tonight to the HBCU and high school 2020 graduating classes. 

#ObamaGreat and #ObamaWasBetterAtEverything are now trending around the world. 

Congratulations to the HBCU Class of 2020! Michelle and I are so proud of you. As you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind at your back. Can’t wait to see what you achieve. https://t.co/PCsjkJJTXi

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 16, 2020

Congrats to the high school Class of 2020, as well as to the teachers, coaches, and most of all, parents and family who’ve guided you along the way. Thanks for letting me be part of your big day! pic.twitter.com/RjYvHs2BhC

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 17, 2020

And here is what people think about the guy America has got instead:

— Eleven Films (@Eleven_Films) May 16, 2020

The contrast is enough to break your heart.

I’m all for a Space Force if we use it to launch every fucking member of this criminal administration straight the fuck into the sun

— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) May 15, 2020


Full Story »

 
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Saturday Stories: This week in COVID19

Posted  May 16, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, UK RN, 28 years old, died from COVID April 12th. May her memory be a blessing.  

Peter Piot, one of the scientists who discovered Ebola, in Science, with his thoughts on COVID, both as an expert and as a survivor.

Full Story »

 
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Lost years

Posted  May 12, 2020  by  Anonymous

Well, I think we have all realized now there is not going to be any “normal” anymore. 

The hysterical “reopen, damn it!” marches across the continent were a cry of despair against the inevitable, but now I think the truth is sinking in.

There is going to be a new Depression across North America. 
Here’s a thread about what we are facing:

Because they’re competing with the other shop across the street, they cut prices to keep their share of the market. And they often operate while servicing debt. Most businesses need to keep all of the balls in the air just to survive. That time is over.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

The entrepreneurs have no capital. Their capital is gone. They can’t start new businesses. A handful will survive but with drastically reduced ability to invest. They will suffer in survival mode.
So will there be any jobs?

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

In 25 years the businesses on the street will be completely different. Many of those once apparently solid companies will fail within the next 12 months. Expect nothing but grim news.
If you have a job, cherish it. If you have a secure government job, keep it.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

We must (this is an imperative) pick ourselves up and keep going. We owe that to ourselves, our families and our fellow occupant of planet earth.
Hold on. Stay strong. Better days will come and they’re worth living for.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020


Trump’s mismanagement – his ignorance about testing, plus his inept and corrupt support programs –will result in successive waves of Covid outbreaks across the US all summer and fall, each one killing thousands more. Everyone will just try to stay home as much as possible, so the US economy will continue to decline. Meanwhile the US government will bankrupt itself as it fights a losing battle to try to shore up the stock markets, the only economic measure Trump thinks is important.
In nine months, Biden will take over, but by then it will be too late for the thousands of businesses and bars and restaurants that will go bankrupt by next fall, after a few miserable months of trying to reopen. The companies that survive will be the ones that continue to have their employees work from home. So the downtown office towers will be empty and the owners of commercial real estate will be going bankrupt too, not to mention everyone from window washers to the people who water office plants.  Farmers across the US will  be watching their restaurant markets disappear, and they won’t be able to find immigrant workers to pick their crops. 
Canada’s economy won’t crash as badly, I don’t think — our more effective and better run federal support programs will cushion the blow a little better for us – but still, its not going to be pretty. The US border won’t be reopening for a long time yet, and our biggest trading partner won’t be buying nearly as much as they used to. Tourism will be a disaster, our oil and gas industries are in free fall, and we don’t know who will be buying all our agricultural exports anymore either.
If we can avoid another Great Depression, we will be lucky, I think. 
Back in 1973, journalist Barry Broadfood published Ten Lost Years – he interviewed hundreds of people about their experiences during the Great Depression and put it all into a book, and for many Canadians, it was the first time we had ever really heard about what happened to ordinary people in Canada during the 1930s, that awful time.
I have been thinking about that book a lot lately.
Full Story »

 
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Cast your bread upon the waters

Posted  May 10, 2020  by  Anonymous

Ecclesiastes 11 1
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

150 years ago, the Choctaw people collected what was then a grand sum of $170 to send to the people of Ireland, who were starving because of the Potato Famine.  CNN reports that the Choctaw understood starvation because they had experienced it themselves on the Trail of Tears.
Now Irish Times reporter Naomi O’Leary is returning the favour:

Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little. It’s time for is to come through for them now. https://t.co/ONl9UXmwdH

— Naomi O’Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 2, 2020


Half a million dollars has been raised in Ireland. This isn’t the only time that Ireland and the American indigenous people have connected.

The act of kindness was never forgotten, and the solidarity between the Irish and Native Americans has continued over the years.
In 1992, 22 Irish men and women walked the Trail of Tears to raise money for famine relief efforts in Somalia, according to Bunbury. They raised $170,000 — $1,000 for each dollar the Choctaw gave in 1847. A Choctaw citizen reciprocated by leading a famine walk in Ireland seven years later.
In 2017, the town of Midleton in Ireland unveiled a sculpture commemorating the Choctaw’s 1847 gift. In 2018, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced a scholarship program for Choctaw people to study in Ireland while he was visiting the tribal nation in Oklahoma.
The GoFundMe donations are just the latest example of the longstanding relationship. As one Irish donor on the fundraising page wrote:
“You helped us in our darkest hour. Honoured to return the kindness. Ireland remembers, with thanks.”

It reminded me of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree that is send each year to Boston in gratitude for the help that came from Boston after the Halifax explosion:

100 years ago today, the Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia killing 1000 people. Boston immediately sent doctors & medical supplies to assist in relief efforts – this is why Nova Scotia sends Boston a Christmas tree every year. https://t.co/HYHi6xbqm3 pic.twitter.com/MdhQa3r4Zg

— BostonTweet (@BostonTweet) December 6, 2017


People will never forget those who helped when they needed it the most.

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Saturday Stories: The COVID Roundup

Posted  May 9, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Bredy Pierre-Louis, Family Physician, Brooklyn, Died From COVID19. May his memory be a blessing

Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, on having stage IV colon cancer during the time of COVID19 (if you only read one piece this week, make it this one)

Orac, in Respectful Insolence, discusses Plandemic.

Tomas Pueyo, in Medium, on testing and contact tracing.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, covers whether or not we should be currently worried about coronavirus mutations

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Fiddling while America burns

Posted  May 5, 2020  by  Anonymous

People in the United States are realizing that Trump and his administration have spent the last two months tweeting and twiddling their thumbs.

Silly. The plan is to pretend that the problem had been solved (because it’s been a while and staying at home is boring) and start opening up the country. What could go wrong?

— Your Friend & Sabre ⚔️ (@xiphodaimon) May 4, 2020

And why did they expect anything different?
Trump is utterly incompetent at everything, and the only people he hires are people who won’t show him up. So of course he is clueless now and so is everyone else around him. 
If America survives this, it will be because of its governors, who are rapidly forming their own regional associations. But they don’t have the authority to deficit spend so we are going to be stuck for the next 9 months watching the US economy implode, until Biden can take over. It isn’t going to be pleasant.
Still, its a tricky go, isn’t it?  I’m uncertain about our future is, too, but I do have some confidence that the Trudeau government and most of the provinces are on the same page. Though Saskatchewan is reporting new cases, the Maritimes are doing better.
Vox had a big article today comparing Canada and the US:

The American response has become infected by partisan politics and shot through with federal incompetence. Meanwhile, Canada’s policies have been efficiently implemented with support from leaders across the political spectrum. The comparison is a case study in how a dysfunctional political system can quite literally cost lives.
The Canadian approach has not been perfect. Its death rate is currently much higher than best-in-class performers like Germany and South Korea; Canadian officials have fallen down, in particular, when it comes to long-term senior care and the indigenous population. But given the interdependence between these two large neighboring economies, Canadians are not only vulnerable as a result of their own government’s choices but also because of their southern neighbors’ failures.
“The biggest public health threat to Canada right now is importing cases from the United States,” says Steven Hoffman, a political scientist who studies global health at York University.

Yes, its going to be a long time before that border reopens.
I am beginning to worry seriously about Canadian food supplies — so much of our food is from vegetable and fruit growers in the US, and further south too, and these all depend on an established and predictable supply chain where crops get planted, harvested, processed and transported in an orderly progression.  Canada can produce its own flour and beef and apples, but not oranges. Or bananas.

“Let me tell you about the olden days, children.  Why, there used to be a time when we could get bananas any time we went to the store.  Any time at all!”

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Strange Days Indeed

Posted  April 4, 2020  by  Anonymous

I wonder if John Lennon ever realized how prophetic his words would be:Nobody told me there’d be days like theseStrange days indeed.I never understood how a pandemic would destroy the world economy.  Millions of people out of work. Millions w…

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Friday Funfest

Posted  April 3, 2020  by  Anonymous

The COVID-19 news is so depressing, beaten only by the economic news, which is absolutely awful. So here’s something a little more lighter-hearted, on a cold Friday. 

This is Toby he is now working from home… pic.twitter.com/RB6na9bUsT

— Stuart Antony (@STU_ACTOR) March 31, 2020

A true friend is someone who helps you in good & bad times, no matter what. pic.twitter.com/6UW6JNEhl1

— Land of cuteness (@landpsychology) April 3, 2020

How the livestock keep warm in Russia. pic.twitter.com/qlh8s8JuUB

— 🇷🇺Only In Russia 🇷🇺 (@CrazyinRussia) April 3, 2020

— Engineering (@engineeringvids) April 2, 2020

Sandra the orangutang started washing her hands because she saw all the zookeepers doing it repeatedly during the COVID-19 crisis.

Wash your hands.
Be more like Sandra.🌎❤️🧼🌎 pic.twitter.com/t8TTizDGeD

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 1, 2020

Grizzly bear casually fixing a fallen safety cone as they walk down the road pic.twitter.com/c4klDbdGOJ

— Nature is Lit🔥 (@NaturelsLit) April 1, 2020

— Animal Life (@animalIife) March 14, 2020

And this thread wins the award for the funniest tweet of the week:

I think I just got a group of goats in Llandudno arrested.

Let me explain… first, I saw this from inside a dark pub (the one I live in currently). I thought I was seeing things. So I took some video: pic.twitter.com/RtxYG6htLC

— Andrew Stuart (@AndrewStuart) March 27, 2020

So maybe next week will be better — well, we can always hope!
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Children

TikTok Is All About Fat Shaming These Days

Posted  March 9, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

I was driving with my 13 year old daughter on Saturday and we were just chatting. I asked her what was trending these days on her TikTok stream (in the past she’d been served up antisemitism)? Apparently it’s fat shaming Lizzo.

I asked her to share some videos with me.

She sent over 10 in less than a minute.

Some representative examples to follow, but all this to say, TikTok, while hugely entertaining, is a cesspool of hate and bullying, and if your children use it, probably worth asking them every once in a while what’s trending on their streams so that you can take the time at least to talk about it.

@noahswitzer98

Everyone please ##stop making ##lizzo memes ##fyp

♬ original sound – noahswitzer98

@nickring4

When you lose Lizzo while your whale watching 😂 ##greenscreen ##lizzo ##meme ##xyzbca ##xyzcba ##joke ##fyp ##memes ##tiktokmemes ##comedy ##comedicgenius

♬ ITs ANIT new girlfriend of your ex – its_anit

@yaboyg35

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Saturday Stories: Elizabeth Warren, Enabling Antisemites, Marathon Cheats, and COVID19

Posted  March 7, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Elie Mysal, in The Nation, with the depressing truth behind why Elizabeth Warren won’t be America’s next president. 

Sharon Otterman, in The New York Times, with an absolutely shocking story of enabled antisemitism from New Jersey (and I don’t shock easily)

Derek Murphy, in Wired, on marathon cheaters and their investigators

[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s the segment I did yesterday on CTV’s The Social where we chatted about many things COVID19 (if geoblocked outside of a Canada, a VPN spoofing a Canadian server ought to work]

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Australian Food Industry Launches World’s Least Aggressive New Voluntary Self-Regulatory Effort

Posted  March 2, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Waiting for any industry to self-regulate itself is just plain dumb. Honestly, industry’s job is to protect and promote sales, and that’s of course true for the food industry as well.

Self-regulation tends to crop up not out of altruism or doing the right thing, but rather as a means to forestall legislative regulatory efforts which in turn would prove to be more damaging to sales.

Take this recent initiative out of Australia which will see the food industry not advertising their junk to kids within 150m (500ft) of schools. 150 whole metres! While certainly not likely to do anything at all, it’ll be especially useless perhaps in that the school buses themselves will be exempt, as of course will be the bus stops’ shelters.

Oh, and as toothless as it is, it’s also voluntary.

Really the only thing this initiative will do is provide the food industry with ammunition if and when facing calls for legislated regulation (something we’re hearing more and more calls for) and to pretend that they care about anything other than profits.

It’s always best to remember, as I’ve written before, the food industry is neither friend, nor foe, nor partner.

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Saturday Stories: Coronavirus Edition

Posted  February 29, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

James Hamblin, in The Atlantic, on how yes, you’re probably going to get the coronavirus.

Peter Daszak, in The New York Times, welcomes you to the age of pandemics.

Vivian Wang, in The New York Times, with the bad good news that most coronavirus cases are likely to be mild.

Zeynep Tufekci, in Scientific American, on what you can do to prepare for when the coronavirus spreads to your country.

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Health Canada Fails Science And Canadians By Allowing Any Purported Weight Loss Supplements To Be Sold

Posted  February 24, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

The latest of many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of herbal supplements for weight loss plainly makes the case that there is no justification for their sale.

They. Don’t. Work.

None of them.

None. Of. Them.

So why does Health Canada license and allow the sale of 1,128 natural products whose listed purported use is for weight management? Or of the 671 products that purport they’ll improve sexual enhancement? Or of pretty much any of them?

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the taxation of the $1.8 billion annual Canadian sales of vitamins and supplements?

Maybe it lies in well-intentioned hope?

Maybe it lies is political contributions and lobbying?

But the one place where it doesn’t lie is in science. Shouldn’t that be the only place that matters?

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Oh My God The Nutrition World Is Painful

Posted  February 19, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Short post to say that watching people aggressively argue about their preferred diets of choice, and seeing reputable people willing to prop up the most shameless of medical hucksters if they happen to share a nutritional belief, and the endless debates about physiology, and meal timing, and breakfast, and fasting, and macronutrients, and lipids, and anti-science shilling, and multi-level marketing, and so much more, is so very tiresome.

As a clinician I know that what actually matters is how to help the person sitting in front of me, remembering that science, meal patterns, macronutrients, and physiology, may not always matter the way some study says they could or should in the face of an individual’s life and personal preferences. Ultimately, and regardless of what I think is “right” on paper or right for me, my job is to help patients make sustainable changes that in turn lead them towards the healthiest life that they can actually enjoy.

Similarly, as a public health advocate, I know that if there were any amount of education, or a brilliantly crafted public health message, that in turn would effectively drive societal behaviour change we’d have all already changed all of our behaviours. I can also tell you that energies spent on initiatives relegated to personal responsibility, including but not restricted to those promoting one person’s diet tribe, pale in importance to energies spent on initiatives relevant to changing the food environment. And there’s no shortage of targets that span all dietary dogmas – from advertising to kids, front-of-package health claim reforms, junk food fundraising, the provision of free cooking skills to kids and adults, national school food programs and improvements, tax incentives and disincentives, and more.

All this to say, it’s my opinion that these two flawed foci, that there’s one best or right way and that personal responsibility will be our salvation, are the two main reasons why we can’t have nice things in nutrition and nutrition related public health.

        
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Back Home Again

Posted  February 5, 2020  by  Polar Bear

I have been away from the blogger writing for quite a time. I have been busy working to get well and after two years without being able to walk I am finally making progress. I was encouraged during the past couple of years to receive many contacts from…

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Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day I

Posted  March 12, 2020  by  bigcitylib

This evening at the local Metro  I saw something resembling “panic buying”.  Not quite at that point. Nobody got violent.  More like the kind of lineups you see before the Superbowl or a long-weekend.  Except everyone, everyone, was…

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COVID tweet-fest

Posted  March 13, 2020  by  Anonymous

I keep saving COVID-19 tweets and then before I can post anything, it all gets worse.  

So here’s a few, but with the warning that they might be completely out of date by the time anyone reads this.

“These are all the predictable consequences of giving power to people whose only understanding of the role of government is to protect investment portfolios.” https://t.co/RJNDb0Vdcu

— Anil Kalhan (@kalhan) March 13, 2020

Republicans made a bet that they could stick a moronic incompetent in the Oval Office and get their preferred policy outcomes without cost. They lost, and now the bill is coming due.

— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 12, 2020

1. Trump has made clear – the administration will not save us. It is unable to turn, to acknowledge the severity of this crisis. No one is coming to help you. You must protect yourself and your loved ones on your own.

Here is what increases your chances of weathering this….

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 12, 2020

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart https://t.co/iFPcJrHdqM

— Raju Narisetti (@raju) March 10, 2020


Palate cleanser

One of our kittens is a bit of a drama queen pic.twitter.com/oklQb6eTae

— Kittens (@kittensfolder) February 27, 2020

I don’t think the sign is working. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/wjwLhRV0QZ

— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) March 12, 2020


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Saturday Stories: Some Of This Week’s Most Important #COVID19 Reads

Posted  March 28, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Jennifer Yang, in The Toronto Star, speaks with 3 of Toronto’s health care heroes.

Adam Rogers, in Wired, explains what convalescent plasma is and how it might help treat COVID19.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, being Ed Yong and writing an incredible piece on how this pandemic might end.

David Enrich, Rachel Abrams and Steven Kurutz, in The New York Time, on the sewing army rising up to help.

Helen Branswell, in STAT, summarizing all the we’ve learned to date about the SARS-CoV2 virus.

Daniela J. Lamas, in The New York Times, writing as a critical care physician in Boston on the unfathomable reality she’s facing there.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, in The New Yorker, on how the coronavirus behaves inside of our bodies.

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#DieForTheDow is trending

Posted  March 25, 2020  by  Anonymous

Image result for picture of throwing baby to the wolves

Age-wise, I am on the wrong side of the “let’s save the economy by throwing grandma to the wolves” argument. So I have to say, I disagree with it!
And with COVID-19, it won’t work anyway. 
Because it isn’t only the grandmas who get sick and die. Its the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the stock brokers, the policemen, the bartenders, the teenagers on a beach. 

Many of the shitmonkeys advocating #DieForTheDow are legislators who have proven (but mysterious) ways of getting tested for COVID19 that your average person doesn’t. Have NO doubt: these shitmonkeys will also have first dibs on increasingly scarce ventilators & other treatments. https://t.co/2HZJpqXDwM

— Sailin’ Dame (@YerseniaP) March 24, 2020

If you need a wake-up call, here it is: My husband was on a large conference call of American med school deans last night. One asked about legal coverage for pulling people off ventilators to give to others more likely to survive. I.e., not being charged with murder. Here we are.

— Alice Dreger (@AliceDreger) March 24, 2020

The choice is between:

– a very hurtful major recession caused by social distancing, managed by stimulus

or

– a economic collapse caused by the breakdown of our health system due to millions of deaths, tens of millions of hospitalizations, that cannot be managed by stimulus

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 24, 2020

At the end of all this, let’s try to remember that the geniuses who told us not to worry about coronavirus are the same geniuses telling us not to worry about #climatechange

— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 16, 2020

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Saturday Stories: Still Just Coronavirus Links – Guessing It Might Be This Way For A Little While At Least

Posted  March 21, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Gretchen Reynolds, in The New York Times, answers questions as to the safety of exercising in the face of COVID-19

Cornelia Griggs, in The New York Times,  a critical care physician in New York, explains why she needs you to know that the sky is falling.

Yascha Mounk, in The Atlantic, tries to explain why people aren’t staying home despite incredible risks and ramifications of not doing so.

Ashleigh Tuite and David Fisman, in The Globe and Mail, both infectious disease epidemiologists, with their thoughts on how we might slow the burn of the COVID-19 forest fire.

Aaron E. Carroll and Ashish Jha, in The Atlantic, with their thoughts on how we can beat this coronavirus.

Pam Belluck, in The New York Times, needs you to know that though children uniformly have much milder cases of COVID-19 than adults, some will become seriously ill.

Manny Fernandez, in The New York Times, with a sobering read on how the coronavirus will impact the already impoverished.

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MOTHER NATURE

Posted  March 18, 2020  by  Polar Bear

The year 2000 sure has been a wonderful this year. Whatever riled her up we will never know but  the daily events have been nothing less than specular. Record low temperatures and record high temperatures. Record snowfalls and record everything. I…

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Courage is found in unlikely places

Posted  March 18, 2020  by  Anonymous

Things are awful and they’re going to get worse – the economy is going to tank, maybe worse than it did in 2008, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. 

To understand why the world economy is in grave peril because of the spread of coronavirus, it helps to grasp one idea that is at once blindingly obvious and sneakily profound.
One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.
What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time.

In spite of the billions that governments will spend to prop up the economy, our standard of living is going to decline. Or at least it will FEEL like it is declining — we won’t have the restaurants around anymore that we used to love, we won’t be getting the variety and quality of food we are used to seeing in grocery stores because the agricultural and shipping industries are going to be in such disarray, we won’t have sports or new TV shows or new movies or touring theatre companies or concerts or community events. For many of us, our retirement savings are taking a hit that we won’t be able to recover. 
Not to mention, of course, the hundreds of thousands around the world who will get sick, and the tens of thousands who will die in the next 18 months to two years, before a COVID vaccine can be developed and put into production and reach the market.
Goodbye yellow brick road, yes indeed.
Someday maybe we will say “I remember when you could walk into a store and buy bananas any time of the year”.
So in the meantime, I can only keep my spirits up by searching out some “good news” stories. Because once again, in a crisis, people have a remarkable way of pulling together, pushing though, helping themselves and each other to cope and to manage and to survive.

“But where shall I find courage?” asked Frodo.
“That is what I chiefly need.”“Courage is found in unlikely places,” said Gildor.
“Be of good hope! Sleep now!”

Beautiful. King Street, right? https://t.co/LkN6dqdqnj

— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 18, 2020

@CoronavirusCast

You wanted some positive stories.
Here you go. This man must be a listener.

Sask. First Nation chief prepared for COVID-19 pandemic weeks before it hit https://t.co/1zRd7e74O3

— Raptor Girl SK- We the Champs! (@raptorgirlSK) March 17, 2020

While our doors may be closed, we’ll still bring the Gallery to you online.

During our closure, we’ll take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Each day we’ll focus on one room and the works of art on view within it. #MuseumFromHome pic.twitter.com/VfI4Nm8kj5

— National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) March 14, 2020

We’re better than our political leadership. https://t.co/ez9K1RChDP

— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 16, 2020

Louis Vuitton is switching all its perfume & cosmetic manufacturing factories to make hand sanitizer gels. https://t.co/p6I5QC1s4d

— Krishnan (@cvkrishnan) March 15, 2020

Hope they were able to find some TP https://t.co/3gBnXKJAKB

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) March 15, 2020

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COVID Shakespeare

Posted  March 15, 2020  by  Anonymous

What’s the difference between Covid 19 and Romeo & Juliet?

One’s a corona virus and the other is a Verona crisis.

— Julian Lee (@JulianLeeComedy) March 14, 2020

One’s a pandemic disaster, the other’s Iambic pentameter

— folb (@SleepingAnnual) March 14, 2020

Omg. Now do Two Gentlemen of Corona.

— Steve Austin from Texas (@ResistTheLiars) March 15, 2020

With jokes like that you’re just trying make us welcome death

— Tom (@_T0M_V_) March 15, 2020

ok isaac newton discovered calculus and william shakespeare wrote king lear while in quarantine but i bet none of them could eat 2 family packs of chips ahoy in 3 days while in quarantine so what the fuck

— Ryan Dils (@ryan_dils) March 15, 2020



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Saturday Stories: #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #CancelEverything Edition

Posted  March 14, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

7 views on why social distancing is so important right now and why we have to “cancel everything“. If you think that #COVID19 isn’t a big deal, do take the time to read these pieces to learn why you’re wrong (ordered solely by way of the order I happened to read them in).

Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott, in Vox.

Tomas Pueyo in Medium

Yascha Monk, in The Atlantic

Helen Branswell, in STAT

André Picard, in The Globe and Mail

Sharon Kirkey in The National Post

Kaitlyn Tiffany in The Atlantic

Also, here’s Wency Leung, in The Globe and Mail, on what you should do if you think you have COVID19, and here is the Toronto Star’s infographic on what self-isolation should look like if it’s determined that you’ve contracted the virus.

Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris / CC BY-SA

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Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day II

Posted  March 13, 2020  by  bigcitylib

Visited The Elsy (LCBO) today.  I notice that while they’re knifing each other over toilet paper at the Walmart across the parking lot, here everything is calm.  People believe that Water and wipes are essential, booze some kind of peripheral…

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