Back to the Boring Virus and the Pandemic: Extremely Heartening News From Canada and its Absolute Insistence on Vaccinations; Alberta and Saskatchewan Lag Behind Other Provinces; But Now a New Rather Alarming New Variant: Extensive and Scientific Reporting from The New Yorker with Links Provided; Another USA School Shooting; Affluence Defined

I have stopped writing about the virus because it is so boring and so ‘yesterday’s news. But there is actually some rather surprising data coming from several sources. This from a November 30, 2021 newsletter authored by the Roman Catholic Church – an admittedly surprising resource. It speaks of a surprisingly aggressive Canadian stance on vaccination. Well, surprising to me anyway, as I have grown to see Canada as.passive. Well, passive-aggressive because of Islamophobia and mass graves of Indigenous children. But not a country taking a strong stance for the good of its people. But I guess I was wrong.

“The increasingly aggressive admonishments from the federal government could not be any clearer: Get vaccinated, Canadians! And the consequences are becoming equally clear: a loss of employment for civil servants and anyone working in federally regulated industries who declines to get the Covid-19 shot. Those industries include banking, airlines and telecommunications companies. In October, Canada’s federal jobs minister wielded an even bigger stick—the loss of Employment Insurance benefits (called unemployment insurance in the United States) for anyone fired for remaining unvaccinated.”

There is excellent news from Canada. Canadians have embraced vaccination in large numbers. After a slow initial rollout, more than 83 percent of Canadians over 12 are now fully vaccinated. Well there is some problems with two provinces – and would you not know? The two provinces which I made my home – Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“But Covid-19 emergencies erupted in September in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where conservative governments prematurely lifted pandemic restrictions. And as the pandemic continues vexing the world and the risks of new viral variants remain, vaccinated Canadians are finally venting their frustration.”

Interesting statistic: 69% of Canadians do not trust those who are unvaccinated. I do love being within the majority of the people in the country of my birth.

This is how Canada and the United States differ. “Unlike in the United States, where powerful state governors have thwarted pandemic restrictions, few prominent politicians have tried the same in Canada. Those who have, like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, ended up reversing themselves—in the end angering all sides of Canada’s political spectrum.”

Oops – there is more evidence that Alberta is the hot bed of reactionaries: “Social and political entrepreneurs at P.P.C. gatherings promoted controversial or quixotic causes: keeping fluoride out of drinking water; selling T-shirts reading “I love Alberta Oil”; or starting a political party to pursue Alberta statehood. Talk of conspiracy theories were rife.”

I do enjoy this political commentary speaking of the Green Party’s demise and populism: “The only thing they agree on is opposition to vaccination,” Mr. Seljak said. “That’s not a political movement. That’s a political moment.”

The article is written by David Agren, thank you, it was very well written and well informed.

But now there is a new South African variant that has some people worried – the worry warts of the world will always have something to worry about. By the way, a worry wart is
a person who tends to dwell unduly on difficulty or troubles. British term: worryguts. worryguts.

Here is a summary taken from the New York Times
The W.H.O. called the Omicron variant a “very high” risk to global health.
South African scientists said that while it was too early to be certain, treatments appeared to remain effective.
Biden said Omicron was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

The New Yorker which is to be infinitely trusted as its stories are fact checked featured an article on the virus. It was an excellent summary and spoke of the scientific method.

The W.H.O.’s alarm is based on the varying numerous genetic changes. “Omicron boasts some fifty mutations—far more than Delta—including around thirty on its spike protein, which the virus uses to enter cells. (Delta, by contrast, has just ten unique spike mutations.) Some of these mutations have previously been found on other variants, and are linked to enhanced transmissibility and immunity evasion. But at least twenty-six are unique to Omicron—they’ve never been seen before.” It is not known what they do but whether it is fierce or not remains to be seen.

Three basic questions must be asked when there is a new variant. “Is it more e transmissible? Does it cause more severe disease? And can it skirt our immune systems?” No one knows at this point how it performs. Given its rapid spread in South Africa… it is probably extremely contagious. But evidence is only anecdotal and severe cases have affected the unvaccinated, (only 1 out of 4 in South Africa are unvaccinated).

Many political leaders aren’t waiting to act. Immediately after the W.H.O. declaration, many countries rushed to institute travel restrictions. But travel bans are not the only solution. Anthony Fauci’s response? “The question is: Can you slow it down? “A comprehensive approach must include bolstering the nation’s testing and genomic-surveillance infrastructure; insuring rapid access to the new covid pills; and doing all we can to increase rates of vaccination and booster shots “ This is a quick, fast and reassuring summary: “ At this point in the pandemic, we know how to play the game.”

Vaccination is still the defense of first resort – but poor countries (where only 6% of people have had only one dose) are in trouble and the United States remains in-between:”forty per cent of Americans have not been fully vaccinated.” Another excellent summary by author Dhruv Khullar – “it is perhaps not a cause for concern but a cause for action.”

Should you wish to read the entire article, please follow this link

South Africa willingly shared its information on the variant with the world, but it resulted in travel bans directed against it. Another New Yorker article examined this issue speaking with Tulio de Oliveira in his lab at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, South Africa. He responded to the issue of travel bans and the reluctance in reporting a variance to the world: “Yes. I cannot see how other developing countries would share information as we shared information given what’s happened with the backlash against South Africa. I cannot imagine it.”

That article may be found at:

And as if things are not bad enough with the pathetic vaccination rate in America, there are even more problems which actually left me stunned. Yet another school shooting, this time in Michigan. The New York Times left these cryptic notes:
A fourth student died after Tuesday’s shooting. Here’s what we know about the victims.
Prosecutors charged a 15-year-old with terrorism and murder, and are considering charging his parents.
But what about charging American society as a whole – how can parents be expected to raise children properly and sanely in an insane world where the unborn are cherished the born perish at the hands of others armed needlessly and carelessly with guns. When will this insanity in the USA end? Most probably never.

Oops – no humor today. Looks like none whatsoever. I could not find any. Today spent the day in my room – ordered room service and saw no one. It was so incredibly peaceful, and calming living in a land of contentment. Today was UAE Day celebrating fifty years of union and many accomplishments. This (former) Paradise is over run with hordes of people, not really celebrating UAE day – just, in a way, taking advantage of it. The affluence in this particular place rivals anything I have ever seen. Affluence is the state of having a great deal of wealth. The synonyms abound: prosperity, opulence, fortune, richness, luxury, plenty; riches, money, cash, lucre, resources, assets, possessions, property, substance, means, deep pocket. The antonym is, of course, poverty. How has this tiny ‘nation’ managed to do so well, while the USA with its massive resources merely declines.? A very good question and one that will be explored.

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