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Everything posted by tomsbuspage

  1. That's the "sideways" I'm hoping doesn't happen here in Ontario. I've since reviewed the press release from the Ontario government and only businesses for which proof of vaccination is required are being allowed to eliminate capacity restrictions: Ontario Releases Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term So strip clubs can open at full capacity starting in November, but churches can't until January unless they begin requiring proof of vaccination. It's nice to see where the Ford government's priorities are.
  2. CTV News: Ontario to lift capacity limits in restaurants and gyms starting Monday, masking mandates to end by late March All I can say about this news is that I hope and pray that things don't go sideways between now and March, forcing Premier Ford to extend the restrictions yet again. I really, really, really want the mask mandate and capacity restrictions to end as soon as it is practical to do so. Cosmic Advendures, Ottawa's biggest indoor playground, reopened in September after being closed since March 2020. It's a great place to take kids to burn off some energy for a few hours and then take them back home exhausted, but they require masks on all children ages two and up, without any exceptions. The staff say it's because toddlers don't know how to distance, and I can understand that. However, my two-year-old son is not mask-trained and I've been hoping that I don't have to train him. My brother-in-law didn't start mask-training his daughter until she was three years old. I just really hope that the number of COVID cases in Ontario stay low so that the restrictions can end on schedule, if not sooner. Meanwhile... CTV News: Ontario's COVID-19 case counts expected to remain stable as long as public health measures are not lifted The Ontario Science Advisory Table are warning that "Lifting public health measures can drive a new wave, even with strong vaccine coverage," and that restrictions should remain in place and people minimise their social activities to keep case counts low. They have been advocating for strong restrictions ever since COVID began but their forecasts for tens of thousands of cases a day in Ontario have never materialised. However, they know how to present their information so that the public think the worst and favour the restrictions that they recommend, regardless of the resulting harm to people's mental health and livelihoods.
  3. I can't help comparing the TTC's 100th anniversary book with the STM's 100 ans de bus à Montréal. While I'm quite happy with my copy of TTC 100, the Montreal book is much thicker, at 500 pages, and it is full of photos, fleet information, and route histories, although completely ignoring the Metro and streetcars except in the ways they affected the bus network. To top it off, the Montreal book costs only $39.99 plus tax. Heck, I ordered it even though it's not available in English! So for me, the TTC book is nice to have, but the STM book is an encyclopaedic resource for any transit fan.
  4. NHL.com: Former Bruins Captain Leo Boivin Passes Away at 90 (actually 89) Hockey Hall-of-Famer played twelve seasons in Boston from 1954 to 1966
  5. CNN: Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state, dies after complications from Covid-19
  6. ^ I actually have mixed feelings about Zoom. While I completely understand Zoom fatigue and have suffered from it myself at times, calling Zoom a cheap substitute for face-to-face interactions, I would much rather have a meeting online than sit in an overheated room wearing a mask for a few hours.
  7. Ottawa Sun: Ending capacity limits great but Ontario must revise rigid mask rules next I don't usually post opinion columns here, but Anthony Furey's comments about Ontario's strict mask mandates struck a chord with me today. I subscribe to a community e-mail list for local events, buy-sell-trade, neighbourhood watch, and so on. To say that some of the other subscribers are worried about COVID is a massive understatement. Some of the folks selling items require "e-transfer and porch pickup only," as though they will die of COVID from meeting a masked and distanced neighbour for a few minutes even though 82% of Ottawa's vaccine-eligible population has been double-vaxxed. I recently gave away an infant car seat to another subscriber, and she came to my house to pick it up. We met outside and were both masked the whole time. The amount of time it took me to enter her six-foot bubble to hand her the car seat and then step took all of about five seconds. I thought that our interaction was appropriate and did not present a COVID-transmission risk although some community members apparently feel otherwise. Something else that came up in the e-mail list revolved around small businesses intending to ignore the vaccine passport checks. The discussion started off by naming-and-shaming the businesses not requiring the passports, and degenerated into a one-sided rant labelling anyone who criticised the passports or mandatory vaccines as rabid anti-vaxxers. Even someone who commented that the discussion had become a witch hunt was berated for his opinion. These are the same people advocating to shutting down Ottawa's scenic parkways on weekends and holidays so that cyclists and joggers can exercise at a "safe" distance from each other, forcing a considerable amount of vehicular traffic onto side streets. It has gotten to the point that the word "safe" used in a COVID context has become a trigger word for me.
  8. Global News: ‘Rules are the rules’: Freeland mum on removing PCR testing for Canada border I'm concerned about the timing of the COVID test to return to Canada. The CBSA require a negative molecular test no more 72 hours before arriving at the Canadian border. However, almost every time someone in my family has taken a PCR test, it has taken more than 72 hours to get the results back. I wouldn't want to take the test 2 1/2 days before returning to Canada only to arrive at the port of entry without my results being available yet.
  9. Then we have a situation like my mother's. She does not have a computer nor does she have a smartphone--she has a flip phone--and so she cannot book a reservation on her own. I register for her if I have room in my car, but I drive a compact and with my wife, three children and myself, the car's full most Sundays. In that case, my Mum watches mass on TV, which is usually broadcast from Montreal or Toronto.
  10. Religious services are also still required to limit their capacity to keep people two metres apart, even though masks are required at all times when indoors and singing aloud is strictly forbidden. I attend a popular church that has hundreds of registered parishioners, but the church capacity is currently 150 so the parish uses a first-come-first-served online reservation system for the two Sunday services. However, all of the seats fill up within minutes of the reservation system opening each week, and you're out of luck if you're late. I have missed the booking deadline several times since in-person church attendance resumed in the summer, and I find it to be quite frustrating when that happens. Other parishes use a lottery system, in which parishioners enter a draw for a seat at the next service, while others simply allow people to show up and be seated if there is room, but those churches tend to fill up about half an hour before the service begins. In addition, our diocese requires churches to have designated entrances and exits, so at the end of the service the main entrance doors are shut and everyone is required to file out the side exit, even though no one is entering the church at the end of the service. One more gripe is that my church is not air conditioned and it can get quite hot inside in the summer, so I am gasping for air while not being allowed to remove my mask to breathe more easily because it is simply too risky. Quebec allows parishioners to remove their masks once seated, why not Ontario? Compare this with an NHL hockey game, in which fans can eat, drink, and cheer as loudly as possible while crammed into an arena with thousands of other people. I fail to see how hockey, football, or baseball is safe while church services are still considered to be too dangerous to ease up on the capacity or masking restrictions. Keep in mind that numerous studies have shown that the current vaccines are ineffective at stopping the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, so vaccine mandates and passports are essentially useless at preventing asymptomatic individuals from spreading COVID wherever they go.
  11. My seven-year-old daughter had a 24-hour gastro bug that has since cleared itself up. However, because she threw up on a school day, the school gave me a take-home COVID test kit and told me to keep both of my girls home from school until the test results came back. In fact, they even made me pick my nine-year-old up from school because the risk to the school was too great for a healthy girl to attend class, even though I didn't drop off my younger daughter. Of course, my sick daughter has long since recovered from her tummy bug. Meanwhile, here's how I feel about waiting for the test results: EDIT: My daughter finally got her test results on Friday (negative), so my girls missed four days of school because of a 24-hour tummy bug.
  12. Sadly, there is a name for people who think that keeping society shut down is the only way to live with COVID: voters. For instance, Premier Ford refused to introduce vaccination passports until a poll showed that 75% of Ontarians favoured them. There's no way that governments are going to ease restrictions as long as voters continue to see COVID as an immediate threat to their health and safety. Unfortunately, voter turnout is highest among senior citizens, which is the group most likely to demand continued COVID restrictions, and also the group most likely to vote Conservative. This coming Sunday, some of my friends and I are going to take our families to a local park with a playground and have a nice (distanced) picnic and get together. I haven't seen these friends in person in a year, only online in the meantime, and we're all feeling starved of face-to-face interaction. We've also been planning this for the last few months and this is the first time that our schedules and the weather have co-operated to allow us to meet outside on a Sunday afternoon. However, one of the mums is terrified of COVID, and so she is demanding that the children wear masks while they play together because each one attends school with vaccinated teachers and twenty other masked children. All of our children are less than ten years old and so cannot be vaccinated. My son is two years old and I haven't even started trying to get him to wear a mask, as I've been hoping and praying that the mask mandates will be lifted before he is required to wear one. The trouble is, I have little faith that the vaccines are preventing transmission, though they are saving lives, and until a real vaccine is developed that actually stops the COVID virus from being transmitted, I don't think the restrictions will be eased in any meaningful way. I just hope that the mask mandate is lifted before my son starts kindergarten in two years, but I have an uneasy feeling that I will be sorely disappointed.
  13. https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000779/ontario-to-require-proof-of-vaccination-in-select-settings https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1000780/new-requirement-for-proof-of-vaccination-in-certain-settings-frequently-asked-questions Call me skeptic, but I don't trust that businesses will accept paper vaccine receipts after 22 October. I've mentioned before that I do not have a smartphone, nor do I want one, and my wife has a smartphone but she does not have a data plan. Neither of us wants to pay the obscene rates that Canada's major wireless carriers offer. The cheapest data plan offered by Bell, Rogers or Telus is $80/month plus HST for 30 GB of data, which is twice what I pay for my flip phone's talk-and-text plan. Yeah, about that temporary measure. American economist Milton Friedman once said "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." Remember, income tax was introduced as a temporary measure to pay for the war effort... in 1917.
  14. Former IOC President Jacques Rogge has died at age 79: https://olympics.com/ioc/news/ioc-announces-passing-of-former-ioc-president-jacques-rogge
  15. I got a flyer in the mail the other day for "the very first and last annual, post-COVID, PPE-wearing, socially distanced, free, family-friendly BBQ block party event where we celebrate all the missed holidays and festivals, parties and get togethers at one big outdoor shin-dig." It was being held today at the church across the street from my house, sponsored by local businesses and our city councillor. I told my wife and daughters and they thought it was a great idea, and we invited my mother as well. This morning, I went and picked Mum up, put our toddler in his stroller and we all went over to the party. I should have clued in to the word "distanced". I expected to have to wear a mask except while eating, but when we arrived the event was already at capacity and there was a queue to get onto the church property. We were also told that once on the property, we would need to queue for the free hot dogs. We waited in ninety-degree-plus-humidity heat while Mum complained about her bad back and my kids complained about being bored, and we had to wait outside in the parking lot without any shade at high noon, so after a short time we turned around, went home and ordered Harvey's delivery so we could eat in air-conditioned comfort. Believe me, ordering Uber Eats for six people is expensive, even for fast food!
  16. CTV Montreal: Quebec to implement vaccine passport due to rising COVID-19 cases, premier says OK, how will this work for non-Quebeckers? I'm certain that the idea sounds great from Quebec City or Montreal, but how will it work in Ottawa-Gatineau, where half the area will require vaccination passports and the other half refuses to provide them? Speaking of Gatineau, I haven't crossed the Ottawa River, not even for a Sunday drive, since the pandemic began because I'm never quite sure what the COVID restrictions are over there on any given day, and also because the first screening question I'm asked is usually "Have you left the province at any time in the last fourteen days?" Looks as if things won't change anytime soon in that regard.
  17. Let's see... A SARS-CoV-2 virus ranges in size from 50 to 200 nm in diameter. A mercury atom has a diameter of about 0.3 nm. N95 masks filter out 95% of particles 300 nm in diameter, and your mask isn't N95. Good luck in there.
  18. CTV News: Ontario unveils back-to-school plan for September. Here's what you need to know The poor kids! I've read that COVID is a generation-defining event, like the Great Depression and the Second World War. It's no wonder that hundreds of thousands of Ontario children are being traumatised by the government's actions, especially the ones too young to be vaccinated. My seven-year-old daughter is nearly compulsive in her distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing routines, and I only expect things to get worse as the restrictions drag on. And who are the restrictions protecting? Out of more than 89,000 COVID patients under twenty years of age in Ontario, only four have died. Yes, four. I can see the therapists rubbing their hands with glee at the money they are going to earn in the coming years and decades.
  19. Former Global News anchor Peter Trueman dies at 86
  20. I totally agree with you here. I have a science degree and I have been telling my friends for months that just about everything PM Trudeau and Premier Ford have been doing to fight COVID is based on fear, not science. I have been reading the news lately and seeing how British PM Boris Johnson is being excoriated by his opponents for reopening his country even though the number of new COVID cases each day is skyrocketing. Basically, the UK is being held up as an example of what not to do to stop COVID. However, focusing on new cases while ignoring how serious they are (or aren't) feeds the narrative that easing restrictions will lead to oblivion. I have copied some graphs from the Public Health England showing British COVID statistics, comparing new cases, hospital admissions and deaths since February 2020. The first graph shows that nearly 88% of British adults have received one vaccine and more than 69% have received both: The second graph shows the number of new daily cases of COVID in the UK. In April 2020, there were an average of 4800 new cases every day. In January 2021, there were about 60,000 new cases every day. And in July 2021, there were on average about 47,000 new cases every day: The third graph shows hospitalisations. In April 2020, there were an average of 3000 admissions each day. In January 2021, there were about 4000 new admissions every day. And in July 2021, there were on average about 740 new admissions every day: The fourth graph shows deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID test. In April 2020, roughly 1000 people were dying every day of COVID. In January 2021, about 1300 people died each day. And in July 2021? About forty people per day. Source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ What I am trying to say is that the vaccines are working and most new COVID cases in the UK (and Canada and the heavily-vaccinated US states) are not serious. The number of hospitalisations and deaths is not following the curve of new cases. COVID is here to stay and it is time to move on with life.
  21. Aw frack! CNN: US extends Covid-19 travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico through August 21
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