Tuesday night. Taco Tuesday… Maybe that’s what that t.A.T.u. band name meant. (As good a guess as any, eh?)

It’s curious just how absorbed you can get when your entire day is filled with work, reading, eating, and exercising. The time flies by, and it’s almost as if it’s just a baseline indoor day, and not the middle of a second wave of a once-a-century pandemic.

My nutrition adventures continue. Using my sketchy little digital scale (which goes into gram decimals and probably put me on some sort of watch list when I got it) and a calorie-tracking app turns the whole process into a strange game. Fat, carbs, protein – everything is some combination of the three, but balancing them in the right daily ratio while also consuming enough calories… That results in some rather unwise life choices, such as forcing myself to eat 610 grams of plain Greek yogurt at the end of the day to balance out the macros. (That’s a lot of Greek yogurt, y’all.) I wonder how many people would take better care of their health and their diet if the entire process got gamified like this. Weight Watchers was on the right track, back in the day, but that was way before cellphones and not nearly as interactive. That’d make for a very interesting augmented reality app…

In covid news, things are still pretty hilarious at the White House. They’ve refused to let the CDC do their contact-tracing, which is really starting to look like a bit of a cover-up. More than 120 Capitol Hill frontline workers have tested positive for covid. Ditto for Stephen Miller, the ghoul behind the administration’s xenophobic policies. (I guess the virus can infect other species after all!) The guy who carries Trump’s nuclear football has covid as well. (Who would’ve thought the assigned keeper of nukes would be struck down by his own president?) Rudy Giuliani is one of the few people from Trump’s debate prep team who haven’t tested positive yet, but he coughed an awful lot during a recent TV interview… At this point, the White House alone has more cases than several foreign countries put together.

To make things even more interesting (an intersection of epidemiology and politics!), Trump vowed not to sign any economic stimulus bills until after the election. That effectively dooms millions of Americans to at least one more month of poverty. (Compare and contrast to Canada’s CERB model which gave every qualified Canadian $2,000 CAD per month.) At this point, it’s hard to say if it’s Trump’s innate stupidity or the mental side effects from his medication. Could be both, really. Either way, after doing all of his tough-guy posturing on covid to keep the stock market from panicking, that little stunt alone ended up sending it deep into the red in the middle of an otherwise fine day.

Closer to home, covid is really picking up steam in Toronto. About two-thirds of the city are showing test-positivity above 3%. Four areas of the city are showing test-positivity above 10%, which is remarkably bad. After the contact tracing stopped a few days ago, that was a de facto acknowledgement that we’re officially in the run&cover mode, as there are far too many cases. The provincial government, led by Doug Ford (think Trump, only mildly smarter and not as insane), refuses to grant the city’s request to shut down indoor dining, saying he doesn’t want to destroy people’s businesses. He’d probably have a point if they weren’t doomed anyway. (Just a matter of time, unfortunately.) He also keeps saying “show me the evidence,” which is pretty rich, given that the province stopped helping control the spread. I might have missed out on all the summer fun, but at least it’s mildly easier for me now to keep hiding and isolating. Can’t imagine how much that must suck for those who had a fun-filled sunny summer (and avoided getting sick) as they’re about to re-enter the early lockdown mode.

And to wrap this up, some hilarious covid news: a public health agency in the UK used Microsoft Excel, of all things, to track the covid data. They forgot about the row limit and, well, almost 16,000 positive test results didn’t get counted, and thousands of people didn’t get notified. They also didn’t get the guidance to self-isolate, and didn’t help contact tracers. Fun times. All the data geeks who work with Excel for a living (like yours truly) had a collective facepalm when that news story came out. I expect there’ll be more of that sort of stuff later on. The most hilarious part? The agency vowed to never do that again, and said they’ll split the data into multiple spreadsheets instead. It’s not often you see a public official announce they’re creating a timebomb. Heh…