Sunday evening.

Well, this was interesting. A seven-hour in-person demonstration of hands-on first aid, all while maintaining social distancing and keeping our masks on. (The CPR demonstration had us say “Breath one, two” instead of actually breathing into our mannequins’ mouths.) A large room in a Toronto office tower. Ten people: seven women and three men. Most everybody there was either in medical school or a caretaker, so while some of us had our masks off for lunch we’d packed, I think the odds of catching covid were much lower than with a group of 10 average people. It helped that the instructor was both engaging and entertaining. (I had no idea, but apparently having nipple piercings could result in them getting torn off if you die and have to be defibrillated. You’d only feel it if you come back to life.)

It was so strange to be in a group of people for the first time in six months… I sensed that at least a few others were in the same boat. Even with our faces obscured by masks, and with very little conversation between us, it felt great just to feel that shared humanity, if only a little, if only for a bit. I like to think that once Canada gets vaccinated, I’ll go out every night, every week, for months to come, just paying off this giant debt of loneliness. It’ll take a while to pay it off: the APR on this thing is through the roof, eh.

In covid news, the World Health Organization sent a team of investigators to China to try and find the origins of the virus – but it didn’t go too well. Setting aside the glaring question of why the WHO waited more than a year to investigate (remember, this is the same WHO that stubbornly refused to call this a pandemic for months), it’s frustrating beyond belief that China’s government refused to share raw data on the earliest cases in Wuhan. Both the US and the UK voiced their concerns and demanded more transparency, though there’s no way to enforce that. The WHO’s report on covid’s origins will be released soon, but we already know it won’t be complete.

It’s mildly infuriating that after 2.4 million deaths (thus far, and not including excess mortality), we might never know the full story behind covid’s origin. Last year, multiple scientists said the virus didn’t have the telltale signs of being lab-grown, and I believe them. China’s reluctance to share even the most basic data, though, is fueling FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) among a lot of people. Are they hiding their data just because that’s what authoritarian regimes do, just out of habit? Or are they hiding their data because it contains something uniquely embarrassing that would make them lose face? (More victims than reported, or much wider and longer spread before it finally got escalated?) The odds are that we’ll never know. Even in alleged democracies, whistleblowers can have state-sponsored thugs break into their home and point guns at their family (see Rebekah Jones, Florida’s rogue data analyst) – and I have no doubt it’s even worse than that if someone in China decided to share information with the whole wide world. I don’t see China collapsing at any point in the coming decades (the way USSR had), so once again, that path for leaked classified information is also out. We’ll likely never know for sure what really happened… How weird is that?

Enjoy the rest of your three-day weekend, y’all.