Friday night, for what it’s worth.

Today was incredibly hectic, work-wise, but at least I managed to find some time to call the covid vaccine trial people. I’m in! This will be a phase-1 trial for an eVLP-based (enveloped virus-like particles) vaccine. The trial will run for a year, and there’s a 66% chance I will get the real deal and not the placebo. (Then there’s a 50-50 chance that I get two shots of the experimental vaccine, or one shot of the vaccine and one placebo.) They’ll actually pay me for participation, too, which is something I hadn’t even considered. I passed the phone screening: the initial screening at their office will be at 7am on Tuesday. (The best way to make that align with my work schedule.) This is exciting!

I won’t know whether I got the real deal or the placebo until much later on, and there’ll be no way to find out exactly how efficient this thing is until maybe a year from now. Still, though: I spent 10 years of my life in Nevada, and I know all about stacking the odds in my favour. There’ll be a 66% chance that I’ll receive some protection against covid, if only minimal. That beats the 0% protection I have here and now.

At work, there’s an email thread where folks describe the things they’ve learned and done during the pandemic. A couple of guys made some wooden furniture. Someone else turned the basement in his new house into a maker-space, 3D printers and all. Someone else learned to make amazing pies. Someone else taught himself all about glazing and started creating beautiful glazed vases in his furnace. (Most of Amazon’s tech employees can afford a hobby if they get really into it. Heh.) Someone else ran through almost every street in West Seattle. The winner of that informal contest is the guy who fulfilled his old dream and got his Bachelor of Science degree by taking a ton of online courses over the course of six months. That right there is impressive. That email thread was filled with self-reported examples, and chances are the other 95% watched it but didn’t contribute. (I don’t have much to add aside from my broken Spanish and French, as well as buckets of minerals I collected.) I’m trying to convince myself that I haven’t wasted this almost-year of lockdown, since the main objective was to stay alive and not spread the virus. That self-mantra is mostly working.

In covid news, today was filled with some remarkably great news for Canada, eh. Canada has approved its fourth vaccine, the one-shot Johnson&Johnson, adding it to Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. On top of that, Trudeau announced that Pfizer will move up its delivery of 3.5 million doses: they were originally scheduled for this summer, but they’ll get here within three months. An extra 1.5 million of Pfizer doses will get here in March.

With all this happening at once, the official timeline has improved: now the promise is to get every Canadian their first shot by June 20th. The announcement rollout got a bit waffled, and it’s not altogether clear if that’ll be for absolutely everyone or just for every high-risk individual out there. (BIPOC folks, the elderly, those who are immunocompromised, etc.) Hopefully it’s the former. The real question now is whether provinces will be able to distribute all these doses quickly and efficiently. Ontario is still 10 days away from launching a site to sign up for vaccinations… I’m trying to adjust to this burst of optimistic news after a remarkably sad February. (You’ve probably noticed the change in tone over the past few weeks as bad news kept coming.) I’m trying not to get too hopeful because Ontario’s government, led by the college dropout Doug Ford, has shown remarkable tendency to sabotage itself. But if the June 20th promise holds… Huh. On top of the 66% likelihood of some kind of immunity from the vaccine trial, I might also get my first shot in just over 100 days. That’s still so very, very far, and yet much closer than September.

In the US, another state has decided to throw caution to the wind and open up everything: this time it’s Arizona. It’s following Texas and Mississippi in their bizarre mission to trade their own people’s health for extra revenue. I recently saw a great analogy: this is a real-life large-scale marshmallow experiment. They can reopen now and get some fun and entertainment, but if they wait just a few more months and reopen once enough people have been vaccinated, they’ll get to have so much more fun – and far fewer covid deaths. I’m well aware that not everyone thinks like me or shares my priorities, but still… It’s baffling, absolutely baffling that governors of three large states, with all the doctors and scientists to advise them, would do something so catastrophically stupid. I think other states will join them soon, if only because their people will demand it. And the neighbouring states might see spikes in infections as folks cross the state lines to fill their need for maskless entertainment. Not for the first time and certainly not the last – WTF, USA?

Enjoy your weekend, y’all.