Monday night.

Earlier today, I took a little urban hike to an Amazon locker in the nearby Whole Foods to pick up some online shopping. (The weather was nice, for once.) On Twitter, someone made a poignant observation that online shopping during a lockdown is like zoo animals getting new toys thrown into their enclosure. Heh.

I’m trying, really trying to come with something interesting or original that would differentiate this Monday from so many others before it, but nope. I’ve got nothing. A perfect groundhog day.

…I got a little overconfident with my zombie-fighting office-drone character: he fell off a roof during a Sunday-night standoff and, despite putting on a damn good fight, eventually got torn to pieces by hungry hungry zombies. (Damn those little leaping dudes. From beneath you, it devours.) That was a fine waste of 31 hours of waking time. I have got to find a different mindless hobby…

In covid news, the UK and the EU are about to do something very stupid. The UK’s contract with AstraZeneca stipulates that there can be no exports until the UK is fully served. The EU is rather unhappy about that, as well as about the lack of reciprocity: the EU has exported 10 million doses to the UK but received none in return. Now there’s a distinct possibility that the EU will ban exports of the AZ vaccine made in the Netherlands. The funny thing is that Europeans themselves are prejudiced against the AZ vaccine, and there’s no guarantee people will eagerly line up for it. Vaccine diplomacy is a fragile thing, and we might see just how fragile it really is.

If there is such a thing as a procurement textbook, it’ll likely feature the events of 2020: the EU has utterly screwed up its procurement process, while Canada, by all accounts, didn’t expect that vaccines would be ready before April, which explains a lot about the shoddy and slow rollout here up north. There’ll also be at least a mention of powerful countries blocking private companies from exporting their vaccines despite existing contracts. (So the US, Pfizer, and Canada love triangle, basically.)

Months ago, I predicted that maybe, somehow, the shortage of medical workers will get so bad that average people would get recruited to help out with the most basic medical tasks. Like candy stripers but on a grand scale. Looks like Hungary is taking that approach. Their covid numbers are at record-high levels: the volunteers would get a four-hour class (so a fraction of the time it takes to get CPR/first aid training here in Canada), and would be sent to assist in understaffed, overcrowded hospitals. Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban is trying to put a positive spin on this, but he doesn’t sound at all convincing.

And here in Canada, some proactive Reddit user has set up the portal to, well, help hunt down those pesky vaccines. Right now, the site consists mostly of links to their Discord chatroom and their Twitter page – but who knows, it might expand with time. Folks online are brainstorming whether it’d make sense to travel to Ohio: that state has just announced that vaccines will be available to everyone 16 and older, assuming they can find an appointment. People are contemplating flying there. It would take just under five hours to drive there… Ohio’s official site is very specific that vaccinations would be open to everyone, regardless of their resident status. (That’s most likely aimed at undocumented immigrants and not desperate Canadians but hey – a win is a win.) It is so very, very tempting: Ohio is, after all, much closer than Alaska. The really big question here is whether I’d be able to a) cross the border into the US, with my passport and all, and b) get back into Canada, since I’m neither a citizen nor a permanent resident, but just a schmuck with a work permit. Decisions, decisions…

Stay safe, y’all.