Tag Archive: vaccine

Plague diaries, Day 363

Thursday evening.

Someway, somehow, today we had some actual warm weather. I ventured outside for a celebratory Tim Hortons lunch and was surprised to find that it was just sweater weather: no jackets or dramatically billowing cloaks required. (Ditto for not having to watch out for refreezing ice.) This really sneaked up on me. Not sure if things will be easier now that it’s not necessary to gear up to head outside, or if it’ll be that much more frustrating that as the nature awakens, it’s still not safe to socialize with others. (I would seriously pay hundreds of dollars for just a basic hour-long massage if I knew it was 100% safe.) Or maybe this is one of those “false spring” things Canadians talk about. We’ll see.

I should get my experimental covid vaccine next Friday morning, or in about 180 hours, give or take. It’s probably not a good idea to start counting down hours, but there’s not much else to look forward to. Actually, scratch that: there is absolutely nothing else to look forward to. It’s just a long grey stretch of groundhog days as I await the many, many pending bureaucratic formalities. Bah, humbug.

A pleasant surprise today: while I was recommending one of my favourite sci-fi book series to a coworker, I realized the writer released yet another book. Somehow, some way, it completely slipped past my radar two months ago. The series is “We are Bob” (or “Bobiverse” as fans lovingly call it), and it’s about a programmer who signs up to be frozen and revived should he die – and promptly gets hit by a bus. He wakes up as computer software onboard an experimental little spaceship tasked with exploring the galaxy and making more copies of himself. This series is about his adventures and saving the world. It’s incredibly geeky but fun: highly, highly recommended. (At least this will help me kill a couple of evenings, maybe even three.)

In covid news, this is remarkable: Alaska becomes the first US state to drop all covid vaccine eligibility requirements. Alaska has vaccinated 23.6% of its population with one dose, and 16.4% with both. It’s the leading state in terms of its vaccination progress, and 46th state in the number of covid cases. They’ve had a total of 59,000 cases and 305 deaths. (For context, Alaska’s total population is 740,000 people; there are New York buroughs with more people than that.) I expect other states to follow its lead pretty soon.

Just like with stocks, just like with weather, just like with many other things (I’m really gonna have to work on this pessimistic trait of mine), this news has sneaked up on me. I’d expected something like this to happen, but not until May. This is truly remarkable, and great news for all Alaskans – and other Americans who don’t mind booking a ticket there. (The article says it’s only for residents, but I’m not sure just how strictly that’d be enforced.)

That opens up some more options… Neither my elected congress-critters nor the US consulate got back to me. Canada’s own vaccine rollout is moving with all the urgency of a lethargic caterpillar. (And they’re still aiming to have a four-month gap between their doses, based on educated guesswork and no actual clinical data.) I may have to fly to the US to get my vaccine shots: that’s somewhat of a grey area, ethically speaking, but I still pay my US taxes, and if they’ve really got so many extra doses, I wouldn’t be depriving anyone. One issue with that plan: as per Canada’s travel restrictions enacted months ago, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t be able to reenter Canada with just my work permit. (All the search results say the trip must be “non-optional.”) That means I should keep waiting for my permanent residency and hoping that it’ll be sooner rather than later. It’s been seven months and one week. It might get here tomorrow; it might be five months from now. This is a whole new type of hell, eh?..

Can’t leave the country (or return, rather) without my residency, but assuming I do get it in the near future, the choice becomes an interesting one: do I get my first dose in Canada and then fly to Alaska (or wherever) to get the second shot of the same vaccine three weeks later? (I’d rather not wait around for months on end.) Or do I just fly off to Alaska (or some such) for three whole weeks to get both of my shots while exploring whatever sights the local area has to offer? The worst of all possible combinations is one where my PR is delayed forevermore and I have to join millions of Canadians as we all participate in a gigantic medical experiment to see if a single dose is good enough to last four months against all the variants out there. There is, of course, always the possibility that Canada relaxes its travel restrictions. We’ll see.

I hope all y’all’s day is less existential-crisis-y than mine is.

Plague diaries, Day 273

Friday night. Yay, I guess.

Three weeks from now is the New Year’s Day. A new year. Nothing much will change with the fundamental reality – this is all purely symbolic, but hey, at least that’s something to look forward to, no matter how fake. If nothing else, there’ll be gradually more sunlight with every passing day: the winter solstice is 10 days away.

I’m still trying to distract myself from weapons-grade boredom and cabin fever that will surely set in the moment I let my guard down. Escapism is fun and all, and I’ve been known to do that for rather long stretches of time (like the time Fallout-3 came out and I played it for 46 hours straight – good times), but doing so deliberately, for months at a time… This sort of deliberate procrastination, especially in more or less total social isolation, is pretty damn hard, eh.

In the US, there was yet another harebrained attempts (with apologies to rabbits) by Republicans to overturn the result of the presidential election. This time, it was Texas’s attorney general who filed a lawsuit claiming there were illegal election procedures in the four states that gave Biden a relatively narrow victory. A couple of dozen other AGs jumped on that lawsuit bandwagon, as well as 126 Republicans elected to the House of Representatives. (Ironically, they’re essentially arguing that they shouldn’t be sworn in in January, there being so much fraud and all. Heh.) The Supreme Court has just thrown out the lawsuit a few hours ago in a unanimous 9-0 decision. It’s still too early to celebrate because that genius brigade will likely get truly desperate now, and there’ll be more strange attempts to rock the boat.

The very precedent this sets is mighty ugly. They might have been shut down this time, but unless there are serious consequences for trying to subvert the outcome of a democratic election, they’ll just try the same thing again in four years. And again, and again, until someday they might succeed. That’s not probable yet that’s possible. And if Trump keeps rage-tweeting that the election was illegitimate – well, there goes the whole “peaceful transfer of power” tradition. Meanwhile, the House and the Senate are fighting over what would go into the long-awaited stimulus bill, which would be just a bit shy of a trillion dollars. It doesn’t help that the government is about to run out of money and needs to have the debt ceiling raised again ASAP. (A charming and uniquely American tradition, that.) One tiny upside here is that the stock market closed in the red, and I managed to spend a little money on heavily discounted stocks. There may be even more discounts on Monday…

The key issue with the stimulus bill is legal liability: Republicans refuse to pass a bill that wouldn’t grant that liability to businesses. That means the meatpacking factories where so many got sick while their managers allegedly placed bets on how many will catch the virus. That means giant stores and businesses that heavily donate to their local congress-critters, etc. That’s what’s been holding back the stimulus for months now: I doubt Mitch McConnell will finally fold at this point, though I wouldn’t mind being surprised.

In covid news, Canada is rolling out the vaccination campaign plans. This article has the high-level summary and a neat chart showing how many will get vaccinated and when. And this 21-page PDF from Canada’s capital is a masterpiece of public-facing communication, covering a lot of topics in great detail. (And it has pictures!)

Now for the bad news… After the first two vaccination phases for those who are most at risk, the vaccination for everyone else (aka phase three) will begin in April. That’s the best-case scenario assuming there are no logistical delays, no angry pitchfork-wielding protester mobs, etc. Given that I’m 34 and healthy as a horse, I will not be in the front of any line. (And that’s good; others need it more.) So, realistically, I’ll probably get my first vaccine shot in May. Since that’ll most likely be a two-shot vaccine, I’d have to wait another three-four weeks. That means there’s a possibility that my solo lockdown will last until June. Not just a stolen year of my life, but a year and a season. (If I’m very, very lucky, I’ll get the first shot in April, with the chaser in May. That’d be a year and two months, then. I’d originally hoped for March.) I parted ways with xgf 201 days ago, and… it hasn’t been going great, which led to my obsession with self-improvement projects. There’s potentially 180 more days of this bullshit. Toward the end of this, I’m probably going to be held together only by the meticulous plans of a legendary month-long vacation/party/hedonism that I’ll embark on after getting the second vaccine shot. Goals and aspirations, eh?

Hang in there, my friends.

Plague diaries, Day 171

Monday night. It’s getting dark significantly earlier now. Sweater weather during my 52-minute march around the backyard.

I’ve finally decided to fill in a shameful blank on my geek bingo card, and bought my first novel by William Gibson. (“The Peripheral.”) The price of admission is the incredibly dense introduction, but after that it’s just pure sci-fi goodness. Gibson is an interesting character, having moved from the US to Canada just like. In his case, though, it was mostly to avoid getting drafted to Vietnam, but in the end, he chose to stay here, in the Great White North. Fun guy.

In today’s culinary adventures: I’ve used up all of my old, no-brand olive oil and popped open a bottle of the fancy Tuscany stuff that seems to have its own serial number. (Or a fancy number, in any case.) This could’ve been the good ol’ placebo effect, but the fried eggs did taste significantly better. Ahh, the exciting and breathtaking life of self-imposed lockdown.

In covid news, there’s more online chatter about one Scott Atlas, aka Trump’s newest covid advisor. Atlas has no background in immunology or epidemiology, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a frequent guest on Fox News. His preferred strategy for fighting the pandemic is herd immunity, as in getting as many people infected as possible (with the exception of himself and his loved ones, of course) to end the whole thing as soon as possible. It doesn’t help that this has no scientific basis whatsoever – it’s just fancy frontier gibberish that sounds like it might work, so here we are again: a medical problem with political patchwork solutions.

It’s pretty hard to separate US-related news from the news that affects me directly. With the election getting closer, I have to skip entire podcasts on my Alexa flash briefing because once again, that no longer applies to me. (I can’t begin to tell you how great that realization feels.) So, in Canadian covid news – the Canadian government has just struck two more vaccine deals, one with Novamax and one with Johnson and Johnson. Combined with the previous deals, that translates into enough vaccines for every Canadian. The downside is the logistics, same as always. If all goes well, that means folks will get their shots sometime in the first quarter of 2021. That means, in the best of all possible worlds, over four months from this point on. Heh… There’s a significant chance that this blog (which I’ve vowed to update daily till I get vaccinated) will get all the way to Day 365 – and beyond. The world will be unimaginably different by then…

But hey, just 4-7 more months, eh? How hard can that be, right? *knocks on wood and crosses all the toes and fingers*