COVID-19 Diary – Day 173

Today’s numbers should look a little familiar to some people. The report for today says there were 58 new COVID-19 infections in the province. Which is the same number as last Tuesday’s report. Hopefully the next 6 days will go a little better for us than last week did.

In yesterday’s conference Dr. Bonnie Henry mentioned that BC had once again flattened the curve of COVID-19. A lot of people were confused about this comment, and questioned it. When I heard it, I took it to mean that she was looking at averaged out numbers over the last several weeks, and was referring to the very minimal growth now being seen in week-to-week totals, over the last 3 weeks. Indeed, that graph is starting to look like it’s flattening. However I was mistaken. What she was referring to was the data that the BC CDC was charting, which isn’t when new infections are reported, but rather when new infections are believed to have happened. And that chart looks very different. Another thing they are looking at is the growth factor of the virus, which you can see in the image below courtesy of the BC CDC. This is something I have been keeping track of as well, but haven’t been reporting yet. I may look at including that with my future Monday graphs.

In short, while the growth rate is still higher than 1 currently (meaning more than 1 person is being infected by each newly infected person), it is much lower than it has been. We went from a week to week total number increase of 72.9% to an increase of 2.7%. This is a definite sign of improvement. The heavy police crackdown on unsafe parties 11 days ago may have also played a part in that improvement. More info can be found here.

In other news, Uber announced today that they will be rolling out technology to help ensure that riders will be wearing masks when using their services. They already have a system in place to ensure that drivers prove they’re wearing a mask, but they will now be rolling it out for riders as well, for situations where a driver says the passenger wasn’t wearing one on their previous trip. This will help ensure riders are compliant with Uber’s mask requirement, without putting drivers at risk to attempt enforcement. More info can be found here:

In a move that many found unexpected, Health Canada has officially changed their mind on the possibility of approving home COVID-19 screening tests. Not much beyond that is known at this point, but they are now open to accepting applications for these kind of products. There is some speculation that this may be intended for home collection of blood or saliva samples to be sent in for lab testing, or that it may be intended for workplace daily checks, or similar. Until there is an official announcement from Health Canada, or approved products become available, we can not know for sure. This is definitely something worth keeping an eye on going forward though! You can read some additional speculation here

I’ve saved the best news for last though… the people at DeCODE Genetics in Iceland, who have tested about 15% of the entire population of Iceland so far, have made a very hopeful announcement about COVID-19 antibodies. They say their study shows that antibodies do not decline within 4 months of the infection. For more details, check out their announcement here. (Please also click the image in the middle when you load their page, it starts a very informative video interview with more details!)

This next bit isn’t COVID-19 related, or even BC related, but I can’t help but include it anyways… 2 separate airplanes in the LAX airport area reported seeing a person riding a jetpack at 3,000ft on Sunday. The FAA and even the FBI are currently investigating. Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t get any more weird, eh? More info can be found here:

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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