COVID Updates – Sept 25th – Alberta

I read COVID updates from Brendan at Blind Injustice regularly, so I thought I’d take the idea, and write one of my own.

Jason Kenney and his band of idiots he calls government dubbed Summer 2021 as the ‘Best Summer Ever’. On July 1st he eliminated all health restrictions and measures in place to try and keep people safe. No masks. No six feet distance. Everything was done. Jason Kenney and his cabinet had decided that COVID no longer existed and that we were going to proceed as though it was all a distant memory.

The province then announced that in August, they would be removing the ability for general public to get tested. There was going to be no isolation if you did test positive, and the province would no longer be tracking cases through the community.

COVID was still very much a reality at this point in time, but no one who worked in any government position was willing to admit that it was. It was like they just… forgot about it.

Jason Kenney then went on holiday for 3+ weeks. The chief medical officer of health stopped making appearances, stopped providing case numbers, stopped answering questions. She just kind of… stopped doing her job.

The new rules, that were to come into effect on August 16th said that the only way you could get a test was if you were travelling and paid to get it done privately, or if you were being admitted to the ICU.

On August 13th, they backtracked on their decision to stop testing. But, they continued forward with their decision to no longer track cases through the community.

Jason Kenney was still on holiday, which he assures us was not timed in conjunction with the announcement of the federal election, and things continued falling apart.

As cases continue to spiral out of control, Jason Kenney stayed hidden. Because, you know, conservatives and accountability… but he eventually resurfaced on September 16th, just four days before the federal election. By this point time, hospitals were already overrun. We’ve been reaching between 1,000-2,000+ cases a day for weeks, and because there’s such a large population of unvaccinated people in this province, when they get Delta Variant, they’re getting VERY, VERY SICK.

COVID NUMBERS

Let’s start with the painstaking truth that the unvaccinated population of this province are getting sick. Really sick. Alberta has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the country, and one of the highest rates of anti-mask, anti-science, crowds spreading dangerous misinformation about the virus.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

As of yesterday (a lot of provinces don’t report numbers on weekends), there were a total of 45,042 active (known) cases in Canada. As of yesterday, 20,040 of those active cases are in Alberta. That is 44 percent of all active cases in the country that are in one province.

For context of why this is so bad, Alberta is the fourth most populous province in the country with 4.3 million people. Ontario, a province with 5,747 cases, has 14.5 million people.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

There are currently 1061 people in hospital. There are currently 243 people in the ICU.

243 people is THE MOST amount of people that have ever been in ICU at one time, in this province, since Canada was founded.

This past week, Dr. Verna Yiu, the president of Alberta Health Services said that the only reason people are able to continue being admitted to the ICU is because people are dying at a rate faster than people are being admitted. Which is alarming on it it’s own. It’s even more alarming when you realize that our ICUs are operating at 184% capacity, with use of “surge beds”. Instead of people being in an ICU room on their own, hospitals are having to put surge beds into rooms to have two and three people in one ICU room.

The military has been called in, and are operating to help the health care system from collapse.

Ontario has said they will accept patients needing to be transferred out of Alberta due to lack of space. They would have to be transferred to Ontario because hospital beds in Western Canada are so scarce, there’s nowhere to send people.

COVID PARTIES

If you haven’t heard the story presently national and international news rounds (no joke, it made Forbes, New York Times, Washington Journal), a small town in Alberta decided that, in an effort to gain ‘herd immunity’ they were going to have a COVID spreader party. As a result, an ‘undisclosed’ amount of Edson residents are now in the ICU, or dead. Link: https://edmonton.citynews.ca/video/2021/09/24/its-just-ignorant-edson-residents-doctor-react-to-covid-party/

Health and governing authorities won’t release how many people got sick, wound up in hospital or died from this party because they don’t want the town to be targeted. But, it’s enough people that they’ve released it’s put a significant strain on COVID hospitalizations.

$100 FOR A VACCINE

Our Premier decided the way he was going to get people to get vaccinated was not through educating them, or by making vaccines more accessible, or by calling out misinformation on the spot. He decided people would get vaccinated for $100.

This, of course was a miraculous failure. $100 isn’t going to convince crowds of people spreading misinformation across the world, that a vaccine is more safe than horse-dose ivermectin from the local feed store.

NOT A VACCINE PASSPORT, VACCINE PASSPORT

Our government has been vehemently against the vaccine passport system since before vaccines were even available. Apparently, our Premier is of the belief that eating at a restaurant is a right, not a privilege, and he doesn’t want to restrict people’s rights to eat at restaurants.

However, with the crippling health care system, struggling economy, and businesses losing their workers left, right and centre to COVID infections and having a hard time staying open, our premier decided he was going to issue a “Restrictions Exemption Program”. This, he promises, is not a vaccine passport. Though it looks like the stoner kids project in school, when they half-ass everything they do.

Under the ‘restrictions exemption program’, businesses were required to either operate at 30 percent capacity, or, ask people for vaccination proof to get in and be able to operate at 100 percent capacity. Under the restriction exemption program unvaccinated individuals are not eligible to eat inside of a restaurant, but instead are given seats on the patio. This, of course, strips the privilege of eating indoors from the people who believe eating indoors is a right, so anti-vaxxers weren’t happy and they took to protesting.

Oh, and churches are exempt from restriction exemption program because COVID obviously can’t spread in churches. At least that’s what religious people believe? Or, perhaps our premier just doesn’t want to piss off people who have good Christian values.

PROOF OF VACCINATION

Instead of providing people with a laminated card, like Manitoba, or a QR code, like British Columbia, Alberta opted for an editable PDF.

I kid you not. Our ‘Proof of Vaccine’ can be attained by going to a website and putting in our name and birthday. The system spits out an editable PDF document in which you can then change everything on the form.

This means, you don’t have to get a vaccine to get a proof of vaccination. It took people roughly 30 minutes to figure this out, before it was plastered across the interwebs. Who knows how many thousands of unvaccinated people have proof of vaccination now.

Essentially, the government undermined the entire system before they even started. Businesses have no way of knowing whether or not someone’s proof of vaccination is legitimate or not.

When asked why they made editable documents the government’s response was that they cannot control how people take advantage of the system and they asked that everyone practice personal responsibility and do the right thing. Because, you know, clicking that “Lock” button on the PDF was too damn hard, and the past 18 months have shown us that personal responsibility means a lot to absolutely NO ONE IN THIS FUCKING PROVINCE.

TRAVEL

Because proof of vaccination in Alberta is so easily editable, and thus has a high probability of being fraudulent, it’s unknown whether or not my proof of vaccination will be valid for travel.

I’m planning to spend Thanksgiving with family, and will need proof of vaccination to get there, so… we’ll see how that goes.

HERE AND NOW, SEPTEMBER 25TH

The hospitals are full. The military is here. People are critically ill and on the verge of needing to be flown across the country to be kept alive. Kids are getting delta at school and the government is pretending it isn’t happening. All elective surgeries in the province for the next month are cancelled. Organ transplants, tumor removals, cancer biopsies, joint replacements, things that people need are being put on hold for undisclosed amounts of time due to the collapse of the health care system.

Proof of vaccination isn’t proof anything at all, because it’s editable. And, tomorrow night, the NHL starts and 18,000 people will pack into one arena for a ‘good ole hockey game’.

COVID AFTER ONE MONTH

If you were around this blog in August you’ll know that I got a breakthrough case of COVID. I actually got the delta variant, specifically. It made it’s way through my office with all of the people who were at one particular meeting.

For me, the anxiety of having it was worse than the actual sickness I deal with. That, I largely attribute to the fact that I am double vaccinated.

I am, to this day, dealing with the after-effects of COVID. I have a chest-infection that just won’t seem to go away. My body is achy all of the time. And, I’m overwhelmingly exhausted most days. I’ve been drinking too much caffeine to overcompensate for the exhaustion, which is leading to headaches.

Basically, I’m adjusting. It’s hard going places because when I start coughing under my mask, it scares people. Some people are nice about it, others are extremely rude. One individual shoved me out of the door of a business out of fear. It’s just hard. I know I’m not contagious, I’ve been assured of that from a doctor. But other people have no way of knowing that. And given everything going on in this province right now, everyone is stressed. Everyone has their guards up. Everyone is worried.

TO CONCLUDE

Our government seems to be under the impression that they are either, 1) not important and the public can govern themselves, or 2) it is more important to pander to people who believe vaccines are poison. Regardless, they seem to be taking a crash course in exactly the worst way to respond to a global pandemic.

I shouldn’t be surprised, really. They seem to be on the wrong side of every issue. They seem to treat the economy as a buzzword, and fail to recognize how everything in society is connected to the economy. You cannot just flip a switch and have everything go back to normal.

What’s the cure for loneliness?

I cannot remember if I’ve asked this before on this blog. I’m just lonely and I cannot shake it. No matter what I try to do. No matter how much I try to distract myself. I’m just abundantly aware how alone I am at all times.

As much as I’m an introvert, it’s just nice sometimes to be able to cheers with someone sitting across the table. As much as I’m an introvert, it’s just nice to watch a stupid movie and hear someone else laughing in unison. As much as I’m an introvert, it’s just nice to have someone show up.

Thursday Thoughts.

Things can be both good and bad at the same time.

Dealing with the bad, in any way that you know how, does not mean that you don’t appreciate the good. Nor does it mean that you don’t recognize the good.

Problems are not a competition. Someone will always have it worse. That being said, just because someone has it worse, does not mean that your problems are invalid. Everyone’s problems are valid. If someone makes recognition of their problems, that does not mean they cannot see good. It just means that the weight of the world is a lot to carry some days.

Privilege is subjective. While I consider myself to be extremely privileged in some ways, there are some ways when I envy others. Whether it’s looks, health, economic status, family status, access, etc, etc, etc… there are plenty of reasons we’re all privileged. There are also reasons why we’re not. And that’s okay. I just want to live in a world where we can recognize our privilege, use it to help others, and have others recognize their own privileges and use them to help.

Looking after your mental health is the best thing you can do for yourself. If your head’s not right, everything else in your life will fall apart.

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to feel like your life is falling apart. Sometimes it is, when you’re on the inside looking out. If other’s can’t see that, you don’t have to explain it to them. You can try, if you think they’ll understand. But, if they don’t, it’s not worth getting angry about. It’s hard for people to see life from someone else’s shoes.

If things aren’t okay, that’s okay.

If things are okay, I’m happy for you. I also hope that it stays that way.

I don’t know where I was going with this. That’s all, I guess.

I don’t know how to title this other then to ask, what the hell?

There’s a story that’s making international news right now that I’ve refrained from commenting on for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason I haven’t wanted to talk about it is because the family is going through a lot with loss, and the entire world playing amateur detective and hacking their digital profiles. So, for that reason, all I’ll say is this thought I’m about to ask is related to the case currently making international news tied to Wyoming and Florida.

If your child is potentially involved in a crime, how do you react?

If your child is potentially responsible for a really heinous crime, and they say ‘hey I’m going to go hiking’, do you say ‘Okay, be home for dinner’? Do you try to stop them?

I just don’t understand.

I’m not a parent, so maybe that’s why. But, if your child did something horrible, do you protect them? Do you make excuses for them? Do you help them disappear? Or do you turn them over to authorities?

It’s Election Day, Canada.

Go out and vote.

I worked the 2019 Election, checking voter registrations, and the BUSIEST hour of the day was the end of the day before polls were about to close.

If you are in line when polls close, they will let you vote. But you have to be in line.

Don’t show up five minutes late!

Get there before polls close.

Make your vote count.

Virtual Education

So, I have been taking a class for several weeks now (I don’t even remember how many) that was supposed to be a one off, but has since snowballed into what I think is quickly becoming a full business program.

This is not important to the story, but my boss wanted me to take it. Since work is paying for part of it, I obliged. It wouldn’t have been my first choice to take, but I won’t say no to education!

So, the first professor was/is great. He understands my work schedule, he understands the stresses of being in school in general, without the full-time job tied to it. He’s just… chill. He’s my kind of a professor.

The second professor, she’s cynical as all hell. She’s giving me major flashbacks to those entry level courses everyone was required to take in first year of university. (Yes, I know that sentence alone showcases a lot of privilege) She’s questioning everyone. She doesn’t care about stressses of being a student. She doesn’t care about people who are also working. She doesn’t seem to care about anything beyond her rules.

The second professor, she has a rule that we’re required to have our webcams on the entire class. The problem is, she records these sessions. She’s recording them and she’s not giving them out to people to look back on. So she’s recording them and keeping them… for something? Who knows. Who cares what she keeps it for.

I DO NOT like being recorded.

It’s a thing for me. I worked in PR too long, I know the nefarious things that have happened with recordings. I have, myself, been responsible for burying recordings of people. I have, myself, been responsible for turning over recordings of someone for a criminal investigation. I don’t like recordings of me existing. I’ve seen too much of how the sausage is made, and I just… am not for it.

What if I wanted to become a spy? I basically would need to wipe my existence. I can do that if some professor has all these recordings of me.

What if I wanted to become a criminal? I don’t need her turning over videos of me that people could use to study my behaviour.

What if I just really don’t like being recorded? Why can’t she just… tell me I can turn my webcam off?

It really doesn’t matter why. If I don’t want to listen to her lectures with my webcam on, I really shouldn’t have to. It’s not like I’m taking an exam. I’d understand if they waned to see me to ensure I wasn’t cheating. It’s a lecture/discussion class. My mic and webcam don’t need to work in sync. I can use my mic without the webcam.

If I do end up taking all of these courses, I’ll probably run into this more and more. I know I need to chill and just go along with her rules. I just… think her rules are stupid. You should not be required to be recorded in order to complete a course.

Assholes and apologies.

If you are an asshole, apologize.

The longer that you wait to apologize, the more apology that’s due. Sorry, you thought leaving it for several days or weeks meant that the hurt you caused would lessen? It doesn’t work that way. When you leave an apology for several days or weeks, it only causes more distress and unease for the person you aren’t treating fairly.

If you think that you have free reign to be an asshole so much as you damn well please, you need to realign your perspectives. You also need to ask yourself why you’re so okay with treating the people in your life so poorly. I think some soul searching is on order, on your behalf.

On the flip side…

If you are someone at the receiving end of an asshole’s shiteous behaviour, don’t let them off the hook.

An apology is due. Expect it. No matter how many days go by, do not tell yourself they’re sorry without them telling you they’re sorry. Do not make excuses for them. There are no excuses for unfair treatment. Full stop. Not if they’re stressed, not if they’re sad, not if they’re scared, not if… anything. You deserve an apology. Hold their feet to the fire until they recognize that they’re being an asshole and that it’s not fair to you.

Lastly….

“I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry you are offended” or “I’m sorry you think that” are not apologies. Someone needs to feel bad about their own behaviour, not for the way their behaviour was interpreted.

“Yeah well, imagine how I feel” is not an apology. It feeds a notion that if someone knew how an asshole felt, they’d be more accepting of the behaviour. The truth is, it doesn’t fucking matter how an asshole feels. No feeling warrants someone being an asshole. Also, they’re probably already well aware of how an asshole feels.

Work Opinions

My boss and I are butting heads this week.

She thinks that nice compliments are enough to keep me around.

I want a raise.

I don’t go to work in hope of nice compliments.

People in my city, working in my position at other companies are making $10,000 – $20,000 more than I am. The only reason I am not is because I haven’t found the right position yet.

Am I greedy? No. I know what my time is worth. If I wanted compliments and unwavering praise, I’d probably ask my nieces and nephews. I go to work to make money. Sorry to anyone who believes the naive notion that we all just do what we love and the pay is an added bonus. Here in reality, the pay is the priority and the added bonus is that I don’t completely hate my life while doing it.

I work to make money. I want to pay my bills. I want to hopefully travel again, eventually. I want to move. I want to buy a new computer (because this one is on the fritz). All of these things get accomplished by my working.

Compliments, while nice, are kind of just empty words if you’re not backing it up.

If you, as a boss, have enough money to spend $30,000 on a new “OPTIONAL” piece of software for your sales team, then you have enough money to pay your employees what they’re worth, you’re just choosing to not. And… if you’re choosing to not provide a raise, and instead opt for nice compliments, then those compliments are a tad hollow.

I know how much revenue that I, alone, generate for this company.

Am I entitled to a raise? No. No employees are, if the boss doesn’t want to provide it. That being said, if she truly believed even half of the words she’s said to me recently, then show me the money. I know that makes me sound cold, but I don’t care. I know what I’m worth, and it’s a lot more than empty praise.

2 Blogging/Marketing Tips

It’s been a while since I’ve provided any tips/tricks or advice related to blogging, so I figured tonight’s a perfect time.

If you’re looking to expand your blog to a wider audience, to get more hits, and to have even more regular readers who continue coming back, try these two things:

The first piece of advice is to post content regularly. The easiest, most effective way to gain regular readers is to post content regularly. If someone reads your blog and is interested enough to come back, make sure there’s new content for them to see when they come back to your blog.

This doesn’t mean that you need to post daily. This means that you need to post regularly. If you want people to return to your blog, you need to be posting on a schedule. Whether you determine that’s every day, twice a week, twice a month – whatever you have time to commit to – let your audience know. If you want to post once a week, tell your audience they can come back for new posts on Mondays. If you want to post twice a month, tell your audience to come back on the first and the fifteenth. The simple act of having the schedule will create a psychological call to action for them to come back and read what you have to share.

POST REGULARLY. Whatever you’re able to commit to, do it. If you don’t, it’ll be a lot harder for you to garner the audience you so desire with your blog.

The second piece of advice that I have is to relate pop-culture and news stories to your blog content. If something happens in the news, share your take on it!

Now hear me out – a lot of people think that the best way to attract the web to their blog is through click-bait. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube are filled with clickbait. People are trying to get attention through dishonest tactics. For some it might work in the short term. Long term, though, there’s no sustainability in trying to lie to your audience repeatedly and hoping they care for you.

How do you get people to care? Relate your content to something they care about.

For example, let’s say that you write a blog about travel. People love travel. The odds are, if you’re sharing content regularly, a certain amount of people can, and will, find your content. You’ll get decent feedback and your blog will be ‘cruisin’. But if you’re looking to expand, perhaps you share your story about a certain country. Now, let’s say that you notice the news is talking this week (right now on September 14, 2021) that the Arc De Triomph in Paris has been wrapped up. People all over the world are googling why the Arc De Triomph was wrapped up. Now would be the perfect time to share your stories and photos from the last time you visited the Arc De Triomph. Mention in your post you saw the news story about why it’s been wrapped (more for search engine crawlers then anything) and then share your content.

Your story and photos about the Arc De Triomph could/would get double, triple or five times the views if you decided to write about it/post about it this week, versus had you done it a month ago. Take advantage of what’s in the news – what people will inevitably be using Google to search for right now, in the present.

When someone gets to your blog to read about the Arc De Triomph, perhaps then and there is when they see “suggested posts” and read other posts, and you convert them to a reader. They stumbled upon you accidentally, when googling why the Arc De Triomph is wrapped, and now you get to keep them as a reader.

Both of these suggestions obviously take some time, effort and a little bit of planning. But, if properly executed, it’s an easy, free and honest way to increase traffic to your blog. You don’t need to post clickbait. You don’t need to beg for traffic on Twitter. You just need to be strategic about when you’re posting and when. Strategy is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.