2021-12-21 BC

Mitigation Measures

If I had known about the cap on food delivery fees (at 20%), I had forgotten it. Yesterday, the province put out a press release announcing that it had been extended until the end of 2022. I hope that doesn’t mean that the pandemic is going to last until the end of 2022!

Press Briefing

Here’s what they said at the presser, highly condensed and slightly snarkified. I merged some of the Q&A into the top part. My commentary is in italics in the top part and in non-italic in the Q&A.

  • Cases are out of control. They’ve gone up rapidly, especially in high-population-density areas i.e. VCH and FH.
  • There are lots of things we don’t know for sure about Omicron. Like how lethal Omicron is. We have to delay/flatten to buy us time to figure things out.
  • Because cases are out of control, you are not going to get gold-standard levels of service in testing, contact tracing, or surgeries for the next month or so. Everything is stretched reeeeeeally thin right now, in part because the province has one pool of people that they draw on for immunizations, test/trace, and testing probably because the qualifications are the same. This means:
    • Don’t go get tested unless you have symptoms. The testing needs to be preserved for people who need it in order to get good care. This will be especially true once the antivirals get approved, because those have to be started within 3-5 days of symptoms starting.
    • If you are low risk (young and double-vaxxed without comorbidities), don’t even get tested if you have symptoms. Isolate and self-manage. If you get worse, obviously call 811 or 911.
    • The province is going to postpone scheduled non-urgent surgeries in Jan.
  • The province is ramping up boosters, which includes opening a few mass vax clinics starting in Jan.
    • They are re-opening the Convention Centre mass vax clinic in VCH, which means finding 130 immunizers and 300(?@@@) additional staff.
    • They are going to reopen the Guilford Centre in Surrey.
    • Other health authorities are actively looking for space.
  • No parties, bars, nightclubs, gyms, dance studios, or organized indoor social events of any size (e.g. wedding receptions, celebrations of life) for a few weeks. Note that faith gatherings are still okay, so weddings are okay but wedding receptions are not. From context, they clearly did not ban Christmas dinner. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the ban doesn’t cover Poker Night at your brother-in-law’s either. (Though I personally think Poker Night at your brother-in-law’s is a really really bad idea right now.)
  • 50% capacity on commercial organized events (like Canucks games).
  • You can still go out to eat (with fewer than six other ppl).
  • One household plus ten people or two households is THE ABSOLUTE max you should have at gatherings like Xmas dinner. And don’t try to game the system by having your brother’s family over on Xmas Eve, your in-laws over on Christmas Day, and your sister’s family over on Boxing Day, Smaller is better, smaller is safer, especially if there are vulnerable people in your circle.
  • They don’t have infinite rapid tests. More are coming (but note that even the 11M we’re supposed to get from the province in Jan is still only ~2 kits per person) so they are using them as best they can. If they just hand them out like participation trophies, they will get into the hands of people who are good at grabbing, not the people who really need them.
  • Nasty weather is coming, stay warm! The province is opening up a bunch more homeless shelter beds and opening warming centres.


Q: You talked about measures on Friday and now there’s a whole different set, why? A: Shit changed.

Q: Why don’t we have rapid antigen tests to give out like other provinces? A: We only have a limited supply of tests and we are using them as wisely as we can. (Note that the province has about half as many tests as people.) Also note that the UK has given out RATs like water, and that didn’t help them any.

Q: Are there going to be financial supports for the businesses you’re shutting down with these measures. A: Yes. Stay tuned, deets later.

Q: Ontario is vaxxing at a per-capita rate like 3x or 4x ours, why can’t we be more like tham? A: We are going in order of risk. Also, Ontario has many more people at six months since their second dose. (I am guessing because we had a longer dose interval?) We are ramping up quickly. Also note that there’s just no f way we can boost fast enough to boost our way out of this mess. (Fact check: we’re currently doing between 20K and 30K boosters per day. If we started doing 100K boosters per day, it would still take us 33 days to boost the entire 3.3M people who have second doses but no booster. Also: six months ago, there were just over 1M people who had second doses, and as of today, BC has given ~745K boosters. Almost three-quarters of the eligible people have been boosted. We are getting farther and farther behind, however. Six months ago, we gave 50-60K second shots per day.)


 +1,308 cases, +1 death, +7,039 first doses, +1,686 second doses, +16,791 other doses. 

Currently 192 in hospital / 76 in ICU, 6,348 active cases, 220,741 recovered.

756 cases of Omicron to date.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults92.1%89.4%17%
of over-12s91.7%88.9%16%
of over-5s87.5%82.7%*
of all BCers85.2%80.5%14.6%


From the press conference:

Note how FH is going up quickly and VCH is going up a ridiculous crazy amount. VCH also has the highest share of Omicron:

Similarly, R-values are up everywhere but especially in VCH:

Note how being vaccinated doesn’t help prevent infection as much as it used to:

Most of the cases in absolute numbers are in the 19-59 cohort.

Though when you look at it as a fraction of the age group, it seems like there’s babies lowest, then a band of the 50-69 y/os, and then everybody at kind of the same rate (unvaccinated). For the vaccinated, it seems like the 30-49 y/os are getting hit hardest.

I’ve heard a few people say that when they said “we should flatten the curve”, they should have specified specified which axis…