2022-02-23 General

As I mentioned before, “everybody” seems to be acting like the pandemic is over. It’s not. Really it is not. I suspect people hear numbers like “60 per day in Canada” and think, “oh, well, 60 isn’t many people in a population of 39M”, but I think people just don’t understand just how rare death is in wealthy countries.

If we look at confirmed deaths per day by source:

whereraw countper milliontimes crashes
car crashesBC0.860.17*
car crashesCanada4.80.13*
car crashesUSA1060.32*
all numbers per day

So more than ten times as many people are currently dying of COVID-19 than of car crashes right now.

So maybe you think, “ah, well, people don’t die of car crashes very often.” That’s true. I only have one friend who died in a car crash. But another way of looking at it is that if car crashes had always been at today’s COVID-19 level, at least nine more of my friends would have died in a car crash. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want even one more of my friends to die in a car crash, let alone nine of them.

This also does not count Long COVID. Even with as well-informed as I am, I still don’t know how to estimate the number of Long COVID cases: the numbers are still wildly inconsistent. Today, in the BC COVID briefing, Dr. Henry gave the estimate of 5-10%, so I’ll use that. At today’s confirmed case rate per day (which is clearly undercounted because of rapid tests, people not getting tested, testing restrictions, etc.) and at 5% of cases turning into Long COVID, you get the following daily Long COVID rates:

whereLC casesLC per millionLC/milliontimes crashes
LC=Long COVID; all LC numbers per day

So even if the Long COVID rate is only 5% (which is a lower bound), then the rate of people getting Long COVID is on the order of 50x the rate of people getting killed in car crashes.


This article says that Long COVID usually got better after vaccination:

  • 30.8% of the patients had symptoms disappear;
  • 4.7% had symptoms get better but not go away completely;
  • 28.7% had no change;
  • 3.3% got worse.


In today’s BC Ministry of Health press conference, Dr. Henry said that they expected the first shipments of Novavax to arrive in a week to ten days. Novavax is a fridge-stable and vegan-friendly protein subunit vaccine; Canada has had an order in since early 2020 for 52-76M doses.

If you are wondering about the vegan-friendly bit: there are some people who say they have religious objections to various vaccines because they were developed using tissues from abortions. (There are no fetal tissues actually in any of the vaccines, but it is true that for some of the research for some of the vaccines, human cell lines derived from fetal cells were used during preliminary research.) Novavax, by contrast, used moth cells, not human cells, in its research. (I suppose that if you are REALLY die-hard vegan, you could object to the moth cells, but that’s pretty extreme.)

This press release from Sanofi/GSK says their fridge-stable protein-subunit vax has gotten good Phase 3 results:

  • 100% against hospitalization;
  • 75% efficacy against moderate disease I don’t know what “moderate” means here, sorry;
  • 57.9% efficacy against symptomatic infection;
  • 77% efficacy against symptomatic Delta infection.

You might think 58% might not look great, but the testing period was in the Delta and Omicron periods.

I mention this vaccine because Canada has had an order for 52-72M doses in since basically the beginning of the pandemic.

Sanofi/GSK announced that they were seeking approval in the USA and EU, and did not mention Canada. I don’t know if Canada will come later, if Canada is a harder sell, if Canada cancelled their contract, or what.


This preprint (from 7 Feb 2022) reports all the monoclonal antibodies, even sotrovimab, suck against BA.2.

This preprint (from 16 Feb 2022) says that not only does sotrovimab suck against BA.2, Evusheld also does.

On the other hand, this preprint from the makers of sotrovimab say that sotrovimab is less effective but still effective enough against BA.2.

There is one really new monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab, which does work against BA.2 (and it even has a Vancouver connection!). However, it has been approved in the US but not yet in Canada.

Recommended Reading

This long article talks about the seventeen different vaccines specifically designed for variants instead of COVID Classic.

This article says that lots of people (in the US, but probably applicable to Canada) are not going back to the office, and probably will not ever go back to the office full-time.