Wednesday Night #1983

Written by  //  March 18, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

The first virtual Wednesday Night – a highly successful experiment!

Coronavirus COVID-19 is causing drastic changes in our collective behaviour, our attitudes and the economy; it has also brought about many innovations, social experiments and some creative policies from governments. Self-isolation imposes unwelcome barriers to physical contact which must, unhappily, extend to Wednesday Night. However, for every problem, there is a solution. Thanks to Matthew Cope for suggesting and Alireza Najafi-Yazdi aka Ali, who enabled Wednesday Night to be virtual. The Zoom platform was perfect. It was a very successful experiment, not to mention a learning experience for the Chair, who needs to get her camera fixed. David would have loved it and we will do it again, as long as we must maintain social distancing.

It has been an eventful week, dominated by COVID-19 and various government’s responses. We have never been fans of M. Legault and the CAQ, but we join the experts in applauding his actions -and demeanor- over the past week. His daily briefings, reminiscent of the ice storm communications are sober and sensible. And response from the population has been largely commensurate. Particularly noteworthy is that more than 10,000 Quebecers with health-care experience have volunteered to help. The government has already signed up 1,800 of those workers. The provision of free daycare for the children of health-care workers, ambulance technicians, police officers, firefighters and other essential service employees is both intelligent and compassionate. Finally, M. Legault has enlisted the help of entertainers and influencers with young fans. One of the first to respond was Coeur de Pirate.

In addition to implementing economic measures to aid a population increasingly worried about how it would keep its collective head above water with closures of so many businesses, the Federal government has been wrestling with the problems related to closing borders, return of Canadians abroad, transportation issues, especially how to process and examine international passengers in crowded airports. Until very recently, solutions to the latter have been totally ineffective, not to say, inept. One of the more controversial decisions came from the Prime Minister on Monday, when he announced the border would be closed to non-citizens with the exception of permanent residents and Americans among a few other exemptions. By Wednesday the PM stated that Canada and the U.S. have agreed to temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the border.

Finally, this generally good advice from WHO Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak, though we are not quite sure how to follow point 3. “Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed’

Very recently, a new page, Good News Now popped up on Facebook. It has already attracted some 2,000 members who are dedicated to only posting positive items. While we cannot limit Wednesday Night to heartwarming topics, we can at least continue our effort to include at least one -and preferably more- each evening.
How Canadians are helping each other amid the COVID-19 outbreak
In Canada, Facebook support groups are popping up throughout the country to give self-isolating neighbours the opportunity to both ask for and offer help. And that’s just the start: Others are channeling their positivity into fan clubs for public health officials (especially BC’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, whose daily press briefings “have gained a following of not just concerned citizens, but enraptured fans.”
Portland distillery turns their alcohol waste into free hand sanitizer
Swans & Dolphins Return To Italy, As Air, Water Quality Improves During Lockdown

Developments around the world are generally grim. AP has a quick summary of the situation in the Middle East, adding that “the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies may hold an extraordinary virtual meeting next week about advancing a co-ordinated response to the pandemic. Saudi Arabia, which currently leads the G20 presidency, said it is communicating with countries to convene the virtual meeting of leaders.” We worry about Joumane in Beirut.
In his statement on Tuesday, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe said “Europe is the epicenter of the first pandemic of COVID-19 and every country, with no exceptions, needs to take their boldest actions to stop or slow down the spread of this virus. “Boldest actions” should include community action. Thinking that “this does not concern me” is not an option.”
Jessica Potter, a respiratory specialist in Britain’s National Health Service, paints a devastating picture of the state of the NHS in I’m a Doctor in Britain. We’re Heading Into the Abyss.
The U.S. continues to be a worrisome factor, although the situation improved somewhat since Donald Trump has changed his tone and tune appearing to have finally been convinced that COVID-19 is for real, and has declared a national emergency (U.S. Healthcare COVID-19 2020). Of course, he has now said that “I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” He may have changed his tune and tone, but on Wednesday morning he was back on dangerous ground in three separate Twitter posts describing the pandemic as ‘Chinese virus’.

There is some good news breaking on Wednesday: Australia lab may have found Covid-19 cure – Queensland University to launch human trials of two-drug treatment that has apparently cured virus-infected patients. Plus, More than 30 academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies are collaborating in the search for a vaccine under a program coordinated by the Oslo-based non-profit group the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness.
Biohackers team up online to help develop coronavirus solutions
Students, scientists, developers and health professionals use forums to investigate potential vaccines and methods of testing
AND Israeli Research Center to Announce It Developed Coronavirus Vaccine, Sources Say
…but a long process of pre-clinical and clinical trials is to follow
South Korea reports fewer than 100 new Covid-19 cases for a third day

Not quite erased from the front pages:
Joe Biden’s victories in Tuesday’s primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, giving rise to much conjecture about what Bernie will or will not do. Also, with Joe’s promise to name a woman running mate, the pundits are already dissecting the ranking of 12 (count them!) choices. P.S. we agree with No. 1
Israeli political parties backed Benny Gantz to form a government. He has six weeks to do it, but there’s no guarantee that Gantz will be able to forge a majority coalition in the Knesset. Still, quite a blow to Bibi!
Russia and Saudi Arabia locked in oil price battle.
Chinese military experts on Tuesday suggested the use of non-lethal electromagnetic weapons, including low-energy laser devices, in expelling US warships that have been repeatedly intruding into the South China Sea in the past week.

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