Brace Yourselves For A Third COVID Wave
Hope you had a long weekend as relaxing as can be under present circumstances. It’s Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) with your rundown of the day’s news. I watched the new Adam Curtis docuseries over the weekend. Highly recommend it.
Today we’ve got stories on: the pandemic’s next wave, which promises to be worse than the first two; a COVID-19 outbreak at another Alberta meat packing facility; federal gun control legislation becoming even more toothless; a famed Canadian alt rocker accused of abuse.
Let’s get to it!
A Third COVID Wave Is Coming
Even with the COVID-19 vaccine slowly making its way into Canadians’ arms, it appears the situation could get a lot worse before it gets better.
That’s because the rapid spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants and the premature ending of lockdowns has created the perfect storm for cases to multiply.
Simon Fraser University epidemiologist Caroline Colijn says even with present public-health measures, the variants’ spread could “spell disaster” in just a few weeks if it’s not adequately contained. According to her model, cases could double in one or two weeks, as opposed to 30 to 40 days, as was the case in Ontario prior to the restrictions now in place.
Each province has now reported cases of the variants, with four provinces having cases resulting from community spread. This includes seven probable cases on the remote Pauingassi First Nations reserve in eastern Manitoba, which were discovered just as the province was moving to ease restrictions.
From the Globe and Mail: Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said it’s unclear how the virus got into Pauingassi, located 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The First Nation is so remote that there are no permanent roads to access it, although winter roads are constructed each year – but overcrowded housing and communal areas make it difficult to isolate people, Mr. Dumas noted.
Overall, more than 100 of the reserve’s 600 residents have been infected with some form of COVID-19. Since the reserve doesn’t have a hospital, the military has stepped in to transport goods and medical supplies, in addition to conducting wellness checks and providing other supports.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador cancelled in-person voting for its provincial election less than 12 hours before polls opened, pushing the election date to March 5 while extending the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot to Thursday.
Colijn recommends more variant-specific measures to slow the spread, including targeted lockdowns and increased rapid testing in major centres of outbreak, as well as more detailed contact tracing which tracks not only who is infected but who may have infected them.
- Olymel has announced it’s indefinitely shutting down its pork plant in Red Deer after hundreds of COVID cases were linked to an outbreak at the facility. There have been 326 confirmed cases, 192 of which are active, connected to the outbreak.
- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, which represents workers at meat-packing facilities across the province, have been calling for the plant to temporarily cease operations for weeks. President Thomas Hesse says it’s unclear whether the plant’s 1,850 workers will be compensated for their time off.
- Context: If this sounds familiar, that’s because Alberta’s meat-packing industry has been a COVID-19 hotspot. Cargill’s plant in High River was at one point the site of the largest outbreak in North America, with almost half the workforce testing positive. The handling of that outbreak, which led to two worker deaths, is under criminal investigation.
- The federal Liberals’ long-anticipated gun control program has gotten even more toothless, with their buyback program for assault weapons now optional.
- Context: In the wake of last year’s mass shooting in Portapique, N.S., the Liberals classified nearly 1,500 guns as assault weapons — a category that hadn’t previously existed under Canadian law — including the AR-15, which has been used in several mass shootings in the U.S., and the Ruger Mini 14, which was used in the École Polytechnique massacre.
- The Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights attempted to file an injunction to stop the reclassification, which was dismissed in federal court earlier this month.
- From CTV: Owners of prohibited rifles will still have the option to hang on to them subject to strict conditions on storage — a point that has riled gun-control advocates who want to see mandatory confiscation of firearms they believe to be military in nature.
ICYMI: Musician And Mental Health Advocate Matthew Good Dropped From Label Following Abuse Allegations
Matthew Good, the Canadian alt-rock musician who came to prominence in the ‘90s and aughts with songs that combined self-deprecating lyrics with left-wing social commentary, has been dropped from Warner Music Canada after an ex-partner detailed allegations that he is a “serial abuser” of women.
Hayley Mather, who was engaged to Good up until about a month ago, wrote in an Instagram post before making her account private: “During our relationship, I had been cheated on frequently (unknowingly, except for one occasion in which I regrettably forgave him), constantly lied to, sexually coerced, groomed, emotionally and mentally abused and manipulated.”
Mather shared an email he sent her, where he wrote, “There are a great many things I can quite easily be accused of. And the majority of it is true.”
Mather said 12 other women have come forward to her with similar stories of abuse, which Global News, who broke the story, couldn’t confirm. However, in the days since her post, female former fans took to social media to detail how he allegedly used his position of power to prey on them.
In more recent years, Good, who used to sell t-shirts that say “I Hear Matt Good Is a Real Asshole,” has rebranded himself as an outspoken mental health advocate.
In an Instagram post of his own, Good denied the accusations, saying “I ask for privacy so I can focus on my mental health.”
That’s it for your February 16 Passage Daily. I’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow with more news and analysis!
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