Table of Contents
- BC, 2023
This post has been updated or republished periodically since January 3, 2023. It was concluded May 6, 2023, when the World Health Organization declared the end of its formal determination that Covid-19 had become a world-wide emergency (Pandemic). It follows earlier posts:
Omicron, Pango lineage B.1.1.529, was discovered in South Africa and recognized as a variant of concern of Covid-19 by the WHO in November 2021. By the end of September, 2022, reports and studies of variants in the Omicron lineage that infect vaccinated persons and persons who have been infected were being published: BA.2.75.2, BA.5, BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BA.2.10.4, BA.4.6. (See Papers discussing). B.1.1.529 evolved into 5 lineages known as BA.1 and BA.2, etc.. The BA.2 lineage includes XBB. The first variant in the XBB line was identified in Singapore in August 2022. The latest WHO variant of concern, as of January 2023, is XBB.1.5, nicknamed (not a formal scientific name) Kraken. XBB 1.5 was identified in Singapore in late 2022, in the USA in November 2022 and in Canada in December 2022. The Omicron sub-variants are the most antibody-evasive strains tested.
CBC reported March 11, 2023 in the post/article “World Health Organization updates variant names to track Omicron’s rapid evolution that the Omicron parent lineage (B.1.1.529) is a varient of concern but its subvariants are variants of interest. “Since February 2022, ‘Omicron and its many sublineages have almost completely replaced other variants,’ [quoting] Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist who serves as the technical lead for WHO’s COVID-19 response”.
The illness caused by Omicron and its subvariants is milder than the SARS caused by the original Covid-19 virus. It is severe or fatal for some people. In aggregate, it has been fatal for more individuals than the original virus and the early variants of concern.
After April 2022, the health authorities in BC reported the weekly reports of the BC Centre for Disease Control BCCDC (an agency of the BC government) every Thursday. CBC reported the reports, generally promptly, in its BC News section. I listed those weekly reports in 2022:
- April to late August. 2022 in Covid-19 #1: Covid-19 wanes, Omicron Rises;
- August 2022 to December 2022 in Covid-19 #2, 2022, Omicron
The CBC News BC reports resumed in January 2023 and remained weekly until mid-March 2023. In October 2022 the BCCBC had started to make a weekly Respiratory Epidemiology Summary report with a COVID-19 Weekly Summary section. The BCCDC moved the links to weekly updates to its COVID dashboard to the Respiratory Disease web site, and gradually changed the reports.
CBC reported other BC government announcements of health programs, policy and advice. All dates are in 2023.
Nationally, the CBC devoted less resources to covering Covid-19 in 2023 than in 2022:
February 4, the CBC, responding to the first season of “The Last of Us”, a popular premium TV show, did a piece on fungal diseases.
The CBC covered announcements in March by Canadian federal government health officials about vaccines, boosters and the circulation of the virus.
The March 11 CBC article CBC Second Health article or column (byline Adam Miller) announced that Omicron Kraken was a varient of interest but not a variant of concern and would not be given its a name, and that the new naming convention was “WHO will continue assigning Greek alphabet labels for variants of concern, but it will no longer do so for variants of interest.” It added:
More than 76 per cent of Canadian adults and close to 90 per cent of young adults (aged 17 to 24) are estimated to have previously had the disease as of mid-January, according to national blood donor data released by the federal government’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.
US, China, W.H.O., World News
Public health medicine and policy, lockdowns, supply chains, protests about government policy in China, end of mandates in China, the Omicron surge in China, and other disease outbreaks or risks. All dates are in 2023 :
Economics, Health, Rights, and Wishes
At large. All dates are in 2023:
Thomas Fazi, Toby Green
|Why is the West locking down China?
|How Worried Should We Be About XBB.1.5?
Thomas Fazi, Toby Green
|Why are excess deaths still so high?
|New York Times,
|An Even Deadlier Pandemic Could Soon Be Here (avian flu, H5N1)
|How the WHO was captured
Lauren Weber, Joel Achenbach
|Covid backlash hobbles public health and future pandemic response
M. Anthony Mills
|No One is in Control
|Only the Emergency Has Ended
|As economy recovers from pandemic doldrums, big employers step up push to get back to the office
People in BC had almost given up wearing masks, as of March 2023. As of May, many are paying attention to social distancing. Most people are acting as if the SARS disease has vanished and been replaced by a mild flu.
The Canadian national government and the BC provincial government have treated Omicron as a mild flu that causes minor illness since the spring of 2022. The Omicron variants were recognized as contagious, but the illness was regarded as a mild flu. The government treated the illness as treatable, to be managed by providing health care including hospitalization and intensive care. The public authorities gave the public months of relief from masking, social distancing and other public health measures. Public heath mandates were dismantled except in health care locations – hospitals, testing and diagnostic services and medical offices. That ended in April 2023. The government viewed vaccine hesitation as a source of discontent with governance, largely tolerated the resistance to mandates in 2023..
Health care professionals agree that the illness is treatable in most cases. Health care practitioners are unhappy about working conditions, pay and policy.
The public wants to be cared for in the event of illness. Many members of the public do not want to trust to medical experts and bureaucrats, and take vaccines or wear masks. They believe they will be well and that they have no duty to minimally decease the transmission of the virus.
The provincial authorities in BC did not take action against anti-vax protesters in 2022. Some of the protesters were protest veterans; some were novices. Some were true belivers in an ideology. Many Canadians who protested vaccines and mandates were adherents of QAnon and other anti-government movements.
The protests declined but have not stopped. Local governments have started to ask the courts to grant orders against protesters and protest organizers.
Some protests were or are impulsive and naive. Protesting gives people a sense of meaning and status and some happiness.
Many of protester organizers appear to be adherents of Pseudolaw – Tax Protesters, Sovereign Citizens, Freemen on the land – a loose association of persons who oppose obedience to civil law on the principle that they may exercise their own judgment guided to higher law or natural intuition. The analogy to the sociology and ideologu of religion is that protester organizers and some protesters respond to government rules in a Gnostic (or Manichean) mode – they have higher secret knowledge – rather than an Antinomian mode. Some of the organizers also have a monetary hustle. They are making contacts with people who show up and selling them pseudolaw advice. Some of the organizers may be trying to bring down a system.
Some anti-government movements in the United States have advocated violence, armed themselves, organized militias, prepared for violence and caused violent riots. Some adherents of anti-government movements have engaged in acts of violence against public officials.
The public authorities have had concerns that some protesters are adherents of anti-government movements. This partially explains why the 2022 Trucker Convoy, the Ottawa occupation, the ancillary protests in other cities, and the border crossing blockades (Windsor Ont., Coutts Alta.) were managed they way they were.