How Manitoba Counts Virus Deaths and What Happened to the Flu?

A death due to COVID-19 is…

A death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery* from COVID-19 between illness and death.

Provincial Respiratory Surveillance Report – COVID-19 Technical Notes

So any death from a respiratory virus is counted?

There have been 1199 of these deaths since the count (archive) started.

I can’t tell when the count started, because the links for the weekly reports in 2020 just go to the weekly report for 2021. If I click on “Week 33 (August 9 – August 15, 2020)”, I get to the page for Week 33 in 2021.

Not that it matters; these numbers are obviously not taken seriously by anyone.

Mask Compliance Injures the Soul

Someone I know shared one of those “you have a right not to wear a mask, but businesses have a right to not serve you” / “you are free to make a choice, but that means accepting the consequences of your actions” cliches; this was my response.

If someone points a gun at you and says “drop your pants or I’ll shoot”, you have a right to not drop your pants and accept the consequences of your actions.

This is an empty tautological statement (any reaction or response to an action you take is a consequence that you face), and being technically true masks the actual problem, it excuses the guy with the gun and ignores his wrongdoing.

It also equivocates between a single business having some weird rule (putting cloth over your face does NOT stop a virus–you know this!) and the government mandating that all businesses enforce the rule–very big difference!

The biggest problem with mask mandates is how it enforces participation in a big lie. For people who value honesty, who believe truth is real and transcendentally important, the fact that this is required to do most things in the public space–including getting food for one’s family–is not merely a minor inconvenience.

Allowing big lies to stand invites more big lies and contributes to mass psychosis. It’s easy and most convenient to just put on a mask and participate, and for those who believe this life is ultimately meaningless and just about avoiding suffering, grabbing pleasure when there’s an opportunity, and generally passively accepting things as they seem to be, it makes sense to just put on a mask and get on with the ever more limited conception of “life” that we’re being boxed into.

For those who believe that things like truth and beauty are truly real and significant, existing beyond the life and death of any individual or civilization, we can at least recognize that unthnking (anti-thinking) compliance with big lies is wrong.

Even if we fail to muster up the modicum of courage required to stand against social ostracism and verbal abuse to do so in deed, we can at least recognize that we ought to, and by doing so can retain some honesty and goodness in the core of what we are.

Statistics Canada Says Lockdowns Kill More Than the Virus

A report compiled by Statistics Canada, an organisation within the Canadian government, says this:

Of the 15,300 people who died of COVID-19 between March and December 2020, nearly 9 in 10 had at least one other health condition or complication or another cause listed on the death certificate.

Briefing on the Impact of COVID-19 on Seniors

This is nothing new, we’ve already heard this many times since back in April 2020 at least: people dying from this virus were overwhelmingly already ill and diseased. Many places have in fact explicitly said that deaths are counted as caused by this virus not because it was what killed them, but because they recently tested positive (a “case”, in post 2020 lingo). See footnote 7 on this Ontario government site:

Any case marked “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death

How Ontario is responding to COVID-19

The report also says deaths from the virus are mostly old people, which again has been known since the beginning.

Between March 2020 and the beginning of February 2021, seniors accounted for 7 in 10 excess deaths, and 94% of the deaths were attributed to COVID-19. The majority of Canadians who died from COVID-19 were residents of long-term care homes.

More than half were people 85 and older (greater than life expectancy at birth). The chart that shows this includes both excess deaths and virus deaths.

Excess deaths are much more skewed towards the young, and a second Statistics Canada report spells this out explicitly:

Based on the newly updated provisional dataset released today from the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database, from the end of March 2020 to the beginning of April 2021, an estimated 62,203 deaths were reported among Canadians aged 0 to 64. This represents 5,535 more deaths than expected were there no pandemic, after accounting for changes in the population such as aging. Over the same period, 1,380 COVID-19 deaths have been attributed to the same age group (those younger than 65), suggesting that the excess mortality is, in large part, related to other factors such as increases in the number deaths attributed to causes associated with substance use and misuse, including unintentional (accidental) poisonings and diseases and conditions related to alcohol consumption.

Provisional death counts and excess mortality, January 2020 to April 2021

This is the Canadian government officially saying that for people under 65, the effects of lockdowns are four times more deadly than the virus.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but in order to justify the extreme, unprecedented measures that we’re enduring, that we’re seeing every day interfering with nearly every aspect of our lives, the scale of the threat that they will with a high certainty avoid would have to be great in proportion to the extremity and degree of disruption they cause. That is, the restrictions would need to be confidently know to save a large multiple of people that would be lost without them.

What we’re seeing–as reported by an official government body whose purpose is exactly statistical analysis of Canadian demographics–is that not only is this not the case, but the reverse is true: the restrictions are resulting in more deaths, not less.

Never Mind Work–Lockdowns Don’t Even Make Sense

The justification given for the lockdowns is to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals don’t become overwhelmed. But if the problem is that there won’t be enough hospital beds, equipment, and staff to treat patients… why not get more beds, equipment, and train more staff?

Of course, that’s not something that can be done overnight, and it wouldn’t be cheap. In comparison with doing nothing, that’s a big task. But we didn’t do nothing–we shut down schools, restaurants, concerts and cultural events, small businesses, churches and we banned family gatherings, weddings, funerals, and even just having guests visit, imposed other unprecedented restrictions like mandating people wear something to cover their faces, and paid lots of people lots of money to sit around and do nothing.

This is a massive disruption to normal life with a massive cost and loss of productivity, and this is not disputed. To quickly set up a few field hospitals, rush order the needed equipment at a multiple of the normal expense, and train volunteers or cross train existing healthcare staff would have been overall much cheaper, and would have caused much less disruption to normal life. Maybe there are some physical limitations on how quickly new equipment can be made, but then couldn’t we have thrown a few billion at it to make it work, or found some alternative? It’s been more than a year!

When the impending problem is not enough healthcare capacity, it makes much more sense, is cheaper, easier, less disruptive, to try to get more healthcare capacity than to shut down everything else.

And the cherry on top is that when faced with this potential healthcare capacity shortage, we reduced healthcare capacity for other ailments by cancelling treatments and surgeries and denying people health care. The problem is that people won’t get the healthcare they need, and the solution is to deny people healthcare.

And the other cherry on top is that if it really was about saving lives and good health, then there would be some analysis of the overall effects of these lockdowns, and excess deaths they cause would be compared with excess deaths they prevented. The excess deaths that could be prevented by lockdowns is the proportion of people who would die from this virus only if they didn’t get access to healthcare–that’s it. The excess deaths that are caused by lockdown are things like suicides and drug overdoses from isolation, loneliness, and loss of livelihood, cancer and other diseases that could have been caught and treated earlier,

Whether or not we should be making these types of massive interventions based on predictions of possible statistical changes in mortality is another question. Do we want to live such controlled and managed lives? Is longevity of life always more valuable than quality of life? Does the potential for death always trump any potential for human flourishing?

These are very important issues, but we don’t even have to go that far to see that the lockdowns are and were a bad idea, because the justification given for them doesn’t even make sense. The given rationale doesn’t hold up. It’s far from the best way to achieve what it is purported to achieve.

The story that best embodies these absurdities is that of Nancy Russell.

Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled, family visits curtailed or eliminated. Sometimes they are in isolation in their small rooms for days. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to the overall health of residents that they find themselves looking into other options.

Russell, described by her family as exceptionally social and spry, was one such person. Her family says she chose a medically-assisted death (MAID) after she declined so sharply during lockdown that she didn’t want to go through more isolation this winter.

Facing another retirement home lockdown, 90-year-old chooses medically assisted death

She needed to be forced to stay in a room by herself because the risk that she would get sick and die was too great, but this experience was so miserable that it made her want to die, and so the same government that was imposing the miserable conditions ostensibly intended to save her life helped her kill herself.

They tortured her to save her life, then helped kill her when it was too awful.

Did no one think to just… let her live her life normally? What’s the worst that could happen, she gets sick and dies? You helped kill her! How did no one realize that they could have just let her live her life with some happiness instead of locking her up or killing her? Not her doctor? Her relatives, or friends?

No one wanted to try just living? Just imprisonment or death, those are your options.

A Misconception about Abolishing Whiteness

Sometimes when it is said that whiteness is a problem or needs to be countered, people misunderstand and think that what is being said is that the white race is a problem or needs to be countered.

That’s an ignorant, uneducated confusion. Whiteness is conceptual, it’s a way of thinking, a set of cultural assumptions. No malice or or resentment is directed towards white people as people, and if you thought that then you’re pretty dumb.

The goal is not to abolish white people, the goal, the unquestionable moral imperative is merely to ensure that no white person is allowed to think something positive about their people, and prevent any of them from basing any aspect of their identity on their group. White people specifically; people from other groups are allowed and encouraged to do these things.

If somehow as a consequence of denying white people a sense of shared identity (whether as a whole or as as a member of the component ethnic groups) and portraying their history and heritage as entirely negative (and uniquely vile), in combination with the demographic changes due to mass immigration into nearly every white homeland… if as a consequence of all this white people become psychologically sick, lose their self-determination, their ability to direct their collective course, are forced to become a minority living under foreign rule, must accept a different peoples’ values and way of living, become disfavoured in the legal and judicial systems of their former homelands, or are subject to resentment and retribution from others… then those are just unintended side effects, and it doesn’t really matter anyway, because all the problems affecting other races need to be solved before we can care about problems affecting white people.

So if you thought there was something sinister about calls to abolish whiteness, or if you thought that it would somehow negatively affect you just because you happen to be white, you can see now how stupid you were. Now that you know that abolishing whiteness is a good thing, you’re smart and good.

Blocking Off the Sky With a Giant Screen

Last night I dreamt that there were brilliant light displays in the night sky that that were similar to meteors burning through the atmosphere, but with more complicated patterns. They became more intricate and enduring, and I became suspicious. Then a large, bright logo for a local sports team appeared in the sky and I remembered that recently large screens had been erected that covered the entire sky, letting natural light through but also adding artificial phenomena. From then on we could no longer trust our celestial observation, we would be unable to know if what we saw was real or fake; it could all be filtered, manipulated, and manufactured.

This dream must have resulted from what I read yesterday:

We have all the data we need for any question. We know more about world than we really want or need to know. What we lack is information and more important, trustworthy sources of information.

Z Blog, The Modern Prison State

Wealth Tax

You can’t tax the super-rich. They are the ones who collect the taxes.

If the problem is that the super rich are too powerful, have too much control over the state, then they just won’t allow any tax or law or regulation that would threaten their wealth or power. Any wealth tax that does get passed would be something that they are able to avoid, and would likely hit upper middle class (professionals, entrepreneurs) hardest, and move their wealth up.

When oligarchs have control, state apparatuses are their tools, not the people’s. Politicians are employees of the oligarchs. The legal changes they make may have some secondary or temporary benefit for the regular people, but the net effect will be to benefit the oligarchs. If a politician tries to do otherwise, he will be fired because he’s not doing his job.

The Argument for Mandatory Vaccination

The argument for making vaccination mandatory hinges on the fact that vaccines are not perfect–they don’t guarantee protection against the disease they are intended to inoculate against; there is a chance that someone who gets the vaccine will still get the disease.

Because if vaccines worked perfectly, then everyone could choose for themselves whether they wanted to be vaccinated, or whether they wanted to not be vaccinated and risk getting the disease. Someone else not getting vaccinated would pose no risk, in terms of transmitting the disease-causing agent, to someone who who did get vaccinated, so it would be none of their business whether other people were vaccinated.

However, vaccines are not 100% effective. There is always a chance that someone who has been vaccinated will still get the disease. The vaccine reduces the chance of infection, but not to zero. So a vaccinated person is still in a condition where more exposure to the disease-causing agent will mean a greater likelihood that they get the disease.

And there’s the justification for mandating vaccination. People who are not vaccinated are more likely to spread the disease-causing agent, so in fact by refusing the vaccine, they are selfishly putting others at risk–even those who are vaccinated. This is not acceptable, because no one has the right to make a choice that puts others at risk. It’s wrong to force other people to take on that risk.

It’s fine to make the decision for yourself to accept a risk of harm to yourself, but it’s not OK to make a decision to accept a risk of harm to other people. And that’s why we need to force other people to take a vaccine (which, like all medical interventions, in varying degrees, has a risk of harm).

There is Such a Thing as Too Much Cheese

There’s always more we can do.

There are always more layers that can be added to filter out more risk of the virus and to make it even less likely that someone might die from it.

If anyone ever thinks that there are enough layers, or opposes any particular layer, then they can be accused of murder, because not doing more means choosing to let people die–and it never stops.

We can never make it impossible for people to die, so we can always make it less likely. We can never make the risk go down to zero, so there’s always the possibility that we can do something more to reduce the risk.

We can spend more money (borrowed from an ever-growing international banking system), we can tread on more human dignity, we can give up more personal choice and power, we can impose more inconvenience, we can sacrifice more culture and arts, and so on.

Regardless of how marginal the improvement would be, or even of how certain we are that there would be an improvement, there’s always more we can do.

But there is such a thing as too much cheese.

In the Swiss cheese model, each extra slice is good because it filters more; that’s all there is to the Swiss cheese model. This works well enough for this one dimension of risk, for this single aspect of life.

But if you don’t have anything other than the Swiss cheese model, if you don’t value or focus on anything other than the threat of this virus, then you’re onboard for a never ending Babylonian tower of cheese.

Mask Sickness

Most people advocating for wearing masks now would be denying their effectiveness if that’s what they were told by the authorities they respect. How do we know? Because that’s exactly what they were doing half a year ago when the authorities were telling them that surgical and cloth masks weren’t effective.

Science is commonly conceived as a somewhat mechanical or deterministic process that inevitably produces truth, or at least better approximations of the truth. The feeling is that since it’s associated with rationality as opposed to intuition or emotion that it’s therefore better able, or even uniquely able, to discover objective truth.

In reality, scientific research is done by people, and people are fallible, dishonest, and rarely motivated by the desire to discover truth. No process or system can make up for dishonest, unintelligent, or inattentive people, not peer review, and not academic testing. The only way to verify if some scientific research is true is to understand it yourself. Scientific authorities, like heads of scientific organisations or pop science celebrities, are shortcuts that add a layer through which the truth must pass, and it only survives if the authority is honest, intelligent, paying attention, and so on.

Currently we have politically appointed bureaucrats informing the public on medical science. They seem to be trusted because they are cloaked in the sense of credibility and objectivity that people associate with science.

But these people are the result of yet another layer, another truth filter: they were appointed by politicians or others in power. Most people accept, at least in the abstract, that politicians are dishonest and are not motivated by the pursuit of truth. The idea of an honest politician is more of a punchline than a reality. But in practice people ignore this, and take for granted that medical authorities appointed by politicians must be trustworthy, even though, as we can see, such a position is one from which power can be wielded (by altering public perception of whether governmental dictates are reasonable and in the interests of public health), and so if we take seriously the idea that politicians and those in power are motivated by self-interest, then we should expect that their appointments to these positions are corrupt.

Given that most peoples’ understanding of science is extremely limited and wrong, when someone says that they want everyone to wear masks because science has shown that they’re effective, this should be translated to mean that they have heard from mass media and governmental authorities that masks are effective. And again, most people probably have an abstract sense that things like mass news media are not motivated by the desire to spread the truth, but instead exist to entertain, sensationalize, and propagandize, and again this abstract sense is rarely put into practice.

One of the things mass media have told people about masks is that it’s not a big deal to wear one, and that doing so is a courtesy to others. But we are not being politely asked to wear masks–we are being told to do so by government mandate. If someone asks you to please pass the salt while they’re pointing a gun at you, they are not being polite.

But regardless of all that, aren’t masks actually effective? At least a bit? Maybe they do slightly slow the transmission of some viruses–but I don’t know, and neither do you. What I do know is that ignorance of one’s own ignorance is dangerous and is a mental state ripe for exploitation. I also know that people who are susceptible to respiratory illnesses tend to be already unhealthy due to their own choices, or are near the end of their lives and more susceptible nearly all forms of death–stairs for example.

Sedentary people who stuff their obese faces with anti-nutritious food want to tell you to wear an annoying mask in order to slightly, possibly, reduce their chances of becoming seriously ill, a reduction in risk that is much less than what they would see from changing their own behaviours and lifestyle. They want to force you to change your behaviour to protect them when they are unwilling to change their own behaviour to protect themselves. And they do this with manipulative language telling you that if you don’t like it, you’re the asshole.

Of course, there are people with conditions that are out of their control that make them more susceptible to this current Coronavirus. But that’s nothing new for them–many other Coronaviruses and Adenoviruses and Rhinoviruses that have come and gone were a similar risk to them.

What masks are effective at is being a nuisance to breathing, making communication more difficult by blocking facial cues and muffling speech, giving people a small sense of anonymity that can remove inhibitions against antisocial behaviour, and dehumanising and further atomising us so that we feel more isolated and disconnected from the world around us.