20210106 update. Supporting my hypothesis, “Top epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski says that the massive drop in influenza cases can be attributed to the fact that many are being falsely counted as COVID-19 cases.” (Summit News)

It has been widely noted (e.g. The southern hemisphere skipped flu season in 2020 and Weekly influenza reports) that there has not been much flu this season. The flu virus, based on years of epidemiological data, has an infection rate, R0, of 1.28 as I recall. Ontario is reporting an R0 – or Re as they call it to be different – currently pegged at 1.1 (COVID-19 case data: All Ontario). Some argue that we have less flu than normal because of the personal protective measures we have been trained to adopt. But then that argument should be applicable to COVID-19 and it is clearly not the case.

So if COVID-19 is so bad and the flu is hiding somewhere, what’s up? Authorities have to speculate about something they don’t have an answer for because they are, what we call, authorities. However, consider this hypothesis: that many cases of the flu are hiding in the COVID-19 case load producing false statistics. Table 1 below from the Ontario government.

First consider the list of symptoms below from a report by the Ontario government. Note the high degree of overlap among the 4 categories of viruses, especially at the “most common” level which is the level of symptom onset when most testing is done.

Source: Key features of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and Other Common Respiratory Viruses

Now consider the definition of a case in Ontario:

Source: Case Definition – Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

As you can see, a case is either a positive result from a test that can deliver a false positive with about a 50% probability (see The RT-PCR Test) or a person who is symptomatic with some restrictions but has either not been tested or has had an inconclusive test which for Ontario is a test result with a Ct of 38.1 to 39.9 (ibid).

There is another issue with the RT-rPCR test. It is not a diagnostic tool and cannot tell you that you have a COVID-19 infection, even if you have a valid positive result as discussed in The RT-PCR Test.

Put simply, you could have the flu and be classified as a COVOD-19 case without having COVID-19. If this is the case, your symptoms will be treated in the same way as COVID-19 symptoms and you will be classified as having COVID-19 and not the flu.

For another take on this issue, read: The greatest rebranding campaign of all-time is why the flu has all but disappeared in 2020-21.

***

On a different matter, from the ‘COVID-19 Case Data’ report cited above, here is a graph of 5 (the tool’s limit) selected “outbreak settings” cumulative from the start of the pandemic.

Source: COVID-19 case data: All Ontario

The largest number of businesses in my town (pop. 14.4 K, 2016 census) in a single category, ‘Personal services’, includes hair and nail salons, barbers and spas. These are small single-proprietor-type operations in a highly competitive space with slim margins. The total COVID-19 case count to date is 53.

The province is now locked down. Walmart, Costco and other ‘essential’ services like provincial liquor stores (need that money) are open but personal care facilities are shut down. This, on 36 cases province-wide since the start! No wonder people assign zero credibility to government decisions.

***

It has become a Christmas ritual for me to play this flash mob recording of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in a Welland Ontario mall:

A friend sent me a recording of one of my two favourite carols, ‘See Amid the Winter’s Snow’. I wanted to embed it on this site but found that I am constrained by a 2MB upload limit that I couldn’t find a way to change. However, here is the carol in its original form by John Goss. It features the tenor soloist at the start which is how my friend compiled it in a performance that he recorded with a friend, the two singing all parts.

And here is an arrangement by Dan Forrest that I stumbled across. I very much like him as a contemporary composed but haven’t featured him before.

The other carol is ‘Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming’. For me it is especially meaningful because the music goes back to the early 17th century by Micheal Praetorius and the lyrics, earlier. It has been sung regualarly by Christians for over 400 years.

We live in a ‘cancel culture’ in which Marxist ideology and academic ignorance are trying to obliterate an embarrassingly – for many apologists – rich cultural history. And our traditional religious denominations are trampling it in a stamped to be seen as woke supporters of the modern secular humanism. For certain it won’t be sung this Christmas – at least not in churches.

First, here is the carol with the music. You can follow the musical line as it passes between parts in a counterpoint that, while lovely, can challenge an amateur choir.

I thought this choir made an excellent performance of it too.


The POOG

I started a blog in 2011 called The POOG, an acronym for "pissed off old guy". This is the current incarnation.

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