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Burying the Lede

As of June 15, 67% of Nova Scotians have had their 1st dose of a covid vax. That would be enough to put us into phase 3 of the reopening plan, except we have to wait two weeks to after each milestone to check for increased cases. eEven though it takes up to 2-weeks for the virus to become active in one’s body so this 2-week period only shows the first 1-3 days of viral transmission in that particular timeframe. But we can definitely speed up opening the border, and with less restrictions than previously were needed. There’s talk of vax-ports, even though Rankin still doesn’t know exactly what that will look like. And it’s still unclear if a vax-port will be needed to enter our Province on the 23rd, but it’s looking like a no.
Originally, NS borders were to be opened to Atlantic Canada June 30th and with mandatory 14-day self-isolation. Now that has been bumped ahead to June 23rd, and self-isolation is only required once upon entering the 4 Provinces. Well, at least for Nova Scotia. NB is going to need you to only go to Cumberland County NS, if you go anywhere you must isolate. PEI requires you to have 1 or more shots of the vax. While NFLD has already been allowing residents of Atlantic Canada to enter with only 2 government issued pieces of ID, a travel form, and 14-day self-isolation. Confused yet?
So just to summarize the changes to the travel restrictions and the veering away from the reopening plan: Atlantic bubble is back on in, in different ways, for each Province. And we won’t skip phases of reopening because it’s not safe, but we may speed up some parts of it because logic. But if the case numbers go back up we will hit the brakes. Now that I’ve smoothed all that out for you, let’s move on.

The delta variant is so deadly transmissible that England has delayed their reopening by 4-weeks. This Sky News article states that England has had 223 cases of the delta variant since February, and only 20 of those had received their 2nd covid dose more than 2-weeks previous to infection. The article also assures that 2 doses of a covid vax is just as effective for the delta variant as it was for the alpha.
A recent CBC article reported on an outbreak of the delta variant in a Calgary hospital affecting 22 people, of which 11 had been fully vaxed. Even though “Six of the patients and five of the health-care workers received two doses of the vaccine, while seven patients and one┬áhealth-care worker had a single dose. All of those infected were vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine.” Vaccines are totally the answer to this problem, except of course in this article by 660 City News in which we’re told vaccines aren’t enough.
While I fully support reopening the NB Border, the logic behind the decision is a little strange – if you believe all their hype. Maybe they saw those photos of Justin Trudeau partying at the G7 and decided they should be able to have some fun too.

One last thing I picked up on was about a potential end to the State Of Emergency (SOE). This is the first time I’ve heard reporters in the briefings ever ask about this. And it’s not surprising that Rankin’s answers were pretty vague and under thought-out. When first asked about targets for this goal Rankin stuttered his way through 38 seconds of “We’ll visit that sometime in phase 5.” A little bit later he was asked by another reporter about possibly extending some programs that are set to expire at the end of the SOE, such as the renters protection program. Rankin said an end to the SOE doesn’t seem likely this summer, but he is looking into which measures he’ll let go of first while moving toward that goal. Given the hype on the delta variant, good luck with that one.

But there was one thing that was never mentioned in the briefing. And this one disturbs me. There was no mention by Premier Iain Rankin, no mention by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang, and no mention by a single reporter. Church gathering limits for phase 2 were changed. Indoor gathering limits for organized “faith gatherings” were increased from 10 people to 25% capacity up to 50. And the outdoor limit was increased to 75 people. In a country where Pastors are being jailed, churches are fenced off or locked by local Health Services, and congregants are being fined for obeying God over the state; you would think this would have been information they would happily relay to pacify Christians. But they didn’t. Instead they buried the lede.

I won’t speculate on the motivations behind the change. I just hope future unannounced changes go in our favour, and not the other way around.