Yesterday my spouse said that we need to be both extra careful and hopeful. We can’t get in a car accident or appendicitis or anything that would require hospital care. There’s simply no capacity because of COVID.

I wish this had happened earlier but better late than never.
On July 11, all restrictions were lifted. I mostly go to work or run essential errands. I always wear a mask despite being fully vaccinated. We’ve gone out for dinner or drinks a handful of times and sat outside each time. Yet everywhere (except work) the scene is the same.
The majority of people are unmasked. Last Friday I picked up a bottle of wine. I was the only masked person in the long TGIF line at the liquor store. Distancing was not observed at all. A person in front of me merrily told another customer she was stocking up for a party.
But I can’t blame my neighbors for not masking. Since July 11, the provincial government has allowed this, leaving it to businesses to gently request optional mask wearing. Besides blaming the people, rather than the policies, seldom gives people confidence in public health.
I’m very glad the premier has taken these necessary steps. I wish they’d happened sooner. I wish that they came with a positive message about vaccination rather than blaming people who have not yet been vaccinated.
Leaders: don’t wait until your health care system is straining at the seams to act. Implement sensible restrictions (masks, limited capacity, etc). Mandate vaccination when possible. Increase access to vaccines. Don’t blame your constituents for policy failures.

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More from @angie_rasmussen

2 Sep
My excellent colleague @akelvinlab has this right: we will have more variants as long as SARS-CoV-2 continues to replicate.

Also worth pointing out that we don't know much yet about C.1.2, but we do know that it's not "mutating faster." That wouldn't even necessarily be bad.
C.1.2 is an emergent lineage of variants, meaning it's actually a cluster of several different variants. Here's the preprint describing it, by @CathrineSch07 and colleagues:
medrxiv.org/content/10.110…
Misinterpretation of panel C in the above figure led to 🚨MUTATES TWICE AS FAST 🚨 insanity a few days ago. That's wrong.

The amino acid substitution rate (new mutations that result in a change in a protein) is on par with other emerging variants.
Read 19 tweets
31 Aug
Just came back to Canada after being a groomsman in the wedding of one of my dearest friends. This trip was a joyous occasion but also a stark reminder of how badly the US has failed in its COVID responses, and continues to fail.
1. US requires an antigen test to reenter. In Canada, you can get a company to come to your home to administer a proctored test at your convenience for about $75 US. We were asked to show our test results multiple times at YXE & YVR. US CBP did not ask for our test results.
2. At the wedding, I learned to my chagrin that there were going to be some eligible attendees who refused vaccination. The wedding was fully outdoors, but I was still concerned. I thought maybe I could provide rapid tests for all guests as a gift to the couple.
Read 13 tweets
19 Aug
So here's the final chapter in my thread just answering the lab leak community's "just-asking-questions" questions.

These threads all concern our paper exploring the evidence, fresh out of peer review today in @CellCellPress. Give it a look!
cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092…
But first, catch up with thread 1 here, where I present the evidence for SARS-CoV-2 zoonotic origin:
And thread 2 here, where I present evidence against lab origin, which I'll continue here:
Read 29 tweets
19 Aug
Okay, as promised here's the second part of this thread. Earlier today, I covered the evidence that points toward zoonotic origins. Now let's go over the evidence that points AWAY from laboratory origins.

Here's the paper, out today in @CellCellPress!
cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092…
Here's a link to the first thread in case you missed it. Like that thread, what this lacks in GIF-underscored innuendo will be hopefully balanced by a critical appraisal of the actual evidence.
And let's just get this out of the way: YES, Shi Zhengli's lab at WIV had isolated 3 bat CoVs from field samples. Dr. Shi also stated on the record these experiments were done in BSL-2 containment.

Could an accident have happened? Sure. Accidents have happened before.
Read 24 tweets
19 Aug
Today our review of the evidence for the origins of SARS-CoV-2 graduated from a pre-print to peer-reviewed pre-proof in @CellCellPress.

Can we rule out a "lab leak"? No, but if we objectively follow the evidence, it leads us away from that hypothesis.
cell.com/cell/fulltext/…
In anticipation of the inevitable bad faith threads and Medium posts that will ensue from the more conspiracy-minded in the origins world, I'll preemptively address some common questions. But please do read the entire thing:
cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092…
Let's start with the sole affirmative evidence that suggests a lab leak.

SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is also in Wuhan. They study bat CoVs at WIV. SARS-CoV-2 could have been one of those viruses.

That's it. Everything else is speculative.
Read 26 tweets
17 Aug
@jwgale has written a fantastic piece on the live animal trade in Wuhan.

While the lab leak contingent has blithely dismissed this origin hypothesis, there’s increasingly some really compelling signals that this deserves closer consideration.
bloomberg.com/news/features/…
The common refrain from lab leak proponents is “why haven’t we found the intermediate species like we did with SARS?”

Unlike with SARS, by the time WHO investigators showed up, the animals were long gone. But it’s clear they were there. Including many SARS2-susceptible species. Image
If you are into cover-ups, then consider this: the wildlife trade is illegal but highly lucrative. I’d argue that failing to mitigate the known* risk posed by a multi-billion dollar industry is more scandalous than a lab accident.

*this is exactly how SARS emerged 20 yrs ago Image
Read 4 tweets

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