The Covid Briefing Bingo Zombie

It me, kittens.



Here we are again, at the quite civilized hour of slightly after 4:30pm, and while I feel the Covidian ennui which shall forever scar this year in memory, I also feel seen. They finally moved the briefing to a time I won’t sleep through it. Although it doesn’t mean I feel less than zombie-like. It is 2020, after all. Vitality would be positively inappropriate!

I am but a child of my time, as was the Prince of Denmark. He was VERY 2020, was Hamlet.

Today’s briefing bingo is brought to you by the Bela Lugosi movie White Zombie, and it’s a cracking good ‘un! The very first Zombie movie ever, and still one of the best. The sound effects of the scene in the sugar mill alone will chill you to the core. The heroine is a complete dip, it must be admitted, and so is the hero for the first third of the film, But so were most people back then. The acting is very good indeed, with multiple memorable characters and the direction and script top notch.

From the YouTube notes: The first zombie film… ever! Bela Lugosi stars, in arguably his best performance next to Dracula, as Murder Legendre, voodoo master and keeper of the undead. Madge Bellamy, Robert Frazer, John Harron and Joseph Cawthorn co-star. Directed by Victor Halperin. Followed by the Lugosi-less “Revolt Of The Zombies” (1936). The film “White Zombie” and related promotional materials are public domain.

And for those who are still playing, rather than merely reading these commentaries, here are your game cards:

And our zombie-less (unless you count jaded civil servants in the background) CPAC video, which YouTube tells me currently has 107 viewers staring haplessly at a desk, an empty chair, and a row of carefully arranged Canadian flags.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill following his virtual meeting with Canada’s first ministers. Health transfers and vaccine distribution were on top of the agenda. The prime minister also provides an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, as well as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Major-General Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada and head of the country’s vaccine distribution efforts. Health Canada announced the previous day that it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and Canada’s first shipment of doses is expected to arrive the week of December 14. An initial batch of up to 249,000 doses will arrive before the end of 2020.

Shout-out to the reporter reading an actual, physical newspaper while waiting for the briefing. Way to fly the flag!

Mark your “Reporter sits in front row” square, because somebody is sitting in the far right-hand seat. Also your “Podium dressing” square for the white clipboard or whatever it is on the PM’s desk. I sense we are about to get charts.

And I note that every desk has a branded bottle of Safe Shield hand sanitizer, carefully arranged so the label faces front. A Quebec company, so mark your “Canadian business mentioned” because there’s more than one way to mention something. I hope their marketing person got a nice bottle of domestic bubbly or at least a 24 of craft ales.

And, as we are now almost half an hour into it with no signs of anything or anyone ministerial, let alone PRIME ministerial, mark your “Starts more than ten minutes late” square. That reporter from earlier has finished his entire paper and is now pacing around. Nice jacket.

252 people watching a video about the federal government’s Covid-19 response, a video with nothing whatsoever happening. Well, there’s a metaphor for ya. Okay, cheap shot but I had to take it. I need to fill the airwaves. The hungry, hungry airwaves.

The more I watch these briefings the more I think it’d be fun to get accredited and cover at least one in person. Even if I didn’t ask any questions but just got the back of my lavender-coloured head on camera for a second, Mother’s Ghost would still be proud. And my Tory aunt’s head would assplode.

“Assplode” IS TOO a word.

Big 2020 mood

Today’s caffeine selection is the afternoon-appropriate tea Lapsang Zhivago, a lapsang souchong or smoked Chinese tea from The Tea Store in Byward Market. And no, that’s not an affiliate link. Smells like a fireplace and tastes strong and smooth, even if you forget it in the kitchen and let it oversteep like I did. Mark your “I make coffee and forget it in the kitchen” square because hey, this sitting around waiting is boring and it’s all caffeine, amirite?


Okay, here we go. An hour late. Trudeau is catching us up on the things discussed at the meeting of First Ministers ie premiers, a list which you can find in this press release, with some handy quotes and statistics broken out below.

“We need to work together to fight COVID-19 and to keep people healthy, safe, and supported. Working with the provinces and territories, the Government of Canada will do whatever it takes to support Canadians through this crisis and build back better once the virus is beaten. ”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada


“Today, Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed for the premiers that the federal government will pay for 100 per cent of the cost of the vaccine. To help support Canadians, this also includes all logistics and transportation costs. The federal government remains committed to working collaboratively with the provinces and territories in the interests of all Canadians.”  

The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • To date, the Government of Canada’s total support during the pandemic includes $322 billion in direct measures to fight the virus and help people, and $85 billion in tax and duty deferrals.
  • As part of the Fall Economic Statement, the government is proposing additional investments to strengthen Canada’s health care system, including:
    • $1.5 billion to continue to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide warehousing and logistics support to rapidly deliver critical PPE and medical supplies to provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities, as well as to maintain the readiness of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile.
    • Up to $1 billion to establish a Safe Long-term Care Fund to help provinces and territories protect people in long-term care and support infection prevention and control.
    • Over $900 million to support the continued health response in Indigenous communities and to help ensure that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities can manage and control the virus, as well as the influenza season.
  • The Fall Economic Statement also outlined the federal government’s proposals to modernize the Fiscal Stabilization Program to provide a more effective backstop to provinces that face an extraordinary drop in revenues. This is expected to result in billions in additional support to provinces for 2020-21, based on current revenue projections by provinces. Proposed investments include nearly tripling the maximum payment to $170 per person for 2019-20 and 2020-21 Stabilization claims and allowing the maximum payment to grow thereafter in line with Canadian economic growth per person.
  • The Government of Canada has invested more than $1 billion in vaccine agreements, securing a domestic supply of up to 429 million doses, of seven promising vaccines – more than ten doses for every Canadian.

“Blue suit”, “Begins in French,” and “Mask” and “Facial Hair.” Yesterday the Pfizer vaccine was approved and 30,000 doses are expected to arrive in days. The federal government is funding the vaccine, the costs don’t have to come out of provincial or territorial budgets. And it’ll be free to all Canadians who want it. Obviously, mark “Vaccine” square.

Announces federal support program around vaccine safety around all vaccines which is based on Quebec’s program. “PPE” and “rapid tests” squares in play. Damn, no “Five Eyes” but we did get “G7” too bad it’s not a square. Was that “Donc?” Mark that square.

That is a snotload of French. A metric snotload.

Hey, who was tweeting while he was on-camera? Sup with that?

Shaaaaade. “I look forward to working with premiers who are ready…” Shaaaaaade. Somewhere, Kenney shudders, as if a sudden frost has fallen upon him.

“Whatever it takes, as long as it takes” paraphrased, but still mark the square. “This is just what Candians do” that counts as “Who we are.” And “Have your back” square too. And “Two Michaels”.

When did we get the sign language interpreters? I didn’t notice. Oh well, welcome!

Mark your “Dr. Tam’s red and black jacket” square. Oh, and Trudeau’s mask has a maple leaf, so mark “Maple Leaf Accessory” square.

They took away the podium dressing clipboard or whatever it was, so un-mark that square, sorry kittens.

And there is your very mild “Gesticulates” square. And “From the very beginning”, I’m surprised it took so long. Re-mark “Have your back” and “whatever it takes, as long as it takes” squares. And “Gesticulates”.

Mark your “Swaps out sign language interpreters.” I’m pretty sure they always only do 30 minutes and then get swapped.

“Thanks for the softball,” Trudeau is thinking to himself. Question about whether Canada will get all its doses BEFORE it helps supply vaccines to needy people in other countries. He reiterates that we have enough for Canadians and as Canadians this is just what we do, we help other people. Dude has visions of Secretary-Generaldom in his future, mark my words, and this question is worth its weight in gold. Or Bitcoin.

BTC has about the same weight as questions from the media these days. Maybe more.

Interesting question for Fortin about credible threats to the supply lines of vaccine in Canada, and in his cool military fashion he just says, basically, “There are credible threats to numerous supply chains in Canada and dealing with these is just what we do.”

Mark your very exciting “Drinks water” square. And your accursed “Wears brown shoes with blue suit” square. And that’s a wrap for today.

Meanwhile, in the US:


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