INVITE CORONA VIRUS TO TRAVEL

 

LATEST NEWS: Canada government will very soon loosen travel restrictions and open borders with the United States, where now – as we speak – many States experience new outbreaks of this corona virus Delta variant. Mr. Trudeau, Canada, besides opening borders in July, will introduce further loosening of travel restrictions for international travel by September.

[ https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fully-vaccinated-americans-can-travel-to-canada-starting-in-mid-august-01626403456 ]

Largely due to pressure by the corporations who rely on travel and tourism: Airlines, cruise ships and related industry. [ https://globalnews.ca/news/8028480/covid-19-pressure-mounts-to-reopen-borders-as-montreals-tourism-industry-continues-to-struggle/ ]

What will be the result ? [same as experienced in several countries in Europe] – as confirmed by an inside source a week ago , doctors are “doctoring – falsifying” vaccination passports to allow vacation travel among countries. [ https://www.dw.com/en/security-flaws-uncovered-in-eu-vaccination-passport/a-58129016 ]. Big bucks can be made now (for example, among others, by corrupt doctors or medical facilities), falsifying vaccination certificates.

FULLY VACCINATED DOES NOT MEAN you can NOT CARRY THE VIRUS. AND PASS IT ON.

DELTA variant, one of the more dangerous (and of concern) variants of the corona virus, now finding its way around the world. As mentioned before: VACCINATION and VIRUS are two sides of the issue of “protect yourself” and “protect against infection caused by others.” [ https://renataveritasopinion.com/2021/06/25/covid-19-vaccination-and-the-virus/ ] Why is it so difficult to understand that vaccination alone does not provide protection against getting the virus, or spreading it.

COVID-19 Delta variant and travel

SARS-CoV-2 variants – dangers of loose travel restrictions. DELTA variance, one of the more dangerous (and of concern) variants of the corona virus, now finding its way around the world. As mentioned before: VACCINATION and VIRUS are two sides of the issue of “protect yourself” and “protect against infection caused by others.” [ https://renataveritasopinion.com/2021/06/25/covid-19-vaccination-and-the-virus/ ]

Why is it so difficult to understand that vaccination alone does not provide protection against infection.

The new, more dangerous Delta variance is now traveling around the world, together with many happy travelers. [ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant-info.html%5D. This variant of he SARS-CoV-2 virus is more easily transmissible. This is precisely the reason why travel restrictions should not be loosened or eliminated.

Canada receives travelers from all over the world. Many are family members or Canadian citizens, and arriving from countries with a high proportion of those infected with the new more transmissible Delta variant. [ https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/travel-restrictions-exemptions.html ]. Even our British Columbia government have recently loosened restrictions about mask wearing, opening restaurants and other facilities, where virus transmissions can easily occur. And Travel – one of the main sources for disease transmission, importing dangerous virus variants. Most infections occur within closed groups, families, and people with close contact to each other. Frankly, I could foresee this months ago.

Still seems, the only protection is self-isolation.

[ https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports ]

COVID-19 vaccination and the virus

The virus causing this disease does not always easily show itself in the form of marked symptoms. As everybody’s immune system is different. As now more and more people get vaccinated against that disease, NOT the virus, it is obvious that their immune system has been strengthened by the vaccines.

Meaning that any symptoms – if those who are vaccinated, but may still carry this virus – are not easily visible. Therefore, all shops in Canada, British Columbia and other provinces, still require wearing a mask inside a store, and inside a building, and inside any closed spaces.

Some people never get this.

Today I was at my building supply store in Victoria. Wearing a mask, and standing in line at the cashiers. In front of me a customer lady was busy paying, taking her time, but wearing no mask. And talking at length to the poor cashier man, who may not say anything, in order not to loose customers. Noticing that everybody else wears a mask, as per sign at the entrance door, she turns to me (I am standing several meters distance) and says: I am vaccinated. Dangerous behavior, that is all I can say.

This is precisely the reason that I wear my mask and I keep my distance, to protect myself. Despite the fact that most people by now are vaccinated, myself included twice. Does not mean much !

INVESTMENTS – BAD and GOOD

BAD INVESTMENT

As said before, one of the worst investments is condominium ownership, more to the point – purchasing a unit in an older condo building or one that is badly built, or worse – not situated in a good location.

Why ? Depreciation. Buildings always over time depreciate in value, while land appreciates. [Not always, but hopefully so]. The older a condo building gets, the more its needs repairs, maintenance costs are increasing, and eventually large projects need to be done to the building. Most financial operations – unless massive increases in owners’ fees are practiced – do not have sufficient funds to pay for large construction projects. That’s where SPECIAL LEVIES come in. The money collected cannot appreciate in those accounts. Especially now, with interest rates being so low. In addition, more condo corporations than not are likely to mishandle funds (using money for projects that are not necessary, while others are neglected.)

In summary: Unless an investment into a condominium is purely based on speculation (quick buy, quick sell in a hot market), owning and living at length in a condo can become costly.

GOOD INVESTMENT

Whether an investment turns out good or bad is purely dependent on the current economy, situation, location. [Of course, one can always ‘wait it out’ – “don’t wait too long and pass away over it, though”.]. Almost seems, that good investments – now and for a long while into the future – are DONATIONS, DONATIONS – mostly online.

I thought, I saw it all, but there is daily some other scheme popping up of how to sift money from unsuspecting media users. What we call : “auf die Tränendrüsen drücken” – meaning: During bad times, getting worse by the minute, develop a website – or use a tech to write one up for you or buy one ready made – and invent some event that could make users cry hot tears – and collect money through your website. NOW IS THE TIME, Folks !

COVID-19 Vaccination

It is now already March 2021 and virus infections have again picked up. Too many new infections world wide. Largely due to mutations of this virus. Meanwhile I learned much more about primarily how vaccinations could protect against this pandemic disease.

There still is so much to learn about this, especially if vaccines will be effective and for how long. For the various vaccines that have now been approved by governments, it is the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines which according to the experts and the Pharma industry require two shots, preferably given within a time frame of 21 to 42 days.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html

The ready supply of vaccines is foremost on governments’ minds. Most important. And because it can not always be guaranteed, some governments have decided to extend the period between the first and second injection, up to 16 weeks, that is 112 days.

As I will have my vaccination in several days, I was concerned about this. My question was:”How effective is the (double-dose) vaccine, under these circumstances, and would it not be better, NOT to have any vaccination, if I can not have the second shot ?”

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/12/18/coronavirus-vaccine-single-dose-debate

[NOTE. If the second shot is 112 days after the first, then it can be inferred that the second shot will or could not be given at all. Simple logistic. Alternatively, during the wait period for he second shot, government policy may change and it can be given earlier.]

Therefore, my decision is now: Get this injection when I am scheduled. Hoping that the vaccine comes from a reliable, non-expired and properly stored batch.

{Another little aside from this is, that makes me believe my immune system is pretty good, for my age. I survived a serious virus outbreak on a cruise ship in September 2015, Princess Cruises (Norovirus). Vancouver – Hawaii and return. At that time I had been one of the few who walked off the ship Vancouver Harbour, no symptoms, yet. But, during the bus trip from Vancouver to the ferry for Victoria, BC, I got sick. Coming home, then isolated myself for several weeks and survived. [ https://renataveritashistory.com/2015/10/10/norovirus-cruises-star-princess/ ]}

INVESTMENTS – online portfolios

A reliable way to invest is first and foremost – do your homework. Research: which companies to trust, which investments are stable, and the older you get, how to avoid losses, and how to look forward. From a certain age on, I cannot possible look forward to over 2 years (fixed investments) – and to over 10 years – for secured holding. After years of now managing my own portfolio via a direct brokerage pension account, I have learnt how to make the best of my investment mix at an average return rate of 4%. But working on it regularly, and follow world events which always influence portfolios.

BONDS – I had various excellent bonds, in the past, they all expired, and that market does not hold up anymore with returns of over 6%. GUARANTEED CERTIFICATES – I have a few, one pays 3.6%, not so bad, average expected by all big Banks is now from 0.6% to 2% (past, for 3 years). All such instruments need a minimum of $5,000 investment. The older you get, the shorter the term investment period. STOCKS and EQUITIES – I found a good way to invest in Sectors: ETF – Exchange Traded Funds. A good way buying units in a sector. Examples: MINING & MINERALS, HIGH DIVIDEND, BONDS, REAL ESTATE, HEALTH CARE. For 2020 – good choices. For 2021 also INFRASTRUCTURE.

Because of my low pension income, and the need to rely on my own RRIF portfolio, therefore look for ETFs which pay monthly distributions and also have a low MER (Management Expense Ratio). I never speculate, never have and never will. The best, yet, when I trade online, it costs a minimum – ETFs do not cost commission. Last, not least, markets – what goes down, must come up again. Thanks to the speculators and global politics.

INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFER

UPDATE April 2021

Canadian bank draft sent on March 10, 2021 by postal service from Victoria, BC to Germany, arriving Frankfurt Airport March 17, 2021, then held up in customs (?), finally arriving April 7, 2021, in Berlin – 21 business days. Not too bad ! My son who lives in Europe told me that some mail took up to one year. Therefore – it is apparently not a good idea to do any international money transfer to any countries [the United States may be the exception ?], but rather transfer funds online. In the end, transfer costs may amount to the same.

When sending a bank draft by Canada Post, special delivery for tracking purposes, WARNING – during the world wide pandemic lock downs occur that may include postal services. My bank draft mailed via Canada Post on March 10 to Berlin, Germany, has never arrived, yet.

One thing I learned, (besides “you cannot really trust any bank”) unless you spend hours researching on the Internet how money (or funds) are transferred from point A to point B, and more importantly – what extra charges are taken by each INTERMEDIARY BANK in between your bank (point A) and the payee’s bank (point B). Remember, your own bank, even if it is the largest, will not disclose this to you. You will have to dig deep for it.

CASE IN POINT. Each year I need to transfer income tax payments to Europe, where I started working, having had income, contributing to the government social insurance, and now receive a small pension. Back to banking business: What is the best and cheapest way to pay these annual amounts ? As my online bank account does not allow certain money transfers which are commercial – especially to a large government – my Canadian Bank must do this for me. My bank advertises a fee of C$6 for any amounts under $1,000. [ https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/banking-services/international-money-transfer.html ]. What they forget to mention is, that the funds may first go to an INTERMEDIARY BANK in Europe. That bank may take another hefty fee. While my bank here in Canada will not be responsible for any extra charges, once the transfer has been processed. In my case, for a small amount for under C$1,000, the bank in Europe charged an additional Euro20, equal to C$30 m/l. That is too expensive. [ https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/062515/what-difference-between-correspondent-bank-and-intermediary-bank.asp ]

Buying a draft in Euro currency at my bank and then mail to the (government) recipient in Europe would cost me: C$8.50 for an amount under $1,000 funds. [ https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/banking-services/bank-draft.html ]. Sending this bank draft by mail probably needs special secure mail. Check this out: [ https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-draft-td-canadatrust-royalbank-rbc-bmo-cibc-canada-banking-cash-cheques-1.4457823 ]. From Canada international, better use registered mail and hope for the best. [ https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/personal/sending/letters-mail/registered-mail.page ]

HOMELESSNESS

The concept of homelessness. Meaning, a person living in the street, out in the open and does not have a specific address or dwelling. (definition = without a fixed dwelling, as per Wikipedia). I stand corrected. Being that most dwellings have become more or less unaffordable for regular (working, having a job and/or a family to support) citizens, no wonder that those who decided to live in the street – rather than look for a job or even irregular work – are without a dwelling.

Standing corrected again: In Victoria BC alone there are around seven major shelters with around 100 beds (and more in the planning) for those who decided it is easier to live in the street and beg for money than to put the effort in to find some work opportunities. Work is abundant. The “homeless” shelters provide food and bedding. Health care is free. For up-to-date stats: [ https://victoriahomelessness.ca/ ]

Canada is a cold country in general, not always, not anymore, not everywhere. Summer heat can go up to 30C or over in areas. On the Pacific Side where I live now for almost 20 years (compared to many years in Alberta – often down to minus 40C), the weather is milder throughout the year, but more rain and wind. That’s why we get more people here from across Canada, Canadians who mostly have family elsewhere in Canada, drifted in here and remained. Becoming HOMELESS. For example Vancouver, Strahcona Park, turned into a “tent city” of 400. For more: [ https://bc.ctvnews.ca/homelessness-in-vancouver-council-considers-plan-for-encampment-amid-calls-for-its-closure-1.5137751 ].

This homeless concept strikes me as controversial. What is a home ? A home is where your family is and where you grew up. Where your country is of which you are/or where a citizen. One thing I noted is, that observing the “street people” I never met one, other than a Canadian, and a Caucasian. Mostly they are also men. On the West Coast, people who arrive here from other parts of Canada and declare themselves homeless mostly have a home elsewhere, where their families are. [In contrast: in the German language we have two concepts: (1) Obdachlos = (without a roof) = homeless; (2) Heimatlos = (without a home, country, = without a country, without a family, without anything.]

I myself am of the second kind. My country got totally destroyed during WWII, most of my family got killed. I was also homeless several times, having had to live in an old car for up to three months, on a different continent North America, no family, just my little boy with me. Not a penny from any government, or any shelter or a pennies’ worth of anything. Despite the fact that I worked professionally since 1955 (first in Europe many years, many countries), then since arriving in North America (USA, graduate studies M.Sc. program Syracuse University; then Canada, arriving here circumstantially).

But I found a job immediately (several days after arriving here as Landed Immigrant, and work, working my way “up again” (Alberta oil industry). And the good part ? I never begged anybody for money. Nor, have I ever received one penny from any government (neither unemployment insurance, nor any subsidies), that can be considered a (not earned) ‘handout’.

A few images showing homeless people, and myself with son traversing USA in our HOBOMOBILE, living in it for months.

CASH IS KING – household debts

CASH IS KING

not only that, it also is QUEEN and all the other assorted royals. In other words, if forced into a situation of whether to use your own cash for a necessary cost (one that cannot be avoided) or to instead take on a loan from a Bank, choose using your own cash. According to this, and compared to the statistics on average Canadian household debt loads [ https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/statistics-canada-debt-1.5609510 ], I am not only KING but in this case also QUEEN. No mortgage (thanks, Bank, but no thanks), no vehicle, no loan for anything.

Example: An older condominium building requires a number of substantial renovation projects, amounting to over one million dollars. Each condo owner must contribute (in six monthly installments) a certain amount of cash. Due and payable at the start of each month. If not paid, the strata company (who manages our property) takes 10% interest on what is owed and unpaid. Bad news for all those whose condominiums are already mortgaged (maybe, to the hilt), or those who simply do not have the needed cash when due. Mostly, those larger renovation projects draw out over a long period, during which Banks are all too happy to offer loans. It sounds nice and enticing, especially when loan rates are low. Even if the Bank of Canada rate is only 2.45%, the mortgage rates are around 4% (or higher). However, since our Canadian Banking system is conservative and well regulated, mortgages must be secured. Means, a debt must be registered against a property title.

Imagine I only need $10,000. I am still saddled with the mortgage/loan registration costs for about at least $500 – legal, document, registration costs. I refused the Bank offer of a (short-term) loan, even if the interest rates were very attractive. Why ? because of the mortgage document and registration costs (to register a loan and de-register again); these costs are not refunded.

Instead, I am using all my CASH savings for this enormous building renovation project. Lucky, I had some savings. How easy it is to fall into the debt trap.

Likewise, what should be paid off first ? when money is scarce. The credit card ! In fact, consumers who cannot afford a credit card, should not have one. Food for Thought: Most household debts can be attributed to the rigorous commercial advertising for (needed, or not needed) products, especially automobiles.

COVID-19 Mask or no mask

Mask ? of course, I would say, to protect yourself. Against those who have the virus and do not know, yet. Or those, who simply do not care if they spread the virus. Simple as that. Despite that some people may think that masks are silly or are only worn by those who are actually sick.

Since this world-wide epidemic (turned pandemic) has started it was clear that this virus – as most virus attacks are – is also air borne. People walking in the street, talking. Always talking. Breathing and spraying the virus infected air around, or worse, inside closed spaces, head to head, breathing the virus into each others faces.

For me, it was also quite clear that the regulations (keeping social distancing to each other at least 2m apart) is long not enough. From the start, since March 2020, I keep a distance of 5m. In the street, and try hard inside a store. Lucky, I live alone, no other person ever inside my home. Try to avoid public transit. When I need the bus, wear a mask. Inside the store, wear a mask. Washable, every day wash not only hands, groceries, all containers, but gloves, mask, and after the odd bus ride all my clothes.

So, when some one in the street passes me and might assume I am sick wearing a mask, then that is not true: I do this to protect myself from getting infected through the air. Because once infected a virus is in your blood, will travel and multiply. Since we do not have regular blood tests (to test immune system responses to such a virus) or a well functioning health care system to test for the virus itself, or get treatment once one is infected and sick. the only way to stay alive is: BE CAREFUL, PROTECT YOURSELF.