The ski resort has become the epicenter for British Columbia's outbreak of the P1 variant. Cameron wears photo.
The arrival of spring usually marks longer days, sunnier weather, and all kinds of costumes and debauchery for ski resort communities. This year, however, Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is a drastically different scene. It’s a ghost town with deserted slopes and lifts and gondolas sitting silently. The resort was ordered closed this past March when provincial authorities discovered that the Brazilian P1 variant of the coronavirus was running rampant in the community. As a whole, British Columbia is experiencing the largest P1 outbreak outside of Brazil.
There is growing concern around the P1 variant since it is highly infectious, more fatal among young individuals, and can reinfect victims. Out of the 974 P1 infections in Canada, 200 are linked to Whistler. According to Vancouver Coastal Health, this is the third wave of COVID-19 infections to hit the resort town during the pandemic. Like previous waves, the infections are mostly occurring among adults 20 to 39 years of age.
However, authorities are still confused as to how the variant arrived in the resort community in the first place, especially considering that 84 of the original cases had never traveled outside of Canada. Hospitality, maintenance workers, and resort staff have been hardest hit by the virus, and many argue that the housing shortage hasn’t helped the spread. Most residents live in shared housing, and with multiple roommates, it’s harder to isolate the spread of the virus. For now, the Whistler community is trying its best to ride out this wave and curtail infections.
China has canceled their Everest climbing season, and Nepal's situation around COVID-19 is deteriorating rapidly. | Wikipedia photo. This year’s mountaineering season on Everest seems to be about two separate stories, one of extremely limited access to the Chinese side of the mountain, and one of the typical crowds on the Nepalese side. China has now officially canceled mountaineering access to the north, largely as a precaution against a raging COVID-19 outbreak in the Nepalese base camp.
Two climbers died on Everest earlier this week, with the usual crowds and a COVID-19 outbreak in basecamp complicating this year's climbing season. | Wikimedia photo. The Everest climbing season officially began earlier this month, and with the first teams summitting just a few days ago tragically came the first fatalities of the season. Two climbers (a Swiss-Pakistani and an American) were reported to have died on the upper mountain from altitude sickness on Wednesday. The guiding company
Fact: Climbing is a popular sport. And it’s gotten even more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. In places like Yosemite, the mecca of North American big wall climbing, that popularity has led to ever-increasing amounts of climbers on multi-day routes like those on El Cap or Half Dome. In response to those growing crowds, and the impact they have on the walls they climb (read: leaving poop and gear on routes) the National Park Service is testing out a new system requiring all overnight