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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Feb. 23 | Unfold Times

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Medical doctors and nurses wait to obtain China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a group vaccination centre in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Entrance-line staff and other people thought-about excessive danger are first in line to be vaccinated within the territory. (Peter Parks/The Related Press)

Frustration grows amongst seniors and caregivers over Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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Sam Meister is 98 years previous, and he is livid on the Ontario government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan that’s forcing seniors like him to stay segregated.

“I want to be a free man,” Meister mentioned. “I want to be a person that may transfer round and see household. … I solely see inside the home.”

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Meister nonetheless lives within the dwelling he purchased along with his spouse within the Nineteen Eighties in Toronto’s north finish. His spouse died years in the past and he now lives along with his caregiver, Marizel Evangelista, who solely leaves sporadically when groceries can’t be delivered. She hasn’t been dwelling together with her household in almost a yr. Neither of them has been in a position to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Part Considered one of Ontario’s inoculation plan included seniors in long-term care properties, however not these dwelling within the normal group. If Meister lived in one other province he might have been vaccinated by now, however Ontario deemed seniors dwelling in the neighborhood to be a decrease precedence than important staff — that’s, till the province modified course simply final week.

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Now, Ontario says seniors aged 80 and above will get vaccinated subsequent, earlier than important staff, however the wait will nonetheless be not less than just a few weeks.

Meister’s physician, Samir Sinha, is director of geriatrics at Sinai Well being System and the College Well being Community. He has been advocating for the Ontario authorities to vary course and he is grateful it has, however he mentioned that seniors dwelling of their properties ought to have been nearer to the entrance of the road for inoculations from the start.

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“That is completely the proper factor to do, and it is frankly lengthy overdue,” Sinha mentioned. “Age is the best danger issue for getting sick and dying from COVID-19, in order that must be thought-about when administering vaccines.”

It is a scenario that hasn’t been a problem in different provinces, most of that are following the advice of the Nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). This federal group units greatest practices, and says seniors above 70 years of age (not 80, as in Ontario) ought to be immunized subsequent.

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Sinha estimates that round 120,000 seniors in Ontario’s long-term care properties and retirement properties have been vaccinated thus far. Below Ontario’s present plan, vaccinations for these over 80 within the normal inhabitants will start in March. Relying on the provision, some estimate it might take till July to inoculate this age group.

Sinha mentioned Ontario ought to be following NACI’s advice. He additionally mentioned seniors in the neighborhood ought to have been prioritized even earlier than medical professionals like himself, who’ve a considerably decrease likelihood of dying from the virus.

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“My likelihood of dying from COVID-19 is lower than one per cent, Sam’s is 25 per cent,” Sinha mentioned. “So if there was one vaccine, the place do you go and have the largest influence? Folks like Sam. That is precisely what the science says it’s best to do.”

From The Nationwide

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Travellers coming into Canada by air are actually required to rearrange a three-day lodge keep to await the results of a COVID-19 take a look at, however there’s frustration round various prices and learn how to e-book a room. 1:57

IN BRIEF

Quebecers born in 1936 and earlier to get COVID-19 vaccine subsequent as province ramps up marketing campaign

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Quebec’s COVID-19 vaccination marketing campaign is slowly ramping up, with people born in 1936 and earlier within the normal inhabitants in a position to get pictures as quickly as subsequent week.

Premier François Legault made the announcement throughout Tuesday afternoon’s COVID-19 briefing at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The atrium of the stadium, as soon as dwelling to the Montreal Expos, has been transformed right into a vaccination web site.

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The province’s first COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Quebec on Dec. 14, and the inoculation marketing campaign has since centered on residents in long-term care properties and personal seniors’ properties, in addition to health-care staff.

Thus far, greater than 350,000 Quebecers have obtained pictures, accounting for lower than 4 per cent of the inhabitants. The tempo of the province’s vaccination efforts has garnered criticism, together with from Ottawa.

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In current weeks, the province has been prepping a number of vaccination websites, together with the one at Olympic Stadium and the Palais des congrès, a conference centre in downtown Montreal. The marketing campaign will start in Montreal, however Quebecers throughout the province could make appointments as of Thursday.

Read more on Quebec’s vaccination expansion

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COVID-19 hit federal prisons twice as onerous in 2nd wave of pandemic, report says

COVID-19 has hit federal prisons twice as hard in the second wave of the pandemic in comparison with the primary, in response to a brand new report from Canada’s correctional investigator that recommends an inmate vaccination technique to forestall extra outbreaks behind bars.

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In a report launched Tuesday, Ivan Zinger famous there have been 880 infections between November 2020 and Feb. 1, 2021, up from 361 circumstances through the first wave of the pandemic. The variety of establishments reporting outbreaks additionally jumped, from six within the first wave to 13 within the second.

In all, about 10 per cent of the federal jail inhabitants has been contaminated with COVID-19, in comparison with simply two per cent of Canada’s normal inhabitants.

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Zinger recommends that Correctional Service Canada “develop and instantly make public” its plans and priorities for a nationwide inmate vaccination technique. He mentioned the preliminary provide of vaccines allotted to this point, which represents lower than 5 per cent of the inmate inhabitants, is “an vital first step in defending probably the most weak and people at highest danger of extreme illness consequence behind bars.”

Although lively circumstances are actually right down to a couple of dozen, Zinger mentioned he is involved in regards to the influence of ongoing restrictive measures and prolonged lockdowns on inmate bodily and psychological well being. Included in his suggestions is a name for Public Security Minister Invoice Blair to discover alternate options to incarceration and to “tackle the failings of Canada’s ageing, antiquated and dear federal prisons.”

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Read more on Zinger’s recommendations

Low-wage earners hit hardest by pandemic job market

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The pandemic is hitting lower-wage jobs the hardest, with a current CIBC Economics report exhibiting that all the jobs misplaced within the nation final yr on account of the pandemic earned $27.81 an hour or much less. In keeping with Statistics Canada, the typical hourly wage charge for full- and part-time staff in 2020 was round $31 an hour.

The January report, written by CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal, used Statistics Canada information in regards to the pandemic’s influence on below-average wages. It didn’t embody the precise variety of jobs misplaced to the pandemic final yr. The nation misplaced 213,000 jobs in whole in January, in response to Statistics Canada and 63,000 in December, however gained 62,000 in November.

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The roles misplaced in January had been totally part-time and hit the retail sectors in Ontario and Quebec significantly onerous, as each provinces locked right down to fight the unfold of the virus.

The CIBC report famous that the statistics are much like recessions like that of the 2008-09 monetary disaster, with one stark distinction.

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Greater-income Canadians, these incomes $27.82 or extra per hour, “have skilled internet job positive aspects through the present disaster — an anomaly throughout a recession,” Tal wrote. “So the shock right here is that, not solely did high-wage earners not expertise job loss, however the truth is they’ve gained nearly 350,000 jobs over the previous yr.”

The pandemic is “a service-oriented disaster and that sector is populated by low-paying jobs,” Tal mentioned. “This can be a very irregular and asymmetrical disaster.”

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Read more about the pandemic’s effect on the job market

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Keep knowledgeable with the latest COVID-19 data.

THE SCIENCE

Are the vaccines efficient in opposition to all of the coronavirus variants of concern?

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We repeatedly reply your questions in regards to the pandemic. You may ship a query to [email protected], and we’ll reply as many as we will. We publish a number of solutions on-line and likewise put some inquiries to the consultants throughout The Nationwide and on Unfold Instances Community.

Each Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna say their COVID-19 vaccines look like efficient in opposition to two variants of concern first recognized within the U.Okay. and South Africa, primarily based on blood samples from individuals who’ve been vaccinated. However extra analysis is required on these two vaccines, whereas different candidates have already got some real-world information on their effectiveness in opposition to the variants.

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The excellent news is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 does not appear to mutate as a lot or as rapidly because the influenza virus that causes the flu. Even with the present, extra transmissible variants of concern, individuals who’ve been vaccinated aren’t falling severely ailing or dying from COVID-19 in giant numbers.

However to arrange in case that begins to occur, drug makers are already re-working their vaccines.

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Phil Dormitzer, one among Pfizer’s prime viral vaccine scientists, mentioned final week that his firm has already made a template for a prototype vaccine targeting the variant first recognized in South Africa.

The re-tooling work took on new urgency after South Africa paused its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after information from a small trial steered the vaccine didn’t defend in opposition to delicate to average sickness from the B1351 variant now dominant within the nation.

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Regardless of that, Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious illness doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, told Dr. Brian Goldman of CBC’s The Dose that he stays optimistic the present vaccines can struggle the coronavirus variants. That is as a result of 5 totally different vaccines have been submitted to Well being Canada for approval, Chagla mentioned, and every could play a task in controlling the variants.

“The perfect vaccine is the one which’s administered,” Chagla mentioned. “Each Canadian ought to be hopeful that they’ll get one among these vaccines, interval.”

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The medical trials of each Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech had been accomplished earlier than the variants of concern took off worldwide.

Dr. Noni MacDonald, a pediatrics professor at Dalhousie College in Halfax and a vaccine security researcher, mentioned as consultants acquire a extra detailed and complex perspective on how the COVID-19 vaccines work, they will additionally acquire a greater understanding of what varieties of safety they provide.

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Learn solutions to different questions in our latest instalment.

AND FINALLY…

Meet two nurses engaged on COVID-19 vaccination groups within the N.W.T.

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Ella Aitken moved to the Northwest Territories in December from Victoria to be a part of the territory’s immunization group. (Anna Desmarais/CBC )

Two nurses flew to Nahanni Butte, N.W.T., early Friday morning with solely their baggage and a gray freezer filled with Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

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The nurses had been one among a sequence of front-line groups making up the territory’s COVID-19 immunization response team — affectionately nicknamed CIRT on their matching T-shirts. They had been tasked with giving the second dose of vaccine to those that’d already been given the primary dose, in addition to answering any questions for these nonetheless contemplating getting the vaccine.

Head nurse Sheila Laity mentioned she was in “semi-retirement” when COVID-19 hit, working odd shifts as an orthopedic nurse and within the emergency room at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife. After studying in regards to the territory’s vaccine plan in December, Laity mentioned she reached out to the territory to see in the event that they wanted any assist.

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“It appeared like a very thrilling journey [and] a chance to be concerned in one thing that may have a significant influence.”

The vaccination clinic is a contented place to be, Laity mentioned, as a result of most who come listed here are “actually excited” to get their vaccine.

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Ella Aitken, 23, is among the different nurses on the Nahanni Butte group. The current graduate labored 12-hour shifts on the respiratory flooring of a hospital in Victoria through the first months of the pandemic. Considered one of her co-workers, who used to work within the N.W.T., advised Aitken in December they had been in search of nurses for the N.W.T.’s immunization group. So Aitken put her title ahead for the job.

Aitken’s mom spent just a few years of her childhood within the N.W.T. and stored mementos of that point, like a bear rug, of their dwelling. She wished to come back see the land her mom had advised her a lot about.

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“I’ve at all times felt a calling to the North,” she mentioned. “The whole lot simply fell into place and it labored out fairly effectively.”

Read more about the nurses contributing to N.W.T.’s vaccination efforts

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Discover out extra about COVID-19

For full protection of how your province or territory is responding to COVID-19, visit your local Unfold Times site.

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See the answers to COVID-19 questions requested by CBC viewers and readers.

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Nonetheless in search of extra data on the pandemic? Attain out to us at [email protected] when you have any questions.

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