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52% of Canadians feel anxious about return to ‘normal’ after COVID-19: survey

STEPHANIE TAYLOR, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

More than half of Canadians feel somewhat anxious about going back to the way life was before it was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

Leger asked the question for a study done in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies.

Data shows 1,647 Canadians responded to a web survey from May 21 to 23, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because it was done online.

Respondents were asked whether returning to what life was like before the novel coronavirus was a source of anxiety for them, given how governments are announcing plans to reopen after more than a year of telling people to stay home.

The results show 52 per cent of those who responded reported feeling some level of anxiety, with those aged 18 to 24 showing the highest levels of unease at 68 per cent.

“Maybe some of it is related to work, maybe some of it is related to, ‘When we actually go back to normal, will it be safe? Will I feel comfortable around somebody not wearing a mask anymore?’” said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of the polling and marketing research firm Leger.

For others, he said, it could come down to thinking like, “Oh God, I have to invite the in-laws again.”

“There’s something about this new life during the pandemic that people actually sort of grew into, and potentially, sort of, maybe like,” Bourque said.

The findings come as vaccines that protect against COVID-19 go into the arms of more Canadians, thanks to a steadier flow of federal shipments arriving than seen early in the year.

With more inoculations comes planning from provinces and federal advice about when daily activities, like playing sports outside and eating at a restaurant, can be allowed again, along with kids going back to the classroom.

Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have each outlined plans to ease health restrictions through spring and summer in stages, according to how many people are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal officials are also fielding questions about how much longer the Canada-U. S. border will remain closed and what documentation Canadians might need to travel abroad, as well as vice versa for those entering the country.

Bourque suggested Leger’s research shows those in power would be wise to take a slower approach to reopening society, even as a post-COVID Canada seems to grow closer on the horizon.

“I would be extremely careful as to not sound over-joyous because that’s not the sentiment right now among Canadians.”

As for why young adults report feeling more anxious than other age groups about a return to normal, Bourque said it could be related to them being “the anxiety generation.”

Close to half of younger Canadians generally feel they suffer from some form of anxiety, he said, and so have more awareness of it and a greater willingness to name it than older residents.

Plus, for some in their 20s, their social life could be what makes them anxious.

“Potentially for younger Canadians who maybe have felt some form of isolation during the pandemic are probably weary about how will it be, how do I go back to the way things were,” said Bourque.

“‘I was not that popular before the pandemic, what will happen to me now?’ There might be a lot of that.”

A terrifying medical mystery in New Brunswick

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, when people started presenting with symptoms, local doctors and scientists wondered if the mysterious neurological disorder might be Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t anything else that we recognize, either.

And the symptoms are a long list that run from inconvenient to painful to life-altering and deadly. We don’t know what’s causing it, haven’t been able to treat it and—because of the pandemic—haven’t been able to fully research the places where it may have come from. What we do know is that it’s awful. And in New Brunswick it’s becoming more common.

GUEST: Amanda Coletta, The Washington Post

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Year of calls to ‘defund the police’ in Canada remain largely unanswered: activist

STEFANIE LASUIK | posted Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

WINNIPEG (CityNews) — As protesters across the country took to the streets following George Floyd’s death last summer, many Canadians began wondering if funds dedicated to police departments could be better spent elsewhere.

Calls to reallocate or completely withdraw funding from police forces gained impetus in the months following Floyd’s death — a movement that rippled across Canada and the United States.

“Take some of the funds away from that kind of programming and re-invest it into programs in the community that we know work,” said Syrus Marcus Ware, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto. “Housing works. Food works. Shelter works. Making sure that there are community centres and places for young people to go to.

“Those programs work. We know these things work, so why not re-invest in them.”

READ: Defund the police demonstrations being held across Canada (Aug. 29, 2020)

Advocates for defunding the police have asked for anywhere between 10 to 50 per cent of police budgets to be refunnelled into social programs.

One year later, they say their calls remain largely unanswered.

Police forces in Montreal, Edmonton and Winnipeg each received just over two per cent increases this year, with the latter two projecting about the same for 2022.

Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary froze their budgets, but Vancouver’s police board is now appealing that decision. They’re also asking for an annual three per cent increase for the following four years.

And the City of Toronto is projecting a five per cent increase for 2022.

Ware says it’s a trick in optics, and a costly one.

“It’s outrageous when we think about the way our police budget goes,” he said. “It’s almost a guarantee that they’re going to get an increase every year, despite whether or not they’ve earned the so-called increase. This is not a merit increase. This is just a guaranteed increase every year.”

Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth says he is open to some defunding, but not right away. Smyth says the city is far from stable and it would leave a gap in services.

“If we can get to a stable place where police aren’t required, absolutely,” said Smyth.
“But in the interim, I see it about partnerships and partnering with the service providers out there so they can do what they do safely and we can ensure a safe environment.”

READ: The truth about being a Black police officer

Earlier this year, in a CityNews exclusive collaboration, Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett sat down with three Black police officers. They said, ironically, that police leadership has been calling for more social service support for years because officers have involuntarily become the go-to for everything.

“Homelessness, drug addiction, unknown problems, everything defaults to the police service,” said Marc Andrews, deputy chief of the Peel Regional Police Service. “That’s because all the social service agencies have not been strengthened and given the capacity and capability to respond appropriately in our communities.”

According to a survey conducted last summer, 51 per cent of Canadians support the refunnelling of police funding while 49 per cent opposed it.

Ware believes the ‘defund the police’ movement’s momentum — in full force last year — hasn’t stopped since then.

“We are now officially in a revolutionary moment,” he said. “It’s not a one-time event. It’s a process. And so those uprisings are part of a series of uprisings that are going to continue, I think, until change is made, because people are ready right now for something different in their communities.”

He expects it to be a hot-button issue in the next federal election.

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

8:45 a.m.

Moderna says it will ask Canada to authorize its vaccine for kids between 12 and 17 years old after a study of its mRNA vaccine in teenagers shows it to be both safe and effective.

The Massachusetts-based vaccine maker says it will submit the study results to international regulators in early June.

The company says the study of 3,700 kids in that age group found no cases of COVID-19 among the kids who got two doses of the vaccine. The youth got the same size doses as adults, four weeks apart.

The company says there were no serious safety issues, and the side-effects mirrored those seen in adults, with headache, fatigue, pain and chills the most commonly reported issues after the second dose.

More than two dozen countries, including Canada, have greenlighted the vaccine for use in adults, but thus far Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine available in Canada for youth.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, May 20, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 21st, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 396,687 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,840,991 doses given. Nationwide, 1,529,111 people or 4.0 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 52,351.898 per 100,000.

There were 1,745,470 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 22,932,424 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86.52 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 33,964 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 253,790 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 484.673 per 1,000. In the province, 1.92 per cent (10,058) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 37,080 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 316,090 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 60 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 11,059 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 78,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 496.864 per 1,000. In the province, 7.66 per cent (12,156) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 93,105 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 59 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 60,793 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 463,526 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 474.974 per 1,000. In the province, 4.15 per cent (40,495) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 52,650 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 572,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 59 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 58,325 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 385,958 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 494.793 per 1,000. In the province, 4.46 per cent (34,753) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 54,450 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 470,385 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 60 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 93,314 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,636,679 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 541.88 per 1,000. There were 148,100 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 5,184,819 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 61 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 144,986 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,576,624 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 515.80 per 1,000. In the province, 3.23 per cent (473,759) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 1,041,910 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 8,885,735 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 60 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.27 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 13,581 new vaccinations administered for a total of 692,301 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 502.759 per 1,000. In the province, 6.11 per cent (84,141) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 73,710 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 833,580 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 61 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 4,777 new vaccinations administered for a total of 620,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 526.001 per 1,000. In the province, 4.37 per cent (51,559) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 83,580 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 720,695 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 61 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.06 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 40,866 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,312,821 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 525.397 per 1,000. In the province, 7.62 per cent (335,482) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 232,830 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,588,085 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 59 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 54,453 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,687,360 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 523.691 per 1,000. In the province, 2.71 per cent (138,908) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 12,970 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 3,105,610 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 61 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 169 new vaccinations administered for a total of 51,534 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,234.909 per 1,000. In the territory, 57.88 per cent (24,153) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 57,020 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 140 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.38 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 51,320 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,137.437 per 1,000. In the territory, 50.89 per cent (22,960) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 60,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 85.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 30,025 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 775.319 per 1,000. In the territory, 34.36 per cent (13,305) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 45,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 66.57 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canadians in Japan say the Olympics should be cancelled

HINA ALAM, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 21st, 2021

Canadian Jordan Dallaire-Gagné just wanted to be part of the largest sporting event in the world. Working or volunteering at the Tokyo Olympics was top of mind when the Montrealer moved to Japan a little over a year ago.

But Dallaire-Gagné said the Games should be cancelled as parts of the world face surging waves of COVID-19.

Dallaire-Gagné and several other Canadians living in Japan said sports are about camaraderie, cheering fans, full stadiums and a festive atmosphere that spills into the streets. Canadians in Japan were looking forward to cheering Team Canada in Tokyo.

The idea of mostly empty stadiums, devoid of foreign spectators, feels wrong, the Canadians said, adding the focus of the governments, not just in Japan but from countries sending their athletes, should simply be to get through COVID-19.

“I mean, it’s just the whole idea of participating,” Dallaire-Gagné said in an interview from Tokyo. “This is almost a once-in-a-lifetime event. I would have kept my ticket. I would say I was there.”

Calls to cancel the Olympics are growing. Anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent of Japanese residents in polls say it is their wish that the Games be cancelled.

The Olympics open on July 23 followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.

Dallaire-Gagné said it’s hard to look at the part of the city that is supposed to house the athletes because it seems to lack a sense of light and life.

“It’s just like basically a part of town that could be used as a zombie apocalypse movie set,” he said. “They’re just there. It’s just so sad.”

A 6,000-member Tokyo Medical Practitioners’ Association has also called for the Olympics to be cancelled in a letter sent last week to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa, and Seiko Hashimoto, the head of the organizing committee.

The Olympics and Paralympics will involve 15,000 athletes entering Japan, which has had its borders virtually sealed for more than a year.

Rebekkah Nyack, an undergraduate student at Temple University’s Japan campus, said she is worried about the spread of infection if the games go-ahead.

“Tokyo is such a dense city with so many people,” said the Canmore, Alta. resident, who is studying international affairs.

“If there’s a large outbreak there’s a higher chance of me getting (COVID-19) and people in my community getting it.”

Between one and two per cent of Japanese residents are fully vaccinated, and it’s unlikely that even the elderly population will be fully vaccinated before the Olympics end on Aug. 8.

Fans from abroad have already been banned, and Olympic organizers are expected to announce next month if local fans can attend in limited numbers — or not at all.

Nyack said that even though the Games are a “fantastic” thing to happen every four years, it is far more important right now to keep people safe.

The idea of largely empty stadiums is disheartening, she said.

“The sense of community the sports bring — it’s an important part right?” she asked.

“So, if you don’t have that then what’s the point?”

Jared Parales said if the Olympics are held, tickets are affordable, social distancing measures are comfortable and all precautions are taken, he may go and watch the Canadian volleyball team.

The Calgarian, who lives in Tokyo, said he’s seen some sports events go ahead with cardboard figures filling seats, but added it’s not the same as having screaming and cheering fans.

Ideally, he said he wants to see the Games cancelled.

“For Olympics, a lot of people love it,” he said.

“And I love sports. I love the Olympics. I want to see it happen, but I want to see it happen right and not right now.”

With files from The Associated Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, May 20, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 20th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

There are 1,342,388 confirmed cases in Canada.

Canada: 1,342,388 confirmed cases (61,608 active, 1,255,714 resolved, 25,066 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 4,248 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 162.1 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 36,595 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,228.

There were 48 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 301 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.95 per 100,000 people.

There have been 33,754,111 tests completed.

Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,212 confirmed cases (82 active, 1,124 resolved, six deaths).

There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 15.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 257,774 tests completed.

Prince Edward Island: 199 confirmed cases (14 active, 185 resolved, zero deaths).

There were five new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 8.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 155,951 tests completed.

Nova Scotia: 5,000 confirmed cases (1,262 active, 3,664 resolved, 74 deaths).

There were 83 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 128.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 703 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 100.

There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.56 per 100,000 people.

There have been 739,773 tests completed.

New Brunswick: 2,091 confirmed cases (117 active, 1,931 resolved, 43 deaths).

There were eight new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 14.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 67 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 10.

There was one new reported death Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.5 per 100,000 people.

There have been 326,617 tests completed.

Quebec: 364,980 confirmed cases (6,535 active, 347,387 resolved, 11,058 deaths).

There were 584 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 76.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,779 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 683.

There were eight new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 46 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.96 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,916,666 tests completed.

Ontario: 514,690 confirmed cases (23,416 active, 482,749 resolved, 8,525 deaths).

There were 1,588 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 158.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,278 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,183.

There were 19 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.86 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,666,825 tests completed.

Manitoba: 46,314 confirmed cases (4,550 active, 40,748 resolved, 1,016 deaths).

There were 402 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 329.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,174 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 453.

There were four new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 73.66 per 100,000 people.

There have been 754,351 tests completed.

Saskatchewan: 44,982 confirmed cases (1,786 active, 42,674 resolved, 522 deaths).

There were 141 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 151.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,279 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 183.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.29 per 100,000 people.

There have been 825,704 tests completed.

Alberta: 221,467 confirmed cases (18,813 active, 200,496 resolved, 2,158 deaths).

There were 908 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 425.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,832 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,119.

There were six new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 35 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.8 per 100,000 people.

There have been 4,419,872 tests completed.

British Columbia: 140,596 confirmed cases (4,953 active, 133,985 resolved, 1,658 deaths).

There were 521 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 96.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,373 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 482.

There were eight new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,644,363 tests completed.

Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (zero active, 82 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,129 tests completed.

Northwest Territories: 126 confirmed cases (17 active, 109 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 37.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 22,572 tests completed.

Nunavut: 634 confirmed cases (63 active, 567 resolved, four deaths).

There were four new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 160.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,438 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Does your home have dangerous levels of Radon?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, May 20th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, a comprehensive Canada-wide study found that Canada has some of the highest levels of radon in homes in the world. Roughly half the homes tested failed to meet WHO standards, and even by Canada’s more lenient standards, one in five were above the threshold of what’s considered safe. The prairie provinces scored worst in the country—but no region was immune.

Long-term impacts of radon exposure can lead to lung cancer—in fact it’s the second biggest cause of lung cancer behind smoking. So why don’t more Canadians know of this danger? Which homes are most vulnerable to high levels of radon? How can you easily test for it, and what can you do if your home is unsafe? As one researcher says, “This is an avoidable public health crisis.”

To learn more about radon exposure visit evictradon.org.

GUEST: Declan Keogh, Investigative Journalism Bureau (You can read the project by the IJB and the Toronto Star right here)

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Canada to study mixing-and-matching of COVID-19 vaccines

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, May 20th, 2021

A new Canadian study is set to begin, looking at the effects of “mixing-and-matching” COVID-19 vaccines in adults.

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and the Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group will assess the safety and effectiveness of using two different COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second dose, as well as the effects of increasing the interval between doses.

There are currently four COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada — Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZenca and Johnson & Johnson.

Several provinces have temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZenca vaccine due to rare blood clots in some recipients. That has heightened the interest in whether or not it could be possible to administer a different vaccine to those people as a second shot.

Preliminary results of an ongoing study in the United Kingdom suggest alternating the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines causes more frequent mild to moderate symptoms, but there are no other safety concerns from mixing those vaccines.

“Studies on mixed COVID-19 vaccine schedules are underway in other countries, including the United Kingdom,” says Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. “In addition to international data, this Canadian study will help inform Canada’s public health recommendations on the potential to use different combinations of vaccines for the first and second dose, as well as different dosing intervals.”

Up to 1,300 participants will be enrolled in the trials which is set to take place using the Canadian Immunization Research Network’s Clinical Trials Network in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Anyone who is 18 years of age or older and in good health is eligible to participate in the study.

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