With Tyler Hamilton.
With Tyler Hamilton.
WASHINGTON — Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president's grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump non-profit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House. Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” A week after the rally, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice. But the political and legal fallout may stretch well beyond Trump, who will exit the White House on Wednesday before Democrat Joe Biden takes the oath of office. Trump had refused for nearly two months to accept his loss in the 2020 election to the former vice-president. Women for America First, which applied for and received the Park Service permit, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the event was financed and about the Trump campaign’s involvement. The rally drew tens of thousands of people. In a statement, the president’s reelection campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event.” No campaign staff members were involved in the organization or operation of the rally, according to the statement. It said that if any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign took part, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.” At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month. Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign's director of operations into January 2021. She did not respond to a message seeking comment. The AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles, removed tweets that referenced the rally and blocked a reporter who asked questions. Caroline Wren, a veteran GOP fundraiser, is named as a “VIP Advisor” on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the agency. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $20,000 a month, according to Federal Election Commission records. During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the president’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. Wren was involved in at least one call before the pro-Trump rally with members of several groups listed as rally participants to organize credentials for VIP attendees, according to Kimberly Fletcher, the president of one of those groups, Moms for America. Wren retweeted messages about the event ahead of time, but a cache of her account on Google shows at least eight of those tweets disappeared from her timeline. She apparently removed some herself, and others were sent from accounts that Twitter suspended. One of the messages Wren retweeted was from “Stop the Steal,” another group identified as a rally participant on a website promoting the event. The Jan. 2 message thanked Republican senators who said they would vote to overturn Biden’s election victory, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. She also retweeted a Jan. 1 message from the president promoting the event, as well as promotional messages from one of the president’s son, Eric Trump, and Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist and a spokesperson for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Wren did not return messages seeking comment, and locked her Twitter account after the AP reached out to her last Monday to ask her about her involvement in the Trump rally and the tweets she had removed. Several days later, she blocked the AP reporter. Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former top Trump aide Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the “VIP Lead.” She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. FEC records show Maggie Mulvaney was earning $5,000 every two weeks from Trump’s reelection campaign, with the most recent payment reported on Nov. 13. Maggie Mulvaney had taken down her Twitter account as of last Monday, although it reappeared after an AP reporter asked her about the account’s removal. On Sunday, the same day the AP published this report, she blocked that AP reporter on Twitter. Maggie Mulvaney retweeted several messages on Jan. 6, including one from the president that urged support for the Capitol Police. Trump's Twitter account has been suspended, but the message could be seen in a cache of her Twitter account captured by Google. She also retweeted a message from her uncle, urging Trump to address the nation. Maggie Mulvaney did not respond to messages seeking comment. The insurrection at the Capitol prompted Mick Mulvaney to quit his position as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland. He told CNBC a day after the assault that remaining in the post would prompt people to say “‘Oh yeah, you work for the guy who tried to overtake the government.’” The leaders of Women for America First aren’t new to politics. Amy Kremer, listed as the group’s president on records filed with Virginia’s state corporation commission, is “one of the founding mothers of the modern day tea party movement,” according to her website. Her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, is the organization’s treasurer, according to the records. The IRS granted Women for America First tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization a year ago, with the exemption retroactive to February 2019. The AP requested that the group provide any tax records it may have filed since then, but received no response. In a statement issued the same day rioters attacked the Capitol, Amy Kremer denounced the assault and said it was instigated after the rally by a “handful of bad actors,” while seeming to blame Democrats and news organizations for the riot. “Unfortunately, for months the left and the mainstream media told the American people that violence was an acceptable political tool,” she said. “They were wrong. It is not.” The AP reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless during the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee. The review found the crowd was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Videos posted on social media in the days following the Capitol attack shows that thousands of people stormed the Capitol. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Trump’s incendiary remarks at the Jan. 6 rally culminated a two-day series of events in Washington, organized by a coalition of the president’s supporters who echoed his baseless accusations that the election had been stolen from him. A website, MarchtoSaveAmerica.com, sprung up to promote the pro-Trump events and alerted followers, “At 1 PM, we protest at US Capitol.” The website has been deactivated. Another website, TrumpMarch.com shows a fist-raised Trump pictured on the front of a red, white and blue tour bus emblazoned with the words, “Powered by Women for America First.” The logo for the bedding company “My Pillow” is also prominent. Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, is an ardent Trump supporter who’s falsely claimed Trump didn’t lose the election to Biden and will serve another four-year term as president. “To demand transparency & protect election integrity,” the web page reads. Details of the “DC PROTEST” will be coming soon, it adds, and also lists a series of bus stops between Dec. 27 and Jan. 6 where Trump backers can “Join the caravan or show your support.” Kimberly Fletcher, the Moms for America president, said she wasn’t aware the Trump campaign had a role in the rally at the Ellipse until around New Year's Day. While she didn’t work directly with the campaign, Fletcher did notice a shift in who was involved in the rally and who would be speaking. “When I got there and I saw the size of the stage and everything, I’m like, ‘Wow, we couldn’t possibly have afforded that,’” she said. “It was a big stage. It was a very professional stage. I don’t know who was in the background or who put it together or anything.” In addition to the large stage, the rally on the Ellipse featured a sophisticated sound system and at least three Jumbotron-style screens projecting the president's image to the crowd. Videos posted online show Trump and his family in a nearby private tent watching the rally on several monitors as music blared in the background. Moms for America held a more modest “Save the Republic” rally on Jan. 5 near the U.S. Capitol, an event that drew about 500 people and cost between $13,000 to $14,000, according to Fletcher. Justin Caporale is listed on the Women for America First paperwork as the event’s project manager. He’s identified as a partner with Event Strategies Inc., a management and production company. Caporale, formerly a top aide to first lady Melania Trump, was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020, according to the FEC records, and he most recently was being paid $7,500 every two weeks. Caporale didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tim Unes, the founder and president of Event Strategies, was the “stage manager” for the Jan. 6 rally, according to the permit paperwork. Unes has longstanding ties to Trump, a connection he highlights on his company’s website. Trump’s presidential campaign paid Event Strategies $1.3 million in 2020 for “audio visual services,” according to the campaign finance records. The company declined to comment for this story. Another person with close ties to the Trump administration, Hannah Salem, was the rally’s “operations manager for logistics and communications,” according to the permit paperwork. In 2017, she took a hiatus from the consulting firm she founded and spent three years as senior White House press aide, “executing the media strategy for President Trump’s most high-profile events,” according to her company bio and LinkedIn profile. Last week, within minutes of an AP reporter sending her a LinkedIn message asking about her involvement in and understanding of what happened on Jan. 6, Salem blocked the reporter and did not respond to questions. ___ Smith reported from Providence, Rhode Island. ___ Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Richard Lardner And Michelle R. Smith, The Associated Press
As the first terminally ill cancer patient in Canada to legally use so-called magic mushrooms to treat anxiety, Thomas Hartle is hopeful that more temporary approvals from the federal government signal a permanent regulatory regime may be in the works. Hartle, 53, received a one-year exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act last August to use psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, during psychotherapy. Since then, Health Canada has approved 24 more applications from cancer patients for treatment of end-of-life distress. It has also granted exemptions to 19 health-care providers, giving them the right to possess and use mushrooms containing psilocybin for professional training purposes, a spokeswoman said in a statement. The department has yet to decide whether it will allow the public to use any psychedelics for therapeutic purposes beyond the exemptions it has granted so far. Hartle has had two psychedelic psychotherapy sessions at his home in Saskatoon, the last one in November, with psilocybin from mushrooms he grew and dried himself using a coffee grinder to turn them into powder and placed into capsules for precise dosages. The IT administrator, who is on leave from his job, said anxiety over dying from colon cancer and leaving his wife and two children, both on the autism spectrum, became unbearable after his inoperable condition was diagnosed in 2016. However, taking psilocybin during his two sessions with the help of his regular clinical psychologist helped him manage his anxiety to the point that he hasn't felt the need to have any more psychedelic-assisted therapy while he continues traditional therapy, Hartle said. "I think that's probably obvious to most people who have interacted with me before and after my sessions," he said of the marked improvement in his anxiety through a deeper understanding of the word "serenity." "I've been talking about subjects that I would previously have considered almost impossible to talk about and keep a clear voice and not break down into a very emotional state. Instead of focusing on the pain or discomfort, I'm focusing on making lunch for my family or something like that." Before each of the two sessions, Hartle said he met with his therapist and completed paperwork to gauge his anxiety level in order to establish a baseline that could be compared with how he would feel afterwards. The first session lasted about six hours, during which he took three capsules about an hour apart, containing a total seven grams of psilocybin, he said. His therapist and a friend remained by his side as he lay blindfolded and wearing a headset while listening to music from a playlist compiled by Johns Hopkins University as part of its research into psychedelics. Hartle said the range of music, from classical to chanting as well as South American and African beats, elicited different emotions and he saw multiple colours and geometric shapes as he entered "a state of other," which made it impossible for him to recall the names of his family members. "It was very serene and comforting to me to realize that I could have consciousness and awareness that had nothing whatsoever to do with this existence." Hartle said that prior to his cancer diagnosis, he had never used illegal substances and only started taking cannabis oil to deal with the nausea brought on by chemotherapy as part of his cancer treatments. Focused psychotherapy sessions before, during and after his two sessions were crucial to his use of psilocybin, Hartle said. "It's not like you take a pill and suddenly everything is fantastic. It doesn't work like that any more than regular therapy does. There is work to be done. There are challenges to face. There are issues that need to be worked through the same as any other session. The main difference is that with the psychedelic-assisted therapy, it can get your ego out of the way so you can get at some things." Spencer Hawkswell, CEO of TheraPsil, a Victoria-based advocacy group for patients, said it helped Hartle apply for exemptions to use psilocybin on compassionate grounds based on Canadians' right to medical assistance in dying. He said access to assistance in dying should also give terminally ill patients the right to try mushrooms to reduce their emotional suffering. "When we can't manage someone's symptoms, that's often when they choose MAiD. (Psilocybin) deserves to be put in between the treatment options that are failing those patients and MAiD." TheraPsil has helped people from six provinces apply for exemptions. Health-care providers who have received exemptions to use psilocybin themselves before leading psychedelic-assisted sessions include family doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical counsellors and social workers, Hawkswell said, adding the group is putting together a training program that will need partnerships with provincial governments. Psilocybin is just one of several psychedelics being considered to treat mental health conditions while a growing number of private companies promote their potential use for multiple issues including obesity, smoking, alcohol dependence and addiction to illicit substances. Mark Haden, chair of the board for the Canadian chapter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS Canada, said psychedelics appear to be seen as the new cannabis before it was legalized. "A lot of venture capitalists went into the cannabis world. Many of them made money. Some of them lost a huge amount of money, so the cannabis bubble exploded and then burst. So, all of that money is saying, 'Where do we go next? What's the next big thing?' And they've latched their view on psychedelics." MAPS Canada is currently conducting a Phase 3 clinical trial in Vancouver on the use of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Haden said the small trial involving about 12 people is expected to be completed next year as part of the research by over a dozen sites in the United States and Israel. Traditional PTSD therapy has a high dropout rate, may involve patients taking medication for years and has an effectiveness rate of 10 to 25 per cent, said Haden, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health. "With MDMA, it takes a few months and the effectiveness is 60 to 80 per cent," he said of research findings elsewhere. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
Windsor's city council will table a report on naloxone use by first responders on Monday, but one councillor says he's disappointed to find police were not included as officers are often the first on the scene of a drug overdose. Coun. Kieran McKenzie first asked the city to look into the implications of first responders, including police, carrying naloxone, in December 2018. Naloxone can save lives when administered to someone who has overdosed on opiods, he said. He said the report contains a lot of a "good information," but he's a bit disappointed overall. "I think it's fair to say that we didn't take a look at whether or not it's appropriate to equip our police service with naloxone," he said. In an email statement to CBC, the city says, "police answer to the police services board so that's why they likely weren't involved in a council report." McKenzie said he understands that "the police service or oversight of the police services falls within the jurisdiction of the police services board, made up of community members as well as members of council, but it's still the same municipally delivered service. It's a service that I think most residents would associate falls under the jurisdiction of city council." He also said the report lays out the case that "it is appropriate for first responders, fire, I would argue, police as well as EMS, to carry and administer naloxone in the field when it is appropriate to do so." The report states that drug-related overdoses and deaths "continue to be growing problem in North America. Of particular concern is the use of opioid drugs due to their potency and their highly addictive," adding that the "annual rate of opioid-related deaths in Ontario increased 285 per cent from 1991 to 2015." "In 2018, there were 220 (preliminary statistic) opioid-related Emergency Department visits in Windsor & Essex County (WEC). In 2019, there were 249 opioid-related ED visits in Windsor & Essex County (WEC), which is 3.2 times greater than the 78 opioid overdose ED visits in WEC in 2007," the report continues. It argues that "naloxone is an effective tool in reversing the effects of opioids and preventing an overdose death, provided it is given shortly after an overdose of an opioid occurs," but the administering of the drug by firefighters does not occur with often. Not frequently used by firefighters, says report "A poll of major fire departments in Ontario show that 2018 usage across all major departments averages less than 10 doses annually per department," the report states. "Follow up polling for the year 2019 indicated an increase among the largest departments and those responding to combined rural and urban areas. Other departments reported low levels of usage." It said actual usage of naloxone by fire services is dependent on a number of factors, including arrival time, type of drug used, the condition of the patient. The report explains that it takes up to eight weeks to train the entire department on how to administer naloxone and it requires medical oversight by a doctor. Data in the report did not include police services. It says the local health unit and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) support the use of naloxone by first responders as a harm reduction measure. McKenzie said he will ask why the report did not focus more on police, though he acknowledges progress is being made with that service. "It's my understanding that that is happening already to some extent," he said. Some WPS units carrying naloxone Windsor Police Chief Pam Mizuno said in October that three Windsor police units were to be equipped with naloxone within a year. A spokesperson for Windsor police confirmed that officers with three units — detention, city centre patrol and problem-oriented policing — now have access to the drug. Mizuno's announcement came days after CBC News learned that Windsor police officers were the first to arrive on scene of a drug overdose without naloxone in-hand on at least 14 occasions last year. "I just I think that there needs to be a clear articulation from council that we support adding that service level. And we support adding that service level robustly in a way that is both safe for all of the first responders, the police themselves, but also can add an additional layer of protection for folks in the community," McKenzie said. He said he doesn't know what is going to happen at Monday's meeting with respect to the report, but believes it could spark an interesting debate and hopes there will be enough support to pass the motion.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 18, 2021. There are 708,619 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 708,619 confirmed cases (75,281 active, 615,324 resolved, 18,014 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,436 new cases Sunday from 70,499 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 200.27 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47,285 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,755. There were 149 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,001 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 143. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.92 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,557,083 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 396 confirmed cases (nine active, 383 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Sunday from 204 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.49 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. 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 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 76,369 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 104 confirmed cases (nine active, 95 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday from 331 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two 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 zero per 100,000 people. There have been 86,220 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,558 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,464 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Sunday from 743 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.54 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 195,810 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 947 confirmed cases (293 active, 642 resolved, 12 deaths). There were 36 new cases Sunday from 874 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 37.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 168 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 24. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. 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 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 128,277 tests completed. _ Quebec: 242,714 confirmed cases (20,651 active, 213,008 resolved, 9,055 deaths). There were 1,744 new cases Sunday from 9,270 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 243.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,893 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,985. There were 50 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 369 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 53. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.62 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 106.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,656,534 tests completed. _ Ontario: 237,786 confirmed cases (28,893 active, 203,484 resolved, 5,409 deaths). There were 3,422 new cases Sunday from 58,215 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 198.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22,004 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,143. There were 69 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 380 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 54. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 37.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,633,584 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 27,511 confirmed cases (3,081 active, 23,661 resolved, 769 deaths). There were 189 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 224.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,194 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 171. There were eight new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.32 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 56.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 436,236 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 20,272 confirmed cases (4,121 active, 15,936 resolved, 215 deaths). There were 287 new cases Sunday from 862 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 33 per cent. The rate of active cases is 350.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,158 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 308. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 24 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 18.31 per 100,000 people. There have been 321,266 tests completed. _ Alberta: 116,837 confirmed cases (12,234 active, 103,167 resolved, 1,436 deaths). There were 750 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 279.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,385 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 769. There were 19 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 152 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.5 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.85 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,979,663 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 60,117 confirmed cases (5,955 active, 53,115 resolved, 1,047 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 117.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,440 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 42 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,021,911 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (two active, 67 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.9 per 100,000 people. 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 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,256 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 28 confirmed cases (four active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 8.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 8,323 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. 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 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,558 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Albertans will be able to visit hair salons and tattoo parlours today as the province relaxes a few of its COVID-19 restrictions. Starting today, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only. Outdoor social gatherings, which were previously banned, will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people. And the limit on the number of people who can attend funerals is increasing to 20, although receptions are still prohibited. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said last week that Alberta can't entirely ease up, but that it can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities. Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said that easing rules now will act as a test case, and that COVID-19 case numbers will have to be lower before any other restrictions are loosened. Since early December when COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, outdoor gatherings were banned and restaurants and bars were limited to delivery and takeout. Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. Retail stores and churches were allowed to open but at 15 per cent capacity. Alberta reported 750 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 19 more deaths. Hinshaw said officials looked at the province's COVID-19 data along with research from other parts of the world, and she said funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal service businesses show a lower level of risk for transmission. Shandro said last week that hospitalizations and case numbers remain high and pose a threat to the province's health system capacity. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Small groups of right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.” As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the U.S., a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap. Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis said he hoped the apparently peaceful day reflected some soul-searching among Americans. “I would love to say that it’s because we’ve all taken a sober look in the mirror and have decided that we are a more unified people than certain moments in time would indicate,” he said. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection. Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race. On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend. Tall fences also surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall was closed to the public, and the mayor of Washington asked people not to visit. Some 25,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to arrive in the city in the coming days. U.S. defence officials told The Associated Press those troops would be vetted by the FBI to ward off any threat of an insider attack on the inauguration. The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media. Tensions have been running high in the state since authorities foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow. Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol. "I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities "continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.” Utah's new governor, Republican Spencer Cox, shared photos on his Twitter account showing him with what appeared to be hundreds of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers standing behind him, all wearing masks. Cox called the quiet protests a best-case scenario and said many ”agitating groups" had cancelled their plans for the day. At Oregon's Capitol, fewer than a dozen men wearing military-style outfits, black ski masks and helmets stood nearby with semiautomatic weapons slung across their bodies. Some had upside-down American flags and signs reading such things as “Disarm the government.” At the Texas Capitol, Ben Hawk walked with about a dozen demonstrators up to the locked gates carrying a bullhorn and an AR-15 rifle hanging at the side of his camouflage pants. He condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and said he did not support Trump. “All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” Hawk said. At Nevada's Capitol, where demonstrators supporting Trump have flocked most weekends in recent months, all was quiet except for a lone protester with a sign. “Trump Lost. Be Adults. Go Home,” it read. More than a third of governors had called out the National Guard to help protect their capitols and assist local law enforcement. Several governors declared states of emergency, and others closed their capitols to the public until after Biden's inauguration. Some legislatures also cancelled sessions or pared back their work for the coming week. Even before the violence at the Capitol, some statehouses had been the target of vandals and angry protesters during the past year. Last spring, armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol to object to coronavirus lockdowns. People angry over the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer's knee vandalized capitols in several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last last month, crowds in Oregon forced their way into the Capitol in Salem to protest its closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures. Amid the potential for violence in the coming days, the building's first-floor windows were boarded up and the National Guard was brought in. "The state capitol has become a fortress,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. “I never thought I’d see that. It breaks my heart.” ___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio; Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon; Mike Householder and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Marc Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report. David A. Lieb And Adam Geller, The Associated Press
Studies have suggested previous COVID-19 infections may result in promising levels of immunity to the virus, leading to questions of whether those who've already recovered from the disease still need a vaccine. And is there urgency to inoculate them, or can they move to the back of the vaccination line? Experts say a vaccine will likely offer the safest bet for longer-term protection, meaning those with previous infections should still get them. And prior COVID illness shouldn't determine someone's place in the queue. The exact level of immunity acquired from a natural infection is yet to be fully determined, says Dr. Andre Veillette, a professor of medicine at McGill who's also on Canada's COVID-19 vaccine task force. It may be that protection begins to wane quicker in some people, or that those with previous mild infections aren't as protected as someone who had more severe symptoms, he says. Still others may think they've had a COVID-19 infection but can't be sure if they didn't get tested at the time. "I would say the simple rule would be that we vaccinate people who've had prior infections, just like everybody else," Veillette said. "If you had the infection, yes, you may have some protection, but it may not last a long time, and it may not be as good as the vaccine." Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy in clinical trials in protecting against severe disease. But there are still questions around whether the vaccines can actually prevent someone from catching the virus and spreading it to others. While Moderna has some data that their product may protect against acquiring the virus, it's still unclear. Antibodies from natural infections suggest the same — that they may protect us from getting really sick again, but not from getting the virus a second time. While there have been some cases of reinfection around the world, immunology expert Steven Kerfoot says the fact we're not seeing more of those suggests the immune response from initial COVID-19 infections is probably "pretty strong." Kerfoot, an associate professor at Western University, says vaccines are designed in a way that should produce an immune response "at least as good or better" than what we get after a natural infection. "So it may help fill in holes where people may not have developed an immune response effectively to the virus," Kerfoot said. "If anything, the vaccine could as act as its own booster that would improve your immunity." While some studies have suggested antibodies may disappear relatively quickly after COVID-19 infections, others have found a more lingering immune response. An American study published this month showed antibodies present for at least eight months, and possibly longer. Even studies suggesting an early drop-off of antibody levels aren't concerning, Kerfoot says. Infections trigger the body to produce other immune cells and memory cells that reduce slowly over years and help fight off future invasions from the same virus. If the immune response in those with past COVID infection is expected to be lengthy, could there be justification to defer their inoculations, especially if vaccine supply is low? It will be up to provinces to decide priority in each stage of their rollouts, but Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist with the University of Manitoba, says that will be a tricky decision. "I don't think we can use prior infection as an indicator of priority, because we just don't know what that person's immune response actually is," Kindrachuk said. "We don't know what long-term immunity looks like in those folks. "The recommendations are going to be that everybody gets vaccinated because that way we know — across vulnerable groups and all ages and different demographics — they'll all get a robust immune response." Veillette adds that many people with previous COVID cases were also in higher-risk settings — either because of their jobs or living environments — that would theoretically put them at risk for reinfection. And if they were to get the virus again but not show symptoms, they could still pass it on to other people. "There's probably a whole spectrum of situations there, and when there's so many variables it's better to have a simple rule," he said. "So I think that's another reason to vaccinate previously infected people." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Cape Breton Regional Municipality is holding on to a large stash of plastic film after a major shift in recycling a few years ago. Several hundred bales of the material, enough to fill 300 pickup trucks, remains stored inside a facility in Sydport. CBRM solid waste manager Francis Campbell said they've been able to unload some of the thin plastic film, but more keeps coming in weekly garbage collections. Finding a home for the material is another challenge. "That's been the issue over the last few years, that the markets have really dried up," Campbell said. "We've been trying to search out places and find people that are willing to take the material. It's been a hit or miss over the last couple of years." Recycling conundrum Campbell said North America must begin developing its own market for recycling materials. Three years ago, Campbell said CBRM and other municipalities were left in a lurch. After decades of sending material to China to be recycled into new material, the government decided it would begin relying on its own market. "It's been a real struggle," he said. In some instances, plastics — such as shopping bags and food wrap — are made into lumber. But in CBRM's experience, demands for recycled plastic film have been few and far between. Bag ban changes In order to recycle the plastic into new materials, Campbell said municipalities must store collections inside to avoid contamination. "Luckily, we've been able to do that," he said. "At the end of the day, if we do run out of space to store the material we would have to dispose of it. We don't want to do that." Campbell said he hopes less waste will appear in CBRM recycling, as the province implemented a plastic bag ban in October. But so far, he said, that has not been the case. In order to bury the plastic, CBRM would need special permission from the province's Department of Environment. MORE TOP STORIES
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is now the first jurisdiction in North America to implement presumed consent around organ donation, a move health officials believe could see a significant rise in the number of donors over the next few years. Legislation passed in April 2019 finally took effect Monday following more than 18 months of work to ensure provincial systems were equipped to handle the change. Under the Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act, all people in Nova Scotia will be considered potential organ donors unless they opt out. "To my knowledge nobody else is close to considering this, but many places are thinking about it," said Dr. Stephen Beed, medical director of Nova Scotia's organ and tissue donation program. "We have an opportunity to transform a component of the health care system and that just does not happen very often." In an interview last week, Beed said the work to bolster the province's organ donation program has focused on planning, education and public awareness. He said the system has, in effect, been "rebooted" with the recruitment of several donation physicians and an increase to the number of system coordinators, who have also seen a change in their training. Overall, 27 new professionals have been brought into the system over the last three years. In addition, a donation data system has been developed to assess the program's performance. The province plans to spend $3.2 million this fiscal year to bolster the system. "Overall I honestly think that the system change is the most important part," Beed said of the shift to presumed consent. He said that was the message delivered to Premier Stephen McNeil when he first approached health officials with the idea for the legislation. "We said, 'If you change the law all you really have is words on a piece of paper, but if you change the law and then support the redesign of our system then you have reason to be optimistic'." Beed said organ donation rates increased by as much as 35 per cent in European countries such as Belgium and Spain after they adopted an opt-out system, though he noted other jurisdictions that made the switch have had the opposite experience. But one prospective organ recipient said the success stories abroad have left her more optimistic about matters closer to home. "I am very proud that Nova Scotia is the trailblazer for this," said Anita MacDonnell of Halifax, who is awaiting a kidney transplant. "I was very encouraged when they announced this back in 2019." MacDonnell, who turns 60 on Wednesday, was approved for a new kidney last May and started dialysis in October. She and her friend Brenda Mackenzie, also of Halifax, suffer from a genetic kidney disease that has seen several of their siblings and both of their mothers require transplants in the past. Both women undergo dialysis three nights a week for four hours at a time and liken the life-saving process to having a part-time job. Mackenzie, 60, describes her wait for a kidney as "pretty nerve-wracking." "So I guess my hope obviously would be that with this (change) that so many more people would be able to be transplanted," she said. "That's what the ultimate hope is." The new approach hasn't received universal support on its way to becoming provincial law. Some civil libertarians balked at the legislation when it was first proposed, raising concerns around governments having the power to tell people what to do with their bodies. Other opponents expressed potential cultural and religious concerns about the move. Beed said he believes those issues have been addressed through the development of an opt-out registry and safeguards such as double checking with families to ensure the last known wishes of a potential donor are honoured. Those who tell their families that they don't want to be donors will see those instructions respected, he said, even if they haven't formally opted out. In addition, certain groups will be exempt such as new immigrants, transient residents of Nova Scotia, and people who don't have capacity to make their own decisions. Beed said talks are also continuing with leaders of religious and faith communities to ensure they are "engaged" with the system. Peggy John, the acting director for the organ and tissue donation and transplantation program at Canadian Blood Services, agrees the opt out program will only be as good as the strength of the system put in place to support it. John, whose organization is the national collaborating body for provincial transplant systems, said the end goal should be to increase the opportunities for transplant for patients who are in need. According to the most recent figures compiled by Canadian Blood Services, 250 Canadians died while waiting for a transplant in 2019 — an increase from 223 in 2018. They also showed that Canada still has a shortage of organs, with 4,419 patients still waiting for transplants at the end of 2019. John said the new Nova Scotia law will be an opportunity to observe and to learn about what might work elsewhere to potentially boost donation rates. "We are keen to see what's going to happen," she said. "We know they (Nova Scotia) have been approaching this in the right way and we will continue to watch what the outcome will be." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Mobile games developer Huuuge Inc. expects to raise up to $150 million from a new share issue as part of its planned initial public offering (IPO) in Warsaw, the U.S.-registered company said on Monday. Huuuge, with a significant base in Poland, adds to a list of companies that have targeted IPOs as restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus crisis prompt more people to go online for entertainment, shopping and other needs. Polish parcels locker firm InPost announced its IPO plans in Amsterdam as more shoppers order online.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea’s president on Monday urged the incoming Biden administration to build upon the achievements and learn from the failures of President Donald Trump’s diplomatic engagement with North Korea. A dovish liberal and the son of northern war refugees, Moon Jae-in had lobbied hard to help set up Trump’s three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but their diplomacy stalemated over disagreements over easing crippling U.S.-led sanctions for the North’s disarmament. Biden has accused Trump of chasing the spectacle of summits rather than meaningful curbs on the North’s nuclear capabilities. North Korea has a history of staging weapons tests and other provocations to test new U.S. presidents, and Kim vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons program in recent political speeches that were seen as aimed at pressuring the incoming Biden administration. The South Korean leader has been desperate to keep alive a positive atmosphere for dialogue in the face of Kim’s vows to further expand a nuclear and missile program that threatens Asian U.S. allies and the American homeland. And while Moon acknowledged that Biden is likely to try a different approach than Trump, he stressed that Biden could still learn from Trump’s successes and failures in dealing with North Korea. During a mostly virtual news conference in Seoul, Moon claimed that Kim still had a “clear willingness” to denuclearize if Washington and Pyongyang could find mutually agreeable steps to decrease the nuclear threat and ensure the North’s security. Most experts see Kim’s recent comments as further evidence he will maintain his weapons program to ensure his regime’s survival. When asked about the North’s efforts to increase its ballistic capacity to strike targets throughout South Korea, including U.S. bases there, Moon said the South could sufficiently cope with such threats with its missile defence systems and other military assets. “The start of the Biden administration provides a new opportunity to start over talks between North Korea and the United States and also between South and North Korea,” which have stalled amid the stalemate in nuclear negotiations, Moon said. “The North Korean efforts to expand its nuclear program and acquire more weapons systems are all because we have not succeeded yet in reaching an agreement over denuclearization and establishing peace. These are problems that could all be solved by success in dialogue,” he said. During an eight-day congress of North Korea’s Workers’ Party that ended last week, Kim described the United States as his country’s “foremost principal enemy.” He didn’t entirely rule out talks, but he said the fate of bilateral relations would depend on whether Washington abandons its hostile policy toward Pyongyang. The erosion in inter-Korean relations have been a major setback to Moon, who met Kim three times in 2018 while expressing ambitions to reboot inter-Korean economic engagement when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end and allow such projects. Moon said the South would continue to seek ways to improve relations with the North within the boundary of sanctions, such as pursuing humanitarian assistance and joint anti-virus efforts against COVID-19. But Kim during the ruling party congress already described such offers as “inessential” while slamming South Korea for its own efforts to strengthen defence capabilities and continuing annual military exercises with the United States, which were downsized under Trump to create space for diplomacy. Experts say Pyongyang is pressuring Seoul to break away from Washington by halting their joint drills and to defy sanctions and restart inter-Korean economic co-operation. During Trump’s first summit with Kim in June 2018, they pledged to improve bilateral relations and issued vague aspirational vows for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur. But the negotiations faltered after their second meeting in February 2019 when the Americans rejected the North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of an aging nuclear reactor, which would have amounted to a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Moon said that Trump and Kim’s agreement in their first meeting was still relevant and the Biden administration should take lessons from the failures of their second meeting, “The declaration in Singapore under the Trump administration was a very important declaration for denuclearization and building peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said. “Of course, it’s very lamentable that the (content of the) declaration remains theoretical because of the failures to back it up with concrete agreements," he said. "But if we start over from the Singapore declaration and revive talks over concrete steps, it’s possible that diplomacy between North Korea and the United States and between South and North Korea would gain pace again.” Moon said he hopes to meet Biden as soon as possible and that South Korean officials were actively communicating with their American counterparts to ensure that the North Korea issue remains a priority for the new U.S. government, which inherits a horrendous coronavirus outbreak and domestic political turmoil. Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press
The City of Ottawa says it plans to collect all fines issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ones handed out in parks that some in the legal community call "legally dubious." In the spring, the city moved to enforce pandemic restrictions, shutting facilities including parks and playground equipment. Dozens of fines were handed out during the first wave of the pandemic alone, including $880 tickets to people who allegedly sat on park benches or used off-limits payground equipment. Some who received those fines said they hoped the city would choose not to come after them, since parks and playground equipment have been kept open during more recent lockdowns. "It's disappointing, for sure, to know that I have to deal with this $880. [It's] a huge deal for a 24-year-old. I'm hoping that once I get in front of a judge, I can explain myself properly," said Alexandra Plante, who was fined for sitting on a park bench in Orléans in April. Plante, one of the first people fined during a bylaw blitz in the spring, said she had no idea she was breaking any rules. "I think there's a huge difference between sitting on a bench and being caught at a gathering with 30 people or failing to wear a mask," said Plante. City's stance an 'embarrassment' In April, refugee advocates called on bylaw to "warn and inform" after Quasi Alnofal, a young Syrian man with limited English, was fined $880 for briefly allowing his young siblings to climb on a closed play structure during an afternoon walk. "Government officials' attitudes on mental health, and people getting out and being able to exercise, have really changed," said Ronalee Carey, an immigration and refugee lawyer who was part of a group that helped sponsor the Alnofal family and bring them to Ottawa in 2017. "So if they're not penalizing people for doing that action now, because the science has changed ... why would they want to persecute people who were charged before?" Carey said she believes tickets handed out for "blatantly opposing the rules on gatherings" make sense, but she wants the city to bring in an "amnesty" for tickets given in parks. "I think, frankly, it's an embarrassment to the city for them to be pursuing these kinds of things," she said. 'Doesn't make sense' The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said it's "disappointed" the city is pursuing all tickets and doesn't believe it's in the public interest. "There were a lot of concerning fines and punitive enforcement handed out during the first wave of COVID that — even at that time — we weren't really sure how they connected to public health goals and what we knew about the spread of COVID," said the association's Abby Deshman. "Laws were changing extremely quickly, day-by-day, what you could and couldn't do changed ... It really doesn't make sense to me to proceed with these legally dubious tickets, given the pressing crisis in our justice system where we have murder trials that have been postponed for close to a year now." Deshman also said Ottawa stood out during the first wave as being "one of the cities that ticketed more than others." City waiting for courts to reopen In a statement, the city said would pursue the fines "once the courts reopen and defendants have had the opportunity to exercise one of the many options available to them." "We are still offering support to individuals through our online offerings. They can pay fines online, request a trial date, contest a parking ticket or plead guilty and make submissions as to penalty," said Alain Hyppolite, program manager of citizen services. A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Watson declined to comment, saying that "as an elected official," the mayor refrains from commenting "on matters that are within the Provincial Offences Court."
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 18, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 27,451 new vaccinations administered for a total of 570,742 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,505.944 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 761,500 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 74.95 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,502 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,769 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 33.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 2,713 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 43.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 8,838 new vaccinations administered for a total of 146,694 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.144 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 162,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 11,007 new vaccinations administered for a total of 200,097 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.622 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,539 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.832 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 33,625 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 3,232 new vaccinations administered for a total of 20,159 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.096 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 24,400 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 4,374 new vaccinations administered for a total of 85,935 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.522 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 84,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 102.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,914 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.794 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 99,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.31 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,184 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 28.372 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 983 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 25.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.38 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. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
The head of the Association for Mineral Exploration in B.C. says organizers believe they've created a virtual roundup conference that will engage participants. Association president Kendra Johnston estimates about 3,000 people could sign into the virtual event that runs Monday through Friday. People in the mineral exploration industry are interested in technical information and results from exploration projects and there will be plenty of that, Johnston said. Re-creating the sensation of being part of the crowd at the usually packed Vancouver convention centre is a bigger challenge, she said. The event planners have designed the online experience to be similar to walking around a venue. The names of other delegates in the same area will be displayed as users move around the virtual platform. "You can always see who's around you in the space and you can click on anybody's name and start up an instant chat with them," said Johnston. Longtime Yukon geologist Mike Burke began attending roundups when he was in university and has been to every one for more than 30 years. One of the highlights is the annual Yukon Night normally held in a Vancouver hotel ballroom. Burke has been asked to host this year's virtual Yukon Night from Whitehorse, which he describes as as series of informal chats. "Some mine managers, people involved in the mines, some prospectors, some geologists and some business people [will be there]," he said "So it's just to try and, you know, give people an idea of what to maybe expect about the upcoming year and start getting prepared for it," Burke said But he said he will miss the social side of the roundup. Burke said people in the mineral exploration business may spend most of their lives looking for a big discovery and never find it, but they don't lose hope. "So you've got a group of optimists that are keen on finding things. And that sort of upbeat optimism is something that I'm definitely going to miss hanging out with for a few days." Johnston said the theme of this year's roundup is leading through change, which is not limited to operating during a pandemic. Environmental, social and governance issues are moving forward, she said, including evolving relationships between the industry and Indigenous peoples and working toward reconciliation. "I think what's really important is showing respect for everybody, including everybody in the decision, understanding that your history might not be the same as somebody else's history, and your perception of history might not be the same as somebody else's perception of history," said Johnston. There's also interest in the exploration for critical minerals, that are considered vital to the wellbeing of the world's economies, she said. Minerals used in green energy technology will also be a topic of discussion.
France is expanding the eligibility for people to get their COVID-19 vaccines. Around 6 million people can now have the jab. Those over 75 can have their first dose along with anyone in a high-risk group, such as those with serious health conditions.View on euronews
When Shaleen Erwin became sick with COVID-19 in November, the pregnant mother from Springside, Sask., wasn't surprised that she had a hacking cough and slept 16 hours a day. What astonished her was that she received a phone call every day from a public health worker at the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to check on her, her husband and their three-year-old son — all of whom had contracted the virus. "I was blown away.... It's hours and hours of time, and time is such a valuable resource," Erwin, 33, said. "I think there's this misconception that if you're not using an ICU bed or you're not using oxygen, that you're not using resources." Provincial public health authorities are advised by the Public Health Agency of Canada to contact people with COVID-19 at home every day to monitor both their symptoms and compliance with isolation rules, depending on available resources to make those phone calls. Some provinces, including Saskatchewan and Manitoba, are attempting daily phone calls while others, such as Alberta, are not. Ontario's Ministry of Health advises public health units to notify people of their COVID-19 positive status with a phone call, then make followup phone calls on Day 5 and Day 10, at a minimum. On other days, the person is supposed to receive at least a text message or email. Thousands of 10-minute phone calls a day If contact tracers, who investigate the spread of the virus, are considered the public health detectives, then case monitors are the parents — checking on how you are and making sure you follow the rules. Pamela de Bruin, clinical standards and professional practice lead with the SHA who does planning in public health surveillance, said the health authority uses a database to investigate, track and actively monitor positive cases and close contacts. She said the "standard of care" is a daily phone call to every person in the province with COVID-19 — currently 4,121 people — except to those already receiving care inside long-term care homes, hospitals or jails. They monitor symptoms, check on compliance and offer access to resources, such as mental health services. "There are many social barriers that can come up when people have to be isolated for a long period of time, and they may be faced with making a choice between getting groceries or staying isolated," de Bruin said, adding that public health workers are able to connect people with resources and services to help them comply with mandatory isolation. The 10-minute phone calls to active cases require more than 600 staff hours a day. The SHA uses 66 people from Statistics Canada for case-monitoring calls, as well as some nurses and licensed health workers. "We're constantly evaluating the capacity against the number of cases," de Bruin said, adding that the SHA has so far been able to meet the demand, and she believes it's a worthwhile use of resources. "We're speaking to an individual, but when we implement measures, like all public health measures, we're looking for an impact at a population level." In addition to active cases, the SHA makes a daily call to monitor their close contacts who have symptoms or comorbidities, as well as close contacts who are red-flagged in the database as being potentially non-compliant with public health restrictions. "Sometimes right at the first [notification] call, we have indication to believe someone might not be compliant. Sometimes they tell us. And so those would be called daily," de Bruin said. Alberta doesn't have active monitoring In Alberta, where there are roughly 12,230 active cases at the moment, Alberta Health Services (AHS) does not actively monitor people who are sick with COVID-19 at home. Instead, from the start of the pandemic, it has advised people to seek medical attention from a doctor or call 811 or 911, depending on their condition. That was sufficient for Talana Hargreaves, a 38-year-old mother of three from Edmonton whose entire family tested positive for COVID-19 in November. She was initially concerned by the lack of personal followup from AHS but was eventually satisfied with a one-hour phone call from a contact tracer. Hargreaves, who had spent a lot of time researching COVID-19 online and following news reports, discussed her family's mild symptoms with their doctor and didn't have any questions about the isolation rules. "My partner and I are both conscientious rule-followers," she said. "I think that COVID check-in could actually be very valuable for some people who honestly don't know what they should be doing." She said she is more concerned about the backlog of contact tracing in the province and allocating resources to investigating cases. "They still don't know where roughly 50 per cent of our positive cases have come from ... so even though it would be nice to have that followup, I don't know that it's realistic at this point," Hargreaves said. Health worker sent thermometer to home Jony Rahaman, a Regina restaurant owner who tested positive for COVID-19 in early October, did not have mild symptoms. He felt like he was choking to death. Rahaman, 36, said the public health workers who called his family were like "guardian angels." "They call us every day," he said. "Me and my wife, especially my wife, would wait for their call because we had so many questions. They're so patient." The family didn't have a thermometer to check their temperatures, so a public health worker sent one to their home. Rahaman — who contracted COVID-19 before the rest of his family — initially self-isolated in his bedroom away from his wife, Sabina, and two children and could barely speak to them through the door. "It was terrifying," he said. "My wife was crying on the other side of the door, kids were crying on the other side of the door and I couldn't breathe." During one phone call, a public health worker called an ambulance for him. "They're, like, my lifesaver," Rahaman said. Removing barriers to compliance The SHA's de Bruin said providing equipment, such as a thermometer, isn't the norm, but she noted that each case is unique, and the goal is to remove barriers to compliance. "I have heard the types of ends of the Earth that some of this staff have gone to, and it doesn't surprise me one bit," she said. At five months' pregnant in November, Shaleen Erwin was nervous about having the disease and scared by what she found online when she did a Google search for "pregnant covid." The constant access to public health workers was comforting, she said. Erwin said some of the questions from public health workers who called were likely "subtle" checks on whether her family was following the rules, which they were, but she "never felt like it was accusatory." Now fully recovered, she has watched the case count climb in Saskatchewan and thinks about all of the phone calls happening every day. "People see [case] numbers and they think, 'Oh, 99 per cent of people will be OK,' but don't assume that that means that you're not a burden on the health system," she said. WATCH | Premier explains Saskatchewan's slow rollout of vaccines:
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Monday urged Russians to take to the streets in protest after a judge remanded him in pre-trial detention for 30 days despite calls from Western countries to free the opposition politician. The United Nations and Western countries had told Moscow before the ruling to let Navalny go, and some countries have called for new sanctions on Moscow, which on Monday told them to mind their own business. The ruling to remand him in custody for violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence, a day after he flew back to Russia for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent last summer, could be the prelude to him being jailed for years.
The Trump administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to reject dozens of other applications to supply the telecommunications firm, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The action - likely the last against Huawei Technologies under Republican President Donald Trump - is the latest in a long-running effort to weaken the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, which Washington sees as a national security threat. The notices came amid a flurry of U.S. efforts against China in the final days of Trump's administration.
Rebecca Malaka owns a cleaning business and isn't able to work from home during the pandemic. So she's among those in Quebec who are relieved to see her teenagers heading back to school on Monday after a month at home. "It's so nice to know where my kids are going to be," she said. "I know when they're leaving the house in the morning, I know when they are coming back at the end of the day. It's less stressful all round." Her son, Talon, is happy to be returning to class as well as he doesn't enjoy online learning — something he's been forced to endure for about a week. "It's mostly on us to teach ourselves, kind of, and with our phones right there, you are not really motivated to open your textbook and learn," he said. The usual holiday break was extended across Quebec, with elementary students headed back to class a week before the older kids. Most students were expected to attend school online instead, some only for a few days before and others for more than a week. New safety rules aren't enough, advocate says There will be some new rules in place when Talon heads back class. Students will now have to be tested right away when they show any COVID-19 symptoms. They will also be removed from class if a member of their family shows symptoms and is awaiting test results. Olivier Drouin, founder of the website COVID Écoles Québec which traces cases in schools, has two daughters heading back to school this week. Given the recent epidemiological trends, he's not feeling any relief. "Montreal is on fire," he said on Sunday. "There are lots of cases. The level of community transmission is high, and if I had my say, they would not go back tomorrow." Drouin has been advocating for extra measures, such as deploying rapid testing in schools. Rapid testing as a preventative measure would be more effective than waiting for symptoms to appear, he has said. No more homemade masks Students in high school will be required to wear medical-grade masks. The EMSB confirmed they have all their supplies ready. Thorin Malaka, a 16-year-old student at Laurier Macdonald, said he understands the situation in Montreal is worrisome, but remains confident in his schools protocols "I feel safe with them, like with the mask, we have always been good with it," he said. "My class is already half the size so most of my classes have like 10 people max in them." Small classes are not a global norm, according to Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. "We are still teaching classrooms of 32 to 34," she said. "It makes no sense to me. I cannot understand. I do not understand." Then there's the time students spend outside of the classroom, wandering the halls or riding buses, said Drouin, who is among those who worry kids aren't able to maintain a safe, physical distance from others at all times. "Public transportation and lunch time supervision, I would say, are two of the loopholes in our strategy to try to reduce the risk in schools.It's highly risky in both those areas," he said. Yetman feels the same way, watching has kids keep a safe distance inside the classroom and then abandon the rules the minute class ends. "As soon as students leave the class, those bubbles don't exist anymore," she said. "They hang out at recess. They go on school busses with different people."
In 2006 Brian and Anne Marie Sewell got married on the top of a mountain in March. They made the 12-kilometre trek up Turtle Mountain, near Grand Bay–Westfield, along with their closest friends and family who were willing to go the distance on their snowmobiles and ATVs. Anne Marie had her wedding veil on her snowmobile helmet for the ceremony at the summit. Brian wore his best blue snowmobile suit. With a million-dollar-view stretching all the way to the Bay of Fundy, they each said, "I do." Today, they live at the foot of that mountain in an off-grid log cabin. The peak where they were married is visible from their living room window. At the time of the ceremony the furthest thing from their minds at the time was the possibility of wedding crashers. But both say if they did it all again that wouldn't be the case. There's just too many people. Where they would see a lone hiker pass by their home on the mountain trail, they now see dozens every weekend. "Ten or fifteen years ago you would see the odd person on the road," said Anne Marie Sewell. "But since this year, the pandemic in March, it started in the spring, I would say hundreds." The couple noticed an uptick of hikers two years ago. But they can only describe what they see now as an "explosion of people." Both point to the pandemic as being directly responsible for the hundreds headed past their home and into the woods. "Oh, definitely," said Anne Marie Sewell. "And I think it's great young people are getting out into nature." The trail to a once remote destination has been turned into a highway for those hungry to go somewhere within the limitations placed on them by the pandemic. Herd of hikers The Sewell's aren't alone. Long-time hikers and outdoorsmen have found themselves suddenly not-so-alone in the woods. Jennifer Spinney said she's likely hiked most of New Brunswick's trails. She tries to get out in the forest every day, traversing about 50 kilometres a week through the woods. Being isolated, with only her dogs for company, is the big draw for her. But now that's no longer possible. "There are some trails that I've always banked on being the remote ones, where you're not going to see anyone," said Spinney. "That's changed this year." She names Coac Falls in Upper Queensbury as a spot that used to be favourite for being alone. "The last time I was there I think there were five cars there," said Spinney. "And often that was one that I banked on being solo." Online traffic Most of the trails in New Brunswick are free to use and open to the public, so getting an accurate idea of just how many people are taking to the woods is difficult. But the popular Hiking NB website suggests how many people are looking for directions, and where. "Since the pandemic started the web traffic has pretty much doubled," said James Donald, the owner and creator of the website. His site has more than 800,000 page views in the last 12 months. Last year it was around 450,000. He said trails like Turtle Mountain, which used to be considered too remote for most, are suddenly hotspots as New Brunswickers have spent most of the last year unable or unwilling to leave the province. "People are looking for ways to get out," said Donald. When he's out for a hike, Donald said it's not uncommon to come across a trail head now with 30 cars parked. And with winter weather he said the traffic hasn't slowed down. It just shifted to different destinations. Donald said the cold temperatures are now drawing people to "ice features" including frozen waterfalls, the ice-caked gorge of the Parlee Brook amphitheatre, and the Midland ice caves. And that's been good for the businesses catering to those new at going deep into the woods. Booming business Like most businesses at the start of the pandemic, the Radical Edge in downtown Fredericton had an uncertain future. "It looked pretty bleak," said Kaylee Hopkins, a manager at the Radical Edge. "We didn't have a lot of people coming in." Fast-forward almost a year later and the outdoor adventure store often has a lineup outside on weekends, as the 25-person limit inside has been reached. "It's pretty wild," said Hopkins. "People just want to get out and move." Tents, sleeping bags, and outerwear have all been hot items this past year. She said she has witnessed large amounts of people on the trails this year. But, they don't appear to be springing for new shoes. "We didn't see a lot of traffic in out footwear," said Hopkins "So, it's interesting to see what people are wearing when they're hiking and doing all their outdoor adventures." Leave no mark While some lament the dwindling isolation, the consensus is that it's worth the sacrifice to have more people experience the outdoors. "It's good to know that other people have caught on to the 'love of the woods' or the 'love of hiking,'" said Spinney. "Personally, I like being alone in the woods, so sometimes I'll drive further to get to a place where I know I'll be alone, but that's not a bad thing." And for the Sewell's, who have had to occasionally rescue a hiker who has gotten lost along the way, or had a vehicle stuck in their driveway, they're more than happy to share the natural beauty of where they live. "We enjoy that other people enjoy what we like," said Brian Sewell. "We just hope that they pick up their garbage."