Country star Morgan Wallen has been dropped by a number of radio stations after a video leaked of him using racial slurs during a rowdy night out.
Country star Morgan Wallen has been dropped by a number of radio stations after a video leaked of him using racial slurs during a rowdy night out.
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States. That gives Canada four distinct vaccines — along with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. Health Canada includes a fifth vaccine, Covishield, which is a separate brand name for doses of the AstraZeneca product made at the Serum Institute of India. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27. Canada has already secured 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, with the option to buy another 28 million. The 10 million pre-purchased doses will be delivered before September, but they're not expected to start flowing into Canada until at least April. Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death. The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus. An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials. The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE? The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says. Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures while AstraZeneca can be stored in a fridge. WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED? Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus, which can't copy itself, as a vector to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein. The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future. WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED? No specific safety concerns were identified in participants of the trials, regardless of age, race and comorbidities. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said in a press conference Friday that almost 20 per cent of participants in the Johnson & Johnson trials were 65 years of age and older, and "no differences in safety or efficacy were seen compared to the younger groups." The FDA said the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance has taken its first, short drive on the surface of the red planet, two weeks after the robot science lab's picture-perfect touchdown on the floor of a massive crater, mission managers said on Friday. The six-wheeled, car-sized astrobiology probe put a total of 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) on its odometer on Thursday during a half-hour test spin within Jezero Crater, site of an ancient, long-vanished lake bed and river delta on Mars. Taking directions from mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, the rover rolled 4 meters (13.1 feet) forward, turned about 150 degrees to its left and then drove backward another 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).
“During the pandemic, it’s really hard on young people. I think one of the hardest things to deal with in life is uncertainty and there’s just so much uncertainty right now,” said Kelvin Redvers, recent recipient of a Governor General’s award. Redvers and his sister T'áncháy Sarah Judith Redvers were recipients of the Meritorious Service Decoration in February, recognized as co-founders of We Matter, a national non-profit organization that provides support, hope and life promotion for Indigenous youth experiencing hardships. Kelvin Redvers appeared on the weekly virtual town hall held by the First Nations Health Managers Association on March 4 to talk about the measures to protect against the spread of the coronavirus and the impacts they are having on the mental health of Indigenous young people. “Mental health concerns are always something we need to worry about, especially in these times of the pandemic where a lot of youth aren’t able to go to school possibly or aren’t able to visit friends and there’s just a whole lot of stress,” he said. “Dealing with that uncertainty is really hard and I think the perspective I would recommend from the We Matters side is to try to do as many things that can bring you together and even though maybe you can’t have big groups of people, just within a family or within households. Have it become regular, where you do board game night or do activities on the land,” he said. Redvers and his sister launched We Matters in 2016, an online campaign aimed at bringing awareness to struggles faced by Indigenous youth. It’s a resource, Redvers said, he would have appreciated when he was growing up and facing difficulties. The Redvers are Deniniu K’ue First Nation from the Northwest Territories. The website consists of more than 300 two-to-four-minute personal video accounts from people – Indigenous role models like Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew, comedian Ryan McMahon, and actor Andrea Menard – talking about their difficult times and persevering. The website also has toolkits and booklets, specifically geared to Indigenous youth, teachers and support workers. For Indigenous youth, the toolkit provides ways for youth to support themselves and help others if they choose to. “Sometimes it feels like working and talking about mental health is something only for the professionals, and I think we need to get away from that.…Every single person has the ability to talk about mental health and to support folks who maybe need a little bit of support,” said Redvers. “It can be challenging to do that because we’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, we’re afraid of making it worse. But a lot of times by keeping silent that’s actually the worse thing is then youth perhaps feel it’s not okay to talk about when they feel sad.” Marion Crowe, CEO for FNHMA, host and moderator for the hour-long virtual event, said youth sometimes were reluctant to adhere to social distancing because they were sad that events had been cancelled or because they couldn’t see their friends. “It’s so hard to let go of those things and we can’t undermine that,” Redvers said So the trick is, he said, to fill that gap by replacing something lost with something new. And to hang on until it’s their time for vaccinations. Redvers said he understands that some youth are hesitant about getting vaccinated, both because of how they have been treated by the healthcare system and because of history, when Indigenous people were used as test subjects. “What we try to do in conversations is really take in peoples’ fears and not just to dismiss it; to say, ‘No you’re wrong. It’s totally safe,’ but to listen to folks and, ‘Why is it you’re afraid of this?’ and try to have a conversation around it,” he said. Redvers added that “generally most youth are going to be excited to have (the vaccination)” and that he was excited for when it would be his turn. He pointed out that his parents in the NWT had been vaccinated as had one of his sisters, who is a support work in the Yukon. “It just gives me a peace of mind,” he said. Check out We Matter at We Matter (wemattercampaign.org) Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
A bingo hall in Charlottetown has come up with a plan to entice customers who may never have played bingo before. Kiwanis Bingo Country on Riverside Drive is closed during current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but hopes to reopen soon to players old and new with a private room, a bingo starter kit and a tutorial. "It's often considered a game for a senior class of individuals — it's not widespread through the younger demographic," said Kyle Hambly, the manager at Bingo Country, speaking with Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Angela Walker. "We don't see a lot of new players." He said the game is about 100 years old and is well known across North America and Europe. Because it requires concentration, he said it tends to not be a social game, but Bingo Country wants to change that. 'Have a little fun' So the hall has developed an introductory package in a private room that people can book. Their bingo "starter kit" includes the room, bingo cards, dabbers, and a drink from the canteen. My hope is to see the game stay alive. — Kyle Hambly "It just creates an atmosphere where they're not in the rest of the bingo hall ... it enables them to speak with each other, to learn, to laugh, to have a little fun," without disrupting other players, he said. A staff member will be on hand to explain how to play including more complex games such as bonanza or "hot ball." The package includes promotional "bingo bucks" to entice players to come back. They did a few successful test runs earlier this month, Hambly said. "My hope is to see the game stay alive," he said. "Bingo is a fading activity, and unfortunately it doesn't need to be that way." The bingo hall is currently closed because P.E.I. is in a period of COVID-19 circuit-breaker restrictions, and will open when public health authorities allow. "My hope is that we can reintroduce the game ... and people will use it as a form of entertainment," Hambly said. More from CBC P.E.I.
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut's health minister says all 25 communities in the territory are to receive by the end of the month enough COVID-19 vaccine so every adult who wants a first dose will get one. Lorne Kusugak says the territory will receive its expected allotment of 38,000 Moderna doses by mid-March. He says although the goal was to have first and second doses administered by the end of March, shipment delays mean second-dose clinics will extend into April. A community-wide vaccination clinic will also launch in Iqaluit on March 15. Starting March 10, people in the capital who are 18 and older can book an appointment to get a shot. To date, 8,767 first doses have been administered in Nunavut and 5,144 people have received two doses. "It is the best protection we have in Nunavut to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death," Kusugak said Friday. "This vaccine is a way to get things back to normal. It will allow us to gather, have fishing derbies, do community feasts, square dances and visit our elders more safely." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, head of Ontario's COVID-19 task force, said on Friday that the change in COVID-19 injection intervals of up to four months “means we can significantly increase” the vaccination program. Hillier added that depending on vaccine supply, by the first day of summer he hopes to have “a first needle in the arms of every person in Ontario who is eligible for the vaccine and who wants to get one.”
VANCOUVER — Two people have been transported to hospital in serious but stable condition after a helicopter crash on Bowen Island, B.C. B.C. Emergency Health Services says in a statement that they received a call at about 10 a.m. Friday morning for reports of a downed helicopter on the island off the coast of West Vancouver. Ground paramedics as well as an air ambulance responded to the call. Emergency Health Services says two patients have been airlifted to hospital. Capt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre says a helicopter was initially sent to help in the rescue, before the call was cancelled. She says the incident has been turned over to the RCMP for investigation and co-ordination. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
For Timmins filmmaker Zach Cassidy, the arts can go a long way in bringing the community together. Cassidy, who owns Casa di Media Productions, was one of the few people from Timmins who participated in a community-based project launched by Indigenous Culture and Media Innovation (ICMI) and The Media Arts Network of Ontario (MANO). For the project, advisors and facilitators across Northern Ontario were hired to carry out conversations in their communities and discuss their experience of being involved with the media arts. Media arts can include projects delivered through video, audio, radio, internet, virtual reality and interactive media. “We’re curious how are people telling their stories and how they’re controlling the production of the arts in the north,” said Sophie Edwards, project co-ordinator. “We’re trying to find out what the experience is and what kind of solutions and strategies might exist to build a stronger ecosystem for media arts in the north.” The project is funded by Canada Council for the Arts. Each facilitator decides how to conduct research and conversations in their communities. Together with the participants, they will then decide what information to share with MANO and ICMI. Participants and facilitators are also paid $35 per hour. No one from Timmins has applied to facilitate a conversation circle, although it’s not yet late to join, Edwards said. ICMI is also hosting Indigenous-only discussions. Some of the most common challenges brought up by participants during conversations included limited access to sound or video equipment, lack of physical space and lack of funding for ad hoc groups, Edwards said. Cassidy said Timmins has a great community of artists but there's a lack of physical spaces where people can gather to celebrate art or to make art together. “As we come out of the pandemic and are able to congregate again ... congregation of people in public spaces could help drive the arts community through film screenings, art gallery shows, concerts," he said. He said when the Black Spruce Gallery and Framing owned by Katelyn Malo closed down, the Timmins community “suffered” without having an arts building. “I think the arts are so important especially in a community like Timmins where we have such long winter, where people are looking for human connection," he said. "The arts can go a long way to help bring the community together.” Northern Ontario's expansive area also limits artists from renting the equipment, Cassidy said. He said he had to buy the equipment and it’s taken him years to develop an inventory of enough tools to do his job. “Space is limiting, so it’s all the more important we have the physical space for people to congregate or feel a part of the arts community,” he said. “Maybe there are other artists that might want to collaborate because (Northern Ontario) is such a huge area, but how else do get in touch or find out about them?” Once the community conversations wrap up, draft reports will go out to all the participants for review, Edwards said. Then, a final report with the findings will be sent back to the funders, all the participants, communities and organizations across the north. It will be up to the communities and organizations to decide which strategies from the report they want to pick up and run with, she said. Artists interested in talking about their experiences or in facilitating a conversation circle can contact Sophie Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
The 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign, organized by the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters, closed the month of February on a positive and encouraging note. Pink Shirt day was celebrated on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, but the organizers say its message of inclusion and diversity is a part of the Boys and Girls Club programs every day of the year. "We are happy to say we have sold over 2,600 shirts this year, surpassing even previous years' sales," said Amanda Guarino, Supervisor, Community Engagement, Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area. "This is incredible amid the pandemic and really shows how Kingston is a giving, caring, and supportive community. All pink shirt sales fund our year-round anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs, adding healthy relationship components to our after-school, summer camps, and specific education programs." Guarino said they had over 700 community members interacting with them, and had spread their anti-bullying message to more than 4,000 people in Kingston. “We are especially thankful to our title sponsor, Terra Nova Truss, and the support received from annual partners like Kawartha Credit Union and McDonald’s,” Guarino added. “This allowed us to provide over 270 pink shirts to the children and youth we serve, making our members feel a special sense of belonging to their peers and to the campaign.” Proceeds of pink shirt sales are going straight into anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs for children and youth in Kingston. “On Pink Shirt Day, we ran a workshop with our youth members that had them reflect on their bullying experiences, and even got them to talk about instances when they themselves were unkind to others and what they learned,” said Devin Reynolds, Senior Manager at the West End Hub of the Boys and Girls Club. “We focused our programs with younger children on cyber-bullying, social media, and how to stay safe online,” Reynolds continued. “It really brings our campaign to life to hear kids saying ‘kindness means sticking up for people’ and ‘kindness means not being mean to someone else for liking different things’.” The funds raised will keep programs like these operating and reaching more than 400 children and youth in Kingston after-school everyday, throughout the year. “All of us had an important part in making the campaign have this transformative character,” Guarino said. “Thank you, Kingston, for standing with us against bullying and showing that our community leads with kindness.” “With your support, children are learning and growing into confident, supportive and inclusive leaders,” she said. To watch a brief video on the 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign and to support year-round anti-bullying programs, please visit www.bgckingston.ca Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Coursera offers courses such as machine learning, cloud computing and language learning, with its platform used by more than 3,700 colleges and universities, according to the company's website. It launched "Coursera for Campus" in response to the pandemic to help educational institutions offer courses to stuck-at-home students. Online learning platforms also benefited as retrenched employees took online courses to rotate into new careers.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she is issuing an executive order mandating that all K-12 public schools provide universal access to in-person learning by the month’s end for students up to fifth grade and by mid-April for older students. The state’s coronavirus case numbers have fallen significantly and Oregon put teachers ahead of older residents in the line for the COVID-19 vaccine — a decision that angered many people age 65 and up. As teachers get vaccinated, Brown has been under tremendous pressure from parents and local elected officials in many counties to reopen schools. Many teachers' unions nationally have balked at returning to in-person learning, putting them at odds with Democratic governors like Brown in some states. In neighbouring Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has implored educators to return to the classroom, but most students there are in on-line classes and the Seattle teachers' union is defying a district plan to return special education students to schools. Under the Oregon order, students in K-5 must have an in-person learning option by March 29. Students in grades six through 12 must have one by April 19. Students who prefer to remain in online class will also have the option. “The science is very, very clear: with proper safety measures in place, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to a classroom learning environment," Brown said in a statement, after visiting a Portland school. Brown has previously said about 20% of Oregon public school students were back to in-person learning. Rylee Ahnen, spokesman for the Oregon Education Association, said in a statement teachers support returning to the classroom if it can be done safely. He said educators understand teachers' frustration. “We urge all our local school districts to continue to work in good faith with local educators,” Ahnen said. The union represents 44,000 K-12 teachers across Oregon. Most students in Oregon have been learning online for the better part of a year. Some school districts have returned to part-time in-person learning, mostly at the elementary level. Brown said all but six counties in the state currently meet or exceed the advisory metrics for a return to in-person, hybrid learning for all grade levels. Five of the counties that do not yet meet the guidelines for all grade levels do make the cut-off for a return to elementary school. After those dates, all public schools in Oregon will operate either on a full-day of in-person school or a hybrid model, in which students spend parts of the day or some days each week in a classroom setting and other parts of the day or week online. The approach that districts choose will be dictated by COVID-19 case numbers in their county and local decision-making, officials said. The Salem-Keizer School District, the states's second largest after Portland, announced Friday that it would welcome middle and high school students back to a hybrid model that combines in-person learning and distance learning starting April 13. Elementary students in the district have already been back in class on a hybrid model. Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
Nunavut's Department of Environment and the Kivalliq Wildlife Board (KWB) are teaming up to take a closer look at the impacts the road for Meliadine Mine near Rankin Inlet is having on migrating caribou. Mitch Campbell, a wildlife biologist with the government in Arviat, Nunavut, told CBC News the partnership program is still being developed. The goal is "to get a sense of the impacts and then how we might be able to work with the different stakeholders to try and figure out ways of mitigating those impacts," Campbell said. Agnico Eagle, which owns and operates the gold mine, has faced recurring criticism from the government, communities and Inuit organizations on their analysis of impacts to caribou from their mining operations. For example, the Nunavut government and the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) raised concerns about Agnico's caribou monitoring and data analysis in the company's 2019's annual report. The company changed their proposed plans to run two pipelines from Meliadine to Melvin Bay, over 30 kilometres away, after community outcry about impacts to caribou. Protestors set up a blockade outside of Meliadine Mine in March 2020 to protest the mine's operations during COVID-19.(Submitted by Marvin Dion) And at a roundtable meeting held last month to discuss burying those pipelines, Agnico presented a scientific analysis of the mining road's impact on caribou that the government, the KWB and the KIA have roundly criticized. Campbell said Agnico's latest analysis presented at that meeting contradicted the impacts on caribou that community members across the Kivalliq have observed. "This is one of the reasons why the [government of Nunavut] is moving forward with a partner program with the Kivalliq Wildlife Board," he said. "So that we can get a better sense of how to fix those flaws with that original report." Work done by the new partnership will be provided to all stakeholders in order to inform mitigation efforts moving forward, he added. Data sharing tensions But the Kivalliq Wildlife Board and the government of Nunavut have not always seen eye-to-eye on sharing data. Clayton Tartak, research coordinator with the board, said that the government has refused to share information to the Nunavut Impact Review Board's (NIRB) public registry in the past. Tartak told CBC News that at technical hearings about Meadowbank's mining road held in Baker Lake in 2019, the government refused to provide two studies it had done on impacts of the road to migrating caribou. "That's concerning," Tartak said. "The Baker Lake hunters and trappers organization [HTO] asked in 2019 that those reports be shared to the impact review board and to date that hasn't happened." Agnico Eagle's Meliadine gold mine is 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. (Submitted by Agnico Eagle) Interested parties up-to-date: government Casey Lessard, communications manager with Nunavut's Department of Environment, told CBC in an email that the government has "kept interested parties up-to-date on their research." Lessard provided links to two documents — two versions of the same report on seasonal caribou migration around the Meadowbank mine and associated road. The first document, a draft report, was uploaded to the NIRB registry in 2017. The second document was completed in July 2020, Lessard said — nearly a year after the NIRB's technical hearing during which the Baker Lake HTO asked that the report be uploaded to the NIRB registry. Lessard said the second, final document has been uploaded to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board's website.
Five local health coalitions continued their efforts to transform Ontario’s long-term care home policies and funding structure with a virtual protest held this week. Chatham-Kent long-term care (LTC) representatives and family members of LTC residents shared stories from the front lines. The event was organized by the Ontario Health Coalition and joining them were other Southwestern Ontario LTC representatives. “Mr. Ford announced back in December that there will not be any increase in funding for staffing until April of 2022. That's woefully inadequate and it doesn't help our long-term care loved ones now,” said Shirley Roebuck, chair of the Chatham-Kent and Sarnia chapters. “So what we are pushing for is for the government to make legitimate realistic increases in funding and mandate better staffing and staff mixes, as well as infection control and safety.” The event was held via Zoom and live casted on Facebook. The protest received more than 1,600 views. Lucinda Allaer, a Sarnia resident whose 88-year-old dad, George, is currently living at Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg, spoke of her experiences. “He's always filled with the joy of life and he has a wicked sense of humour. He used to carry around a fake finger in his pocket, which he would joyfully slip into his friend's sandwich and then just sit back and wait for the enduring drama to subside...I mentioned that because it's such a big difference to who he is today. My dad no longer laughs at all since he transitioned into long-term care.” The Wallaceburg home recently underwent a COVID outbreak affecting 100 people. Two people died from COVID-19 and two other residents passed away from other causes after testing positive. “My dad cries all of the time,” Allaer said. “He talks about suicide. He asks me to help him to die.” The organizers also held a tribute for all residents and staff that died of COVID-19. To date 146 LTC residents and one staff member passed away from the virus in Southwestern Ontario. In Ontario, 3,756 of its 7,024 COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term homes. Eleven of those individuals were staff members and the rest residents. The protest made a call-to-action, asking residents to email their local MPPs demanding better staffing and funding for long-term care. Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington was sitting in the house and unavailable for comment. Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, called the province’s staffing plan “woefully inadequate” and said it should look to Quebec where 10,000 personal support worker equivalents were brought in over the summer, trained in three months, and deployed in homes before the second wave hit. “(Staffing) was in crisis prior to the pandemic, and we have lost a significant proportion of the staff during the pandemic,” she said. “Staffing levels are now the lowest that we've ever seen across Southwestern Ontario.” Mehra said the government’s staffing plan, released in December, “embraces” what the health coalition has been lobbying for in the past decade which is a minimum care standard of four hours of hands on care for residents each day. However, the beginning of those changes, which is expected to add 15 additional minutes of care per resident per day, will only be implemented in April 2022. The full plan will be implemented by 2025. “It's about the same number of staff that get trained each year anyway. And we have lost at least a third of the staff in the first wave and more in the second wave. So we've lost more than 15 minutes of care through the pandemic, on average per resident anyway. So this is cruelly slow,” Mehra said. She added that the average lifespan of residents in long-term care homes is between 18 months and two years, so many will pass away before these changes are implemented. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit L’Ontario a présenté les groupes prioritaires de sa prochaine phase de vaccination, vendredi, y compris les problèmes de santé admissibles, les points chauds où la transmission de la COVID-19 se fait plus importante et les travailleurs essentiels. Il sera bientôt possible de vacciner plus de personnes, et plus rapidement que ce qui avait été présenté la semaine dernière, en Ontario, en raison des nouveaux vaccins qui ont été approuvés par Santé Canada et puisque la province se permettra dorénavant d’étendre à quatre mois, à compter du 10 mars, le nombre de jours entre la première et la deuxième dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. Selon le nouveau calendrier de la province, la deuxième phase du plan de vaccination devrait débuter en avril. Toutes les personnes âgées de 60 ans et plus, les personnes vivant dans les régions chaudes de la COVID-19 et les personnes souffrant de problèmes de santé admissibles ainsi que leurs soignants recevront une dose du vaccin d’ici le mois de juin en Ontario. Maladies prioritaires En fonction des conseils du Groupe d’étude sur la distribution des vaccins contre la COVID-19, les receveurs de greffes d’organes et les personnes atteintes de maladies neurologiques dans lesquelles la fonction respiratoire est compromise, comme la sclérose en plaques, recevront le vaccin en priorité au cours de cette phase. La COVID-19 représente aussi un «risque élevé» pour les personnes atteintes d’obésité et celles qui subissent des traitements entraînant une immunosuppression, tels que la chimiothérapie, ou celles qui sont atteintes d’une déficience intellectuelle ou développementale, qui recevront le vaccin au cours de la phase 2. Zones chaudes L’Ontario a aussi identifié 13 circonscriptions sanitaires qui pourront recevoir plus de doses en raison de leur précarité face à la COVID-19. Cette liste comprend les régions d’Ottawa, de Toronto et de Peel. La province vaccinera aussi en priorité le personnel, les fournisseurs de soins essentiels et les résidents à risque de certains milieux collectifs comme les refuges d’urgence pour sans-abri, les refuges pour les femmes victimes de violence et pour résidents victimes de la traite des personnes ainsi que les établissements résidentiels pour enfants. Liste des travailleurs à vacciner en priorité Le gouvernement provincial a également établi une liste de secteurs dont les travailleurs qui ne peuvent pas travailler à domicile recevront le vaccin à la fin de la phase 2, soit au mois de juin, selon le calendrier de la province. Cette liste comprend entre autres le personnel scolaire, les policiers, les pompiers, les travailleurs de l’industrie alimentaire et les agriculteurs. La semaine prochaine, l’Ontario doit recevoir 173 160 doses du vaccin de Pfizer et 160 500 doses du vaccin de Moderna, L'Ontario devrait aussi recevoir 194 500 doses d'AstraZeneca au cours de la semaine du 8 mars, mais le calendrier précis reste à confirmer par le gouvernement fédéral. En province, 96,3% de la population n’a toujours reçu aucune dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. Néanmoins, 35 886 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche, jeudi, pour recevoir une dose du vaccin, un record quant au nombre de doses octroyées en une journée. Jusqu’à présent, 269 063 personnes ont reçu leurs deux doses jugées nécessaires par les fabricants pour être immunisées. En date de jeudi à 20h30, 820 714 doses du vaccin avaient été administrées en Ontario. Cas Selon le bilan de la santé publique de l’Ontario publié vendredi matin, 1 250 personnes ont reçu un résultat positif à la COVID-19 au cours de la journée précédente, portant le total des infections à 306 007 en province. Les autorités sanitaires ont rapporté jusqu’à présent 799 cas du variant provenant du Royaume-Uni, 31 de l’Afrique du Sud et trois du Brésil. L’Ontario déplore 22 nouveaux décès causés par le virus. En tout, la COVID-19 a emporté 7046 Ontariens. Hospitalisations Jeudi, 643 personnes étaient à l’hôpital pour soigner des symptômes du coronavirus, dont 280 aux soins intensifs avec des effets plus graves. Parmi ces patients, 183 avaient besoin d’un respirateur pour rester en vie. En concentrant les premiers efforts de vaccination sur les résidents des foyers de soins de longue durée, combinés à des mesures de santé publique, l’Ontario a rapidement réduit les infections et le taux de mortalité quotidien dans les foyers de SLD, a indiqué la province vendredi. En foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), un résident et dix employés ont reçu un diagnostic de COVID-19 au cours de la journée de jeudi. On déplore aussi le décès de trois résidents causé par le virus. En tout, 3748 résidents et 11 employés de ces établissements ont perdu la vie en raison de la COVID-19. Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
KYIV, Ukraine — The United States has banned a Ukrainian tycoon and former regional governor, who was also a key supporter of Ukraine’s president, from entering the country. A Friday statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the ban on Ihor Kolomoyskyi, as well as his wife, son and daughter, stemmed from corruption during his 2014-15 term as governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region. The statement did not give details, but said Kolomoyskyi was “involved in corrupt acts that undermined rule of law and the Ukrainian public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, including using his political influence and official power for his personal benefit.“ Blinken also said Kolomoyskyi is continuing actions that undermine Ukraine’s democratic processes. Kolomoyskyi’s assets include the television station that broadcast the situation comedy starring Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was elected Ukrainian president in 2019; he supported Zelenskiy in the campaign. Zelenskiy did not comment on the ban. The Associated Press
NEW YORK — With Merrick Garland poised to be confirmed as attorney general as early as next week, one of the first major questions he is likely to encounter is what to do about Rudy Giuliani. A federal probe into the overseas and business dealings of the former New York City mayor and close ally of former President Donald Trump stalled last year over a dispute over investigative tactics as Trump unsuccessfully sought reelection and amid Giuliani’s prominent role in subsequently disputing the results of the contest on Trump’s behalf. But the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan has since returned to the question of bringing a criminal case against Giuliani, focusing at least in part on whether he broke U.S. lobbying laws by failing to register as a foreign agent related to his work, according to one current and one former law enforcement official familiar with the inquiry. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the ongoing case and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The arrival of a new leadership team in Washington is likely to guarantee a fresh look at the investigation. No matter how it unfolds, the probe ensures that a Justice Department looking to move forward after a tumultuous four years will nonetheless have to confront unresolved, and politically charged, questions from the Trump era — not to mention calls from some Democrats to investigate Trump himself. The full scope of the investigation is unclear, but it at least partly involves Giuliani's Ukraine dealings, the officials said. Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, was central to the then-president's efforts to dig up dirt against Democratic rival Joe Biden and to press Ukraine for an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter — who himself now faces a criminal tax probe by the Justice Department. Giuliani also sought to undermine former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out on Trump's orders, and met several times with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released edited recordings of Biden in an effort to smear him before the election. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people who lobby on behalf of a foreign government or entity to register with the Justice Department. The once-obscure law, aimed at improving transparency, has received a burst of attention in recent years, particularly during an investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller that revealed an array of foreign influence operations in the U.S. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan pushed last year for a search warrant for records, including some of Giuliani's communications, but officials in the Trump-era Justice Department would not sign off on the request, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation who insisted on anonymity to speak about an ongoing investigation. Officials in the deputy attorney general's office raised concerns about both the scope of the request, which they thought would contain communications that could be covered by legal privilege between Giuliani and Trump, and the method of obtaining the records, three of the people said. The Justice Department requires that applications for search warrants served on lawyers be approved by senior department officials. “They decided it was prudent to put it off until the dust settled, and the dust has settled now,” said Kenneth F. McCallion, a former federal prosecutor who represents Ukrainian clients relevant to the inquiry and has been in contact with federal authorities about the investigation. McCallion declined to identify his clients, saying he had not been authorized to do so. He previously has represented former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Giuliani's attorney Robert J. Costello told The Associated Press he has “heard nothing” from federal prosecutors concerning Giuliani. It is possible that Giuliani could try to argue that his actions were taken at the behest of the president, as his personal attorney, rather than a foreign country, and therefore registration would not be required under federal law. Giuliani wrote in a text message Thursday to the AP that he “never represented a foreign anything before the U.S. government.” "It’s pure political persecution,” he said of the investigation The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment. McCallion said federal authorities were asking questions concerning a wide range of Giuliani’s international business dealings, and that “everything was on the table” as it pertained to his work in Ukraine. He said the inquiry was not entirely focused on Ukraine, but declined to elaborate. The investigation of Giuliani's lobbying first came to light in October 2019, when The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors were investigating Giuliani's efforts to oust Yovanovitch, who was recalled amid Trump’s bid to solicit dirt from Ukraine to pressure Ukraine into helping his reelection prospects. Federal prosecutors also have investigated Giuliani as part of a criminal case brought against his former associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Soviet-born business partners from Florida who played key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch the Ukrainian corruption investigation against the Bidens. Parnas and Fruman were charged in a scheme to make illegal campaign donations to local and federal politicians in New York, Nevada and other states to try to win support for a new recreational marijuana business. Giuliani has said he had no knowledge of illegal donations and hadn’t seen any evidence that Parnas and Fruman did anything wrong. ___ Tucker and Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report from New York. Jim Mustian, Eric Tucker And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Squamish Nation says the rollout of vaccines for its communities on the North Shore and in the Squamish Valley next week is a welcome “relief” for many of its residents. Vancouver Coastal Health and First Nations Health Authority confirmed this week that Squamish Nation will be receiving a first round of doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its community the week of March 8. “I think people are relieved and excited,” said Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, spokesperson for Squamish Nation. “I know for our elders and a lot of our members who are vulnerable, they have had to really do their best to protect themselves, and to avoid COVID-19, and they are looking forward to having that extra layer of protection.” Khelsilem said the nation was hoping around 600 members would be vaccinated in the first round of doses, but it would depend on the supply they are given. The first community members who will get the vaccine are elders 65+ and those with serious underlying health conditions, including people living with a compromised immune system. Khelsilem said once elders have their appointments booked, Yúustway Health and Wellness will continue booking vaccination appointments based on age, starting with those ages 55-64, then ages 45-54 etc., until all of the vaccine has been used. “We're encouraging people to get the vaccine, but we welcome any members that might have concerns or questions,” he said. “They can talk to their doctor, if they feel that's an option, but they can also talk to our health nurse and our staff to address any concerns that they might have about the vaccine.” He wanted to remind community members that this is only the first of several vaccine shipments to the nation and they are planning on holding clinics in the coming months to vaccinate all nation members who want to receive the vaccine. “We anticipate that most of the community or many community members are going to access it when they have the opportunity too,” Khelsilem said. Yúustway Health and Wellness will be scheduling clients by appointment only for the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in the Squamish Valley at the Totem Hall, 1380 Stawamus Rd., and on the North Shore at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, 100 Capilano Rd., West Vancouver. Appointments will begin at Totem Hall on Tuesday (March 9) and the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on Wednesday (March 10). Members unable to attend an on-reserve clinic, Indigenous people ages 65+, can book an appointment close to their residence starting March 8. The nation has listed further details on how to contact clinics and make appointments in a notice on its website. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Santé Canada a assoupli les conditions d'entreposage et de transport du vaccin contre la COVID-19 de Pfizer-BioNTech pour faciliter la redistribution locale des doses reçues. Les fioles du vaccin pourront désormais être entreposées ou transportées à des températures entre -25 °C et -15 °C pour une période allant jusqu'à deux semaines. Elles ne peuvent retourner qu'une seule fois aux températures recommandées pour l'entreposage, soit entre -80 °C et -60 °C. Cette décision est prise à la suite d'une soumission effectuée le 25 février par Pfizer-BioNTech qui indiquait un changement des conditions d'entreposage de ses vaccins. Santé Canada a ensuite fait un examen approfondi des données présentées, puis déterminé que le vaccin demeurait stable pour cette période de temps. Il demeure tout de même recommandé de le maintenir dans des conditions extrêmement froides. Par ailleurs, l'autorisation de cette modification concorde avec les décisions prises par d'autres organismes de réglementation étrangers, notamment la Food and Drug Administration des États-Unis. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
NEW YORK — A new national study adds strong evidence that mask mandates can slow the spread of the coronavirus, and that allowing dining at restaurants can increase cases and deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study Friday. “All of this is very consistent,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing on Friday. “You have decreases in cases and deaths when you wear masks, and you have increases in cases and deaths when you have in-person restaurant dining.” The study was released just as some states are rescinding mask mandates and restaurant limits. Earlier this week, Texas became the biggest state to lift its mask rule, joining a movement by many governors to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials. “It’s a solid piece of work that makes the case quite strongly that in-person dining is one of the more important things that needs to be handled if you’re going to control the pandemic,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University expert on disease dynamics who was not involved in the study. The new research builds on smaller CDC studies, including one that found that people in 10 states who became infected in July were more likely to have dined at a restaurant and another that found mask mandates in 10 states were associated with reductions in hospitalizations. The CDC researchers looked at U.S. counties placed under state-issued mask mandates and at counties that allowed restaurant dining — both indoors and at tables outside. The study looked at data from March through December of last year. The scientists found that mask mandates were associated with reduced coronavirus transmission, and that improvements in new cases and deaths increased as time went on. The reductions in growth rates varied from half a percentage point to nearly 2 percentage points. That may sound small, but the large number of people involved means the impact grows with time, experts said. “Each day that growth rate is going down, the cumulative effect — in terms of cases and deaths — adds up to be quite substantial,” said Gery Guy Jr., a CDC scientist who was the study's lead author. Reopening restaurant dining was not followed by a significant increase in cases and deaths in the first 40 days after restrictions were lifted. But after that, there were increases of about 1 percentage point in the growth rate of cases and — later — 2 to 3 percentage points in the growth rate of deaths. The delay could be because restaurants didn't re-open immediately and because many customers may have been hesitant to dine in right after restrictions were lifted, Guy said. Also, there's always a lag between when people are infected and when they become ill, and longer to when they end up in the hospital and die. In the case of dining out, a delay in deaths can also be caused by the fact that the diners themselves may not die, but they could get infected and then spread it to others who get sick and die, Hanage said. “What happens in a restaurant doesn't stay in a restaurant,” he said. CDC officials stopped short of saying that on-premises dining needs to stop. But they said if restaurants do open, they should follow as many prevention measures as possible, like promoting outdoor dining, having adequate indoor ventilation, masking employees and calling on customers to wear masks whenever they aren't eating or drinking. The study had limitations. For example, the researchers tried to make calculations that accounted for other policies, such as bans on mass gatherings or bar closures, that might influence case and death rates. But the authors acknowledged that they couldn't account for all possible influences — such as school re-openings. “It's always very, very hard to thoroughly nail down the causal relationships,” Hanage said. “But when you take this gathered with all the other stuff we know about the virus, it supports the message” of the value of mask wearing and the peril of restaurant dining, he added. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
Mourners left flowers and hockey sticks outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., on Friday. The city is mourning Walter Gretzky, a fixture in the community, who died Thursday at age 82.