Dustin Diamond is still in the hospital on Wednesday as doctors “are running tests” to figure out what’s going on with the "Saved by the Bell" star — but it remains serious. It’s unclear at this time if the actor has cancer, as initially suspected.
Dustin Diamond is still in the hospital on Wednesday as doctors “are running tests” to figure out what’s going on with the "Saved by the Bell" star — but it remains serious. It’s unclear at this time if the actor has cancer, as initially suspected.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo. The position is the most senior Cabinet position, with the secretary fourth in the line of presidential succession. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He has pledged to be a leading force in the administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances. He is expected to start work on Wednesday after being sworn in, according to State Department officials. “American leadership still matters,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing. “The reality is, the world simply does not organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we’re not leading, then one of two things is likely to happen. Either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that’s likely to advance our interests and values, or maybe just as bad, no one does and then you have chaos.” Blinken vowed that the Biden administration would approach the world with both humility and confidence, saying “we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad.” Despite promising renewed American leadership and an emphasis on shoring up strained ties with allies in Europe and Asia, Blinken told lawmakers that he agreed with many of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives. He backed the so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, and a tough stance on China over human rights and its assertiveness in the South China Sea. He did, however, signal that the Biden administration is interested in bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Trump's secretaries of state nominees met with significant opposition from Democrats. Trump’s first nominee for the job, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, was approved by a 56 to 43 vote and served only 13 months before Trump fired him in tweet. His successor, Pompeo, was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. Opposition to Blinken centred on Iran policy and concerns among conservatives that he will abandon Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Blinken inherits a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Neither Tillerson nor Pompeo offered strong resistance to the Trump administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention. Although the department escaped proposed cuts of more than 30% of its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, Many diplomats opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancement under an administration that they believed didn't value their expertise. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement. Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice-President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry, who is now serving as special envoy for climate change. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
If supplies of COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to Manitoba don’t resume, appointments at the Brandon vaccination supersite may need to be postponed. That’s according to Dr. Joss Reimer, a member of the province’s vaccination task force, who joined Dr. Brent Roussin for the daily COVID-19 update on Monday. "As you already know, last week, we were informed about a third reduction in our Pfizer vaccine shipments. Manitoba has been responsible in managing our vaccine supply, but we continue to see the effects of the supply reductions," said Reimer. The planned Feb. 1 supply dropped from 5,850 to 2,340 doses. "We had to stop making appointments for the supersites, both in Winnipeg and in Brandon. So far, we’ve been able to weather the supply disruptions better than most other jurisdictions based on the strategic approach that Manitoba has taken. However, we’re now in a position where we’re still concerned about ongoing supply and may have to postpone some of our appointments if the supplies don’t resume. Reimer said the province will receive an update from the federal government — which is responsible for vaccine deployment to provinces and territories — on Friday. The postponement decision will depend on what the province receives from the federal government on Feb. 8. "We will update Manitobans as soon as possible, most likely on Friday, to let them know if we are expecting that shipment to come in and what the implications are for people who have appointments coming up beginning next week," said Reimer. "We are going to be contacting everybody who has an appointment coming up to let them know about this unknown, as well. So, for now, we’re asking people to plan to keep their appointments for next week and the week after, but to keep your eye on the bulletins and on the website." As for the Northern health region, which has seen half of Manitoba’s new case counts, vaccines are headed up. Reimer said the phone line opened Monday morning to book appointments for the supersite in Thompson. Immunizers will begin putting needles in arms beginning Feb. 1. "This is a slight adjustment from our original plan because instead of using Pfizer, we’re using Moderna temporarily in Thompson," said Reimer. "Also building on feedback from the Northern health region, we will be scheduling appointments for eligible workers in The Pas and Flin Flon for the week of Feb. 8." Vaccination teams are on track to complete first doses at personal care homes by the end of this week — a week ahead of schedule — with enough doses to deliver a second round beginning the following week. The province also plans to release a priority list of all Manitobans Wednesday, with a tentative schedule for the entire vaccine rollout, which will depend on vaccine supply. "The dates that will be attached to that list will have to remain quite fluid because we still don’t know exactly when to expect the Pfizer numbers to change. But we will come up with at least the sequence for Manitobans," said Reimer. Reimer said, so far, there is a 70 to 80 per cent uptake in eligible health-care workers. She said there are various reasons some are taking the vaccine, including having health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. That made them ineligible until the enhanced process was put in place. "Some people may have other health conditions or allergies that made them concerned and want to seek some opinion from their health-care provider before booking an appointment. Those folks may be in the process right now of discussing with their health-care provider whether or not the vaccine is the right decision," said Reimer. "We’ve also heard of health-care providers who wanted to let other people go first. They felt that their exposure or their own health status was such that they didn’t want to take up an appointment, when there’s other people who might be at higher risk because of their own health, their age." Reimer added 70 to 80 per cent is a high uptake rate for an immunization campaign. In personal care homes so far, the uptake is more than 90 per cent. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
When the COVID-19 pandemic first turned video calls into the prevailing platform for social interaction, there was a voyeuristic thrill to peering inside people's homes in all of their poorly lit, pixelated and bare-walled non-glory. But in the months since Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video chats became a facet of daily life, new standards have been set for virtual presentation, prompting people to consider how to best frame themselves on a computer screen. The Canadian Press asked experts for tips on how people can take their video calls to the next level by upgrading their production skills, digital manners and background décor. If you wouldn't do it in person, don't do it on camera While the shift from the boardroom to the Zoom room has given rise to a new digital etiquette, many of the rules of in-person decorum still apply, says Carolyn Levy, president of technology for human resources consultancy Randstad Canada. For example, she said most professionals wouldn't check their emails, get some work done or talk to a colleague in the middle of an office presentation, but such attention slips have become all too common online. "The rule of thumb is (if you wouldn't do it) when you were in person, don't do it if you're virtual." Eye contact is crucial to virtual communication, Levy said, so participants should look directly into the camera when talking, and turn their gaze to the speaker's window to show they're listening. Levy said hosts can help prevent digital faux pas by establishing expectations in their meeting invites, such as whether cameras should be on and when to use the mute button. She also urged attendees to check their setups before they click to join a meeting to avoid technology-related mishaps. Lights, camera, Zoom Cinematographer and photographer Gary Gould says all it takes is a few simple steps to put yourself in the best possible light on your next video call. The Ryerson University professor said one way to show your best angles is to put your laptop on a stack of books so the camera is at eye level. Gould suggested people position themselves as if they were posing for a "passport photo" — your face should take up most of the frame, but leave some space around your head and shoulders so it doesn't seem claustrophobic. Placing yourself close to the camera has the added benefit of ensuring that your laptop's microphone can pick up the sound of your voice when speaking at full volume, said Gould. While a little sunshine never hurts, Gould warned that having a window in the back of your shot will likely obscure your face in shadows. He said the issue can often be fixed by turning the camera 180 degrees. He also recommended arranging your desk lamps so the light is shining toward your face, noting that warm-coloured bulbs such as LEDs tend to be the most flattering. Learn from the pros: YouTubers and video-game streamers Kris Alexander, an assistant professor at Ryerson University's media school, warns his students that it takes more than an impressive resume to win a position. In the Zoom marketplace, Alexander says, "your camera feed is a job interview." For tips on professional virtual presentation, Alexander encourages people to turn to those who have built lucrative livelihoods based on at-home digital production — the stars of YouTube and the video-game streaming platform Twitch. "Currently, we are all in competition with Twitch streamers and YouTubers, whether we want to believe it or not," said Alexander, a video games researcher and Twitch streamer. Thankfully, these video gurus have uploaded their secrets in tutorials on lighting, sound, colour correction and graphics, often using tools that can be found in your own home, said Alexander. "The beautiful thing about it is it starts with you," he said. "It starts with what technology you have available to you." You should be the focal point of your video call Toronto interior designer Nike Onile says the background for your video calls can serve as a palette to show off your esthetic tastes, but the centrepiece of every Zoom room should be the same. "You want you to be the focal point," said Onile, founder of the spatial design studio Ode. "The backdrop should be subtle enough that you still remain the thing that people are looking at." You don't want to compete for your audience's attention by overwhelming the frame with cluttered walls, contrasting loud colours or busy patterns, said Onile. She suggested adding a large piece of art, curtains or a plant to liven up a plain background and create dimension. Décor with uniform, repetitive patterns, such as a bookcase, is also visually engaging without risking distraction, she said. Onile said video call users should also consider how their outfit fits into the frame. Wearing black against a dark backdrop can make you seem like a floating head, she said, while clothes that contrast with the colour of the wall can help you pop onscreen. There's nothing like a personal touch Jessie Bahrey of Port Moody, B.C., and her partner, D.C. politico Claude Taylor, have established themselves as the reigning connoisseurs of video-call backdrops as the minds behind Room Rater, a Twitter account that has racked up more than 350,000 followers by scoring the setups of at-home news segments on a scale out of 10. Bahrey said Zoom rooms with a personal touch tend to earn higher points than those with professional-grade production. She said media figures can show a more relatable side of themselves with details such as sports jerseys, political messages, meaningful quotations, family heirlooms and children's artwork. Some even shake up their set dressing with hidden symbols, she said. Bahrey said simple knick-knacks can serve as conversation starters that help people feel more connected on video calls, even when they can't be in the same room. "I think working from home is going to be the new norm," said Bahrey, who works at a greenhouse. "So people better get their rooms ready." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2020. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Few things have lifted Rojhan Paydar’s spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic quite like a Netflix watch party.Isolated inside her home, the Toronto resident is too often short on social opportunities and long on streaming options. So like many people, she’s recreated the experience of watching Netflix with friends through an unofficial web browser application called Teleparty, formerly known as Netflix Party.It’s been an opportunity for Paydar to gather with pals on a virtual couch while they gasp over the twists of true crime series, “Unsolved Mysteries." Even more often, she's used the app with her boyfriend for date nights watching the dysfunction unfold on “Tiger King" and other bingeable series.“Sometimes we’d eat dinner and set up our webcams to see each other,” she said.“Knowing he was there and we were doing something in real-time — it felt really good and made me less lonely."Not long ago, viewing party technology was a tool reserved for unique situations: a long-distance couple or fans of a niche TV series searching for like-minded people.But a year into the pandemic, weekly rituals have evolved, and online watch parties have proven many of us are desperate for some semblance of connection.As the winter months stretch on, and strict stay-at-home orders grip large parts of the country, observers say the watch party, and apps that help make it happen, are due for a second wave of popularity.“I think we may have seen a cultural shift,” suggested Daniel Keyes, associate professor of cultural studies at the University of British Columbia.“The pandemic and the fact we had to self-isolate totally accelerated it. It made it more mainstream.”For younger generations raised on YouTube and Twitch, watch parties are already part of the zeitgeist. Everyone else, including streaming giants themselves, seem to be playing cultural catchup.Last year, as the pandemic wore on, Amazon Prime Video introduced group chat elements into the laptop version of its platform. Disney Plus took a more restrained approach with a feature that allows up to seven people to sync their screens, but only communicate through emojis.Other streamers, such as Netflix and Crave, have so far chosen not to launch social elements on their platforms. That move could be strategic as the companies observe a sea change in how some viewers consume television, suggested Carmi Levy, director at technology advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group."It's almost as if the snow globe has been shaken and companies like Netflix are waiting for everything to settle down before they decide where to place their bets," he said."Social TV is a thing and it isn't going anywhere. It's very much like remote work: considered the exception before the pandemic, but now the rule."Levy said the entertainment industry couldn't have predicted how quickly the change took hold with casual viewers. For years, upstart tech companies launched second-screen watch party innovations, and most of them failed miserably.That's left the door open for the latest generation of alternatives to capitalize on filling the void, among them TwoStream, a paid monthly watch party option, and Syncplay, which is free.One of the most ambitious newcomers is Scener, a venture-funded operation out of Seattle that currently supports the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus, Vimeo and horror platform Shudder. In a few clicks, viewers can react to a show through their webcam or type out thoughts on their keyboard.Co-founder Joe Braidwood said replicating the in-person experience, in particular, “the laughter, the screams and the horror,” was a goal of his company long before the pandemic. But it wasn’t always easy getting others to see the value.“Two years ago I would talk to investors about social TV and they would laugh at me,” he recalled over a Zoom chat.“They told me, ‘People don't want social experiences when they're watching television.’ But all you need to do is look on Twitter.”Even before the pandemic, he said, people were engaging over social media platforms about their favourite shows. Now, since everyone's holed up in their homes, Scener's growth has been exponential. Cumulative weekly minutes of programming watched grew nearly 42,000 per cent from March 2020 to January 2021 (57,785 minutes versus 24.2 million minutes), according to data provided by the company.“People who haven't hung out with their best friend while watching ‘The Flight Attendant’ or shared a family Christmas while watching an old classic movie on Scener, they just don't know what this feels like,” he added.“There's this real texture to it... it's warm engagement with people that you care about.”Hoovie, a Vancouver-based virtual watch party service, aims to bridge the gap between art house cinema outings and the comfort of a living room chat.Hosts can dive into the company’s independent film catalogue and book ticketed showings for small groups, typically in the range of 10 to 20 people. After the movie, they’re encouraged to engage in a webcam conversation on the platform that’s inspired by the film’s themes.Co-founder Fiona Rayher describes Hoovie as a platform meant to evoke those experiences outside the cinema where groups of people – sometimes strangers – would passionately discuss what they’d just watched and maybe head to a nearby restaurant for drinks."You’d meet new people and you’d stay connected," she said. "It was all serendipitous."Hoovie plans to debut a "book club for movies" early this year that'll build on connecting movie fans. Every month, subscribers will gather for online screenings that include a post-film conversation with members, filmmakers and critics. Each film will be rounded out with a wine pairing sent by mail.Selling nostalgia for the pre-pandemic days may sound appealing in lockdown, but the question remains on how attractive watch parties will be once a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available.It's a question Paydar said she thinks about often as she logs onto a watch party for another episode of "Unsolved Mysteries.""Whenever someone asks, 'If COVID ended right now, where would you go?' the first thing I say is, 'I'd like to go to a movie theatre,'" she said."There's something about being in a physical theatre and going with a group of friends...Those end-of-the-night goodbyes, getting late-night eats with my friends.. (we're) creating memories I get to hold on to forever," she said."I don't think that can be replaced."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
LONDON — For nine months, Gordon Bonner has been in the “hinterlands of despair and desolation” after losing his wife of 63 years to the coronavirus pandemic that has now taken the lives of more than 100,000 people in the United Kingdom. Only recently did Bonner think he might be able to move on — after sensing the spirit of his wife, Muriel, near him on what would have been her 84th birthday. “I suddenly understood I had to change my attitude, that memories are not shackles, they are garlands and one should wear them like garlands around your shoulders and use them to communicate between the quick and the dead,” the retired Army major said in an interview from his home in the northern city of Leeds. “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Bonner, 86, is just one of many hundreds of thousands of Britons toiling with grief because of the pandemic. With more than 2 million dead worldwide, people the world over are mourning loved ones, but the U.K.'s toll weighs particularly heavily: It is the smallest nation to pass the 100,000 mark. While Wuhan, Bergamo or New York City may be more associated with the pandemic, the U.K. has one of the the highest death tolls relative to its population. For comparison, the United States, with five times Britain's population, has four times the number of deaths. Experts say virus tallies, in general, are undercounts due to limited testing and missed cases, especially early in the pandemic. Alongside excess deaths comes excess grief, made even more acute by the social distancing measures in place to slow the virus's spread. “There’s going to be a tsunami of grief and mental health issues this year, next year, ongoing, due to the complications, because of course people haven’t been able to have the usual rituals,” said Linda Magistris, founder of the Good Grief Trust, which brings bereavement services in the U.K. together under one umbrella. Bonner understands the need for restrictions but that hasn't made it any easier. Six weeks after he was prevented from going to Muriel’s care home because of lockdown restrictions and 10 days after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, Bonner was summoned to the hospital and, “dressed like a spaceman,” he bore witness to his wife’s final agonizing moments. “She was working so hard to draw breath, her lips were pursed as if she was sucking on a straw," he said. "I can see her face now with her lips in that position and it was devastating and it knocked me sideways.” That was the last time he saw Muriel, and that image haunts him. And in what he termed a “wicked twist in the tale," Bonner was not offered the chance to replace that memory as his wife's body was deemed a “reservoir of active coronavirus.” He wasn’t even able to have her dressed the way he wanted for her cremation. Hugs with friends and family — well, they’re not advised. Those rituals help people cope, a task made harder now because there's no escape from the scale of death in the U.K. — beyond the annual average of around 600,000 — from the regular sound of ambulance sirens to the alarming headlines on news bulletins. “The backdrop of death, of grief, around creates quite a caustic context,” said Andy Langford, clinical director at Cruse, a leading charity for bereaved people. Many left behind are unsure where to seek help, partly because they are navigating the grieving process at a time when local health services are not operating as normal. Bereavement charities have stepped in, tailoring support groups online, that may appeal to those who may otherwise have been reluctant to search out help in the pre-COVID-19 world. But resources are stretched, especially when the country is regularly recording over 1,000 deaths a day. The government is being urged to provide extra funding to bolster helplines, counselling services and other community support programs. “It’s really important we don’t pathologize grief as indicative of mental health difficulties, but equally a huge proportion of people will need support,” said Dr. Charley Baker, associate professor of mental health at the University of Nottingham. Many won't need any or only minimal outside support. But there is a concern that some of the grief is pent up: that people may be be subconsciously shielding themselves from its full impact, and they may end up being hit hard as the pandemic comes under control. “I think it will be strange because it will be a really positive thing when things can hopefully get back to some degree of normality, but I think that would also be a very difficult moment because we’ve all been a bit frozen in time,” said Jo Goodman, who lost her 72-year-old father Stuart last April, just days after he tested positive for the virus. A couple of months after her father died, Goodman, 32, co-founded the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group to pressure the government to back a public inquiry into how the pandemic was handled last spring. “We can’t normalize the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of people are dying everyday and knowing what their families are going through,” Goodman said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said an inquiry will take place — but only after the crisis is over. But already critics are arguing that the government has repeated the mistakes it made in the spring in the current resurgence, such as locking down the country too late. The U.K. is also contending with a new, more contagious variant that may carry a higher risk of death than the original strain. Bonner, meanwhile, is hoping that the country will take the time to properly mourn and is considering sending a letter to Johnson, who has yet to back a national commemoration for virus victims, to suggest a "a simultaneous remembrance service so those of us who have lost people to COVID can go somewhere to seek some solace.” ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Pan Pylas, The Associated Press
GENEVA — The candidate for FIFA’s top decision-making body who lost after facing gender bias and improper influence said on Tuesday the Asian Football Confederation should re-run its tainted election. Mariyam Mohamed said the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict Monday -- after she alleged misconduct by the AFC and Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah -- undermined the winning candidates at Asian soccer elections in 2019. The court found the allegations of discrimination against women and inducements offered to be proven in Mohamed’s appeals but let the election results stand. “The currently elected officials at the AFC and FIFA have no legitimacy and there should be new elections as soon as possible,” she said in a statement to the Associated Press. The AFC said on Tuesday it would “review the CAS awards to understand what appropriate action(s) can be taken.” “The AFC notes that it is always determined to maintain the highest possible standards in these important areas.” Mohamed filed formal complaints to the AFC in April 2019 saying pressure put on her by its officials and Sheikh Ahmad left her feeling “unsafe (and) threatened.” She alleged the Kuwaiti sheikh offered her inducements to withdraw from a vote to join the FIFA Council as Asia’s female delegate. In 2017, U.S. federal authorities implicated him in buying influence in soccer elections. He denied wrongdoing but was forced out of his own FIFA Council seat. She said Sheikh Ahmad told her at a luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur she would have no future in soccer if she stood against his favoured candidate. Mohamed lost to her opponent from Bangladesh 31-15 in a poll of AFC member federations. All 15 candidates for AFC positions on a list circulated before the vote, and reportedly backed by the Olympic Council of Asia which Sheikh Ahmad leads, ended up winning. The OCA declined to comment after the elections. Mohamed filed two appeals at CAS in the Olympic home city of Lausanne, Switzerland. The court said its judges agreed with both, finding fault with the AFC election committee’s refusal to investigate Mohamed’s complaint of discrimination, and the disciplinary committee’s failure to do a timely investigation of improper third-party influence. “The CAS panel found denial of justice, serious corruption and discrimination,” Mohamed said, hailing the verdict “a fabulous result.” However, it was a partial win for the Maldives soccer official as the three judges did not annul the vote or order new AFC elections. The court decided the proven offer of inducements had no effect because Mohamed did not withdraw her candidacy. The judges also said the AFC’s electoral and disciplinary committees had no authority to annul or re-run polls, nor amend the soccer body’s legal statutes. The AFC legal director in 2019, Benoît Pasquier, declined comment on the case on Tuesday to the AP. He cited having left the soccer body and now being on the CAS list of approved arbitrators. The court has not yet published the full written verdict of its judging panel chaired by John Boultbee, an Australian barrister and former long-time official at rowing’s governing body. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press
Greg Funston, a University of Alberta PhD student, and his team uncovered the first tyrannosaur embryo fossils ever recorded.
Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said planning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout beyond two-week blocks is challenging because the vaccine supply is "fragile" and "ultimately out of our control." Strang made the comments Tuesday at a COVID-19 briefing where he outlined a three-month plan for prioritizing vaccinations amid supply constraints. The province also announced two more exposures in Halifax. "We are focusing on delivering vaccine to health-care workers who are directly involved in the front-line COVID response, as well as staff, residents and designated caregivers in long-term care and residential care facilities," he said. Strang said the province's vaccination plan was driven by "science and risk." Noting that 90 per cent of COVID-19 deaths are people over 80 years old, he said age is by far the biggest risk factor. Strang said clinics for health-care workers are being run in Halifax, Cape Breton, Kentville and Truro this week. Beginning Thursday, he said an additional seven long-term care facilities across the province will have vaccines to start their immunization programs. 1 new COVID case On Tuesday, the province reported one new case of COVID-19 and a total of 11 active cases. No one is in hospital because of the coronavirus. The new case is in the central health zone and is related to travel outside the region. The person is self-isolating. Strang warned Nova Scotians to avoid being complacent. "We are still in the middle of the second wave," he said. "There is the emergence of warring new variant strains, and our vaccine supply remains uncertain." He urged people to remain cautious and to avoid travel outside of the region because it "greatly increases the risk of bringing COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants back into Nova Scotia." Strang said a number of prototype clinics are being planned for phase 1 of the vaccine rollout. The experience will guide the second phase, when a larger supply of vaccines is available. He said a prototype clinic will be set up at the IWK hospital in mid-to-late February. What officials learn there will be applied elsewhere once larger quantities of vaccines are available. Strang said consultations are underway with stakeholders to set up clinics for priority groups such as Indigenous elders and Black Nova Scotians. The continued distribution of the vaccine hit a snag on Jan. 19 when the province announced that there would be no new shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Canada as the biotech company paused production in Belgium to increase long-term capacity. On Monday, the province reported that 11,083 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, and 2,708 Nova Scotians have received their second doses. Premier Stephen McNeil said the province is continuing to reserve second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until a continuous supply can be guaranteed. Some restrictions eased this week Some restrictions on sports, arts and culture were eased on Monday. Sports teams will be able to play games, but with restricted travel and no spectators, and there can be no games or tournaments involving teams that would not regularly play against each other. Art and theatre performances can take place without an audience. The Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Eagles will be starting league play later this week, but with no fans in attendance because of provincial public health rules. The province will also allow residents of adult service centres and regional rehabilitation centres to start volunteering and working in the community again. Returning students urged to get tested Post-secondary students returning to Nova Scotia from anywhere except Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador are being encouraged to book a COVID-19 test appointment. The test should be booked for the sixth, seventh or eighth day of their 14-day self-isolation period. Testing appointments can be booked up to three days in advance. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
Sharon Bala knows the power of recognizing yourself in a story, and the pain of seeing your identity smeared across the page. The Sri Lankan-Canadian author says misrepresentations in fiction can feel like a form of literary violence, warping the way some readers see the real-life harms against people who aren't like them. "When we see ourselves misrepresented on the page, it just feels like the writer has taken their pen and shoved it into our eyes," said Bala, who won awards acclaim for her 2018 debut novel "The Boat People." "We can't pretend that we live in some rarefied bubble as writers where we are separate from the world." From using sexual violence against women as a plot point in a male hero's arc, to killing off an Indigenous character for dramatic tension, Bala said storytelling tropes often serve as a mirror of the systemic indifference toward the suffering of marginalized groups. But as society reckons with these injustices, the St. John's, N.L.-based novelist said a long-simmering conversation among authors about how to responsibly write about identities other than their own, whether that be a character of a different race, gender, sexuality, ability or class. In the past, she said, the public discourse about literary representation has been dominated by a privileged few stoking fears over perceived threats to authors' purported "right" to pluck inspiration from other communities as they please, said Bala. Examples include the 2017 CanLit controversy over an online campaign to fund a writing prize for cultural appropriation, or the tastemakers who rose to American author Jeanine Cummins' defence after the January release of her much-hyped book, "American Dirt," drew criticism from Latino writers and activists for trading in stereotypes about Mexicans. But Bala, who hosted an online workshop on literary representation earlier this month, says the strong turnout shows that writers know they can no longer afford to weaponize "the other" as a cudgel in someone else's narrative. Rather, she said, creators are grappling with questions that in some ways cut to the core of the mission of fiction: How do you write about who you don't know, and should you? "None of us are perfect. We're all going to make mistakes," said Bala. "But I think that if we ... have tried and still made the mistake, there's actually a lot of empathy for that within the writing community." Bala said she only writes about communities she has ties to, and people she'll have to answer to for any distortions. She's also a proponent of bringing in "sensitivity readers" — cultural experts who review manuscripts for inaccuracies — early in the writing process to catch misconceptions before they become embedded in the narrative. Emma Donoghue, the London, Ont.-based author behind "Room," said she's also enlisted the help of cultural consultants as part of her process. But ultimately, Donoghue said she and other white writers have a responsibility to assess their own abilities and motives before depicting different demographics. "I think it's a richer cultural landscape," she said. "If that means that the writers who used to sort of costlessly write about anything have to be a bit more careful, then that just comes with the territory." Acclaimed author Thomas King, who is of Greek and Cherokee descent, said he tries not to stray too far from his realm of experience in writing his protagonists. Characters of diverse backgrounds often populate his narratives, but King said he wouldn't write from another community's point of view because he wouldn't feel comfortable "taking on that skin." King said some of the most persistent pop culture narratives play into cliches and stereotypes to reinforce the audience's pre-existing biases. "While they're not authentic, to the public mind, they appear to be," he said. "Certainly, for Native people that happened with non-Native writers writing about Native characters." Novelist Andre Alexis holds that being too beholden to the burden of accurate representation can restrict the imaginative possibilities of literature. The Trinidad-born, Ottawa-raised writer said problems can arise when playing pretend with someone else's reality, and writers should have to answer for their misrepresentations. However, Alexis maintains that imagining "the other" serves a vital function not only in the arts, but for society at large. "It's important for the Americans to imagine what it's like to be a member of one of the countries they've attacked and ruined," said Alexis, who won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize for "Fifteen Dogs." "That imagining of the others who you have made to suffer is a tremendously significant moral step." Sanchari Sur, a genderqueer writer who uses the pronouns "she" and "they" interchangeably, said growing up they never saw queer characters, particularly South Asian ones, represented in fiction. "When you don't see yourself represented, or when you see yourself represented as a stereotype or negatively, that does impact you," said Sur, who is earning a PhD in English at Wilfrid Laurier University. Still, Sur said there needs to be space for writers to make mistakes and engage with critical feedback. Sur confronted this issue during a writers' retreat when they received a negative response to a piece they wrote that centred on a transgender woman's experience of familial emotional trauma. Sur, who was wrestling with their own gender identity at the time, said some trans participants at the retreat took issue with a non-trans author writing about the trans body in relation to trauma. Sur said the critiques caught them off guard, and it took months to work up the wherewithal to return to fiction. In the time since, Sur has come to see that there were technical problems with the story that contributed to the blowback, and feels they're a better writer because of the incident. "If you're being called out for something that is inherently wrong or dehumanizing in some way, then you have to acknowledge that and you have to learn from it." Kim Davids Mandar, an emerging writer in Guelph, Ont., said the complexities of literary representation have personal resonance for her as the daughter of immigrants who fled post-apartheid South Africa to provide a better life for their mixed-race family in Canada. When a publisher approached her about conducting a series of interviews for a collection, Davids Mandar said she jumped at the chance to ask some of Canada's finest literary minds about how they work through questions of difference, identity and appropriation. The editor of "(In)Appropriate," which was released earlier this month, said she didn't reach any tidy conclusions during her conversations with the book's contributors, including Sur, Eden Robinson, Michael Crummey and Ian Williams. One theme that emerged was the role that publishers and booksellers play in amplifying certain voices at the expense of others, she said. A 2018 survey by the Association of Canadian Publishers on diversity found 82 per cent of the 279 respondents who worked in the industry identified as white. "I think we can't pretend that we don't live within this context, and that it doesn't actually impact the books industry," said Davids Mandar. Overall, Davids Mandar said she walked away from the book with a renewed sense of urgency for Canada's literary community to engage in these shifting, sometimes messy conversations. "It really reflects where we're at, each of us as individuals, but also as a community, in truthfully embracing the fact that we need unity, but we also need diversity and we have to have them together." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
This story is part of a new initiative to provide content to our Chinese readers. You can find the English version here. 展望2021年，人們希望新冠肺炎大流行能盡快過去，生活可以早日如常。但我們身邊正在經歷入睡困難、焦慮、憤怒或情緒低沉的人比比皆是。疫情的持續所帶給所有人的壓力不言而喻，恢復身心健康之路任重道遠。 在封城和禁止社交的大環境下，如何幫助他人和自己提高的心理的靈活性，增強應對疫情的復原力？ 保泰社區抗疫行動(Project PROTECH)作為加拿大政府的新前沿研究基金(NFRF) 資助的研究項目，現正在招募加拿大講英語、國語或粵語的華人，參加一個名為「應對全球流行病 - 接受，承諾，與賦權」的免費培訓項目(PACER: Pandemic Acceptance and Commitment to Empowerment Response Training)，希望幫助受新冠病毒影響的人提高復原能力。 滿足條件的人，還能獲得相應的報酬。 這個項目自2020年下半年展開以來，以英語培訓了近一百位參加者, 現在保泰團隊持續加強培訓內容, 發展出了中、英、粵三種語言的培訓模式, 推出第二階段的培訓，讓更多社區內的新移民、留學 生、非居民等不同群體都能參與其中。 萬錦市民張女士在參加完培訓後，認為這個項目增強了自己價值觀的建設。「比如我喜歡旅遊，但因為疫情不能去了，我學會了可以用其他事替代，同時依然保持該價值觀在心裏。」 她開始重新思考，自己為什麼喜歡旅遊？是希望尋找快樂，以及和遠方的家人、朋友團聚。「疫情之下，我可以通過看一些書籍、紀錄片，和親友視頻聊天，達到相同的效果。同時我做了未來的旅遊計劃，往這個方向去努力。其實我還是在追求這個價值和東西，這是疫情期間的一種別樣的疏導自己的方式。」 要參加PACER培訓，你須年滿18歲，來自加拿大華人社區，並且至少能流利使用英語、國語或粵語中的一種。你可以是上班族，居家學習的大學生，社區領袖，或是感染了新冠病毒的人士，照顧患病家人的受影響者等。 參加本研究完全是自願的。所有在小組分享的私人信息將被嚴格保密。因此，參與者均須簽署一份保密協議。該培訓項目為期 6 周，以在線自學的模塊進行，每周與其他參與者一同參加由培訓者帶領的在線小組討論。 通過這個培訓，參與者將會學習到正念、接受與承諾療法(ACT)，以及集體賦權心理教育等專業的心理應對技能。Project PROTECH還將邀請你完成培訓前、後以及後續的跟進問卷調查。你還可以誌願選擇參加線上的焦點小組，以幫助評估該項目的有效性。 為表示對該研究項目參與者的謝意，每完成一份問卷，你將獲得$20加幣。參加培訓結束三個月後的後續線上焦點小組，你還將再獲得$30加幣。這項研究已由瑞爾森(Ryerson)大學研究倫理委員會(REB 2020-12)和大學健康網絡(UHN)研究倫理委員會批準，旨在與華裔社區一起共同應對新冠肺炎的持續影響。 下期培訓的每周在線小組討論將於1月27開始，連續 6 周，以中、英、粵三種語言，在每周三晚8點到9點半舉行。培訓人數有限，請在培訓開始前盡早註冊，保泰稍後將推出更多培訓時間表。 想獲得有關保泰社區抗疫行動培訓的相關信息，或有意參與培訓，請訪問網頁 www.projectPROTECH.ca。 Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun
Uplifting music, engaging speakers and eye-catching posters. This year's African Heritage Month celebration was launched online today. Premier Stephen McNeil, Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc, and African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince spoke at the event. "I encourage all Nova Scotians to listen, learn, share and act as we celebrate African Nova Scotian heritage month," said McNeil, officiating the launch of the event. The provincial theme, Black History Matters: Listen, Learn, Share and Act, calls on all Nova Scotians to make a better society by recognizing the long-standing history and legacy of African Nova Scotians, and by acknowledging racialized issues and adversity for people of African descent. Led by Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, mayors from 18 municipalities in the province acknowledged the launching of the heritage month during the virutal event, marking the first joint municipal proclamation. The kickoff event also featured local musicians: Zamani Benard-Millar and Amariah Bernard Washington. The artists performed O' Canada in the beginning and later a song named Outside, together with Nzingha Bernard-Millar. Ince unveiled the poster at Government House, together with LeBlanc and his wife Patsy. "For this year's theme and poster design, we wanted to highlight key important accomplishments, successes and milestones by African Nova Scotians. We also felt it was important to incorporate elements of the Black Lives Matter social movement which has been a significant influence in advocating for racial justice and diversity," said Russell Grosse, the executive director of the Black Cultural Centre and organizational lead of the African Heritage Month Information Network. Over 70 per cent of African Nova Scotians have roots in the province going back three generations or more, and 2.4 per cent of Nova Scotians identify as African Nova Scotian. Some the highlights of this year's events include an online sing-along, a skating party in Guysborough, and a panel discussion on fitting African-centred perspectives into social work practice. Details of the events throughout the month can be found here. Lu Xu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
BURLINGTON, Ont. — Police say two women have died and three people are injured following a multi-vehicle crash on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Burlington, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police say they were called shortly after 5:30 a.m. to the four-vehicle collision. They say it appears a Mitsubishi vehicle crossed from the westbound lanes into the eastbound ones and collided head on with an Acura. Police say the Mitsubishi was then hit by a truck, after which a fourth vehicle lost control and rolled into the centre median ditch. Investigators say two women in the Mitsubishi were killed and three others are being treated for minor injuries. They say it's unclear what caused the crash, and it will likely take at least five or six hours for the highway to reopen in the area. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
A Halifax church has been helping newcomers to tie the knot, with a twist of traditions from their own culture. You may think that Christian weddings at a church are all the same: mutual vows that end with till death do us part, a priest or pastor presiding over and declaring the official finalization of the ceremony. But a Halifax Christian Church begs to differ. “We get traditions that each culture has that are important to them, and we get to enjoy that experience,” said Greg Nicholson, lead pastor at Halifax Christian Church. Nicholson said the church has hosted weddings for over 40 couples from all over the world, including couples from Nigeria, the Philippines, Indian, Ukraine and many more. “They are still Christian weddings, because I'm performing them. But we're able to implement some of the different things that people have in their own culture,” he said. The pastor has presided over weddings for couples with a Hindu background where the bride was actually seated and The Seven Vows, an element in a traditional Hindu wedding that symbolizes the unity of two families, was performed. Since the church welcomed its first Filipino family, it is now the place of worship to newcomers from over 25 countries. “They will check online before immigrating and a few families have noticed pictures of others from their nationality and they decide on us. A lot are then invited by the ones already here,” he said. Carlos Medrano and his wife Grace Flores-Medrano are among the many newcomers the church helped. The couple are originally from El Salvador and had their wedding with the help of the church in 2016. “It's just amazing how many different types of backgrounds we have in the church. And you will think that it's really hard to have that mix of people in a row (or) we have nothing to talk about. No, we just we have something (in) common.,” Medrano said. Medrano said the couple lost their jobs before the wedding ceremony and it was the church that helped them to stay in Canada. “We finally found our family here in Halifax and the family that we have is a family from Halifax Christian church,” he said. Lu Xu is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government. Lu Xu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle Herald
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
LONDON — More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus, a year into Europe's deadliest outbreak, figures from the government showed Tuesday. Britain is the fifth country in the world to record 100,000 virus-related deaths, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. The U.K. toll is more than twice as many people as were killed by German bombs in Britain in the 1940-41 Blitz, and 30,000 more than the total number of British civilians killed during the six years of World War II. The first confirmed British victim of the virus was Peter Attwood, an 84-year-old retiree who died on Jan. 30, 2020 — though the cause was not recorded as COVID-19 until months later. A year on, hundreds of thousands of Britons are grieving the loss of loved ones, and demanding an accounting for the terrible toll. In part, Britain has suffered because of longstanding factors such as high levels of conditions including obesity and heart disease, a large gap between rich and poor and London’s status as a global crossroads. But decisions during the pandemic also played a part. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is accused by many scientists of waiting too long to impose a lockdown in March as infections were rising exponentially. Leading epidemiologists say acting a week sooner might have cut the death toll in half. As in other European countries, cases fell in the summer, then took off again. A more transmissible variant identified in southeast England helped push infections to new highs, and brought a new lockdown, even as a nationwide vaccination campaign began. Johnson — who spent a week in the hospital with the virus in April — has promised that a public inquiry will examine Britain’s handling of the pandemic, though he has not said when it will start. “Of course we will learn lessons in due course and of course there will be a time to reflect and to prepare for the next pandemic,” Johnson said last week. The official count records people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. The real toll, as in other places, is likely higher, in part due to a lack of testing early in the pandemic. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. The Associated Press
HELSINKI — A new two-party coalition government was sworn in Tuesday in Estonia, led by the first woman prime minister since the Baltic nation regained independence in 1991. The 15-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas took office after lawmakers in Estonia's parliament approved the government appointed by President Kersti Kaljulaid. Kallas, 43, is a lawyer and former European Parliament member. The centre-right Reform Party that she chairs and and the left-leaning Center Party, which are Estonia’s two biggest political parties, reached a deal on Sunday to form a government. The previous Cabinet, with Center leader Juri Ratas as prime minister, collapsed this month due to a corruption scandal. The two parties each have seven ministers in the Cabinet in addition to Kallas serving as prime minister. The government controls a comfortable majority in the 101-seat Riigikogu. Kallas stressed gender balance in forming the new Cabinet, placing several women in key positions, including naming the Reform Party's Keit Pentus-Rosimannus as finance minister and Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonia’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, as the foreign minister. Kallas' Cabinet has a little over two years to leave its mark in this European Union and NATO member before the next general election set for March 2023. One of the government's immediate priorities is to tackle Estonia’s worsening coronavirus situation and the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. The Reform Party, a pro-business party espousing liberal economic policies, emerged as the winner of Estonia's 2019 general election under Kallas' lead. However, she was outmanoeuvred by Ratas' Center Party, which formed a three-party coalition with the populist right-wing EKRE party and the conservative Fatherland party. But Ratas’ government, which took office in April 2019, was shaky from the start due to strong rhetoric from the nationalist EKRE, the nation’s third-largest party which runs on an anti-immigration and anti-EU agenda. The EKRE leaders, Mart Helme and his son Martin, brought the government to the brink of collapse at least twice. However, Ratas' government was eventually brought down on Jan. 13 by a corruption scandal involving an official suspected of accepting a private donation for the Center Party in exchange for a political favour on a real estate development at the harbour district of the capital, Tallinn. Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, is now one of the few countries where both the head of state and the head of government are women. However, that may not necessarily last long as Estonian lawmakers will convene by September to elect a new president. Kaljulaid, who assumed her post in October 2016, hasn't announced whether she will seek reelection to another five year term. Jari Tanner, The Associated Press
New results extend hopes for drugs that supply antibodies to fight COVID-19, suggesting they can help keep patients out of the hospital and possibly prevent illness in some uninfected people. Eli Lilly said Tuesday that a two-antibody combo reduced the risk of hospitalizations or death by 70% in newly diagnosed, non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients at high risk of serious illness because of age or other health conditions. All 10 deaths that occurred in the study were among those receiving placebo rather than the antibodies. Separately, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said partial results from an ongoing study suggest its drug combo completely prevented symptomatic infections in housemates of someone with COVID-19. Importantly, the drug was given as multiple shots rather than through an IV. The need for an infusion has greatly limited the use of antibody drugs in the pandemic because of health care shortages. None of the new results have been published or reviewed by other scientists, and the Regeneron ones were based on only one quarter of patients in its study and were not a planned early analysis. Antibodies are proteins that attach to a virus and block it from infecting cells, but it takes several weeks after infection or vaccination for the most effective ones to form. The drugs aim to help right away, by supplying concentrated doses of one or two antibodies that worked best against the coronavirus in lab tests. U.S. regulators have allowed emergency use of some Lilly and Regeneron antibodies for mild or moderate COVID-19 cases that do not require hospitalization while studies of them continued. The drugs are also being tested to prevent infection in those at high risk of it. That’s called “passive vaccination” because it supplies antibodies rather than prompts the body to make them. Both companies are asking regulators to expand authorization of their drugs based on the new findings. Regeneron’s results were on the first 409 people in a study that has enrolled more than 2,000 so far. All tested negative for the virus but live with someone who has COVID-19. There were roughly half as many infections among those given the drug versus a placebo, and none on the drug developed any symptoms. Infections also were shorter and the amount of virus lower among those given the drug. Lilly’s new results were from a study of 1,035 non-hospitalized patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19. About 2% on the drug were later hospitalized or died versus 7% of the placebo group. Last week, Lilly said one of the two antibodies helped prevent illness among residents and staff of nursing homes in a different study. The four deaths that occurred in that study were all among those given placebo. ___ Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter: @MMarchioneAP ___ 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. Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence rose in January as Americans became more optimistic about the future. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index increased to 89.3, a rebound from December when it dipped to 87.1. The increase was fueled by the board's rising expectations index, which measures feelings about the future path of incomes, business and labour market conditions. The present situation index weakened further, likely reflecting concerns about the resurgence of COVID-19. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Amateur investors piled further into niche stocks on Tuesday, sending professional short sellers scrambling to cover losing bets, with GameStop skyrocketing for a fourth straight day, thanks in part to Elon Musk. GameStop surged 50% in extended trade after Musk tweeted "Gamestonk!!", along with a link to Reddit's Wallstreetbets stock trading discussion group, where supporters affectionately refer to the Tesla CEO as "Papa Musk."
Qualcomm Inc on Tuesday said it will supply a range of chips for General Motors Co's next generation of vehicles. The San Diego company has long been known for making modem chips that connected Apple Inc's iPhones and many vehicles to cellular data networks. In recent years, Qualcomm has moved into automotive chips.