Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Kerry Washington react to Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict; Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda appeal to Biden over agreement with Bolsonaro; Queen Elizabeth II marks 95th birthday at Windsor Castle. (April 21)
Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Kerry Washington react to Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict; Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda appeal to Biden over agreement with Bolsonaro; Queen Elizabeth II marks 95th birthday at Windsor Castle. (April 21)
While the typical approach for COVID-19 vaccinations is using the same brand for each dose, given at specific intervals, Canada has been exploring mixing doses on top of delaying second shots up to four months — two big bets that could pay off. Before vaccine shipments started ramping up, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued a bold recommendation to delay second doses well beyond manufacturing guidelines to a maximum of four months. The move sparked criticism that Canada was engaged in a "population level experiment," with concerns ranging from a lack of data, to a growing body of research suggesting it's not the safest approach for immunocompromised and older adults. Layered on that controversial move are more recent shifts toward mixing doses — including offering up an mRNA-based option, from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, to some Canadians who have already gotten a first shot of AstraZeneca-Oxford. According to multiple vaccine experts, these moves may seem unorthodox on the surface, but are rooted in decades of science, backed up by emerging research, and could be preventing COVID-19 deaths at a time when Canada has been struggling to bring in enough vaccines from abroad. "I think having the single dose strategy, which was put forth by our Canadian public health agencies, has really saved a lot of lives and has been really instrumental and will be important for us getting back to a more normal life," said Alyson Kelvin, a vaccinologist with VIDO-InterVac, a vaccine development company in Saskatoon. Mixing doses could also wind up being a useful approach in the months ahead, according to Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based cardiologist and epidemiologist. "Especially because we want people to get their second doses," he said. "And if supply issues continue to be a problem, we don't want to be pushing second doses back waiting for vaccine supply to come our way." Healthcare workers with Humber River Hospital administer doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary clinic for member’s of Toronto’s Spanish-speaking community at the Glen Long Community Centre on May 14, 2021.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Delaying doses can lead to 'better' immune response When it comes to Canada's unique approach to delaying doses, vaccine experts stressed that while it strayed significantly from the shorter schedule of the clinical trials, it falls in line with the broader body of vaccine science. Typically giving a bit more time between a first vaccine dose and the second vaccine dose "really leads to a better overall immune response, and protection from whatever pathogen the vaccine was made against," noted Kelvin. The exact guidelines for various COVID-19 vaccines vary, but one thing is common: the manufacturers' dosing schedules specify tight timelines, including two shots just 28 days apart for Moderna, two shots 21 days apart for Pfizer, and two shots a minimum of four weeks apart and no longer than 12 weeks for AstraZeneca. While the manufacturers recommend sticking with the dosing intervals from clinical trials, those schedules were based on quickly developing safe and effective vaccines during a global health crisis, not to figure out the best-possible time frame between doses, Kelvin said. WATCH | Clinical trials focused on 'shortest path to results' for COVID-19 vaccines, explains vaccinologist: On Friday, news broke that a U.K. study showed the Pfizer vaccine generates antibody responses 3.5 times larger in older people when a second dose was delayed to 12 weeks after the first — offering an early hint that a delay may actually offer more protection. More research is still needed. Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control, whose research helped guide Canada's decision to extend the interval between COVID-19 vaccine shots, told CBC News the findings weren't a "surprise"; they underscored scientists' understanding that a longer time frame between doses could be beneficial. The move is also helping Canada rapidly vaccinate more residents, with more than half of all eligible adults getting at least one dose so far. Still, Labos is hoping most Canadians do get their second doses sooner than NACI's four-month maximum timeframe to ensure they develop solid protection, particularly for vulnerable and older populations who could experience waning immunity. "Four months is probably the outside limit; I don't think anybody's going to suggest that we push it much beyond that," he said. "The sweet spot probably is somewhere between that three week to three month interval." A woman walks by a sign advertising for COVID-19 vaccines in Montreal on May 14. (CBC / Radio-Canada) Different vaccines for different doses not 'unprecedented' For Canadians already wary of a potential months-long delay between doses, the notion of mixing brands — again, an approach not studied in the initial clinical trials — might also raise questions. Even so, various provinces are already going that route, or exploring mixed dosing strategies for the future, given the varying levels of supply coming from different manufacturers and ongoing concern over rare-but-serious blood clot risks tied to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), has been reported 28 times across Canada out of more than 2.3 million AstraZeneca doses administered, according to federal public health data, including four deaths. Several experts stressed a mixing-doses approach could be helpful given Canada's situation, and isn't that unusual for other vaccines. "Certainly mixing and matching vaccine types is not unprecedented," noted Matthew Miller, an associate professor of infectious diseases and immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, who is also affiliated with NACI but not speaking on the advisory body's behalf. "It's just that the nature of the situation here is that we're having to make these decisions based on evolving evidence in the context of an unprecedented public health emergency." WATCH | Dr. Tam discusses second doses, mixing vaccines: Annual flu shots, for instance, can come from a variety of sources, meaning people could be getting a different brand or form of vaccine technology each year. Same with the shingles vaccine, Miller said, which had one formulation in its first generation while a different formulation was used for a later, more effective dose. "Prior to this, nobody would actually ask, 'who made my vaccine,' you would just go for a flu vaccine," said Labos. "And nobody seemed to realize that there were multiple companies making different types of flu vaccines, and they were being used in different segments of the population — people were relatively oblivious to this entire issue." He also noted that preliminary results from a U.K. study suggest using different vaccines for different doses could even offer a "better immune response." The early findings, based on a trial using Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, showed swapping in one of each for the two doses hiked the chance of someone having mild or moderate reactions like fatigue, headache or a fever. These reactions may bode well for immunity, though further research is needed before drawing any firm conclusions. Deaths, hospitalizations among older adults dropping In recent weeks, despite the questions over Canada's approaches, it's becoming clear that country-wide vaccination efforts are starting to bear fruit. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the oldest Canadians recently began dropping at a faster rate than in younger adults who are less likely to be vaccinated yet, according to a CBC News analysis released in late April. That finding suggests this country is now moving along the same path as the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, where mass vaccination campaigns are further along and deaths are dropping dramatically. Overall, Kelvin said Canada's strategies may raise questions but they're nonetheless in line with a body of vaccine research that existed long before COVID-19. "I think it was definitely a valid concern that all of the evidence we had for COVID-19 vaccines were based on the phase three clinical trials," she said. "Of course, that didn't take into consideration what we understand about vaccines and vaccine immune responses."
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man who authorities say fatally shot an 87-year-old neighbor was trying to lure residents of his apartment complex outside before someone shot and killed him, according to witnesses. “He was yelling and screaming: ‘You guys get out here, come out here, everyone get out of this building right now,’" Janey Peugh, who lives at the complex, told KFSM television station. Police in Fort Smith, Arkansas, located on the border with Oklahoma, say that after Zachary Arnold, 26, fatally shot Lois Hicks on Saturday morning, he continued to shoot at neighboring apartments with a semi-automatic rifle. Another resident, who has not been named, retrieved a hunting rifle and shot and killed Arnold, police said. Resident Amber Lane told the television station that Hicks and Arnold lived in the same building. She said Hicks and another neighbor had gone outside before running back into their apartments. “There were two older women, both had come out," Lane said. “One of them had ran back in, and the other one ran back in, but she didn’t close her door, then he walked in and did what he did." Police said that Hicks was shot multiple times inside her apartment. Lane said she was grateful for the neighbor who shot Arnold. “If he didn’t do that, who knows how much worse it could have gotten,” Lane said. The Associated Press
A controversial Quebec singer who used his platform to share conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, has died. Bernard Lachance, originally from Montmagny, Quebec, garnered fame for his ambitious pursuit of performing. He would rent out theatres with his own money and sell his CD and tickets to his concerts on the streets, regardless of not having any representation.
RCMP are asking for the public's help to find two people who have been reported missing. Dakota Opikokew, 18, and Clarissa Martell, 16, are both from Canoe Narrows, Sask., and police believe they are together, according to an RCMP news release. Opikokew was last seen on Saturday around 10:30 p.m. CST getting out of a vehicle at the parking lot of the clinic in Canoe Narrows. He's described as about six feet four inches and weighing about 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Officers are still working to confirm a current description of Martell, according to the release, but she was last seen as a passenger in a black Nissan Rogue, heading south on Highway 903 toward Waterhen Lake. Police believe the pair may be in Waterhen Lake First Nation or the Meadow Lake area, but that has not been confirmed. Anyone with information on their whereabouts can contact Beauval RCMP at 306-288-6400, or their local police service or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Police say the pair may be in Waterhen Lake First Nation or the Meadow Lake area, but that has not been confirmed. (Submitted by RCMP)
Three Indigenous-owned companies in Saskatchewan have announced they're exploring small modular reactors (SMR). Kitsaki Management, Athabasca Basin Development and Des Nedhe Group have all signed a memorandum of understanding concerning their support for nuclear power in Saskatchewan. "We think that small modular reactors have a role to play in moving forward on climate change," said Sean Willy, CEO of Des Nedhe Group, which is the economic development arm of the English River First Nation.he said. "As three First Nations businesses, we wanted to support that and say listen, we want to be part of these discussions." Saskatchewan has already signed agreements with Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick to explore the technology of small modular reactors. The first reactor in Saskatchewan is scheduled to be operational in 2032. Willy said that he knows the technology won't be operational in Saskatchewan for some time, but that he wants to be a part of the supply chain and have a stake in jobs. "I think too often, First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities are the last ones at the table on business and we don't get our rightful spot [with] commercial opportunities and we want to flip that on its head," he said. The provinces have released a feasibility report prepared by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, NB Power and SaskPower which gives a potential timeline for development and deployment of SMRs and assesses their competitiveness with other non-emitting energy sources. SMRs are nuclear reactors that produce less than 300 megawatts of electricity. Because they are smaller than traditional nuclear power plants, which generally produce 800 megawatts (MW) and up, they are expected to be cheaper to build, scalable to meet specific industrial and remote community needs and, according to the report, will have the potential to be competitive with other low-carbon forms of energy.
A group of Windsor-area men have been charged after police say they rented a home near Barrie last week. According to a media release on Friday, the OPP received information that a gathering taking place near Parkside Beach in Oro-Medonte was "believed to be in contravention of current provincial restrictions." Officers went to the home and determined that it was a short-term rental booked through a popular service, OPP said. Six men, all of whom live in the Windsor area, are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Under the current provincial shutdown and stay-at-home order, which is in place until at least early June, gatherings between members of different households are prohibited, except in the case of a person who lives alone. Under the act, the minimum fine for hosting a gathering is $10,000 and attendees can receive a $750 ticket. More from CBC Windsor
More than 200,000 people have now received a first vaccine dose in Windsor-Essex County according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). On Saturday, it said 196,736 people received at least one shot and on Sunday that number climbed to 200,976. WECHU said 15,196 people have received both doses, and a total of 216,172 vaccine doses have been administered. The health unit also reported 98 new cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex County for Saturday and Sunday combined. Forty-three of the new cases are because of close contacts with confirmed cases, 21 were acquired in the community and 34 are still under investigation, public health said. As of Sunday, 230 of the cases are variants of concern while 144 are not. In total, the region has seen 1,422 variant cases. There are 20 people hospitalized due to the virus and 313 are in self-isolation. WECHU said 421 people have died in the region due to COVID-19. There are five active outbreaks at workplaces in Windsor-Essex County: Two in Windsor's health-care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in Windsor's mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector. One in a retail setting in Windsor. The Southwest Detention Centre has also been considered in outbreak since April 23. The province is reporting three active cases at the facility as of May 13. Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham Kent The number of active cases in Sarnia-Lambton decreased by three since Friday for a total of 86 according to Lambton Public Health. In Chatham-Kent, the number of active cases has remained constant at 36 since Friday.
Two more ransomware operators appear to have disappeared from the web, a cybersecurity researcher said on Sunday, in another potential aftershock following this month's hack of U.S. fuel transport company Colonial Pipeline. The sites, run by groups dubbed "AKO" and "Everest", appear to have become unreachable over the weekend, according to Allan Liska, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. Other ransomware groups - who make money by scrambling companies' data and demanding hefty payments in digital currency to unlock it - have said they were shutting down or scaling back operations as the U.S. government ramped up pressure.
A Calgary woman sent an oxygen device to her family in Mexico, who'd been stricken with COVID-19. But it never got to them, and UPS wouldn't take responsibility until Go Public started asking questions.
CBC News sent a questionnaire to thousands of education professionals to find out how they and their students are doing in this extraordinary school year. Nearly 9,500 responded. When the pandemic hit in the middle of Charis Liu's Grade 11 year at Markham District High School, classrooms closed. There would be no more walking down the halls with friends, no more debate club, semi-formal dances or cheering on the Markham Marauders hockey team. "Essentially, I've only had two and a half years of 'traditional' high school," said Liu, who graduates this year. Taking the ongoing pandemic into consideration, she decided it would be best for her to complete Grade 12 online as well. "It's been extremely different." As she heads off to study political science at the University of Ottawa, she admits to feeling less confident she and her classmates are ready for the workload to come. "I just feel like we've all kind of lost the study skills that we've been building up in our early years of high school." Teachers worried students are behind It turns out many teachers are concerned the pandemic and online learning have left students ill-prepared for next year. As part of the Schooling Under Stress series, CBC News invited more than 50,000 educators across the country to fill out a questionnaire voluntarily and anonymously. We received more than 9,000 responses about how they think the school year went for their students. Nationally, more than half of respondents said fewer students are meeting learning objectives this year. In Ontario, 70 per cent of high school teachers who responded said they are grading students more leniently. Liu says her grades have "skyrocketed" this year. "Exams were cancelled, a lot of tests were actually open-book because they can't do much about that since everything is online," said the straight-A student. "Honestly, I am pretty concerned about post-secondary as well because I just feel like we're not very well prepared." A steep learning curve after year of learning loss Nationally, 70 per cent of questionnaire respondents agreed that some students will not catch up academically by the time classrooms and lecture halls are full again. "A significant group of students are significantly behind with potential long term consequences," said researcher Kelly Gallagher-MacKay, professor of educational inequality at Wilfrid Laurier University. She says students would benefit from summer school or tutoring sessions next year for extra help to make up for the learning they've lost. In Ontario, 70 per cent of high school teachers who responded say they are grading students more leniently. (CBC News) Without that kind of intervention we could see higher failure or dropout rates and colleges and universities should be ready to provide extra support for the next crop of first-year students, Gallagher-MacKay said. "I wouldn't underestimate student resilience, but we also need our post-secondary institutions to be ready to meet students where they are to try and be extra engaged." She was more concerned to learn that three quarters of the province's high school teachers who responded to the CBC questionnaire said some students have already stopped attending school altogether. "What I'm worried about is losing a group of people who should be gaining skills and accelerating their learning as they enter young adulthood," she said. "We know that a well-educated workforce is essential for both individual and our collective prosperity." Students slipping through cracks Toronto teacher Jay Williams worries about teens who simply stopped their schooling during the pandemic. Three quarters of Ontario teachers who responded to the questionnaire say they've had students stop attending class altogether.(Submitted: Jay Williams ) Middle school teacher Jay Williams worries about the same thing. "There's always a concern of students falling through the cracks in regular school years." Also during "regular school years" students have access to in-person extra support through guidance counselling or extra attention, all things the pandemic has made more challenging to provide. Williams checks in with many of his former students and says the pandemic has been harder on those who have traditionally not been well served by the school system. "We're talking about racialized students, specifically young Black boys, when it comes to their academics, specifically math and reading comprehension," he said. "I can imagine that that gap is widening." Williams says it will be important to study student success next year to fully understand the impact the pandemic has had and how to help those who are struggling during the pandemic reach their full potential. "I'd love to be a part of a study going forward to see what that gap looks like." The bounce back High school grad Charis Liu, centre, feels 'socially deprived' by the pandemic. Normally, she should have been planning to go to the prom, hanging out with friends and cheering on her school's sports teams.(Submitted: Charis Liu) Gallagher-MacKay says students at all levels will need access to more study support to make up for learning gaps left by the burnout and easier marking. She anticipates more kids in summer school this year to make up credits or build confidence before embarking on their post-secondary education. Charis Liu may have missed out on that classic high school experience but she'll try to make up for it as a university student this fall. "I'm looking forward to joining clubs, meeting new people, even though it might feel a little overwhelming at first." Methodology: CBC sent the questionnaire to 52,351 email addresses of school workers in eight different provinces, across nearly 200 school districts. Email addresses were scraped from school websites that publicly listed them. The questionnaire was sent using SurveyMonkey. CBC chose provinces and school districts based on interest by regional CBC bureaus and availability of email addresses. As such, this questionnaire is not a representative survey of educators in Canada. None of the questions were mandatory, and not all respondents answered all of the questions. Data analysis: Roberto Rocha and Dexter McMillan
VANCOUVER — A run of late spring sunshine and warm temperatures is coming to a chilly end for parts of British Columbia. Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for higher elevations of the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt, and Highway 3 over the Allison Pass. A cold front is due to arrive late Monday blanketing the highway summits with as much as 10 centimetres of snow by Tuesday night. Much of B.C.'s southern interior will also see temperatures plunge from highs of around 30 C reached over the weekend. The weather office says unsettled conditions will push temperatures down to the mid-teens in most of those areas by Tuesday, along with showers or possible thundershowers. The long-range forecast shows sunshine returns across most of B.C. to start the Victoria Day long weekend. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Nova Scotia reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — a significant increase over Saturday's 86 new cases. There are 92 people in hospital with the virus, including 21 in intensive care. The province did not record any new deaths on Sunday. The majority of new cases, 106, were in the central health zone. The western and eastern zones each reported nine new cases and there were two cases in the northern zone. A news release from the province said a 10th patient in a non-COVID unit of the Halifax Infirmary has tested positive for COVID-19. The person has been discharged and is recovering at home, according to the release. The release said all other patients in the unit have tested negative for the virus and are being monitored. Doctors and staff who work in the unit are being tested. Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, urged Nova Scotians to "stay the course" to keep numbers down. "We knew we would have some ups and downs as we worked to get this outbreak under control," he said in a release. Nova Scotia Health labs completed 6,660 tests on Saturday. There are 1,531 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Sunday's report listed 103 recoveries. Halifax Shipyard reopening The Halifax Shipyard is scheduled to resume operations on Monday starting with the day shift, according to a news release from Irving Shipbuilding on Sunday. Operations at the shipyard were suspended on Thursday after after a positive COVID-19 test from someone connected to its second Arctic and offshore patrol ship. Sunday's release said employees at the shipyard will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result from the previous seven days before being allowed entry to the facility. Enforcement of restrictions Police in Nova Scotia continued to enforce COVID-19 restrictions over the weekend. Halifax police made five arrests and laid charges at separate gatherings in the city on Saturday. According to a news release, police issued 21 tickets in total under the Health Protection Act and the Emergency Management Act for two events. One of the events was a motorcade billed as a "Free Palestine COVID safe car rally" that started near Saint Mary's University in the city's south end. The other was a small protest against COVID-19 restrictions held on Citadel Hill in defiance of a court injunction. Increase in testing, vaccinations Sunday's release said there are clusters of cases in Sydney, Bridgewater, and the Annapolis Valley from New Minas to Kentville that are "of concern." Broad testing will be available in those communities to determine if there are cases in those communities Public Health has not identified. As of Thursday, 415,570 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 38,830 Nova Scotians have received their second dose. On Friday it was announced that vaccination appointments have been opened to people 35 to 39. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
An MLA from Saskatoon is sharing a racist encounter her young grandchildren had with a stranger earlier this week. Betty Nippi-Albright, MLA for the Saskatoon Centre constituency, is an Indigenous woman from Kinistin Saulteaux Nation. She said that on Tuesday, her young granddaughters had an experience while walking home from school with their dad when a man yelled out his car window. "A Caucasian male yelled out 'you little f----ing savages,' is what he told my little grandchildren," Nippi-Albright said. "The children were just so frightened by being called that and the tone and the angry person that called them that, they were very upset." She said the children's mother spent a lot of time talking to them, explaining that what had happened to them was not right. "I was so frustrated as a grandmother because this is not the first time that's happened to my grandchildren or to Indigenous children," she said. "It's one thing to be racist against adults, but it's another thing when it's directed to small children that do not have the capacity to speak up and address racism." Nippi-Albright made a social media post detailing the incident. She said the people commenting on the post helped her grandchildren feel supported and validated. "That is just one example of how racism is so entrenched in our society in Saskatchewan," she said. "However, they're not as blatant as what happened with my grandchildren, they're very covert and they're easily justified." Nippi-Albright said the reason her granddaughter's father did not go to the police was because of systemic racism in the police sector. "There's an issue there, and this is what we face as visible Indigenous people, he has faced many many racist comments," she said. "What recourse do the police have in addressing that? How do they stop that? "For us to report that in this case, to the police, they're not going to care." The Saskatoon Police said in a statement that it encourages people to report incidents where they feel threatened or if their safety is in jeopardy. "Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community," it said. Government response to systemic racism Nippi-Albright said when she brought up her concerns about systemic racism in the legislative assembly on May 10, it was met with the "same rhetoric." In a statement, the Government of Saskatchewan said systemic racism exists and there is work to be done to address it. "Our government condemns all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry. We will continue to work within government and with our partners so that everyone in Saskatchewan can live, work, and raise a family without facing discrimination or racism," it said. She said the government told her there is Aboriginal awareness training sessions offered within many organizations in the province. "In my opinion, and in my experience as a visible Indigenous person, [that] doesn't do anything to change people's attitudes and the way they treat Indigenous people," Nippi-Albright said. Nippi-Albright said she would like to see anti-racist training be mandatory for every worker in the province. She said she urges the public to write letters to their elected officials, as well as co-ordinate and sign petitions if they believe systemic racism is a problem in the province.
Singapore warned on Sunday that the new coronavirus variants, such as the one first detected in India, were affecting more children, as the city-state prepares to shut most schools from this week and draws up plans to vaccinate youngsters. "Some of these (virus) mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children," said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing. None of the children who have contracted the virus are seriously ill and a few have mild symptoms, he added.
TORONTO — Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine effort shifted into high gear on the weekend, administering its seven millionth dose as it prepared to accelerate immunization efforts even further in the coming week. Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, offered hope that the province's summer camps would be given the green light to operate this season, though without providing any details. Ford stated camps would be able to open for the coming summer, though did not specify whether he was referring to day or overnight facilities. A spokesman from his office later said details would be revealed before the provincial lifts if current stay-at-home order, which was recently extended to June 2 in a bid to help combat the pandemic's third wave. Ford's remarks came at a large vaccine clinic held west of Toronto that operated overnight in a bid to provide shots to those who could benefit from extended hours. Organizers of Doses After Dark, which they dubbed the first mass overnight vaccination clinic in Canada, said it was well attended but may not have achieved the goal of vaccinating between 4,500 and 5,000 people through the night. Paul Sharma, co-lead of Peel Region's mass vaccination program, said the overnight clinic aimed to attract a wider range of people from across a region that's long been one of the province's most active COVID-19 hot spots. "This was really targeted toward essential workers who are working non-traditional hours," he said in an interview on Sunday. "Shift workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers … but also to the younger age group, you know, the 18 to 39 (demographic), which we opened up a few weeks ago." Although a formal count of shots administered at the clinic was not immediately available, Sharma estimated that it reached 60 to 70 per cent of its target. Despite the shortfall, however, Sharma said there was only a brief stretch between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when the clinic wasn't operating at full capacity. "People are interested in getting their vaccine. They're willing to come in all different hours," Sharma said. In addition to essential workers, Sharma said international students without provincial health cards and people aged 65 and above who had been eligible for some time also attended the clinic. It took place ahead of the latest effort to speed up Ontario's broader vaccination program, which is set to begin including all residents 30 and older later this week. Monday will also see the province revert back to a per capita model of vaccine allocation after diverting half its supply to hot spots with high daily case counts over the past two weeks. The province announced last week that it aims to have all willing adults in Ontario fully immunized with two doses by Sept. 22. All adult residents should be eligible to register for their first jab by the end of May. Vaccine expansion efforts were already reaching new heights over the weekend, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott, who reported the province had delivered more than seven million doses as of Sunday morning. More than 139,000 of those were injected on Saturday alone, she added. The province also reported 2,199 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 30 more virus-related deaths. Those figures were based on 33,142 tests administered over the previous 24 hours. There were 1,292 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals as of Sunday morning, a decline of 254 from the day before. Of those patients, 714 were in intensive care and 509 were on ventilators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021. David Paddon, The Canadian Press
A Toronto non-profit organization that promotes trade between Canada and India says it has raised $440,220 to send oxygen to India "in all shapes and forms" as the country fights a deadly wave of COVID-19. The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) has begun to hold virtual fundraisers called "Oxygen for India" on Sundays. Its goal is to raise $2 million. Its first event was on Sunday and a total of $88,220 was raised between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will hold three more virtual fundraising events, with the final one on June 6. All money collected will be used to send oxygen concentrators and oxygen generators to India and to help the country create capacity in its hospital system. About 1,500 oxygen concentrators it has purchased are already on their way to hospitals in India. "We want people to know that India does need help," Vijay Thomas, president of the ICCC, told CBC Toronto on Sunday. "This is something that the best of nations, if they got hit with what hit India, they would not be able to do it on their own as well. They would need help as well. This is help that is probably temporary in nature," he added. "If anybody does donate, I'm pretty sure there's going to be a big IOU from the Indian nation, from Indians, from Indo-Canadians, and I'm pretty sure you can call upon India to assist if any time there was a need. And what we've seen in history, it doesn't take long." Thomas noted that Canada accepted vaccines from the Serum Institute of India two months ago and now it is Canada's turn to step up. He said the ICCC has decided that it will send oxygen because that is what the country needs. "There is no oxygen in India. Right now, we're not sending money to India. We're sending oxygen in all shapes and forms," he said. "If we can get oxygen to India, that is what can help. That is what can save lives. People are dying of COVID, but people are also dying from not having oxygen, which is kind of indirectly COVID. The lack of oxygen got them. And that is the part that we think we can help and that's what we really want people to help us with." 'We are all in this together,' ICCC president says Thomas said the organization has enlisted the help of more than 82 other Indo-Canadian organizations. "The world is a small place. We are all in this together," Thomas said. The fundraising events run across a number of social media platforms and television channels. To double the impact, Thomas said certain donors will match up to $1 million in donations. Vic Fedeli, Ontario economic development minister, said during Sunday's virtual fundraising event that the provincial government extends its sympathies to India. "We grieve with India in the lives that it has taken and the families it has devastated," Fedeli said. Suwarsha Minocha contracted COVID-19 in India and died on May 4, 2021 at age 83. Her grand-daughter, Kriti Sehgal, who lives in Toronto, said fundraisers for India may mean people get to spend more time with their loved ones and may give those who are suffering the help they need.(Submitted by Kriti Sehgal) For Toronto residents who have lost family members in India, the efforts to raise money for oxygen to help people who are still suffering are appreciated. Kriti Sehgal, a project manager in Toronto, said her grandmother, Suwarsha Minocha, contracted COVID-19 last month in India and died five days later on May 4, 2021, She was 83. Her grandmother was like a second mother to her. Sehgal lived in India for 10 years and spent much time with her. "She was the most loving and nurturing person in my life," she said. It was definitely very shocking when all of this was happening. It happened so fast. She was just this wonderful person. "She took so much pride in giving to her family and anyone that was in need that met her." Sehgal said she is getting married next year and had "high hopes" that her grandmother was going to attend, be part of the wedding and meet her new family. "Just the thought of her not being here and not being able to see her just feels really heartbreaking," she said. Sehgal said her grandmother was healthy — "she's never even had a cavity" — and the family had trouble finding a hospital bed, medical help and medicine when she got sick with COVID-19 in India. Help came too late, she said. "I wish we were there near her when all of this was happening," she added. Sehgal said efforts to send oxygen to India may mean people get to spend more time with their loved ones and may give those who are suffering the help they need. "It just makes me feel hopeful and it makes me feel like there is a brighter future," she said. India has reported more than 24 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 270,000 deaths due to the virus.
TORONTO — Daniel Levy is exploring a variety of genres as his career soars post-"Schitt's Creek." The Toronto-raised co-creator and star of the hit CBC sitcom is working under a three-year development deal with ABC Studios. He says he's now picking and pulling some ideas he used to jot down in a journal when he had downtime during the making of "Schitt's Creek." Levy says he's been "dabbling in the animation world," is "playing with the concept" of a thriller, and would like to put together a romantic comedy for himself. "Schitt's Creek" is up for a leading 21 Canadian Screen Awards this week for its sixth and final season, which swept the comedy categories at the Emmys last fall with seven wins. Levy is also getting the CSA's Radius Award, which honours Canadians who are making waves globally. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
RCMP in Nova Scotia say they have fined a church and members of its congregation with violating health protection rules forbidding large gatherings for the second time. Officers went to Weston Christian Fellowship Church on Brooklyn Street, outside Berwick, shortly after 11 a.m. Officers had been called to the church on the previous two Sundays and charged the church and those in attendance on May 9. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall said officers saw people gathered for a faith-based gathering in contravention of the Health Protection Act. Police issued tickets to seven people for $2,422 and the church was fined $11,622.50. Marshall said there were children present at the gathering but only the adults were charged. He said charging an organization a second time is uncommon. "It's incredibly rare that we've charged a person or even an organization multiple times since the pandemic has started," he said. " I can't think of any other circumstances where this has happened." There were 26 fines issued to individuals for the May 9 gathering. The church was fined as well. MORE TOP STORIES
Police deployed tear gas in downtown Montreal on Sunday after pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations were held just a few blocks apart, leading to clashes. Jewish organizations in Montreal say a group of pro-Palestine protesters attacked the pro-Israel demonstrators with rocks. Several hundred people gathered in the early afternoon at Dorchester Square, waving Israeli flags and dancing to music. They were met by about a dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who launched a protest of their own, according to Radio-Canada. The two groups argued, and altercations ensued. Police intervened with tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to Radio-Canada. Montreal police declare demonstrations illegal when offences are committed or when there are acts of violence. Police did not say what sparked the clashes. Police were still on the scene at 8 p.m. ET, ensuring public order as a few small clusters of people remained in Dorchester Square. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured in the clashes or whether police had made arrests. The pro-Israel demonstration was meant to be peaceful, according to the organizers. Musicians were invited in the morning, participants sang and speeches were made in favour of peace in the Middle East. The pro-Israel demonstration drew hundreds of people to downtown Montreal on Sunday.(Radio-Canada) Daniel Benlolo, clergy with the Congregation Beth Shalom in Ottawa, helped organize the pro-Israel event in Montreal. He said it was not a response to recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations. "There are a lot of Palestinians and Muslims who are very moderate. We want to work together and build a better future," he said. CIJA-Québec and the Federation CJA, two Jewish organizations, denounced what they say were attacks targeting the pro-Israel demonstrators. "Shocking video and eyewitness accounts confirm that a group of anti-Israel protesters attacked pro-Israel demonstrators with rocks," said a joint statement by the groups. Pro-Palestinian supporters cover their faces as a chemical irritant is deployed by Montreal police on Sunday.(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press) Before the clashes, some pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at Canada Place, a city square about 200 metres from where the pro-Israel rally was held. It is not clear who organized the pro-Palestine rally, and no one in charge could be reached for comment. "They're partying. We come to condemn firmly. There are men, women and children who die atrociously, unjustly, who are humiliated, tortured," Nazim Morsli, an attendee at Sunday's pro-Palestinian rally told Radio-Canada. "You just have to be human to understand that what is happening in Palestine right now is unfair and unacceptable," Tamar Abou-Said, another attendee, told Radio-Canada. Montreal mayor condemns violence at demonstration Montreal police were providing few details about the clashes late Sunday evening. A spokesperson said a complete report on what transpired would be provided once the situation was under control. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Twitter that the city has a well-deserved reputation for having different communities living together in peace and security. "Demonstrating is a right, but intolerance, violence and anti-Semitism have no place with us," said Plante. "Montreal is a city of peace." On Saturday, several thousand people marched through downtown Montreal to the Israeli consulate in Westmount, protesting Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip as well as recent settlement activity. Fighting between the Israeli military and the Gaza-based militant group Hamas continued on Sunday. Militants in Gaza fired an early-morning barrage of rockets into Israel. Then Israeli airstrikes on Gaza flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on, Palestinian medics said. But despite the heavy death toll and international efforts to broker a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled the fourth war with Gaza's Hamas rulers would rage on. In a televised address on Sunday evening, Netanyahu said the attacks were continuing at "full force" and will "take time."
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With Barcelona’s season effectively over, Lionel Messi now has a big decision to make. Should he finish out his career at the club that helped him become an all-time soccer great? Or have the team's struggles to keep winning trophies convinced him that he can find more success in Paris or Manchester? Barcelona was left without any chance of winning the Spanish league on Sunday, bowing out the title race in demoralizing fashion after letting Celta Vigo overhaul a goal by Messi and rally for a 2-1 victory. Atlético Madrid beat Osasuna 2-1 and can now only be caught by Real Madrid in next weekend’s final round. Barcelona has one game left on the calendar, but with nothing to play for except third place in the league, the club's attention is now fully on the future of its inscrutable star. Last summer, Messi had said he wanted to leave Barcelona after a campaign that finished without a title and a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. When that exit was denied by the club, Messi said that he would focus on this season and put off any decision until this summer when his contract expires on June 30. Since then, Joan Laporta has been elected for a second stint as the club’s president. Laporta ran Barcelona when Messi was just blossoming with the team and maintained a good relationship with the player and his family. Even so, Messi has not confirmed a decision on his future. “I hope not,” coach Ronald Koeman replied when he was asked if he believed Messi had played his final match at Camp Nou — a stadium still without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “He is still the best player in the world and today he showed that it is impossible to play without him," Koeman said. "He has scored 30 goals this season (in the league) and earned us a lot of points. "It is up to Messi. For me and the club, we want him to stay with us. Because if Leo is not here, we have doubts about who can score.” On the same night that Barcelona's women won the Champions League for the first time by routing Chelsea 4-0, Barcelona's men's lineup was again undone by some sloppy defending and failing to converting their scoring chances. The 33-year-old Messi extended his club-record tally to 672 goals with a header to give Barcelona a first-half lead against Celta. But like too many times in recent weeks, Barcelona’s defense let it down. Celta striker Santi Mina equalized before halftime on a shot that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could have done more to try to keep out. Mina then added a second goal in the 88th after defender Clément Lenglet left Barcelona a man down when he earned a second yellow card. Koeman had succeeded in bringing in some younger players to rejuvenate Barcelona’s squad this season and steering the team to the Copa del Rey title last month. The former Barcelona defender had also inspired his team to a hot streak in the league that had allowed it to almost erase a double-digit lead by Atlético. But when Barcelona had the opportunity to move past Atlético and take the lead in late April, it was upset 2-1 by Granada at home. That loss derailed the team. Barcelona drew with Atlético and at Levante before the loss to Celta. If it does not beat the already relegated Eibar in the last round, Barcelona could finish in fourth place. The late-season collapse of his team that may have put Koeman’s job in danger comes with midfield great Xavi Hernández apparently being groomed to take his place. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press