New vaccine shipments and planned C sections: In The News for May 3

·5 min read

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 3 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA -- Canada is set to begin receiving more than 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week as the two pharmaceutical firms ramp up their deliveries.

Pfizer and BioNTech have been consistently delivering around 1 million doses from Brussels each week since mid-March, but those numbers will double over the next month before increasing further in June.

This week's doses will also be the first to arrive from Pfizer's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after the U-S government previously limited vaccine exports to inoculate its own citizens first.

But there is no immediate word on progress in talks with the U-S over the provision of more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is in high demand across Canada.

Moderna, meanwhile, is slated to deliver its next batch of more than 1 million shots next week.

Ottawa has not said when it will release the 300-thousand doses of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine that arrived last week.

health Canada recently announced it was holding those doses back while it investigates potential safety concerns tied to an American production plant.

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Also this ...

IQALUIT -- A report from Nunavut's health department says shared cigarettes, broken isolation rules and a lack of cultural awareness at the territory's isolation hubs could have helped COVID-19 enter the territory.

Nunavut was COVID-free until November 2020 when its first cases popped up, leading to an outbreak that would last months.

The territory's first cases were people who completed a 14-day mandatory isolation period in Winnipeg hotels paid for by the Nunavut government.

The report, obtained by The Canadian Press through an access to information request, shows some guests shared lighters and cigarettes during breaks, increasing the likelihood of transmission.

It says some guests also didn't report symptoms because they feared the isolation would last longer.

The Nunavut government now has voluntary COVID-19 testing in all of its isolation hotels.

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And this ...

Planned caesarean sections are safe for low-risk deliveries and may be associated with a lower chance of complications for both mother and baby compared with vaginal deliveries, according to the co-author of a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Still, maternal fetal medicine specialist Dr. Darine El-Chaâr said women should consult their doctor on what's best for them, and called for more research on the long-term effects of planned caesareans, including how the health of babies born this way differs from their vaginally born counterparts.

El-Chaâr said the research compared the outcomes of C-section deliveries that were requested and found that about 60 per cent of the mothers and their babies fared better.

Researchers analyzed birth-registry data from Ontario on 422,210 low-risk pregnancies between 2012 and 2018 and found 46,533 babies were born by C-section. They focused on 1,827 cases, or nearly four per cent, involving women who'd requested the procedure in advance.

They then looked for 10 common problems that can stem from labour and delivery, including rupture of the uterus, tears to the pelvic floor as well as whether the newborn was admitted to neonatal intensive care for issues such as respiratory distress.

"The findings are significant from a statistical point of view but we'd love to see this in a larger population," said El-Chaâr, associate scientist at the Ottawa Hospital.

The study found women who chose a caesarean delivery were more likely to be white, aged 35 or older and live in a higher-income neighbourhood. They were also more likely to have conceived by in-vitro fertilization, and be delivering their first baby.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Tech monolith Apple faces a trial today that could upend its iron control over its app store, which brings in billions of dollars each year while feeding more than 1.6 billion iPhones, iPads, and other devices.

The case, which represents one of Apple's most serious legal threats in recent years, comes from Epic Games, maker of the popular video game Fortnite.

Epic charges that Apple has transformed its once-tiny digital storefront into an illegal monopoly that squeezes mobile apps for a slice of their earnings.

Apple denies that charge and seeks to depict Epic as a would-be freeloader on its app store.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

NEW DELHI -- India recorded 368,147 new coronavirus cases on Monday and 3,417 deaths as a catastrophic surge ripples through the country.

The latest numbers came after leaders of 13 opposition parties penned a letter to urge the government to launch a free vaccination drive as well as ensure uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals.

Several hospital authorities over the weekend sought court intervention over oxygen supplies in New Delhi, where a lockdown has been extended by a week to contain the wave of infections.

“Water has gone above the head. Enough is enough,” said New Delhi High Court, adding it would start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals were not delivered.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been severely criticized over the handling of the surge, which has pushed India’s already fragile and underfunded health system to the brink.

More than 218,000 people in India have died from COVID-19, according to the health ministry.

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ICYMI ...

Former Masters champion Mike Weir says he hit the right shots when he needed to down the stretch.

Weir, of Brights Grove, Ontario, won his first PGA Tour Champions event on Sunday -- the Insperity Invitational in Texas.

The 50-year-old challenged John Daly on the final holes. Daly settled for runner-up.

Weir finished the two-round tournament 10-under par, beating Daly by two strokes.

The victory was Weir's first on any tour since 2007.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2021

The Canadian Press