Yahoo Sports' Dalton Del Don suggests three players to grab this week, including a guard who's averaging nearly 11.0 PPG.
Yahoo Sports' Dalton Del Don suggests three players to grab this week, including a guard who's averaging nearly 11.0 PPG.
Ukraine's defence minister said on Saturday his country could be provoked by Russian aggravation of the situation in the conflict area of Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. The minister, Andrii Taran, said Russian accusations about the rights of Russian-speakers being violated could be the reason for the resumption of armed aggression against Ukraine. "At the same time, it should be noted that the intensification of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is possible only if an appropriate political decision is made at the highest level in the Kremlin," he said in a statement.
Maxine Koskie says when she heard she wouldn't be getting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as planned, she broke down and cried. The Regina resident is waiting for surgery and required a vaccine for the procedure — one she's been waiting for since last October. She made an appointment online for vaccinations for her and her husband at the Evraz Place immunization site in Regina, which, based on previous Saskatchewan Health Authority information, she believed was offering the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. But just before she was set to receive the shot, the nurse informed Koskie she and her husband would be getting the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine instead. "It was a complete surprise to both of us," she said. "They're acting more like a dictatorship, because they're taking away the freedom of choice," she said. "I made the conscious choice to go for a Pfizer vaccine and that was not an option for me." Koskie says she ended up receiving the shot out of necessity, but the experience left her feeling let down by the government. 'It's been very underhanded' Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman need to be transparent with the people of Saskatchewan, she says. "My concern is that it's been very underhanded," she said, adding the experience left her feeling appalled. "I was so upset with the disrespect." The Saskatchewan Health Authority announced "vaccine delivery changes" in an online notice on Friday. "The SHA has re-allocated the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the Regina mass immunization sites at the International Trade Centre and the University of Regina to allow for the administration of Pfizer vaccines through the drive-thru starting Friday, while vaccine supply is available," the health authority said online. One of the province's first mass vaccination clinics at the International Trade Centre at Regina's Evraz Place. One Regina resident is fuming after only discovering at her appointment that she wasn't getting the brand of vaccine she expected.(Matt Duguid/CBC) Koskie thinks patients should be notified directly about any changes to their appointment or vaccine plan before they arrive for their appointments. She says she wasn't alone in her anger and frustration, as others around them also expressed concern when they were informed of the change. "They need to be honest and when they change things on the spur of the moment, they need to get that information out to the public that it is going to affect." Efficacy concerns She said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was her shot of choice because she feels it provides better protection. AstraZeneca has said its vaccine had a 76 per cent efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic illness — compared with rates of about 95 per cent for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and about 67 per cent for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which was the fourth and latest approved by Health Canada. As well, data from one small trial suggested the AstraZeneca vaccine did not protect against mild to moderate illness from the B1351 variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in South Africa. However, Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, told CBC in a February interview that "Where it matters the most, against severe disease, hospitalization and death … [AstraZeneca] seems to be quite effective against the variant." Sharma also said laboratory tests and real-world evidence suggest the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine seems to be "quite effective" against the B117 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. The clinical trials of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were completed before the variants of concern took off worldwide. 'Safe and effective': health ministry In a statement sent to CBC, Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health said vaccine availability is dependent on numerous factors, including the increasing presence of coronavirus variants of concern in the Regina area. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidelines suggest the AstraZeneca vaccine should be used only for people older than 55. But the presence and transmission of variants of concern in Regina has required the province to "accelerate the vaccination program" for those under 55, the health ministry said. "All vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective at preventing the most serious forms of COVID-19 illness and death. All residents have been asked to take the vaccine that is available to them," the ministry said. "If those receiving the vaccine have concerns regarding a certain brand of vaccine due to their medical history, they should speak to their primary care physician or a public health nurse directly prior to their appointment." The ministry also said patients are informed about the brand of vaccine they will receive, noting they are free to refuse the vaccine if they have concerns. However, Koskie says she thinks the government is "not accepting responsibility or ownership" for the fact people may be caught off guard when they're told they'll be receiving a different vaccine once they're at an appointment. "They're in a position where they have no choice," she said. She's already made a call to the ministry on the issue, and now plans to file a formal written complaint. 'Any vaccine is a good vaccine': health minister Health Minister Paul Merriman addressed questions about vaccines on Saturday, following a rare weekend sitting of the legislature. He said a "very minimal" number of people out of the thousands who have booked appointments at Evraz Place have refused a vaccine because they didn't want to take a specific brand. "Any vaccine is a good vaccine, unless there are very certain circumstances where a doctor or a health-care provider has recommended you don't do that," he said, noting people can rebook later if they're concerned about the type of vaccine offered to them. He says the province is not in a position to "pick and choose" when it comes to vaccines, and pointed out Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has already received the AstraZeneca shot. Merriman said the province will work to accommodate people who are unable to get a certain vaccine due to medical conditions outlined by a doctor, encouraging them to call into the province's vaccine line at 1-833-727-5829 beforehand. But he said there are no plans moving forward for the government to inform members of the public about which vaccines will become available to them, as supply fluctuates. "There will be, to my knowledge, no advance warning of what you are getting," he said. "People assume that they're getting one vaccine or not, but any vaccine is a good vaccine right now."
B.C. RCMP are seeking witnesses and dashcam footage related to a homicide in West Kelowna in March. On March 21, a 35-year-old man was shot and killed near Highway 97 between Butt and Grizzly roads. RCMP said that the shooting appeared to be targeted. Investigators are still seeking eyewitnesses and dashcam footage from everyone who travelled in the area between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. that Sunday. Investigators said in a written statement that they believe a vehicle headed toward West Kelowna stopped in the intersection for a brief time. They say they would like to speak to the occupants of the vehicle, which is described as a dark coloured and, possibly, smaller-style SUV. Police ask everyone with information to contact the B.C. RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit tipline at 1-877-987-8477.
OTTAWA — Former central banker Mark Carney says he'll do whatever he can to support the federal Liberal party.Until now, Carney has avoided any overt show of partisanship, as required in his former roles as governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England.But he's telling Liberals at their convention that he's committed to public service and helping the governing party.It's not clear whether that means Carney intends to run for the party in the next election.Liberals have long touted Carney as a possible leader one day.He flirted quietly with the idea of a leadership run back in 2012 but eventually squelched the idea by suggesting he would just as soon become a "circus clown."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Yukon government has issued a potential COVID-19 exposure notification for a flight into Yukon Sunday evening. The possible exposure was for Air Canada flight 8889 from Vancouver to Whitehorse at 6:30 p.m. that evening, landing in Whitehorse at about 8:49 p.m., according to a news release issued Friday. The release says "new information" became available regarding a previous case, where a person was infected with the variant B117 while outside Yukon. The person had originally been cleared to travel but, based on new information, the person was determined to be infectious while on the flight. The release says contact tracing with passengers seated in close proximity to the case is underway. The risk of exposure is low on flights, the release says, but the territory says it's taking a precautionary approach. So far, no other exposures of concern have been identified in Yukon. The infected person followed public health advice and is deemed to be recovered. There are no confirmed active cases in Yukon as of Friday evening. Health officials say anyone who thinks they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms should self-isolate and remain at home, take the online self-assessment and arrange to get tested either by calling 867-393-3083 or booking a test online.
Italy reported 344 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday against 718 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 17,567 from 18,938 the day before. Italy has registered 113,923 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. Some 320,892 tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 362,973, the health ministry said.
The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can "break through" Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found, though its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1% of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel's largest healthcare provider, Clalit. But among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant's prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated - 5.4% versus 0.7%.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attacked Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s political stances on cutting CERB support during the pandemic, gun control and women’s reproductive rights during the Liberal National Convention keynote speech on Saturday.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called for the "worrying" developments in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, adding Turkey was ready to provide any necessary support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held more than three hours of talks with Erdogan in Istanbul as part of a previously scheduled visit, amid tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over the conflict in Donbass. Kyiv has raised the alarm over a buildup of Russian forces near the border between Ukraine and Russia, and over a rise in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Donbass.
Parts of northwestern New Brunswick will go into lockdown in response to a surge in cases of COVID-19. The Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska areas will be placed under the tighter restrictions effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell urged residents of the region to stay home and said an effort is being made to send more vaccine to the area. "The new variants of COVID-19 have changed the course of this pandemic," she said. Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls will remain under the Red level. The Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions will remain in the Yellow level. Public Health is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with 15 in the Edmundston region. The other four cases are spread out across the Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John regions. The province also reported its 33rd death from COVID-19, an individual in their 70s in Zone 4. Twenty patients are hospitalized in the province, including 13 in intensive care. Most are at the Edmundston Regional Hospital, which was forced to redirect admissions after reaching capacity this week. High school delay New Brunswick is reversing a controversial decision to send students back to high school full-time on Monday. New Brunswick's teachers' union has been calling on the province to delay full-time, in-person classes that are expected to resume on Monday. Zone 4 is not included under the red phase. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard announced plans to delay the return across the province as a "precaution." "We need to be quite confident that we're not contributing to the problem, and this gives us time to watch the cases," she said. École Saint-Jacques in Edmundston reported two cases of COVID-19 on Friday. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) High school students have been following an alternate-day system since September, aiming at reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. On days where they are not present in-person, students have been learning virtually from home. Vaccine clinics were held at schools in preparation of the change, offering the shot to teachers and school staff. But some educators and parents criticized the decision. Zone 4 was not expected to follow the change. The update comes as hundreds of households in the Edmundston area are self-isolating after a school confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K. École Saint-Jacques confirmed two cases on Friday. The District Scolaire francophone du Nord-Ouest told all students, staff and anyone they live with to self-isolate until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. There are about 300 students at the elementary school. The self-isolation directive applies to anyone who was at the school April 6-8. Family members are asked to remain in their homes over the weekend while contact tracing is underway. Public Health will reach out directly to close contacts. Hundreds of families are self-isolating after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at École Saint-Jacques in Edmundston.(Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) École Saint-Jacques will move to virtual learning on Monday and Tuesday. Classes are expected to resume in person on Thursday, after a previously scheduled day off. A childcare facility within the school will also close on both days. A case was also confirmed at an Edmundston daycare on Friday. With the rise in cases, the Edmundston hospital has been forced to restrict admissions and redirect patients to other facilities. Variants prompt lockdown New Brunswick's hardest-hit region is returning to a lockdown for the second time this year. Under those measures, all non-essential businesses in the region must close. People must continue to maintain a single-household bubble and non-essential travel in or out of the area is not permitted. Schools in the area will move entirely to virtual learning. The Edmundston region is continuing a series of large-scale vaccine clinics and is expected to be prioritized for additional doses in the coming weeks. There have been 16 cases of transmission of COVID-19 variants in Zone 4. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said she is concerned about the presence of variants of COVID-19.(Government of New Brunswick) Russell said every COVID-19 case is now being treated as a highly contagious variant moving forward. She said three vaccinated people are currently in hospital. One person was fully vaccinated with two doses and more than two weeks had passed, one person had not passed 14 days, and another had only received one dose. Health officials are closely monitoring the Saint John and Moncton regions as areas of concern for the variant. More than 200 people in Saint John are currently self-isolating after possible exposure at a church service. Russell would not specify which presumptive variant is involved until lab results return in the next few days. 148 active cases New Brunswick now has 148 total active cases. The new cases on Saturday are as follows: In the Edmundston and Grand Falls region (Zone 4), there are 15 new cases. Public Health said 15 are contacts of previous cases, and the other three are under investigation: Three people 19 and under. Two people in their 20s. Two people in their 40s. Three people in their 50s. Four people in their 60s. A person in their 70s. The Fredericton region (Zone 3) is reporting two new cases: Two people in their 30s, both travel-related. The Saint John region (Zone 2) has one new case: A person 19 and under, travel-related. In the Moncton region (Zone 1), there is one new case: (CBC News) New Brunswick has confirmed 1,713 total cases, including 1,531 recoveries. There have been 33 deaths. Public Health conducted 1,386 tests on Friday, for a total of 266,621. Possible exposure in Saint John Public Health has identified possible public exposure to the virus at the following locations in Saint John: Thursday, April 8 between 1:15-2 p.m. – Service New Brunswick, 15 King Square North. Friday, April 9 between 5-6 p.m. and Thursday, April 8 between noon-1 p.m. – McAllister Place, 519 Westmorland Rd. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Multiple people have been arrested at a demonstration in response to Ontario's police watchdog's ruling to not lay criminal charges against police in the death of Ejaz Choudry, a 62-year-old man with schizophrenia who was shot and killed by Peel Regional Police last summer. Choudry's family and community members gathered in Mississauga on Saturday around 1 p.m. outside his apartment building, at the intersection of Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive, where he was killed while in crisis. Ahead of the planned demonstration, Peel police in a tweet Saturday morning recognized people's right to peacefully protest. A few hours later, they tweeted that demonstrators were occupying the roadway of the intersection of Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive. They encouraged drivers to use alternate routes. At 4:30 p.m., however, they said demonstrators were trying to "push through police safety lines." "For the safety of all involved and those in the community, this is no longer considered a peaceful gathering," they said, tweeting shortly after that arrests had been made for various offences at the gathering. Spokesperson for Peel police Akhil Mooken could not say how many people were arrested or if anyone had been charged. He said there are no further updates at this time and that police will tweet out any more information they receive. The demonstration was organized by the Malton People's Movement, a group that was formed in response to Choudry's death, to fight against police brutality and support families of those killed or injured by police.
Last month, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet took part in a split-screen Instagram livestream with blogger Sarah Nicole Landry, known by the handle @thebirdspapaya to her 1.9 million followers. You won't find much talk of Canadian politics in Landry's posts, if any. They tend to focus instead on motherhood, empowerment and health. Singh stuck to much the same themes in his talk with Landry, which focused on her ideas and struggles through the pandemic — placing Singh, who has over 600,000 Instagram followers, in the role of empathetic listener. The conversation typified the NDP's digital strategy to reach Canadians between the ages of 18 to 40 — a strategy that puts Singh's personality and personal brand ahead of granular policy debates. Through social media influencers, the party wants to bypass traditional forms of advertising to project Singh's image to an audience that's hard to reach through conventional political messaging. WATCH: NDP turns to influencers Singh appears to be working to become a pervasive presence on digital platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse in the coming months. He recently put out an online call for Canadians to text him on the Community social media platform. The party is also planning to place ads in video games and wrap buses with colourful ads featuring Singh front and centre. "It's really taking a look at where people are spending a lot of their time and using that as a motivation for where we are spending money, so people get to know who Jagmeet is," said Mélanie Richer, Singh's director of communications. Building Singh's brand The party is making big plans to build Singh's brand. It's preparing to spend nearly $12 million just on ads for the next campaign — roughly what the NDP spent for its entire campaign in the 2019 election. The NDP is launching a new series of ads today, starting with one airing during tonight's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators. The ads are unconventional by Canadian party standards. Singh himself doesn't say a word in them. WATCH: Using untraditional ways to reach young voters Instead, the ads use text and images to tell a story about the party fighting for working people during the pandemic. They're aimed at those who might feel disenchanted by the results of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise of a new kind of politics. The challenge for the NDP is in translating digital likes into votes — especially since it's focusing on an age group that historically tends not to cast ballots in large numbers. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh takes photos with university students in Toronto on Oct. 8, 2019.(Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press) Campaign insiders argue the NDP is playing a long game. "Rather than trying to chase votes directly from younger people, we only need to find a small subset of hyper-engaged young people," said Zain Velji, a former campaign manager for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and former digital director for Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. "Give them disproportionate access, disproportionate skin in the game, perhaps even disproportionate titles on the campaign so that they can be the standard bearers to their social network." WATCH: Singh's version of a viral rendition of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' Velji said the NDP needs an approach to campaign advertising that will keep it from becoming mere noise on social media. He said the party needs to find a way to keep Singh's brand and message fresh so it continues to echo through social media influencers — giving a $12 million campaign $50 million worth of reach. Will the strategy pay off? The party needs this strategy to work if it's to make significant gains in the next federal election. The NDP is trailing the Liberals in the 18 to 34 age group by six points, said CBC polling analyst Eric Grenier —but those voters still represent opportunity for New Democrats. "Those voters might ... be the ones who are most likely to be disillusioned by the Liberals, that they're not as progressive as maybe Justin Trudeau might have said he was back in 2015," he said. "Getting younger voters to the polls in big numbers — and if they vote for the NDP — would help them a lot, particularly in a lot of urban ridings where the NDP was shut out in the last election." WATCH: Singh says young people will make history in the next election Singh told reporters on Friday he believes young people are going to make history in the next election because they're at the forefront of so many social justice movements, from the fight against climate change to Black Lives Matter. "I love the idea of young people asking their parents and their grandparents to say, 'Hey, we need help. New Democrats are the ones offering this help for us to make our future better. Please lend us your votes so that we can bring in the changes that we need to help us out,'" Singh said. "Young people can influence people around them and I'm excited for what's going to happen." Singh will rally the NDP base with a keynote speech Sunday to wrap up a three-day virtual policy convention. Today, British Columbia Premier John Horgan — the only NDP leader who currently heads a government — and veteran Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are addressing the convention. The 2,000-plus delegates assembled virtually around the country today are debating resolutions on social security, green programs and issues of human rights and discrimination.
BEIJING — Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries. Party leaders worry about the dominance of China's biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year. Alibaba was fined for “abusing its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced. It said the fine was equal to 4% of its total 2019 sales of 455.712 billion yuan ($69.5 billion). “Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination,” the company said in a statement. It promised to “operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence.” The move is a new setback for Alibaba and its billionaire founder, Jack Ma, following a November decision by regulators to suspend the stock market debut of Ant Group, a finance platform spun off from the e-commerce giant. It would have been the world's biggest initial public stock offering last year. Ma, one of China's richest and most prominent entrepreneurs, disappeared temporarily from public view after criticizing regulators in a November speech. That was followed days later by the Ant Group suspension, though finance specialists said regulators already had been worried Ant lacked adequate financial risk controls. Alibaba, launched in 1999, operates retail, business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer platforms. It has expanded at a breakneck pace into financial services, film production and other fields. The government issued anti-monopoly guidelines in February aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices such as exclusive agreements with merchants and use of subsidies to squeeze out competitors. The next month, 12 companies including Tencent Holdings, which operates games and the popular WeChat messaging service, were fined 500,000 ($77,000) each on charges of failing to disclose previous acquisitions and other deals. Regulators said in December they were looking into possibly anti-competitive tactics by Alibaba including a policy dubbed “choose one of two,” which requires business partners to avoid dealing with its competitors. Also in December, regulators announced executives of Alibaba, its main competitor, JD.com, and four other internet companies were summoned to a meeting and warned not to use their market dominance to keep out new competitors. Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
Several thousand people blocked traffic in front of the Serbian parliament on Saturday in a protest against lack of government action to prevent water, land and air pollution by industries such as the mining sector. Protesters, who came to Belgrade from all over Serbia, held banners reading "Cut corruption and crime not forests," and "Young people are leaving because they cannot breathe". In recent years Serbia has started selling its mining resources to foreign companies, despite opposition by local residents who had warned that increased ore exploration could cause greater pollution.
TORONTO — Ontario will allow hospitals to transfer patients without their consent and redeploy home-care workers to the facilities as the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units hits new highs.The government issued two new emergency orders Friday evening – which are effective immediately – to address the capacity crunch many hospitals are facing. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the third wave, fueled by more transmissible COVID-19 variants, has pushed the province's hospitals to their limits and the government had to act."We are taking the steps using these tools in order to get to the point where, as more patients come into hospital with COVID, we will be able to safely care for them," she said in an interview. The move came hours after Premier Doug Ford said ramping up the province's vaccine rollout will help address the pressure on hospitals, and that "things are looking really, really positive out there."Ontario set new records Friday for both daily cases and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care.Elliott said the province knew it had to go "a step further" in light of the latest data. "We have a very resilient health-care system that we can expand and we have the tools to do that with the emergency orders that have just been declared," she said. Patients will only be transferred to an alternate site without consent when a hospital experiences "a major surge event" and when the same quality of care provided can be assured, Elliott said.The province has been transferring patients between hospitals for months to accommodate a growing number of COVID-19 cases, but those transfers were done with the patient's permission.The province will also be able to redeploy dozens of workers from home-care organizations and Ontario Health - the body that oversees the health system - to hospitals during a surge. Both orders, which will be in effect for at least two weeks, come as Ontario hospitals prepare to start ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures next week to ensure they have the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.Elliott said the orders and the ramping down of elective surgeries could increase ICU capacity by up to 1,000 patient beds.Hospitals were instructed in a memo from Ontario Health on Thursday night to ramp down non-urgent procedures starting Monday. "Given increasing case counts and widespread community transmission across many parts of the province, we are facing mounting and extreme pressure on our critical care capacity," Matthew Anderson wrote. Hospitals in northern Ontario are exempt but Anderson said they should prepare to ramp down quickly in the near future. The memo also asked hospitals to identify staff who may be redeployed to other sites if necessary.Ontario Health will continue to monitor the situation with a view to bring back surgical capacity for deferred services as soon as possible, Anderson said.That guidance came as the regulatory body for Ontario physicians shared a message of support for doctors who may have to decide which patients will receive life-saving treatment if intensive care units are overwhelmed.The province's critical care triage tool has not been enacted, with Ontario's health minister saying this week that the protocols were not yet finalized.The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors they will be supported if the measure takes effect."We firmly believe physicians need to be supported if they are required to make extraordinary decisions about which of their patients will be offered critical care resources that are in short supply," Nancy Whitmore, registrar of the college, said in a message to the profession Thursday night. The college will be there to provide clarity if the protocol is enacted, she said, acknowledging the "unprecedented situation" in intensive care units and noting that "physicians may soon be faced with making incredibly difficult decisions that they never imagined having to make."There were 552 patients with COVID-related critical illness in Ontario intensive care units as of Friday morning, according to the Ministry of Health.Ontario also reported a record high of 4,227 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 18 additional deaths from the virus.The Ministry of Health said an earlier record of 4,249 cases reported on Jan. 8 had included 450 cases from previous days because of a data delay.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Ford government started to reopen the province too soon after the second wave, which has led to the "devastating" situation in hospitals."Doug Ford marched us right into this crisis with his eyes wide open," she said. "Now people need to know how the Ford government is going to get us out of it."The CEO of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario said soaring COVID-19 cases represent the "biggest crisis" of the pandemic for the province.Doris Grinspun said the government must empower more primary health-care workers to deliver vaccines, and should cut down on bureaucracy holding the home-care sector back from giving doses to clients."We need to make things simple, and emphasize speed, speed, speed," she said. "We must move faster, have less focus on perfection."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
Allison Garber says from the outside it looked like she had it all together. The communications business owner and mother of two may not have looked like a problem drinker. But she says she found herself willing the clock to hit 5 p.m. every day so she could open a bottle of wine and pour a glass. Then "not so patiently" waiting for her kids to go to bed so she could have a few more. Garber decided she had a problem with drinking in 2018 and sought help. She's been sober now for more than two years and is thankful her recovery came before the pandemic did. "I am so glad that I was not still stuck on this train where I viewed alcohol as a reward for getting through a tough day," she said. "[The pandemic] just amplified everything. It has amplified how we use alcohol as a form of self-medication, as a form of self care. "And that message is reinforced almost everywhere you go. You've had a long day, pour yourself a glass of wine." WATCH | Allison Garber says it was hard to come to the realization she had a problem with alcohol: Drinking among women has increased steadily in recent years. In 2018, the Report on the State of Public Health from Canada's chief public health officer identified alcohol use in women as one of the most pressing concerns of our time. The report highlighted that from 2011 to 2017, deaths attributed to alcohol increased by 26 per cent among Canadian women, while alcohol-related deaths in men increased just five per cent. The pandemic has led to soaring alcohol sales and some Canadians are reporting increased binge drinking. A Statistics Canada survey released in January shows many Canadians are not just pouring themselves a single glass. Almost one in five who responded to the survey said they consumed five or more drinks — the equivalent of a bottle of wine — on the days they reported drinking alcohol in the previous month. The agency says this is higher than before COVID-19 hit. When women drink, the health effects can be staggering. Drinking three to six alcoholic beverages a week increases the risk of breast cancer in women by 15 per cent. Women who drink two glasses of wine daily have a 50 per cent increase in their risk of breast cancer. "What we might consider to be very modest amounts of alcohol are still really significant from a health perspective," said Dr. Jennifer Wyman, associate director of the Substance Use Service at Women's College Hospital. Right now, Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than 10 drinks per week for women and 15 for men. The agency in charge of these guidelines, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is looking now at whether they should be changed. The current guidelines need to be revised to reflect the risks, said Dr. Wyman. WATCH | Dr. Jennifer Wyman talks about why she feels the low-risk alcohol guidelines need to change: One drink a day or seven a week would likely be more reasonable, she said, adding that the guidelines are meant to be a maximum even though they may not always be treated that way. Dr. Wyman says she thinks some people view the guideline's 10-drinks-a-week maximum and interpret that as being what the average person is drinking. "And therefore, if that's what they're drinking, then they're sort of within the middle of the spectrum and they're doing OK, as opposed to that's really the maximum number that you should be thinking about," she said. "And it doesn't mean that you should be aiming to hit that every week. That should be the tops." Just as the upper limits for alcohol consumption are different for women and men, so are the reasons why they drink. The pressure put on women to fill several different roles has many counting down to the time that they can pour a glass of wine, Dr. Wyman says. "I think that women tend to drink as a coping mechanism," she said. A report from Canada's chief public health officer identified alcohol use in women as one of the most pressing health concerns, with deaths attributed to alcohol increasing by 26 per cent among Canadian women from 2011 to 2017. Since then, the pandemic has led to soaring alcohol sales.() Alcohol is often seen as the quickest decompression tool, says Ann Dowsett Johnston, who wrote the book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. "If you can't get to a yoga class, if you can't figure out how you're going to fit that in, or a long bath, or a walk around the block — you're making dinner, you're at the vegetable chopping block, you pour a glass of wine." Alcohol consumption is reinforced socially as well. Girls nights out, popping champagne for a celebration, wine at a book club. It's how we celebrate, relax and reward ourselves, Dowsett Johnston said. It has also become a social media phenomenon that moms need wine to cope. There are wine glasses emblazoned with "mom juice" and "because kids." "I think the whole notion of mommy drinking has become a meme, and I think that there's far too much humour about it. I think it's a serious social issue." Dowsett Johnston says the pandemic has only added to the burdens many women carry. WATCH | Ann Dowsett Johnston discusses the challenges facing women that may influence their alcohol consumption: The "mommy juice" marketing to help cope is something life coach Alexis McCalla resents. "You're making an assumption that they can't handle their life, so they have to go out and drink," the Whitby, Ont., mother said. "And now you're normalizing it." McCalla never drank an amount even close to the 10 drinks a week upper limit, but said she found herself having a glass of wine to unwind during the pandemic more often than she normally would. Previously, opened wine bottles would go unfinished. But she says she found herself making more frequent trips to the liquor store to numb the fear she was feeling about COVID-19. She says she journaled and asked herself tough questions, and in the end realized she was drinking more because she worried about her family getting sick during the pandemic. Once McCalla got to the root of her fears, she says she decided to stop drinking, doing an alcohol-free period with a few of her clients. She's also working with some of them to address the anxieties at the core of their alcohol consumption. McCalla has had a single glass of wine since then and found she wasn't interested in restarting, realizing she was getting a better night's sleep and a harder workout the next day if she didn't open a bottle. "I could have gone and read another book. I could have spoken to friends or journaled and learned more about myself." Life coach Alexis McCalla said once she decided to cut out alcohol altogether, she realized she was getting a better night's sleep and a more effective workout the next day.(Alexis McCalla) McCalla and the women she has helped are not the only ones questioning their drinking. Dawn Nickel is based in Victoria, B.C. She's the founder of SheRecovers, an addictions recovery program tailored to women. Nickel says in the last year, the number of women who have reached out has exploded. "Our Facebook group went from 2,000 people to 7,800 in the last year." Nickel says not every woman contacting the program has an alcohol abuse disorder. For some, abstinence is the goal, for others it could be cutting back. "We just talk about, like, what are your goals? What's your intention? Do you want to slow down? Do you want to stop? You pick it and we'll support you to get there." The pandemic may have led to more drinking, but with so many recovery programs now online, Nickel says finding help is also easier and more convenient than ever. So is finding a safe space to question why they need alcohol to cope. "There's so much support for them now," Nickel said. "We're having these conversations for the first time in society around what we're being influenced by, and who says we have to have a bottle of wine every evening to unwind." For Garber, recovery involved a more traditional 12-step program. "I knew that if I continued down this path, I was going to face some dire consequences. I could see it clearly. And so I made a choice to reach out to a friend who I knew was in recovery herself." Now, Garber is supporting other women who reach out and need help. She joined a running club and trains for races. She runs on the waterfront every Saturday and on the days when Halifax's famous clouds part, she takes a moment to stop and take a picture of the sunrise, grateful for how far she's come. "I stop at the same place every time," she said. "It's just this chance to say thank you to whatever it is out there that helped me stay here." Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.
As spring weather takes hold across the city, with temperatures hitting highs of 23 degrees over the weekend, Toronto residents are itching to get outdoors after being hunkered down amid the ongoing third wave of the pandemic. For those wondering what is considered safe for outdoor activities and what behaviours could increase your risks of COVID transmission, experts have some answers. The first thing to note is that even with variants, infectious disease physicians in the Greater Toronto Area say the virus has less chance to accumulate and become harmful outdoors. "I'd rather have 100 people outdoors in a park rather than have 20 people indoors," said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist with Trillium Health Partners. Respiratory viruses spread through aerosol droplets that can go from one person to another, Chakrabarti explained in an interview with CBC Toronto. In an area that has very poor ventilation, such as many indoor spaces, these droplets can accumulate and the amount of virus in these droplets can then reach the point of infecting someone. "One way to mitigate this is to have increased ventilation, and that's what you see in hospitals and it lessens the chance of there being a strong concentration of particles that can infect you," Chakrabarti said. He said outside is essentially perfect ventilation. Outdoor transmission 'exceedingly small,' expert says Last summer, Toronto officials and Premier Doug Ford slammed crowds who flocked to Trinity Bellwoods Park on a day when the weather was particularly nice, saying it could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases and undo weeks of effort to curb the spread of the virus. But Chakrabarti says the risk of outdoor transmission is so small, the outrage was unwarranted in regard to its effect on case counts — or lack thereof. "If you look at it, a month afterwards, there was no increase in COVID transmission. Not to say that there probably wasn't a case or two but the point is it pales in comparison to the types of transmission we see in indoors," he said. Chakrabarti adds that if you're planning on having a prolonged conversation with someone and you're unable to physically distance outdoors, consider wearing a mask. He also said that avoiding large crowds is another way to mitigate risk. Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch echoed Chakrabarti's statements, saying that if you can safely spread apart from others outside, "the risk of transmission of this infection would be exceedingly small." Avoid riskier high-contact sports In December, the Mayo Clinic published a list of lowest-risk outdoor activities, which include running, hiking, rollerblading, biking, fishing, golfing — notably activities that keep you apart from others. The "mid-risk" category of outdoor activities includes picnics, which experts say can be made safer. They advise people to keep their distance, to avoid sharing a blanket, and to bring their own food and drinks to avoid sharing, which increases risk. Low-contact sports like tennis, baseball and soccer, where distance can be maintained, are considered safer than high-contact sports such as basketball and wrestling. During the third wave of the pandemic fuelled by more transmissible variants, Bogoch advises people to pick sports and activities that keep participants distanced from each other in order to lower the risk. "No matter how bad wave three is, wherever people are, we still can get through it and there still are activities that you can do safely," he says. Regardless of the activity, experts say getting outside can help people cope during the pandemic, offering them a much needed mental boost.
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump insists he's enjoying his life off Twitter. The press releases his aides fire off on an increasingly frequent basis are more “elegant,” he says. Plus there's no risk of backlash for retweeting unsavoury accounts. But since Trump was barred from major social media channels after helping incite the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, his power to shape the national conversation is being tested. Trump transformed from a reality television star to a politician and president by bending the tools of communication and the media to his will. He still connects with his supporters through his releases and appearances on Fox News and other conservative outlets, where he repeats misinformation about the 2020 election. And he remains a powerful force in the Republican Party, with a starring role Saturday at a Republican National Committee event that will be held at his Mar-a-Lago club. Still, the sway over American life he once enjoyed appears to be eroding — at least for now. “It’ll never be the same for Trump unless he’s a candidate again," said Harold Holzer, an historian who is director of Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and wrote a book about presidents and the press. “I don’t think it's unnatural for coverage to diminish. I'm sure it’s tough on his ego, given how much oxygen he sucks up and how much ink he generates, but it's not unnatural for an ex-president to get less attention.” It's been a dramatic adjustment nonetheless. Trump’s tweets used to drive the news cycle, with CNN, MSNBC and Fox News often spending dozens of hours a week combined displaying his missives, according to a GDELT analysis of television news archives. Since he was barred from Twitter and other platforms, Trump can no longer speak directly to large swaths of his audience and must now rely on his supporters and conservative and mainstream media to amplify his messages. To compensate for the ongoing blackout, Trump aides have been pumping out statements and endorsements that often sound just like the tweets he used to dictate. “Happy Easter to ALL, including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!” read one sent from his political action committee. (“Happy Easter!” was the more subdued version offered by his official government office.) At the same time, Trump has been ramping up his appearances on conservative media — even sitting down with his daughter-in-law for her online program. But few of those comments have reverberated as mainstream outlets, long criticized for allowing Trump to dictate coverage, have become increasingly wary of repeating his falsehoods, especially pertaining to the 2020 election. While Trump still garners coverage, Google search results for his name are at their lowest point since 2015, as noted this week by The Washington Post. And on late night TV, some have tried to scrub him out entirely, with “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert refusing to say his name. After five years of wall-to-wall Trump, the contrast is jarring. "He was unlike any prior president in the amount of oxygen he sucked up. But he increasingly resembles many former president in how little oxygen he now gets," said Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary to George W. Bush. While that is the reality for any former president, Fleischer argued that Trump continues to “loom large” in the party and could return to the spotlight if he chooses to run again. And though his dominance of cable news has dropped precipitously from its peak in fall 2016, when he was mentioned tens of thousands of times a month, per GDELT data, he remains a presence on cable news channels nonetheless. “Two months out of office, he’s still roughly where he was in March of last year when the pandemic largely displaced him,” said Kalev Leetaru, the project's creator. “It shows that even two months out of office, he’s still looming large.” While most of Trump's statements garner relatively little coverage, some, like one that blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack,” dominated news coverage, with CNN, in particular, running with it for more than 44 minutes. “President Trump is the greatest news generator in American history," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, insisting, "There was never this type of media interest in the post-Presidential careers of Clinton, Bush or Obama.” Others see it differently. “I think he lost all momentum when he got pulled from the platforms. Politics is about momentum and he has none now,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. While Trump has tried to inject himself into news coverage, Brinkley said his comments are largely treated as add-ons to coverage focused on other matters. “Where it used to be he was shooting tweets like Zeus, they were like thunderbolts from up high, and now it's little squeaks from the mouse of Mar-a-Lago,” he said. Yet Trump remains a commanding figure for the Republican Party. His endorsement is highly coveted heading into the 2022 Republican primaries. And he continues to publicly flirt with running again for president in 2024. And Holzer believes Trump could reemerge if he is allowed to rejoin Twitter or goes through with much-hyped plans to launch his own social media outlet, as aides have said he is still considering. GOP strategist Alex Conant argued Trump's power “is waning by the day" as other Republicans make plans to run in 2024, and said Trump could be taking a more strategic approach if he wants to remain part of the daily conversation. "When you're president of the United States, it's very easy to insert yourself into every news cycle. But once you've left office, it has to be more strategic," Conant said, arguing Trump could have announced a book, sat for primetime interviews, or delivered a series of major speeches about the future of the party. Fleischer, too, argued Trump could have greater influence by following in the footsteps of presidents Bush and Obama, whose statements garner attention because they are rare. “The risk for a former president is you risk starting to be seen as former senators or former congressman or contributors who are on TV on a somewhat regular basis. A former president should be at an elevated posture," he said. "But Donald Trump has always done things differently with some success.” Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
With spring break upon us, Ottawa's health experts and politicians are advising residents to abide by the province's stay-at-home order and not travel. That means no trips to the family cottage and keeping kids close to home, according The Ottawa Hospital's Dr. Doug Manuel, who does the modelling of the local COVID-19 numbers. "We see movement and mobility as, this is how the variants spread," he said. "So the idea is staying close to home, staying at home." Manuel noted Ottawa's health-care system is being tested by record levels of hospitalizations. As of Saturday, Ottawa hospitals were caring for 73 COVID-19 patients, including 24 in intensive care. Manuel predicted those numbers will continue to rise. He said anyone who contracts the virus and then travels to their cottage risks spreading the virus further, and putting unnecessary strain on smaller regional hospitals. Dr. Doug Manuel says people should abide by the stay-at-home order and not travel during spring break.(Submitted by Dr. Doug Manuel) According to the stay-at-home order, no one should travel outside their province or region unless absolutely necessary. "You shouldn't be crossing the bridge to go to Quebec, you shouldn't be leaving your neighborhood just to go and traipse around and in other areas," said Anthony Di Monte, the general manager responsible for the City of Ottawa's vaccine rollout, during a news conference on Friday. "This is serious." The mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau have also discouraged residents from crossing the interprovincial border. "It's a large piece of geography," said Mayor Jim Watson during the same meeting. "We have lots of city and NCC trails on this side, as well as parklands. So we really encourage people not to go over to a cottage or to Gatineau Park. Our best advice is please respect the borders and stay within your community." Manuel said it's important people take that advice seriously if there's any hope of reopening schools after spring break. On Friday, Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said it's unlikely schools will reopen following the break. Manual suggested parents looking to take advantage of the time off should take their children outside but follow health protocols including wearing masks and keeping their distance from others. "People are doing a good job, but unfortunately ... it's just with the variants, we need to do a great job," he said.
The Toronto police chief is urging the public to abide by provincial stay-at-home orders. The order, which came into force on Wednesday, is in place for the next four weeks, as Ontario attempts to curb rising case counts. On Friday, Ontario reported another 4,227 cases of COVID-19, the second-most on a single day at any point during the pandemic. "I urge all Torontonians to please comply," said Chief James Ramer in a Saturday news release. "Do not go out unless it's for essential reasons only." Toronto police are not allowed to stop cars or enter homes simply to check if a person is complying with the order, nor can they compel a person who is outside to explain the reason they left their home. However, if officers have "probable grounds to suspect someone has violated" a public health order, they are allowed to ask for identification and a person who refuses can be arrested or charged with obstructing a police officer.