Manitoba continued breaking recently set COVID-19 records on Friday, with the death of another resident at a Winnipeg care home that has become the site of the province’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.
The death of the man in his 80s connected to Parkview Place brought Manitoba’s coronavirus-linked fatalities to 48, the province said in a news release, including 15 Parkview residents.
To date, 108 people connected to the privately owned facility — 82 residents and 26 staff — have contracted the illness, a provincial spokesperson said on Friday.
Manitoba also announced 163 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — the new second-highest single-day increase in cases. On Thursday, 147 new cases were announced, which was at that point the province’s second-highest one-day jump.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — also reached a new high on Friday, at 6.5 per cent, breaking another record set just a day earlier. In Winnipeg, that rate is 7.2 per cent as of Friday, a provincial spokesperson said.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin has pointed to the provincial figure as one of the most important indicators of how Manitoba is handling COVID-19, and said a rate of more than three per cent would likely indicate significant community spread.
There are now 51 people in hospital with the illness, which is also a new record. Eight of those people are in intensive care, tying the existing high set last month.
Meanwhile, officials working with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said nearly one-third of First Nations in Manitoba — 20 of 63 — have now had cases of COVID-19. To date, there have been 449 cases among First Nations people living on- and off-reserve in the province, including two who have died.
Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared at four more Winnipeg care homes, which have been elevated to red, or critical, on the province’s pandemic response system.
Those sites are the Holy Family Home, Concordia Place personal care home, the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre personal care home, and the Maples Long Term Care Home.
An outbreak at the YWCA in Thompson has now spread to 13 people linked to the facility, a provincial spokesperson said on Friday. The site has been housing roughly 25 people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.
Just under 80 per cent, or 128, of the new cases announced Friday are in the Winnipeg health region, the province’s release said.
There are another 19 new cases in the Southern Health region, eight in the Interlake-Eastern health region, seven in the Northern Health region and one in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
More possible exposures
The province also announced several new possible COVID-19 exposures on Friday. Among the latest sites are:
- Sand Hill Casino in Carberry on Oct. 16 from 8 p.m. to midnight.
- SOUL salon and spa in Brandon on Oct. 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Oct. 14 from noon to 8 p.m.
- Yellowquill School in Portage la Prairie from Oct. 13 to 16.
- St. Claude School from Oct. 13 to 16.
- Winnipeg Transit Route 71 from Sinclair to Aberdeen/Arlington on Oct. 16 at 4 p.m.
- École Constable Edward Finney School in Winnipeg on Oct. 19 and 20.
- Technical Vocational High School in Winnipeg on Oct. 16.
- Winnipeg Adult Education Centre on Oct. 7, 13, 19, 20 and 21.
- Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg on Oct. 13.
- Busy Bee Day Care Centre in Winnipeg on Oct. 13.
- École Leila North School in Winnipeg from Oct. 13 to 16.
- St. Emile Catholic School from Oct. 13 to 16.
- École Templeton School in Winnipeg on Oct. 13 and 14.
- University of Winnipeg Collegiate on Oct. 13 and 15.
- École Margaret-Underhill in Winnipeg on Oct. 8.
- School bus linked to a Franco-Manitobain School Division site (209 Rue Kenny) on Oct. 9.
- Maples Collegiate on Oct. 14.
More information about possible COVID-19 exposures can be accessed by visiting the province’s website and clicking on the link to each region.
One case of the illness previously announced in Manitoba has been removed from the province’s total, the release said, bringing the tally of cases identified in Manitoba to 3,935.
On Thursday, the province announced new rules coming for northern Manitoba and schools in both the Winnipeg area and the north. Those measures will take effect on Monday.
That announcement came as Manitoba announced a new record number of deaths linked to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and posted what was before today the highest five-day test positivity rate.
To date, 2,032 people in Manitoba are listed as recovered from COVID-19, while 1,855 cases are considered active — though Roussin has said that number is skewed because of a data entry backlog.
Another 2,642 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the total completed in the province since early February to 236,023.
Data on test numbers and the test positivity rate will be unavailable on Saturday because of scheduled system upgrades, the release said. That information is expected to be updated again on Sunday.
What is the Delta variant of coronavirus with K417N mutation?
India said on Wednesday it has found around 40 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant carrying a mutation that appears to make it more transmissible, and advised states to increase testing.
Below is what we know about the variant.
WHAT IS DELTA PLUS?
The variant, called “Delta Plus” in India, was first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11.
It is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.
Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.
“The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement.
Shahid Jameel, a top Indian virologist, said the K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
WHERE ALL IT HAS BEEN FOUND?
As of June 16 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/994839/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_16.pdf, at least 197 cases has been found from 11 countries – Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), the United States (83).
India said on Wednesday around 40 cases of the variant have been observed in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with “no significant increase in prevalence”. The earliest case in India is from a sample taken on April 5.
Britain said its first 5 cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had travelled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey.
No deaths were reported among the UK and Indian cases.
WHAT ARE THE WORRIES?
Studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against this mutation.
“WHO is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant, as we are doing for other Variants of Concern with additional mutations,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“For the moment, this variant does not seem to be common, currently accounting for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences … Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern remain a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission,” it said.
But India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination.”
There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.
“The mutation itself may not lead to a third wave in India – that also depends on COVID-appropriate behaviour, but it could be one of the reasons,” said Tarun Bhatnagar, a scientist with the state-run Indian Council for Medical Research.
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Pune, Bhargav Acharya and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Alistair Smout in London; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Giles Elgood)
Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?
The majority of colon cancer cases are more common among older citizens. However, research has found that colorectal cancer rates have been rising in healthy people under 50. The rate has increased over the ten years. Medical professionals recommend screening from age 45. A colorectal screening test is done to ensure that the individual does not have any signs of cancer.
A study found that there has been a surge in colorectal cancer in younger generations and could become the dominant cause of cancer-related deaths by 2030. Since the risk is alarming, everyone needs to take their gut health seriously. Here are some things that people can do to improve their well-being.
Hydrotherapy is a type of colon cleanse that treats digestive issues such as constipation and bloating. Chronic constipation can lead to colon cancer, so it is vital to deal with the issue before it worsens. Colon hydrotherapy is offered at a few places, including a wellness colonic clinic in Toronto where the staff is committed to providing solutions for their clients’ digestive health.
Cleansing your colon can help improve digestion, relieve constipation, reduce gas, rejuvenate skin, and increase energy. The process involves flushing the colon with a large volume of water. It can be beneficial to speak to the professionals at the clinic and discuss your concerns with them. They will educate you about the process and answer any concerns you may have. The treatment can seem overwhelming but can also be helpful for your gut health.
Your food intake plays a significant role in your gut health. If you have gut problems, it may be worthwhile to speak to a doctor and change your diet. You should also consider finding out if you have any food intolerance. There may be trigger foods such as oil or dairy that could be causing discomfort.
Even if you do not have any problems with your food consumption, it is never wrong to watch what you eat. Foods with probiotics or high fibre content can be good for you. Eating the right foods can improve your overall health too.
Water almost seems like a magical drink sometimes. From skin problems to digestive issues, it can improve many situations. Consuming a good amount of water every day can balance good bacteria in the gut and promote your health. Hydration can also help your organs function properly and improve cognitive function.
Say Goodbye to Extreme Stress
It can be challenging to bid farewell to stress forever. However, chronic high levels of stress can impact your abdomen and your overall health. There is a connection between the brain and gut, and stress can cause your stomach to become anxious.
Long-term stress can trigger several gut problems such as indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. Look for ways to reduce stress levels so that your gut can remain healthy.
Some health problems are inevitable with age, but you can do your best to stay healthy and deal with any issues you face. Prepare yourself to fight any disease beforehand, and your body will thank you.
Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more
The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.
The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.
U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.
G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.
A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.
Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.
The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.
“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.
‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’
Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.
“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.
“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.
Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.
Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.
The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.
GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.
Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.
(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)
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