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52% of Quebecers expect return to normal in two years, poll suggests – Montreal Gazette

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A majority of Quebecers — 52 per cent — think it will be two years before “things return to something closer to life before COVID-19,” a new poll suggests.

The poll was conducted in late January by Léger for the Association for Canadian Studies.

The results contrast with earlier projections, said ACS president Jack Jedwab.

“In mid-December, the vast majority of Quebecers seemed optimistic about 2021 owing to positive forecasts about the vaccine rollout,” he said.

In July 2020, most Quebecers thought a resumption of normal activities would occur in one year or less, Jedwab said.

The latest poll suggests non-francophones are more pessimistic than francophones.

Just under one-quarter (24 per cent) of non-francophones said the pandemic could drag on for another five years, compared to just 15 per cent of francophones.

Léger poll for the Association for Canadian Studies, Feb. 8, 2021
How long do you think it will take before the COVID-19 crisis pass and things return to something closer to life before COVID-19?

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Ontario reports 1,200+ coronavirus cases; 28 more deaths – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths on Friday, also marking the first day in four months where nobody in the long-term care system died of the disease.

Ontario reported 1,138 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 1,054 on Wednesday.

It’s the fourth straight day of increases in the province, as all but 3 of Ontario’s 34 public health units reopened non-essential retail, restaurants and fitness centres earlier this week.

The seven-day rolling average of cases now stands at 1,114, up from 1,098 on Thursday and 1,016 eight days ago.

The number of active cases rose for the second day in a row, to 10,294, still well below our January peak of more than 30,000 active infections.

All of the deaths reported on Friday occurred outside of the long-term care system, the first time that has happened in since Oct. 26. All long-term care residents in the province have received at least one dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine.

Across the GTA, there were 362 new cases in Toronto, 274 new cases in Peel, 104 new cases in York Region, 42 in Durham, 32 in Halton and 64 in Hamilton.

Provincial labs processed 64,049 specimens in the past 24 hours, generating a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 that Thursday’s modelling briefing, although cautiously optimistic, told us that things could still get drastically out of hand with our current daily case growth.

“It was a little more rosy, it does paint a little better picture, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “We’re still at 900-1,200 new cases per day here in Ontario, and if we do let our guard down, it will get out of control very quickly.”

Hospitalizations held flat according to official Ministry of Health statistics, which stated 683 people were in hospital, with 284 in intensive care and 193 breathing with the help of a ventilator.

But a Toronto ICU doctor citing Critical Care Services Ontario data said there were 333 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care across the province.

The number of variant of concern cases fully confirmed through whole genomic sequencing rose by 31 on Friday, to 477 B.1.1.7 cases, 14 B.1.351 cases and two P.1 cases.

Meanwhile, the province continues to ramp up its coronavirus vaccine rollout, with several public health units already scheduling or administering vaccines to people aged 80 or over living in the general community.

More than 21,000 doses were administered in the past 24 hours, increasing the provincial total of shots administered to 643,765.

More than 258,000 people have now completed their full two-dose inoculation.

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CPPIB CEO Mark Machin steps down after getting COVID-19 vaccine in UAE – Global News

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Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said on Friday Mark Machin had stepped down as CEO of the country’s largest pension fund after disclosing he recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates where he arranged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

CPPIB said it had accepted Machin’s resignation and appointed John Graham as chief executive officer.

Read more:
Head of Canada Pension Plan board received COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai: reports

Canada’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday called a media report about Machin traveling to the Middle East and receiving a COVID-19 vaccination “very troubling”.

Machin was not immediately available for comment.

Machin, 54, received Pfizer’s vaccine shot after arriving in the UAE with his partner this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

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Machin was named president and CEO in June 2016, according to the pension fund’s website.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

© 2021 Reuters

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‘Think small, think local’: B.C. health officials advise against big spring break plans – Global News

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British Columbia’s top doctor is advising people not to make big plans for the upcoming March break as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a threat.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says British Columbians will need to stay local during the annual pause from school. The province had previously indicated there would be encouragement to travel around the province if transmission numbers dropped.






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Advice for what B.C. parents should do for March Break 2021?


Advice for what B.C. parents should do for March Break 2021?

“In terms of travel, right now as always, we need to stay local,” Henry said.

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“And we’re going to be reassessing things as we move through the next weeks. And we will be talking more about March break and what we need to do in the coming days.”

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Henry is pointing to the province’s rate of transmission, positivity rate and reproductive rate for why restrictions remain in place and why spring break travel is not being encouraged.

Read more:
B.C. ‘not quite there’ on easing restrictions, reports 395 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths

The seven-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases was an average of 481.4 cases a day on February 24, a steady climb from the 432.1 daily average reported a week earlier.

The test positivity rate has also gone up, although not as dramatically. Two weeks ago, 6.2 per cent of all COVID-19 tests in the province came back positive, going up to 6.6 per cent last week and sitting at 6.7 per cent now.


Click to play video 'What’s fueling the current spread of COVID-19 in B.C.?'



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What’s fueling the current spread of COVID-19 in B.C.?


What’s fueling the current spread of COVID-19 in B.C.?

The province could not provide specifics on the reproductive number — a key metric for measuring whether the pandemic is under control. Henry says it is over one, which means for every COVID-19 case in the province it is passed on to more than one person.

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“In the last two weeks, we started to see (the reproductive number) move above the level of one, and what that means is that there is potential for rapid growth if we are not careful,” Henry said.

“It is like a tree that keeps growing and spreading. But we need to keep the cases low and slow so that we can control that.”

B.C. is working with other provincial governments to determine some national policies around the spring break. The province is also looking at how it can support British Columbians, particularly young people, to have safe opportunities with friends during the break.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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