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A Mysterious Virus Is Sickening People in China – Gizmodo

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A bird market in Beijing, China.
Photo: Getty Images

A mysterious pneumonia has sickened dozens of people in China, and one of the only things health officials know for sure is that it isn’t being caused by a past bogeyman like the SARS virus.

According to health officials, the Associated Press reported Sunday, 59 people had been diagnosed with the mystery illness as of January 5, with all known cases seeming to originate from Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province. Victims have commonly experienced fever, though several have developed breathing problems as well. In at least a few patients, medical imaging has found clear signs of a serious lung infection, with at least seven people currently in critical condition.

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While the likely culprit is a virus, doctors quickly ruled out suspects that typically cause respiratory illness, like a strain of influenza or an adenovirus. Less certain was whether it could be an re-emergence of the virus behind SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The SARS virus was first discovered during a 2002 outbreak that sickened over 8,000 people and killed more than 700 people, predominantly in China and Hong Kong. But in their latest update, Chinese health officials ruled out SARS alongside the related virus that causes MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, and bird flu.

“I have to emphasize this is a new disease, and no one on earth has gone through this before,” Leo Poon, a public health expert at the University of Hong Kong, told The New York Times.

The exclusion of SARS as the cause of this illness won’t come without controversy in a country known for stifling the public statements of its residents, though. The Guardian reported Tuesday that the Chinese government has censored a popular hashtag that arose last month when the first cases emerged, #WuhanSARS. Infamously, China tried for months to cover up information about the spread of SARS within its borders during the initial 2002 outbreak.

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Provided the Chinese government’s information is trustworthy, however, there may be some good news. So far, there have been no reports of doctors or health care workers coming down with the illness, suggesting it doesn’t spread from person to person easily. A zoonotic disease, one that spreads from animals to people, is much less likely to erupt into a widespread outbreak or epidemic.

At this point, the most common potential link between patients has been that many operated stalls at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The market, which was shut down last week, is typically filled with an assortment of live animals, including birds and rabbits, according to the South China Morning Post.

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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

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

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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COVID-19 vaccines: 18% of Ottawa kids 5-11 have 1st doses – Globalnews.ca

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Nearly 14,000 Ottawa kids have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in their first week of eligibility, according to the local health unit.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that 13,887 kids aged five to 11, representing 18 per cent of the total age group in the city, have their initial shots as of Wednesday morning.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that 40 per cent of local kids in this youngest eligible demographic have appointments booked through the provincial vaccination system. This doesn’t account for shots booked at pharmacies or doctors’ offices.

Read more:

No need for new restrictions yet in Ottawa amid Omicron cases, Dr. Etches says

City-wide, 86 per cent of the population aged five and older now have at least one dose.

Meanwhile, OPH reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing the 32,000-case mark since the start of the pandemic.

The number of active infections held relatively steady at 329 in the latest report.

There are now 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.


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COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada


COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada

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