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CDC may shorten coronavirus quarantine guidelines: WSJ – Yahoo Finance

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Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Dr. Jennifer Cowart, internal medicine physician, discuss rising U.S. coronavirus cases.

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ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The US is recording the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus since May. Continues to average close to 200,000 new cases a day. Why is the CDC thinking about shortening the quarantine time?

JENNIFER COWART: Yes, thank you. I think it’s a really good question. Looking at it, they’re looking at the evidence that most people who become positive after an exposure to COVID-19 become positive within that seven to 10-day window or before then. So it doesn’t mean that you may not have some folks who become positive on the later end of the 10 to 14-day window, but the vast majority are going to become positive earlier in that time frame, which is one reason they’re considering shortening the timeframe.

Looks like they’re also going to recommend that there be a negative test associated with that shorter quarantine. They’re looking at it also from a pragmatic perspective because 14 days of quarantine is really difficult for many people to adhere to for a variety of reasons. They’re trying to work and go to school and do other things. So I believe they’re looking at it in the sense of, we can maintain a high degree of safety and potentially even a higher degree of adherence with quarantining with a little bit shorter quarantine, still catch the majority of cases, and encourage a negative test in that– to try to keep things as safe as they can be.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I know that you’re working at a hospital there in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m hearing reports from hospitals across the country and clinics that they’re struggling to get that PPE. What’s your situation in your hospital? And is that becoming a problem?

JENNIFER COWART: I’m really grateful that we’ve had good access to PPE through the course of this pandemic. But I know that’s not the situation in every hospital across the country. So in order to keep health care workers safe, we really do need to be sure that everybody has access to surgical masks, to N95 respirators for those high-risk encounters, gloves, gowns, face coverings or face shields or goggles. Because we do see evidence that covering the eyes, it reduces the risk of health care transmission further.

So I’m grateful that my hospital, we’ve had good access to PPE. But every hospital, every clinic needs to have that same access.

JENNIFER COWART: You know, US officials planning to release 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses nationwide. And its first distribution, of course, would be to frontline workers like yourself and to people who are at high risk, namely the elderly. Do you think the CDC is doing enough to prepare people for the possible side effects of these vaccines?

JENNIFER COWART: It’s a great question because it does look like this is a vaccine that, the Pfizer and Moderna versions, that produce a vigorous immune response. And so I think folks should be prepared to feel the effects of this vaccine. Not everybody will, and that does not mean the vaccine is not working. But in many patients, they will get two doses of the vaccine, and either or both doses may produce a day of feeling some mild flu-like symptoms, some headaches, some aches and pains and shells. And folks should be prepared for that.

I think it’s a positive thing because I’d rather have one day of feeling achy compared to two weeks of illness and the risk of passing it on to my friends, family, and co-workers. But I agree I would love to see all of us, myself included, getting that message out there that this vaccine may produce a vigorous response. You may not feel well for a day or so. Still, very crucial to take that second dose of vaccine because you need both doses to get the full effect of this vaccine.

JENNIFER COWART: That’s, I think, the worry, right, that you would get the first dose, you would have these side effects, you would get concerned about that and not go back for the second dose. What would that do if a large enough amount of people decided to forego the second dose?

JENNIFER COWART: Right. And I think the vaccine has tested and known to be effective with both doses. So I think the risk would be that folks would be in completely protected if they get one dose and not the second dose. So I think we need to be very clear in saying, from the vaccine trials, the experience is that both doses are needed and that you can have a response, that you may not feel great for a day, that you need to take some acetaminophen or some ibuprofen, maybe take the day off of work if you need to.

But it’s better to have one day of feeling achy after the vaccine, means you’re getting a good robust response. And then you need to do both times to get that in order to have that full protection. And that’s the best way to keep the COVID-19 from continuing to spread, devastating our communities, working on our economy in negative ways. The best way to keep us all safe and back to work is both doses. And it may make you feel not great for a day, but it’s still better than getting COVID-19.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And real quickly, doctor, your advice to people who are going to be seeing family over this Thanksgiving.

JENNIFER COWART: Absolutely. So I think of everything in terms of risk and benefit and harm reduction. So if you need to travel, if you need to see your family, ways to keep it safer would be limit the size of your gathering, so not very many people in a room, eat outside if you’re able to, if the weather is nice, go outdoors, have your Thanksgiving meal outside where folks can take their masks off for a moment to eat and eat outside. Third, as I just mentioned, masks.

I know it may not feel comfortable to have masks on around our family members, but that’s the best way that if you need to have a gathering, keep it small, wear your masks, and be outdoors as much as possible. If you do decide to get a COVID test before your trip, I think that’s a great way to show that if you have a negative test, maybe your risk right this second is lower. But do not take that negative test as a license to think, great, I’ll take my mask off, and I’ll have a massive gathering of 50 people where we all share the mashed potatoes.

The way to use that test is if you take that test and it’s positive, you cancel your trip. You don’t go meet with family if you have a positive test. If you have a negative test, it means you’re still going to wear your mask, you’re going to limit the size of your gathering, and you’re going to go outside as much as possible.

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No change to Canada's Pfizer vaccine shipments as company restores European supply – Calgary Herald

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Alberta Health said the ministry would not be able to provide an update on the topic before Monday.

On Friday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he was “disappointed” in the delay, saying it meant the current phase of vaccinations in Alberta, which includes priority groups of health-care workers, would take longer to complete.

The start of the following phase, allowing seniors over 75 and Indigenous seniors over 65 to get the jab, will be consequently pushed back.

As well, Shandro said the province will be forced to delay some second doses of vaccination due to the news.

Pfizer shipments to Canada are expected to continue, but will contain fewer doses. There is no change to scheduled shipments of the Moderna vaccine.

Through end-of-day Friday, 81,561 Albertans have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 7,451 from the previous day. Among all provinces, Alberta ranks second for immunizations per capita, behind only Prince Edward Island.

The province is slated to administer at least 16,000 more jabs over the weekend, after Alberta Health Services said all previously advertised appointments had been booked.

Also Saturday, Alberta reported it had detected another 717 cases of the novel coronavirus.

The new infections came from 12,439 tests, a 5.8 per cent positivity rate, consistent with rates over the previous two days and below the seven-day average positivity rate of 6.2 per cent.

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National COVID-19 modelling shows cause for concern, even as B.C.'s curve flattens – CTV Edmonton

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VICTORIA —
Despite a flattering curve, modelling shows British Columbians need to reduce their interactions to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to Canadas’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, there is worrisome news from new modelling data that shows the pandemic’s growth is escalating rapidly in Canada, and Canadians need to restrict their social interactions or the problem will get worse.

“Unless public health measure are intensified, we will not be able to suppress the current rate of epidemic growth,” said Tam at a press conference on Friday.

The data projects almost 800,000 cases nationwide and nearly 20,000 deaths by Jan. 24.

While B.C. is faring better than other provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, Dr. Brian Conway of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre says we are far from immune to the trend of growing cases.

Conway says the modelling indicates British Columbians need to reduce our interactions to avoid a surge in cases.

“The model suggests that if we continue to act as we have in the previous few weeks that the cases, the number of cases, will continue to increase,” said Conway Friday after looking at the numbers.

Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Health Minister, struck a cautiously optimistic tone Friday, noting the province’s COVID-19 case numbers had flattened in recent days.

Although Dix indicated tighter restrictions didn’t appear likely anytime soon in B.C., he said what matters most is that folks stay vigilant.

“The virus isn’t interested in your orders or our speeches or anything else,” said Dix Friday in Victoria. “What’s more important is our actions.”

Adding to the uncertainty of the coming months, the modelling numbers do not take into account the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus recently discovered in the U.K. and South Africa and now present in Canada, including B.C., but only in very small numbers so far.

On Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it will be important to contain the cases of variants and identify them early.

“So it may be that we’re in a very similar place to where we were in February of last year, where if we can find them and catch them early we can prevent that variant from spreading,” she said.

Separate modelling to reflect the potential impacts of the variants will be done in the coming weeks. 

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Pfizer to resume COVID-19 vaccine shipments to EU within two weeks but Canada says no changes yet – Global News

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Pfizer-BioNtech will be resuming shipments of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union within the next two weeks, but there have been no more changes to Canada’s deliveries.

The pharmaceutical giant announced Friday it would be temporarily reducing the number of vaccines shipped in order to upgrade one of its facilities in Europe.

“We will be back to the original schedule of deliveries to the European Union beginning the week of January 25,” Pfizer said in an online statement late Friday. Arianna Podesta, a spokesperson for the European Commission, confirmed the revised schedule in an emailed statement to Global News.

As of Saturday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said there were no updates to Pfizer’s announcement, which saw vaccine shipments to Canada will be cut in half for the next four weeks.

Read more:
‘Temporary delay’ chops Canada’s deliveries of Pfizer vaccine in half for four weeks

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Canada’s shipment of Pfizer vaccines for the week of Jan. 18 remains “largely unaffected,” Anand said.

She added the federal government was in touch with Pfizer representatives to “reiterate firmly the importance for Canada to return to our regular delivery schedule as soon as possible.”

“This is an evolving situation,” Anand said.

In response to multiple requests for clarification, Pfizer said “the principal of equity is used when considering allocation of doses worldwide and we expect to have more information in the coming days.”

The move has left many provinces scrambling to adjust their vaccine rollout plans. Some, like Alberta and British Columbia, have publicly expressed concerns over how the delays will affect their vaccine schedules. Manitoba has paused new vaccine appointments until the country is back on schedule.

In Ontario, health officials have extended the amount of time between administering the second dose of the vaccine up to 42 days after receiving the first, while Quebec will allow up to 90 days in between doses.

Anand noted that the delay in shipments will not affect Canada’s long-term goals of having enough doses to vaccinate everyone wants the vaccine by the end of September, saying that “this is a temporary reduction. It’s not a stoppage.”


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target'



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Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target


Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target

“We are going to see continued vaccines coming in from Pfizer and of course Moderna over the next weeks, but there will be a reduction in doses, and that is the purpose of my being here,” she said Friday.

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“It’s going to be temporary, it’s not a loss, and we will make up those doses.”

So far, Canada has received about 380,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. Anand added that the additional 20 million doses Canada secured this week are still on track to arrive by Q2.

The news highlighted the importance of adhering to public health guidelines as reiterated by Canada’s top health officials calling for “further intensified” measures while presenting an updated COVID-19 federal modelling on Friday.

If Canada does not find a way to slow the spread of the virus, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said the country could be facing 10,000 cases per day by the end of the month. The total number of cases could also increase by almost 100,000 by Jan. 24, and lead to upwards of 2,000 deaths, the federal modelling showed.

Over a short period of time, vaccinations will do little to curb the virus’ transmission. However, Tam said “if we ease measures too soon, the epidemic will resurge even more strongly.”

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