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Coronavirus pandemic: How experts say Canada can escape the third wave – CTV News

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TORONTO —
As COVID-19 case levels rise across Canada, prompting new shutdowns in several provinces and causing doctors to ring alarm bells over ICU capacity, one question is front of mind: what will it take for Canada to rise out of this third wave?

Experts are split on which strategy is best, but a common thread is the feeling that governments need to be doing more than they currently are, both in planning and communicating with the public.

“We’ve got two to three months of hard work,” Dr. Michael Warner, an ICU physician at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto told CTV News Channel this week.

“That means public health measures, supporting people, protecting people, making (sure?) that people at the highest risk for exposure get the vaccines that are available.”

These are some of the things experts have said we could do as we move forward in the battle against the third wave.

RECOGNIZE VACCINES ARE ONLY PART OF THE SOLUTION

Three vaccines are currently being distributed in Canada and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is coming at the end of April. But the vaccines on their own do not herald the swift end to the virus that many had hoped for.

“We’re not going to be able to vaccinate ourselves out of this because of supply issues, distribution issues — we simply don’t have enough,” Warner said.

Claire Cupples, a microbiologist and professor at Simon Fraser University, pointed out that countries with robust vaccine distribution haven’t seen the type of third wave that Canada has, but that supply is a problem here.

“We don’t have, or haven’t had anyway, a really good pipeline for vaccines coming into the country because they’re all made outside the country,” she told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.

A shipment of five million doses of the Pfizer vaccine was moved up to arrive in Canada in June, according to an announcement this week, meaning there will be nine million Pfizer doses arriving in that month — welcome news, Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist, told CTV News Channel this week.

“Nine million doses is a good third of the population that can get vaccinated by June, which is exceptional to get us out of here,” he said.

“I don’t think we’ve reached the point where the vaccines are going to slow down growth over the next month or so, and we really do have to talk about how to do that from a systemic standpoint to buy time. But I think there is hope.”

When it comes to the race of vaccines versus variants, “the variants have won,” Warner said.

“Especially in the hot zone regions. Every single one of my patients has [a] variant. Almost all their family members have it too. This is a different pandemic with the variant.”

CONSIDER VACCINATING WHERE THE SPREAD IS

Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview Wednesday that in order to tackle this third wave, we “need to deploy vaccines differently.

“Most of the vaccine plans that were put into place, maybe as recently as six weeks ago, did not take into account the variants, the fact that they were going to spread more rapidly within a specific demographic and that they were going to cause more severe disease,” he said. “So we need to redeploy vaccines to aim them at populations that are responsible for most of the transmissions.”

Most of the vaccine rollouts across provinces and territories have focused solely on age as the first indicator of who gets the vaccine next, outside of high risk groups that were prioritized first, such as long-term care, health-care workers and remote communities.

But younger people seem to be contracting the virus in higher numbers now, driving spread.

Warner said he has patients “in their 30s, in their 40s, who are right now, in my ICU on their bellies, prone, breathing through a machine, paralyzed, barely holding on right now. This can take down younger people for sure.

“And the people who are being infected right now are people who would not meet the criteria for being vaccinated right now in our province, because either they’re not old enough, or they’re not in the right category.”

In Ontario, daily case numbers have been above 2,000 for more than a week. Chagla pointed out that while Ontario has seen high daily case numbers in other waves, the first and second wave contained a high proportion of cases from long-term care.

But with most long-term care residents having been vaccinated, the transmission now is predominantly “in the community.

“There’s nine patients in long-term care in Ontario currently with COVID-19, meaning those 2,000 patients are 2,000 patients in the community,” he said.

STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME AND PROTECT AT-RISK POPULATIONS

With case counts growing among those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, it hasn’t been unusual to hear officials imply that young people are simply being careless and not following the rules.

B.C. Premier John Horgan angered many on Monday when he told “the cohort from 20 to 39” to “not blow this for the rest of us.”

But ICU doctors like Warner say this perception does not reflect the reality of who is getting sick.

“These are people who drive for ride share companies, work at checkout counters at stores, work in factories and warehouses — these are not people partying, these are people who can’t be protected from COVID-19 because their exposure risk is simply too high based on the nature of the work they do,” Warner said.

Dr. Kali Barrett, a critical care physician for the University Health Network, echoed these sentiments on CTV News Channel on Thursday.

“It is the people who don’t have the privilege of being able to stay at home or work from home who are getting sick and ending up in our hospitals,” she said. “And so these measures need to be there to protect those people.”

One of the measures advocates have been pushing for is paid sick leave for more people, so that those who do feel symptoms or are concerned they might have been exposed can take time off of work without fearing financial losses — something particularly important considering that those who cannot work from home tend to be in lower income brackets.

Warner said that ICU doctors have been seeing “racialized, marginalized people getting nailed by this.

“We saw it in wave one, we saw it in wave two, we’re seeing it in wave three. We’re the ones who see the essential workers who don’t have benefits getting infected and dying.”

Conway said that while paid sick leave is a difficult thing to implement quickly, it’s something that people have been calling for for a while.

“It has been mentioned for months and months now that people need to feel that if they’re sick, they can stay home and there’ll be no consequences financially or otherwise,” Conway said. “And I think in that context, that’s a broader question that needs to be addressed carefully going forward.”

UTILIZE TESTING STRATEGICALLY

Another way to help those at risk is to find where hotspots are by using more strategic testing.

“It really is more testing that will help us to identify and interrupt transmission networks,” Conway said. “We need to introduce rapid testing more broadly, where we can protect certain environments, such as schools and workplaces.

“In places where we think there’s going to be more risk of transmission, having more frequent, targeted testing in asymptomatic individuals is probably a great idea.”

He pointed out that aggressive testing has kept things like the National Hockey League functioning.

“If it’s important enough to us to protect professional hockey, I think it needs to be important enough to us to protect our young people in there and allow them to work on a daily basis and prevent the operations from shutting down due to COVID.”

MAKE LOCKDOWNS REAL LOCKDOWNS

On Thursday, Ontario announced a new provincewide “emergency brake.” But while it introduces restrictions for the entire province, people quickly noticed that it made very few changes to hotspots such as Toronto and Peel Region, where there is exponential growth in COVID-19 cases.

“It’s really disappointing,” Barrett said, speaking of the announcement. “While I appreciate that the Premier is changing measures in other regions of the province, unfortunately, he’s relying on measures that are not working [in Toronto].”

Dr. Nathan Stall, a researcher and geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday ahead of Ontario’s announcement that when officials delay shutdowns, it just makes things worse.

“I think it was incompetent to wait this long, and I frankly don’t know why, when […] we’ve done this twice already, we needed to be in this situation where people are dying, surgeries and other people’s procedures are going to be cancelled, in-class learning is at jeopardy, businesses are going to be closed again — this wasn’t necessary had we acted earlier,” he said.

“We’ve pushed our health-care system not just to the brink, but over the brink in many instances.”

B.C. is also undergoing a circuit-breaker lockdown right now in an attempt to curb cases in the province. But according to Cupples, it is “a fairly lightweight lockdown in [that] the things that are affected are fairly minor.”

The restrictions introduced include new rules regarding indoor dining, group fitness and worship services. Cupples said these types of restrictions have been seen before and may not go far enough.

“We bring in these measures every now and then, they’re pretty lightweight,” she said. “Based on some other countries like Australia and New Zealand, Taiwan, China, […] if we had done a really heavy duty lockdown a year ago, we might be in a different situation, but now I think we’re all just tired of it. People aren’t really paying that much attention anymore. And the lightweight lockdowns are probably more of an irritant than anything else.”

Barrett said one of the problems is that government officials are often trying to balance warring interests and concerns, such as economic worries.

“I think the really important thing is we can recover from economic downturn, businesses can recover, but when you’re dead, you’re dead,” Barrett said.

BUT BE CLEARER WITH WHAT IS ALLOWED

One of the things that make people feel downtrodden with various announcements on restrictions is that governments rarely specify what the public actually can do during shutdowns, Conway pointed out.

He said he spent the winter trying to make it clear that skiing was largely safe, in order to give people an outlet. As weather warms up, governments should be emphasizing activities that people can do outside in order to have some aspect of their social lives back.

“Let’s give people a very long list of things that they’re allowed to do and encourage them to do them, so that the rules that we really need to have followed to limit disease, transmission, are perhaps followed more rigorously,” Conway said.

Stall said that the outdoors could be a crucial part of how we handle the current wave of COVID-19.

“We need to be embracing the outdoors in a way I would argue we didn’t last summer when we did silly things like […] closing parks and restricting outdoor activities,” he said. “I think that’s one of the ways we can change how we restrict our high risk contacts.”

UNDERSTAND PEOPLE ARE TIRED

“There’s no doubt that people are fatigued, worn out, have had enough of this,” Stall said.

“Doctors, scientists, nobody wants to be in a lockdown. The problem is, what are we supposed to do at this point?”

“People are now more tired than they were a year ago,” Conway said, adding that this is one reason why seeing the same type of lockdowns that didn’t work before is frustrating for the public.

BUT MAKE IT CLEAR THIS IS SERIOUS

“A week ago I’d say that I had one patient in my ICU with COVID-19 on a ventilator. And today we have ten,” Warner said.

“In the Greater Toronto Area, which is the area hardest hit by COVID-19, most hospitals are approaching capacity. When I say capacity, I mean staffed beds in the ICU. There might be physical beds, but there aren’t people to take care of them.”

“We have been talking about this looming third wave for weeks now,” Barrett said. “The writing was on the wall on January 20th when we identified the VOCs in the province of Ontario.”

With variants driving transmission, patients are getting sicker, and they’re getting sicker faster.

“These are twice as transmissible, and we’re now understanding that they are causing more severe disease,” Conway said. With a more transmissible virus circulating, even mild transgressions of the public health rules that may have been safe before could be driving transmission now.

“That’s what the variant has done, it has made somewhat safe behaviours more unsafe, and it has led to more widespread community-based transmission.”

Conway said he wanted “to emphasize the fact that there will be an end.”

“In Canada, we have the fundamentals pretty much, right. We have the tools available to us to get us out of this,” Conway said. “It’s just not happening today or tomorrow. And if it deteriorates over the next week, we need to adapt our behaviour to the circumstances of that day. Trusting that at some point in the future, by the fall or something, things will be better.”

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Factbox-Details of funeral service planned for Britain’s Prince Philip

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LONDON (Reuters) -Following are details of the funeral this Saturday of Britain’s Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, who died on April 9 aged 99.

THE FUNERAL

The funeral, which will be broadcast live, will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT).

As planned, it will be a ceremonial royal funeral, rather than a state funeral, with most of the details in keeping with Prince Philip’s personal wishes.

However, it has had to be scaled back because of COVID-19 restrictions. There will be no public access, no public processions and the funeral will take place entirely within the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The service will begin with a national minute of silence. At the end of the service Philip will be interred in the chapel’s Royal Vault.

WHO WILL ATTEND?

Only 30 mourners are permitted because of COVID-19 rules. These will include the queen, all senior royals including the duke’s grandchildren and their spouses, and members of Prince Philip’s family including Bernhard, the Hereditary Prince of Baden, and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Members of the Royal Family will be wearing morning coat with medals, or day dress. The congregation will adhere to national coronavirus guidelines and wear masks for the 50-minute service.

A small choir of four will sing pieces of music chosen by the prince before his death and there will be no congregational singing. The queen will be seated alone during the service.

THE DETAILS (note: all times local, GMT is one hour behind British Summer Time)

At 11 a.m., Philip’s coffin, covered by his standard (flag), a wreath, his naval cap and sword, will be moved by a bearer party from the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards from the Private Chapel in Windsor Castle – where it has been lying in rest – to the Inner Hall of the castle.

At 2 p.m. the ceremonial aspect begins, and within 15 minutes military detachments drawn from Philip’s special military relationships such as the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Grenadier Guards, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Intelligence Corps and the Highlanders will line up in the castle’s quadrangle.

The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry will line up around the perimeter of the quadrangle.

Between 2.20 p.m. and 2.27 p.m., the royals and members of Philip’s family not taking part in the procession will leave by car for St George’s Chapel.

At 2.27 p.m., a specially-coverted Land Rover that Philip helped design will enter the quadrangle.

At 2.38 p.m., the coffin will be lifted by the bearer party from the Inner Hall.

Bands in the quadrangle will stop playing at 2.40 p.m. and the coffin will emerge from the State Entrance one minute later.

The royals in the procession including Philip’s four children – Princes Charles, Andrew, Edward and Princess Anne, along with grandsons William and Harry – will leave the State Entrance behind the coffin, which will be placed onto the Land Rover.

At 2.44 p.m., the queen, with a lady-in-waiting, will leave the Sovereign’s Entrance in a car known as the State Bentley. The national anthem will be played and as the car reaches the rear of the procession, it will pause briefly.

At 2.45 p.m., the procession will step off with the band of the Grenadier Guards leading. The Land Rover will be flanked by pall bearers.

As it moves to the chapel, Minute Guns will be fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and a Curfew Tower Bell will sound.

The queen’s Bentley will stop outside the Galilee Porch where she will be met by the dean of Windsor, David Conner, who will escort her to her seat in the quire of the Chapel.

The coffin will arrive at the foot of the west steps of St George’s Chapel at 2:53 p.m. to a guard of honour and band from the Rifles. Positioned in the Horseshoe Cloister will be the Commonwealth defence advisers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago.

The west steps will be lined by a dismounted detachment of the Household Cavalry. A Royal Naval Piping Party will pipe the “Still” once the Land Rover is stationery at the foot of the steps. A bearer party from the Royal Marines will lift the coffin from the Land Rover as the Piping Party pipe the “Side”.

The coffin will pause for the national minute of silence at 3 p.m. A gun fired from the East Lawn will signify the start and end.

The coffin will then be taken to the top of the steps where it will be received by the dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. As the chapel doors close, a piping party will pipe the “Carry On”.

The coffin will move through the nave to the catafalque in the quire, with senior royals processing behind.

Philip’s “insignia” – essentially the medals and decorations conferred on him, his field marshal’s baton and Royal Air Force Wings, together with insignia from Denmark and Greece, will be positioned on cushions on the altar.

The funeral service will then be conducted by the dean of Windsor. After the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, Philip’s “Styles and Titles” will be proclaimed from the sanctuary.

A lament will then be played by a pipe major of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and “The Last Post” will be sounded by buglers of the Royal Marines.

After a period of silence, “the Reveille” will be sounded by the state trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and then the buglers of the Royal Marines will sound “Action Stations” at the specific request of the Duke of Edinburgh, as Philip was officially known.

The archbishop of Canterbury will then pronounce the blessing, after which the national anthem will be sung.

The queen and the other mourners will then leave the chapel via the Galilee Porch.

(Reporting by Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Frances Kerry and Catherine Evans)

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Canadas Immigration Problems Solved by Invisible Border Walls

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Canadas’s immigration story is seen by the world as too liberal that gives them a good image through out but there seems to be some lesser-known information. It is not only liberal but conservative as well and they hide this fact all too well. This is only made possible by the invisible border walls that Canada has instore.

No this is not something out of sci-fi novel. This is actually true and will be discussed further down the article. But first we need to see what happen in the 1980s.

Since the 1980s, Canada has consistently been a high-immigration country, at least relative to the U.S. As a result, the proportion of Canadians born outside the country hit 21.9 percent in 2016. That same year, America’s foreign-born population was 13.4 percent. That’s a record high for the U.S.—but it’s been 115 years since Canada’s foreign-born population was at such a low level. As Derek Thompson put it in his article analyzing how Canada has escaped the “liberal doom loop,” Canada’s floor is America’s ceiling.

So, the question remain why has Canada managed to sustain popular acceptance and cross-party support for so much legal immigration?

Well firstly, this is because the intake of the Canadian population has been so law abiding and orderly so to be undisruptive and thus not being newsworthy. Canada unlike the neighbor USA is a country where mostly come in from the front door, in the open and during the daylight hours.

Everyone coming to Canada would have to apply from there home countries to come to Canada before they are granted access to the country, they have to go through a huge line of people already waiting after which they are subjected to extensive vetting by the Canadian authorities. Those who make the cut are then let in the country. In short it is not only you that chooses Canada but Canada would also have to choose you. For this to work.

For those who choose to trespass and try to enter Canada by illegal means well that where the invisible border walls come in. that right Canada has a border wall. In a sense of course. In fact, there are 5 of them. Four geographic and 1 bureaucratic. All of which have been effective at sustaining the legitimacy and popularity of Canada’s immigration policy.

Three of the walls are the dumb luck of geography: the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. You can cross the Aegean from Asia to Europe in a dinghy, but unless you can get your hands on a ship and a crew trained in navigating thousands of miles of difficult water, you aren’t sailing to Canada. So far in 2018, Canada has received exactly 10 asylum applications at sea ports.

The fourth wall is Canada’s southern border with the U.S. The world’s leading economy has historically been a magnet for people, not the reverse. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. was at times so high that Canadians actually feared for the future of their country. The strength of the American economy long meant that few immigrants would think to use the U.S. as a back door into Canada.

The fifth wall is the bureaucratic barrier that Canadian governments, both Conservative and Liberal, have meticulously maintained to cover any gaps in the other defenses.

This is the underlying reason for Canada having an amazing immigration system, that would present itself as liberal but is actually more a concern of some natural luck.

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How to Immigration System in Canada has Changed Since the Covid-19

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Before we jump into the current situation we need to look into what Canada and its immigration system has been for people all around the world. Canada has been a keeper of refugees; for people that are involved in international controversies, religious persecution etc from there country of origin.

We see this in the 1947-1953 Canada welcomed thousands of Hungarians and Vietnamese “boat people”. In the late 1970s and Syrians in the 2010s.

This still continues to date since the immigration and retention of people from Hong Kong.

But all of this would begin to change since the beginning of the covid 19. The real question is Canada has suffered far worst and still managed to land on its feet. Will this time be different? Only time will tell.

The History of Immigration in Canada:

Canada has a history of coping with situation that limited its ability to accept newcomers to its country. The First World War saw immigration to Canada drop precipitously; in 1915, the intake was only 34,000 people (compared to over 400,000 just two years before).

In the 1920s we began to see an increase in numbers but again dropped sharply with the advent of the Great Depression, dipping still further with World War II. So, the drop in immigration to Canada resulting from the Coronavirus is far from unheralded in Canada’s history.

Canada has also seen great waves of immigration, particularly as part of a response to, and recovery from, challenges. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into the country, many to the west, in the decade or so following the establishment of Saskatchewan and Alberta as provinces. Unlike many countries in Europe, which arguably had too many people and not enough land, Canada had the opposite problem.

After the calamity of the Second World War, Canada, unlike many other nations, had emerged strong and stable. But it was sorely lacking in the labor force and skills necessary for the great post-War economy and recovery taking place. Between 1946 and 1953, over 750,000 souls found a home in Canada.

Plans on Immigration After the Pandemic:

The government has announced a goal of settling over 1,200,000 new permanent residents in Canada from now until 2021-2023. In considerable measure, economic and population needs are the motivation for this ambitious plan. Marco Mendocino, the incumbent Immigration Minister, expressed it well in announcing the targets in the following statement:

“Immigration is essential … to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth … newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves.”

Conclusion:

The pandemic has hit the world hard and well Canada has been no stranger to the virus, we have people lost lives and people that have suffered a lot financially and economically. This would have to turn around in the near future but until that happens Canada would have play there cards right for this to work out in the favor of the country and it’s citizens.

I personally think that Canada can still make a difference in the international world. If it were to continue to follow the plan it has set for itself. I am sure that this is going to be difficult but considering previous Canadian track record this is going to be something that Canada would be coming out of with potentially amazing results.

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