South Africa’s resurgence of COVID-19, centred in Johannesburg and driven by the delta variant, is setting record numbers of new daily cases, health officials said Sunday.
More than 26,000 new cases were reported on Saturday, up from 24,000 the previous day, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, surpassing the country’s highest number of new cases in previous waves and quickly bringing many hospitals to capacity.
More than 13,800 COVID-19 patients are currently in South African hospitals where some facilities are cancelling elective surgeries to free up beds and health workers.
South Africa’s official death toll has risen above 63,000, although statistics on excess deaths suggest the country’s actual number of virus fatalities may be more than 170,000.
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South Africa’s two million cases account for more than 30 per cent of the cases reported by Africa‘s 54 countries, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week increased restrictions to try to reduce the spread of the virus, including extending a nighttime curfew, banning the sale of alcohol, closing many schools and stopping travel into and out of Gauteng — the country’s most populous province that includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.
Gauteng accounts for more than 60 per cent of the new cases and officials fear other provinces and cities will soon follow.
After a slow start, South Africa’s vaccination drive is picking up pace but is still far behind developed nations. To date, more than 3.3 million of South Africa’s 60 million people have received at least one jab of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The inoculation campaign started with health care workers, those aged 60 and over and schoolteachers. On Monday police can get a jab and soon those 50 and over can too.
The nation’s Health Products Regulatory Authority on Saturday authorized the vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac, providing that it submits final results of ongoing clinical studies.
Nearby countries including Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also struggling to cope with a surge of infections.
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What’s happening across Canada
As of 3:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,416,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 6,159 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,360. More than 38 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.
In British Columbia, 78.5 per cent of eligible residents have been administered their first COVID-19 vaccine shot. About 33 per cent of those eligible have received a second dose.
In Alberta, Calgary’s city council will re-evaluate the city’s mask mandate on Monday. The decision will be based on metrics like how many second doses have been administered and the rate of infection.
In June, council voted 8 to 6 in favour of extending the measure until July 5 in Calgary. The provincial government lifted its mask mandate for Alberta on July 1.
WATCH | Alberta drops most COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandate:
Manitoba registered 64 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the province’s death toll linked to the illness has climbed by two, and Saskatchewan reported 27 new cases and no fatalities.
Ontario logged 213 new cases and nine more deaths.
Starting Monday at 8 a.m., residents 12 to 17 years old will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their second shot of Pfizer through the provincial booking system. They must wait 28 days between doses, as recommended by the Ontario health ministry.
In Quebec, Gisele Levesque, the first person in Canada to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, has died. The 89-year-old died on June 28 peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family, according to the public health authority in Quebec City.
In a statement, the health authority says her death was not related to COVID-19.
Levesque received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Dec. 14 at the CHSLD St-Antoine, a long-term care home in Quebec City.
In the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia, which confirmed three new cases on Sunday, says international travellers can start entering the province again on Monday; New Brunswick saw one new infection and an additional death; and, in Prince Edward Island, more than 82 per cent of eligible residents have been administered their first vaccine dose, with just under 24 per cent fully vaccinated.
In the Northwest Territories, mask requirements and appointments at many Yellowknife institutions — such as the public library and pools — will be lifted on Monday.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 183.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.
In Asia, Indonesia is requiring foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated as one of the entry requirements.
In Europe, Russia on Sunday reported more than 25,000 new cases of coronavirus infection, the largest number since January, as the country faces a sharp surge over the past month.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. — says about 99.2 per cent of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people.
Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.
Canada to receive 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this week – CTV News
The federal government is expecting to receive more than 2.3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, as public health officials brace for a potential fourth wave of infections.
Ottawa has already received more than 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, enough to fully immunize all eligible Canadians.
As of Tuesday, the federal government had 6.7 million COVID-19 vaccines in its national reserve, an amount that provinces and territories can draw from if they need more doses.
The new COVID-19 vaccine shipments come as Canada’s top doctor warns that the country could be headed towards a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases if public health restrictions are lifted before vaccination rates pick up.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam said an updated national modelling for the pandemic trajectory suggests that the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 could drive a fourth wave of infections.
“The trajectory will depend on ongoing increase in fully vaccinated coverage and the timing, pace and extent of reopening,” Tam said.
“While some resurgence is expected as measures are eased, this updated model shows that if we maintain current levels of community-wide contacts, we would expect to see a modest increase in cases.”
Tam said the country could see a high increase of COVID-19 infections if reopening continues quickly before enough people are fully immunized.
“We could expect to see a sharp resurgence by the end of the summer,” she said.
She said the new forecast “reaffirms the need to take a cautious approach to relaxing public health measures to remain vigilant and responsive to signs of resurgence and to continue to increase first and second dose vaccine coverage.”
Canada reported an average of 640 new cases over the past seven days, she said, which is still 93 per cent lower than the peak of the third wave.
As of Friday, 80.3 per cent of those eligible had received a first dose, while 63.7 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
Tam said the country has made “great progress” on vaccinating those who are eligible over the last month, but there is a need to increase numbers of vaccinated even more.
“This means increasing fully vaccinated coverage above 80 per cent across all age groups and particularly in younger age groups where most of the transmission is occurring.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Canada's Quinn to become 1st openly transgender, non-binary athlete to win Olympic medal – CBC.ca
Canada’s appearance in the gold-medal match in Japan won’t be the only first for the women’s soccer team when it takes to the pitch Friday (10 p.m. ET on Thursday in Canada).
Quinn, a 25-year-old midfielder from Toronto, will also become the first openly transgender and non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal, as the team is assured of a gold or silver.
Quinn came out publicly as transgender in a social media post last fall, changed their pronouns to they/them and now goes by one name.
Since Canada’s 1-0 semifinal victory over the United States on Monday at Kashima Stadium, setting up the final against Sweden, Quinn said they’ve been “getting messages from young people saying they’ve never seen a trans person in sports before.”
Quinn played college soccer for Duke University in North Carolina, and is the highest-drafted Canadian in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) history — taken third overall by the Washington Spirit in 2018. They now play for the OL Reign.
They won the bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio and were also on the squad that suffered a heartbreaking loss to the U.S. in London in 2012.
Bring on the cheers
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
Quinn came out last September, telling The Canadian Press it was partly because they were “tired of being misgendered” in society and the media, and also to be a “visible figure” for younger people who may be “questioning their gender, exploring their gender.”
WATCH | Redemption 9 years in the making — Canada to play for women’s soccer gold:
New guidelines coming for transgender athletes
At these Games, another transgender athlete has helped spark a conversation about greater inclusivity in sports. New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, the first openly transgender Olympic weightlifter, competed Monday in the women’s +87-kg category, but was knocked out of medal contention by failing to complete a lift in the first portion of the event.
“Of course, I’m not entirely unaware of the controversy which surrounds my participation in these Games,” Hubbard said after exiting the competition. “And, as such, I’d particularly like to thank the IOC [International Olympic Committee] for, I think, really affirming their commitment to the principles of Olympism, and establishing that sport is something for all people. It is inclusive. It is accessible.”
In 2015, the IOC established a set of regulations for transgender athletes in the Games. It has said it will release updated guidelines in the coming months.
For Quinn, being an advocate and a role model is not new. While at Duke, Quinn sat on the board of the school’s chapter of Athlete Ally, an organization that aims to foster equal opportunity in sports regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
“Athletics is the most exciting part of my life and it brings me the most joy,” Quinn told CBC Sports on Monday.
“If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that’s my legacy and that’s what I’m here for.”
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Canada’s Delta-driven 4th wave of COVID-19 will be ‘different’ amid vaccinations: experts – Globalnews.ca
As public health officials warn of an incoming Delta variant-driven fourth wave of COVID-19, experts are saying that its spread will likely be “very, very different” than Canada’s previous waves.
The warning came from chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday, who pointed at the upward trend in cases across Canada. The public health agency of Canada’s long-range epidemic forecasts “suggests we are the start of a Delta-driven fourth wave,” Tam told reporters at a press conference.
Tam warned that if vaccine uptake doesn’t increase in the country’s younger populations, cases could eventually exceed some communities’ health-care system capacities.
The news also comes on the heels of a new CDC report and study, the former of which warned that the Delta COVID-19 variant could be as contagious as chickenpox and the latter pointing to a string of outbreaks even among those who have been vaccinated.
However, according to Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University, Canada’s fourth wave of COVID-19 will differ greatly from its previous ones despite the CDC reports and warning from PHAC officials.
“If we have a fourth wave, it’s going to look very, very different than the previous waves,” said Evans.
Dr. Fauci says unvaccinated responsible for latest COVID-19 outbreak
He said that there’s “no way” that such a wave would be as big as the previous ones simply because of Canada’s vaccinations rates, which remain among the highest in the world.
Even with Canada’s rise in cases, Evans said that they would primarily be in unvaccinated communities, pointing to the fact that over 97 per cent of all new cases were among those who did not get a shot.
Canada added at least another 218 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing its total infections to 1,431,219. Another two deaths were reported as well, with the country’s death toll now standing at 26,600. Over 1.39 million people have recovered and more than 49.5 million vaccinations have been doled out.
Active cases now look to be on the rise across the country, though. Thursday saw another 903 new cases, Friday 897 more and Saturday another 531. In comparison, Canada recorded 391 recoveries on Thursday, 412 on Friday and 190 on Saturday.
This weekend’s COVID-19 data is limited, however, with only Ontario and Quebec reporting new cases as of today.
CDC reinstates face mask recommendations amid U.S. surge in Delta variant cases
According to Evans, the CDC’s study on vaccinated people contracting COVID-19 after large events actually presents stronger evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines.
The main problem in the study he said was that the disease control agency was not reporting denominators — the amount of people that had visited or travelled around the state during the period which the study was conducted.
According to the CDC, 469 cases were found among Massachusetts residents from July 3 to 26, and of those, 74 per cent were among those fully vaccinated.
Evans estimated at least 100,000 people travelling and moving around the state’s events during that time period, and that the only 469 cases reported among such high volume events were a better indicator of vaccine’s effectiveness.
Secondly, Evans pointed to the high vaccination rates in the state — Massachusetts has at least 72 per cent of its population having received at least one dose and over 63 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, compared to the national average of 57.7 per cent and 49.6 per cent, respectively.
Ottawa extending multiple COVID-19 subsidies for workers, businesses amid Delta variant spread
Speaking on the Roy Green Show, Dr. Ronald St John, the former WHO director for the Americas and national manager for Canada’s response to SARS, expressed caution when interpreting the findings of the internal CDC report that pointed at the ability of the Delta variant to spread like chickenpox.
He pointed out as well that the data in the report was not peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.
“I assume they mean [Delta is spreading among] unvaccinated people, but it’s not specified,” he said.
“How often they spread it, the frequency of spread — that’s what’s not clear to me in the data that’s been presented so far and so far, I think it’s just been an internal document that’s been spread around. So I’m waiting to see a little more data.”
Concerns rise over easing protocols amid Delta variant surge
According to University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr. Colin Furness, the next wave would be “primarily experienced by unvaccinated people.”
He pointed out in a previous interview with Global News that the vaccines were a “firebreak” that acted to prevent mass spread of the virus, as well as hospitalizations and severe outcomes.
Instead of the previous mass outbreaks of COVID-19 in Canada, Furness said that they were now more likely to occur in non-vaccinated people, who “occur in clumps.”
“They’re not randomly, evenly distributed among the population. It’s a church group. It’s an ethnic group. It’s people in an apartment building,” he said.
— With files from The Canadian Press, Reuters, Eric Stober and Rachel Gilmore.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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