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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday –



The latest:

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted it would be “open season” for vaccinations in the United States by April, as a supply increase will allow most people to get shots to protect them against COVID-19.

The rate of vaccinations will greatly accelerate in the coming months, Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, told NBC’s Today Show. He credited forthcoming deliveries of the two approved vaccines, the potential approval of a third and moves taken by the Biden administration to increase the nation’s delivery capacity.

“By the time we get to April,” it will be “open season, namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.”

It will take “several more months” to logistically deliver injections to adult Americans, but he predicted herd immunity could be achieved by late summer.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen attends a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field, the home of the Mets, in the Queens borough on Wednesday. (Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)

Two-dose vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. Johnson & Johnson applied for a U.S. authorization of its single-dose shot last week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 46,390,270 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and delivered 68,285,575 doses.

CDC updates quarantine guidelines

Meanwhile, U.S. public health officials said people who have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccines can skip the standard 14-day quarantine after exposure to someone with the infection as long as they remain asymptomatic and meet certain criteria.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday the vaccines have been shown to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, thought to play a greater role in the transmission of the virus than asymptomatic disease.

“Individual and societal benefits of avoiding unnecessary quarantine may outweigh the potential but unknown risk of transmission (among vaccinated individuals),” the CDC said.

The agency has laid down strict criteria for people who would no longer have to quarantine after the vaccinations, including having received both doses of a two-dose vaccine.

A nurse practitioner receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the LA Mission homeless shelter on Skid Row, in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

People who choose not to quarantine should do so only if they received their last dose within three months, the CDC document said. It also said the guidance around quarantine applied to people who are “fully vaccinated,” referring to people who are more than two weeks out from their final dose.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms for 14 days following an exposure.

The CDC also noted people who have been vaccinated should, “Continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others,” including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, washing hands often and adhering to local public health guidelines.

– From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Trudeau promises boost to vaccine shipments in coming weeks:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with a round table of health care professionals on Thursday from his home office at Rideau Cottage. 2:07

As of 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had reported 816,364 cases of COVID-19 — with 37,945 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,063.

Ontario reported 945 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, though health officials noted that case counts from Toronto had been underreported due to an ongoing data migration. The province reported 18 additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 6,614.

Hospitalizations in Ontario stood at 883, with 299 people listed as being in the province’s intensive care units.

The province announced in an afternoon briefing that it is delaying March Break until April 12. The school break had been scheduled for the week of March 15.

In Quebec, health officials reported 1,121 new cases of COVID-19 and 37 additional deaths on Thursday. Hospitalizations stood at 874, with 143 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, according to an update posted to a provincial site.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, another record after it reported 53 new cases and 32 presumptive cases on Wednesday. The province was set to head to the polls on Saturday for a provincial election, but voters in 18 districts will face a delay amid concerns over COVID-19.

Officials announced new restrictions on Wednesday in a bid to get the spread of the virus under control, including a move to online learning for all schools in the St. John’s area for two weeks, as well as the suspension of all group and team sports across the province.

WATCH | How variants impact COVID-19 in New Brunswick:

Comparing COVID-19 to a thief trying to get into your home, infectious disease specialist Dr. Gordon Dow explains how to fight the spread of the virus in the province. 5:20

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick health officials reported two new cases of COVID-19 and one new death on Thursday as health experts took questions about COVID-19 variants. Nova Scotia also reported two new cases on Thursday.

There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island on Wednesday.

Manitoba on Thursday announced it had made a deal to buy two million doses of a Canadian-made vaccine, pending approval by Health Canada. The province reported 90 new cases and three new deaths. 

WATCH | Manitoba buys made-in-Canada vaccine:

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, clearly frustrated by a lack of COVID-19 vaccines from Ottawa, is buying two million doses of vaccine from Canada’s Providence Therapeutics. Pallister expects delivery later this year, depending on federal approval. 1:30

Saskatchewan reported 114 new cases on Thursday, bringing its seven-day average to 182, its lowest level since Jan. 3. It also reported no new deaths, the first time that has happened since Jan. 14. 

Alberta reported 339 new cases and six additional deaths on Wednesday, while British Columbia reported 469 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths.

Across the North, Nunavut reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. No new cases were reported in Yukon or the Northwest Territories on Wednesday.

Here’s a look at what else is happening across the country:

– From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 4 p.m. ET

WATCH | Yukon enjoys COVID-free moment:

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says the territory has seen no new cases of the coronavirus for four weeks and he promised booster shots for everyone who has received a first vaccination. 1:16

What’s happening around the world

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 107.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 60.1 million of those cases listed as recovered or resolved in a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.3 million.

In the Americas, Argentina surpassed two million COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, health officials said, as the country scrambles to ramp up a vaccination program ahead of the fast-approaching southern hemisphere autumn.

Health-care workers test teachers and school workers for COVID-19 at the exposition centre La Rural before the reopening of schools, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Matias Baglietto/Reuters)

In Mexico, enough active ingredient to produce two million doses of the CanSino COVID-19 vaccine arrived early Thursday, the first new vaccine to arrive in weeks.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard thanked the Chinese government and CanSino for the rapid shipment just one day after Mexican regulators approved its emergency use. The vaccine will be bottled and distributed from a facility in the central state of Queretaro.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said African countries that have not found cases of the coronavirus variant dominant in South Africa should go ahead and use the AstraZeneca vaccine.

John Nkengasong spoke to reporters a day after South Africa announced major changes to its vaccination rollout plan, citing a small study that suggested it was poor at preventing mild to moderate disease caused by the variant.

Nkengasong said just seven countries on the 54-nation African continent have reported the variant and none besides South Africa is being “overwhelmed” by the variant. None has expressed concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine except for South Africa. Africa has had more than 96,000 confirmed deaths.

Pfizer, meanwhile, said it could deliver its vaccine, which requires ultra-cold temperatures for storage and distribution, directly to points of vaccination in South Africa.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Thailand announced plans to inoculate 1 million of its most vulnerable people by May and start mass vaccinations in June, with the aim of administering 10 million doses a month.

The Philippines is set to receive 600,000 doses this month of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine donated by China, a portion of which will be used to inoculate military personnel, a senior government official said.

A man waits in a reception area as he takes part in a vaccination mock drill at the COVID-19 vaccination centre earlier this week in Seoul. South Korea conducted the drill ahead of the vaccination of the whole nation starting this month. (Kim Hong-Ji/Getty Images)

South Korea has reported 504 new coronavirus cases for the latest 24-hour period. It is the highest daily jump in about two weeks and raising worries about a potential surge as the country begins the Lunar New Year’s holidays.

Health officials said Thursday the newly reported cases took the country’s total for the pandemic to 82,434, with 1,496 deaths related to COVID-19. In recent weeks, South Korea’s caseload has displayed a gradual downward trajectory largely thanks to stringent distancing rules such as a ban on social gatherings of five or more people.

Officials have urged the public to maintain vigilance and stay at home during the four-day Lunar New Year’s holidays that began Thursday. Millions of people were expected to travel across the country to visit hometowns and return home during the holidays.

WATCH | Suppression important to stop mutations, says WHO Europe director:

The world must reduce transmission of the coronavirus to stop mutations that can affect vaccine efficacy, says Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, Europe’s regional director for the World Health Organization. (NEXU Science Communication/REUTERS) 0:55

In the Middle East, Turkey has started administering the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac company to health-care workers across the country. Also Thursday, people above 70 qualified to receive their first dose of the vaccine as Turkey expanded its vaccination campaign.

Israel began reopening its education system on Thursday after a more than six-week closure due to the country’s worrying surge in coronavirus infections. Kindergartens and Grades 1 to 4 opened in cities with low infection rates, with around one-fifth of the country’s pupils returning to classrooms. Middle schools and high schools remained closed.

In Europe, the World Health Organization’s chief for Europe said it’s launching with the European Union a $61.6 million Cdn program to help deploy COVID-19 vaccines in six countries that were once Soviet republics. Those countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Dr. Hans Kluge, who also highlighted a drop in coronavirus cases in recent weeks while warning case counts remain too high, said the program complements work through an existing EU program and the WHO-backed COVAX Facility that aims to deploy vaccines for people in all countries in need whether rich or poor.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country didn’t act quickly enough last fall to prevent a second surge in coronavirus infections.

“We didn’t shut down public life early enough or systematically enough amid signs of a second wave and warnings from various scientists,” she told lawmakers Thursday.

Merkel and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed late Wednesday to extend the current lockdown, which was due to expire Sunday, until at least March 7. Schools and hairdressers will be able to open earlier, albeit with strict hygiene measures.

– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

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Asian markets roiled as bond rout turns 'lethal' – Yahoo Finance



By Wayne Cole and Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks fell by the most in nine months on Friday as a rout in global bond markets sent yields flying and spooked investors amid fears the heavy losses suffered could trigger distressed selling in other assets.

In a sign the gloomy mood will reverberate across markets, European and U.S. stock futures were a sea of red. Eurostoxx 50 futures lost 1.7% while futures for Germany’s DAX and those for London’s FTSE dropped 1.3% each.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid more than 3% to a one-month low, its steepest one-day percentage loss since May 2020.

For the week the index is down more than 5%, its worst weekly showing since March last year when the coronavirus pandemic had sparked fears of a global recession.

Friday’s carnage was triggered by a whiplash in bonds.

The scale of the sell-off prompted Australia’s central bank to launch a surprise bond buying operation to try and staunch the bleeding.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note eased back to 1.538% from a one-year high of 1.614%, but were still up a startling 40 basis points for the month in the biggest move since 2016.

“Bond yields could still go higher in the short term though as bond selling begets more bond selling,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP.

“The longer this continues the greater the risk of a more severe correction in share markets if earnings upgrades struggle to keep up with the rise in bond yields.”

Markets were hedging the risk of an earlier rate hike from the Federal Reserve, even though officials this week vowed any move was long in the future.

Fed fund futures are now almost fully priced for a rise to 0.25% by January 2023, while Eurodollars have it discounted for June 2022.

Even the thought of an eventual end to super-cheap money sent shivers through global stock markets, which have been regularly hitting record highs and stretching valuations.

“The fixed income rout is shifting into a more lethal phase for risky assets,” says Damien McColough, Westpac’s head of rates strategy.

“The rise in yields has long been mostly seen as a story of improving growth expectations, if anything padding risky assets, but the overnight move notably included a steep lift in real rates and a bringing forward of Fed lift-off expectations.”

Japan’s Nikkei shed 3.7% and Chinese blue chips joined the retreat with a drop of 2.5%.


Overnight, the Dow fell 1.75%, while the S&P 500 lost 2.45% and the Nasdaq 3.52%, the biggest decline in almost four months for the tech-heavy index.

Tech darlings all suffered, with Apple Inc, Tesla Inc, Inc, NVIDIA Corp and Microsoft Corp the biggest drags.

All of that elevated the importance of U.S. personal consumption data due later on Friday, which includes one of the Fed’s favoured inflation measures.

Core inflation is actually expected to dip to 1.4% in January, which could help calm market angst, but any upside surprise would likely accelerate the bond rout.

The surge in Treasury yields also caused ructions in emerging markets, which feared the better returns on offer in the United States might attract funds away.

Currencies favoured for leveraged carry trades all suffered, including the Brazil real, Turkish lira and South African rand.

The flows helped nudge the U.S. dollar up more broadly, with the dollar index rising to 90.371. It also gained on the low-yielding yen, briefly reaching the highest since September at 106.42. The euro eased a touch to $1.2152.

The jump in yields has tarnished gold, which offers no fixed return, and dragged it down to $1,760.8 an ounce from the week’s high around $1,815.

However, analysts at ANZ were more bullish on the outlook.

“We now expect U.S. inflation to hit 2.5% this year,” they said in a note. “Combined with further depreciation in the U.S. dollar, we see gold’s fair value at $2,000/oz in the second half of the year.”

Oil prices dropped on a higher dollar and expectations of more supply.[O/R]

U.S. crude fell 67 cents to $62.86 per barrel and Brent also lost 67 cents to $66.21.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

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Canada should invest in facilities to make vaccines for next pandemic, says Moderna co-founder – CTV News



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  1. Canada should invest in facilities to make vaccines for next pandemic, says Moderna co-founder  CTV News
  2. Vaccines, excellent real world data  Dr. John Campbell
  3. COVID-19: Vaccinating B.C. kids could be critical to achieving herd immunity  Vancouver Sun
  4. Vaccine ‘ramp-up phase’: 1.3M Moderna doses in March; more than 10M Pfizer by June  CTV News
  5. Canada receives largest COVID-19 vaccine shipment to date | News  Daily Hive
  6. View Full coverage on Google News

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce profit beats estimates on capital market strength



TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday, as it put aside lower-than-expected funds for loan loss provisions and its capital markets segment performed well.

Adjusted net income rose to C$1.64 billion, or C$3.58 a share, in the three months to Jan. 31, compared with C$1.5 billion, or C$3.24 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected C$2.81 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income stood at C$1.63 billion, or C$3.55 a share, up from C$1.2 billion, or C$2.63 a share.

($1 = 1.2476 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting By Nichola Saminather and Sohini Podder; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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