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COVID-19 again? Reinfection cases raise concerns over immunity – CBC.ca

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The case of a man in the United States infected twice with the virus that causes COVID-19 shows there is much yet to learn about immune responses and also raises questions over vaccination, scientists said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old from Reno, Nev., tested positive in April after showing mild symptoms, then got sick again in late May with a more serious bout, according to a case report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal.

The report was published just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month, said he felt “so powerful” and believes he now has immunity.

Scientists said that while known incidences of reinfection appear rare — and the Nevada man has now recovered — cases like his were worrying. Other isolated cases of reinfection have been reported around the world, including in Asia and Europe.

In the Netherlands, the National Institute for Public Health confirmed on Tuesday that an 89-year-old Dutch woman, also sick with a rare form of bone marrow cancer, had recently died after contracting COVID-19 for a second time.

Dutch media said this was the first known case worldwide of a death after SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus reinfection.

Vaccine implications

“It is becoming increasingly clear that reinfections are possible, but we can’t yet know how common this will be,” said Simon Clarke, a microbiology expert at Britain’s Reading University.

“If people can be reinfected easily, it could also have implications for vaccination programs as well as our understanding of when and how the pandemic will end.”

The Nevada patient’s doctors, who first reported the case in a non-peer-reviewed paper in August, said sophisticated testing showed that the virus strains associated with each bout of infection were genetically different.

WATCH | Reinfections raise questions about COVID-19 vaccine efforts:

Three confirmed cases of COVID-19 reinfection raise concerns about how common it might be and how effective a vaccine will be as the virus appears to mutate. 1:57

“These findings reinforce the point that we still do not know enough about the immune response to this infection,” said Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia.

Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the Nevada case was the fifth confirmed example of reinfection worldwide.

“The demonstration that it is possible to be reinfected by SARS-CoV-2 may suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine may not be totally protective,” he said. “However, given the [more than] 40 million cases worldwide, these small examples of reinfection are tiny and should not deter efforts to develop vaccines.”

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic concurred that the U.S. case underlined what was unknown about immunity.

“This also really is an argument against what some have been advocating, and that’s building naturally what is called herd immunity. Because we don’t know,” Jasarevic told a briefing. 

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New Winnipeg restrictions take effect today

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WINNIPEG —
Amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, the Manitoba government has issued more targeted restrictions for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, which come into effect on Monday, Oct. 19.

These new rules include:

  • Reducing gathering sizes to five people for both indoor and outdoor public and private gatherings. This excludes household members for private gatherings inside a home;
  • Closing beverage rooms, bars, live entertainment facilities, casinos and bingo halls;
  • Limiting capacity at restaurants and lounges to 50 per cent. Tables can be no more than five people with two-metre distancing;
  • Limiting retail businesses to 50 per cent capacity. Food courts and common areas must adhere to the five-person group size limit;
  • Reducing the number of spectators at sporting activities and after-school events to 25 per cent of a site’s capacity;
  • Reducing capacity at museums, galleries and libraries to 50 per cent. These facilities must also collect all attendees’ contact information; and
  • Gyms and fitness centres must collect all attendees contact information. Everyone at a gym or fitness centre must wear a mask, unless they are doing physical activity.

These restrictions will remain in place for two weeks, at which time the province will reassess the rules.

“At two weeks we are going to need to either extend them or draw back – so we want to make it really clear that the intent of this is strictly time-limited,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, at a news conference on Friday, Oct. 16.

These new restrictions are in addition to the current rules in place for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, which includes mandatory masks in all indoor public spaces.

The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region has been under orange or restricted levels on the pandemic response system since Sept. 28.

“These restrictions will all be enforceable under the law,” Roussin said.

“We’ve issued fines in the past when required and we will be looking at ways of stepping up enforcing efforts in the coming weeks.”

As of Sunday, Oct. 18, there are 1,436 active COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg, the highest of any region in the province.

– With files from CTV’s Danton Unger.

Source:CTV

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Nova Scotia businesses won’t survive another year of COVID-19 restrictions

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business say many Atlantic Canada businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy.

According to their most recent study, 59 percent of Nova Scotia businesses would struggle to survive another year of COVID-19 business restrictions.

Jordi Morgan, Vice President of the Atlantic region for the CFIB, told NEWS 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show that without continued government support, many  businesses in the province will slip below the surface, according to research CFIB has been conducting on business revenues ever since the pandemic began.

“In Nova Scotia, we’re looking at about only 33 percent normal or better,” said Morgan of businesses’ revenues compared to before the pandemic began. “So that means the remainder are below that.”

According to Morgan, the sectors most impacted are arts, hospitality and natural resources industries.

He added the most recent figures show 8 percent of businesses in the province are actively considering bankruptcy or winding down.

With the current revenue projections, only about 35 percent of Nova Scotia businesses would survive the year with their current earnings.

Morgan says the provincial government needs to get creative and ease business restrictions to make life easier for buisnesses as they brace for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Source: – HalifaxToday.ca

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COVID-19 exposure on Toronto to Halifax flight

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Nova Scotia Health advises of a potential exposure to COVID-19 on a flight from Toronto to Halifax.

The flight was Air Canada flight 604 which flew from Toronto to Halifax on Oct. 15, departing from Toronto at 8 a.m.

Passengers in rows 21 to 27 in seats D, E and F are more likely to have come into close contact with the virus. Nova Scotia Health asks passengers in these seats to continue to self-isolate as required, monitor for symptoms and call 811 for advice.

Anyone exposed to the virus on this flight could develop symptoms up to and including Oct. 29. Passengers who were on this flight but not in the designated seats should still continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for symptoms until Oct. 26.

COVID-19 symptoms include:

Fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening)

OR

Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Passengers who were on this flight but not in the designated seats and are experiencing any of these symptoms should call 811 for assessment. They also should not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless directed to do so by 811.

When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.

On Oct. 12, there were potential exposures to COVID-19 on two other Air Canada flights. A taxi ride on the same day was also exposed to the virus.

Currently, anyone travelling to Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic provinces is required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.

All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

Source: – HalifaxToday.ca

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