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COVID-19: More younger people dying in B.C.'s pandemic – Vancouver Sun

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Dr. Bonnie Henry said there had been three new deaths in people aged 30-39 over the past few weeks

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Three more people in their thirties have died of COVID-19 in B.C., two of them from the Cowichan Tribes outbreak on Vancouver Island.

On Thursday, the provincial health officer said COVID deaths were falling in long-term care homes, but rising among younger people.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said there had been three deaths in people aged 30-39 over the past few weeks. That adds to the four people in that age group who died in December, according to B.C. Centre for Disease Control data.

“We’ve seen hospitalizations in young people and we’ve seen, sadly and tragically, deaths in (three) young people in the last few weeks,” Henry said. “Some with underlying illnesses, and some who were Indigenous people and related to some of the outbreaks that we’re seeing.”

The Cowichan Tribes outbreak started in late December and there has been four deaths among hundreds of reported cases of COVID-19. The first death was in late January, followed by two deaths among young people reported between Feb. 8 and 16 and one death between Feb. 18 to 22.

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While those aged 80 to 89 have taken the deadly brunt of COVID-19, Henry said young people had suffered in other ways.

“I have said all along how struck I am by how challenging this pandemic has been for young people, especially for our teenagers and young adults, but also all the children who are seeing a strange new world,” Henry said.

There were 395 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and 10 deaths.

Henry said 13 more cases of variants of concern had appeared, bringing that total to 116 in B.C., 95 of them the B117 type first identified in the U.K. No one with a detected variant case has died.

She said the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. was now driven mainly by workplace transmission.

Around 32,000 (or 40 per cent) of cases of COVID-19 in B.C. were transmitted in workplaces — including schools, daycares, ski resorts and food processing facilities, Henry said.

There had been an event at a pub that led to over 300 infections, including at a daycare, schools and a number of other workplaces.

This comes as the B.C. Teachers’ Federation released WorkSafeBC data showing in-school transmission claims for assistance were second in numbers only to claims from health-care workers.

The data showed that as of Feb. 19 there had been 123 claims made in the education sector with 1,781 made in the health sector. These sick claims go through WorkSafeBC because they were acquired at work.

There have been 110 claims made in the agricultural sector, 47 in hotel, restaurants and pubs and 38 made in retail operations.

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Henry said there were 4,489 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 228 were being treated in hospital (including 62 in intensive care).

So far in B.C. 171,676 people have been vaccinated — including 68,157 who have been fully immunized with two doses. The province has administered 239,833 shots.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com


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Oil dips as China considers intervention to ease coal crunch – CNBC

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An oil tanker docks at a 300,000-ton crude oil terminal in Yantai, east China’s Shandong Province, May 17, 2021.
Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday after the Chinese government stepped up efforts to tame record high coal prices and ensure coal mines operate at full capacity as Beijing moved to ease a power shortage.

Chinese coal prices and other commodity prices slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil prices down from an uptick earlier in the day.

“With coal and gas prices easing and with the relative strength index (RSI) technical indicators still in overbought territory, the odds of a sharp, but material fall in oil prices are rising,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission said late on Tuesday that it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures.

Brent crude futures dropped 86 cents, or 1%, to $84.20 a barrel, paring a 75-cent rise in the previous session, but still lingering close to multi-year highs.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for November, which expires on Wednesday, fell $1.00 to $81.96 a barrel.

“Brent crude could fall to $82 and WTI to $78.50 a barrel, and still comfortably remain in a strong bull market… Even if oil was to stage a $5 pullback, I continue to believe that it will be short in duration,” analyst Halley said.

Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.

But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.

That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.

However U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.

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Proposed Sugary Drink Tax “Regressive,” says Opposition Finance Critic – VOCM

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The provincial government’s tax on sugary drinks comes into effect next September, and the minister responsible is pointing to data suggesting that the tax will work in changing people’s habits.

Siobhan Coady points to a study that was done by a British medical journal called The BMJ. She says the study, which focuses on a similar tax in the UK, found that overall sales of soft drinks did not change, nor did share prices and domestic turnover. But what did change was the sugar purchased in those drinks, which Coady says decreased by almost 10 per cent.

PC MHA Tony Wakeham asserts that such taxes do nothing to affect health outcomes, and counters that the study Cody references is completely different from what’s being proposed in this province.

In the UK, he says they were taxing producers to lower the amount of sugar in their products, and not taxing those using the product.

Wakeham says the proposed tax is negative and regressive. He says if Premier Andrew Furey is looking to modify behaviours to create healthy lifestyle changes, it should be based on positive things, not a negative tax.

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Sleep Country Canada buys controlling stake in Hush Blankets – CBC.ca

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Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. has signed a deal to buy Hush Blankets, a direct-to-consumer seller of weighted blankets, pillows, sheets and bed-in-a-box mattresses.

Under the deal, Sleep Country will acquire a 52 per cent stake in Hush for $25 million.

The company has also agreed to buy the other 48 per cent in annual 16 percentage point stake increments starting March 31, 2023, at a price based on the business’s financial performance.

Hush was founded in 2017 by Lior Ohayon and Aaron Spivak and launched a weighted blanket in Canada in 2018.

Sleep Country says Hush will continue to operate as an independent business led by Ohayon and Spivak and a board including senior management from Sleep Country and Hush.

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