Connect with us


COVID-19 myths that refuse to die, from undue concern about children to variants and vaccines – National Post



The pandemic was never a danger to children

Article content

If you’re reading this in Canada, you live in one of the most vaccinated countries on earth when it comes to COVID-19. Over the weekend, the rate of Canadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 officially passed the U.S.


Article content

The effects have been dramatic. On Saturday, a mere three Canadians died of the disease, and COVID-19 hospital wards across the country are emptying out. By any available metric, Canada has successfully vaccinated its way out of the pandemic and is now one of the safest places on earth for COVID-19.

Despite this, we continue to hold on to some of the Western world’s strictest lockdown measures, while public opinion continues to assign far greater danger to COVID-19 than it now deserves. Below, a list of some of the most pervasive myths still clinging to the novel coronavirus, as well as the science as to why they’re wrong.

Article content

COVID-19 is dangerous to children

Only 25 children in the U.K. died from COVID-19 complications in the first year of the pandemic.


Article content

The same period, from March 2020 to February 2021, saw 97,000 total British COVID-19 fatalities, as well as the deaths of 3,105 children from all causes, including cancer, drownings and car crashes. This month, a National Health Service study concluded that any child under 18 who contracted COVID-19 in the U.K. had a 99.995 per cent chance of surviving.

Article content

And the U.K’s child death rate is high by global standards. Only 397 children aged 18 and under in the U.S. have died of COVID-19, against more than 49,000 American children who died of other causes (and more than 598,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths total). In Canada, the under-18 deaths is 14, roughly 0.1 per cent of the country’s total COVID-19 death toll. Since the pandemic began, at least five times that number of Canadian children have died of drowning.


Article content

What’s more, children’s inherent immunity to COVID-19 has been common knowledge ever since the first North American COVID-19 cases started hitting Washington State. As early as February 2020, it was clear from early case data out of Wuhan, China that the disease’s risk to children was roughly on par with the flu.

These numbers are an indictment of many child-centric lockdown policies, such as school closures. The extremely low risk of COVID-19 to children is why many epidemiologists are now cautioning against universal vaccination of teenagers given recent accounts of the Pfizer vaccine being linked to heart inflammation among youth.

While the side-effect is extremely rare, the benefits that a COVID-19 vaccine offers to teenagers is so vanishingly small that it may not be worth even a minor risk of vaccine injury. This is why the U.K. is not recommending jabs for most children under 18, while countries like Germany and the Netherlands are only advising vaccines for children with pre-existing conditions. As the British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation put it in a July 15 statement, “the health benefits in this population are small, and the benefits to the wider population are highly uncertain.”


Article content

Masking and self isolation is necessary after full vaccination

Of the 159 million Americans who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine since January, only 1,063 of them have subsequently died of a “vaccine breakthrough” case of the disease.

For context, given current U.S. death rates, in the same period that cohort of 159 million people likely saw 142,000 deaths due to heart disease, 10,000 deaths due to suicide and 11,000 deaths due to flu or pneumonia.

In recent weeks, virtually all U.S. fatalities from COVID-19 have been occurring among adults who are unvaccinated.

A recent British study meticulously followed frontline workers for four months, testing them every single week to track who was contracting COVID-19. Of 3,975 workers monitored, only five were infected with COVID-19 in spite of being vaccinated — and all five made full recoveries.


Article content

Public Health Ontario, meanwhile, found last week that a mere 0.02 per cent of fully vaccinated Ontarians have been infected by a “vaccine breakthrough” case of COVID-19. And given the province’s utterly plummeting rate of COVID-19 deaths (three days this week have seen zero fatalities), it’s safe to assume that almost all of those breakthrough cases are back to work.


Article content

In short, we have known for several months that if you are two weeks past your second dose of vaccine, your risk of dying from COVID-19 is about the same as dying from flu or tuberculosis. Despite this,  public health authorities across Canada have stubbornly continued to require masking or self-isolation regardless of vaccination status.

The U.S.-based Centres for Disease Control has been similarly prone to overcautious public health orders (only in May did they stop recommending social distancing for the fully vaccinated) but last month CDC director Rochelle Walensky was assuring the fully vaccinated that it no longer made sense to wear masks.

The variants are deadlier and resistant to vaccines

Despite initial fears that vaccines would be useless against the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, June data out of Public Health England found the opposite. In some cases, vaccines were better equipped to ward off the Delta variant than against the earlier Alpha strain, which was first identified in the U.K., but has been overtaken by Delta. Two doses of AstraZeneca, for instance, were 92 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization from Delta variant infection — as compared to 86 per cent effective against the Alpha variant. More recent data has the protection levels even higher.


Article content

Just this month, Canadian data similarly emerged to show that full vaccination was just as effective against the Delta variant as against any prior strain of COVID-19. Even a single dose of vaccine was shown to “provide good to excellent protection against symptomatic infection and severe outcomes caused by the 4 currently circulating variants of concern,” reads a preprint paper out of the University of Toronto.

New strains such as the Delta variant are more troublesome for the simple fact that they’re more contagious, and are thus better able to rack up new infections. Earlier this year, despite a wave of reporting that COVID-19 variants were more dangerous to young people, research soon showed that while more people were contracting the variants, they weren’t any more likely to die or require hospitalization once infected. In the words of an April study in The Lancet gauging the severity of the Alpha variant, “we did not identify an association of the variant with severe disease.”

• Email: | Twitter:



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Robinhood makes its debut on Wall Street – Yahoo Canada Finance



NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood made its own leap into the stock market Thursday, the one it helped reshape by bringing millions of new investors to Wall Street, and its shares swung sharply in their first day of trading.

Robinhood Markets’ stock was at $37.57 in early afternoon trading, down 1.1% from its initial price of $38 set late Wednesday. Perhaps fitting for a company that has upended the investing business, it careened from a gain of 5.9% and a loss of 12.2% in the first hour of trading.

It’s a relatively disappointing opening for the highly anticipated offering, which had already priced at the low end of its expected range. The stock could see continued sharp swings through the day given Robinhood’s unusual move to reserve a big chunk of shares for its own smaller-pocketed customers rather than big professional firms.

At its current price, the company is valued at roughly $31 billion, which puts it on par with companies like Kroger and Old Dominion Freight Line, but its heft on the pop-culture landscape may be even weightier. Robinhood has created plenty of passion, both by users and critics alike.

The company has grown explosively since its 2013 founding, with an estimated 22.5 million funded accounts, after it did away with trading fees and made investing easier and even fun to do with its mobile app. More than half its customers are first-time investors, giving them more ability to keep up with the stock-holding, wealthier households that had been pulling away for years.

But Robinhood has also drawn heaps of criticism from users and regulators alike, with a lengthening list of regulatory settlements. Critics say Robinhood encourages unsophisticated investors to make trades too often that may be too risky.

Some users, meanwhile, are still angry at Robinhood after it and other brokers temporarily locked them out of trading GameStop shares earlier this year, when hordes of smaller-pocketed investors were pushing the stock up in part to spite the monied elite on Wall Street.

Now that Robinhood’s stock is trading on the Nasdaq, its performance gives a real-time look at the market’s judgment of Robinhood’s prospects. The company is already delivering the strong growth that Wall Street is always hungry for: Revenue soared 245% last year to $959 million. It then hit $522 million in the first three months of 2021 alone, more than quadrupling from the year-ago level.

But questions remain about whether regulators may tighten oversight of its main money maker. That’s routing its customers’ orders to big Wall Street trading firms, which pay Robinhood to take the other side of the trade.

Beyond that, Robinhood stands to lose if the boom in trading it’s helped create among smaller-pocketed and novice investors fades. That could come if its oftentimes younger customers go back to doing other things than trading on their phones as the pandemic hopefully eases or if users leave for competitors.

Such worries may have dragged Robinhood’s stock down in its early trading, a notable move when stocks traditionally get a pop in their first day.

The relatively low initial pricing for the stock and its early fall were discouraging signs for Sandra Marvel, a 49-year-old investor from Raymore, Missouri, who had been planning on buying shares.

“I completely abandoned my plan,” she said Marvel. “It doesn’t look good. I think there are a lot better trades out there.”

Marvel, who left her job in insurance sales last year to trade stocks full time, has been using Robinhood since 2018.

The company has plans for big growth in the future, continuing its evolution since launching as a stock trading app only for iPhones.

“Over time, we want to be the single money app, the most trusted and most culturally relevant money app worldwide,” CEO Vlad Tenev said in an interview. “So, everything that you use your money for, you should be able to do through Robinhood.”

Among them, he said, were direct deposits of paychecks and paying bills online.

He also pushed back on criticism that Robinhood is making the stock market a casino by encouraging its customers to trade more often.

“I think it’s a big, big mischaracterization because if you look at it, the stock market has been one of the greatest wealth creation tools,” he said. “We should be encouraging access to it and not denigrating people that are able to use it. So in a sense, you’re hearing when wealthier customers are engaging in the stock market, it’s investing. But when the rest of us are accessing the stock market, it’s gambling.”

Robinhood’s stock debut is coming at a very welcoming time. With bonds paying very little in interest, investors are willing to pay much higher prices for stocks than they usually have been through history, and the S&P 500 is close to its record high.

Between 2001 and 2020 the average U.S. IPO returned 14.5% from the offer price on day one, according to Renaissance Capital. So far this year, the jump is even greater, at 34%. For IPOs that have raised at least $100 million, the average first-day return this year is 25%.

Robinhood itself raised nearly $1.9 billion in the deal, which it plans to use to expand and to help pay for expected tax obligations.

Stan Choe And Alex Veiga, The Associated Press

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


How Jay Powell explains the bond market: Morning Brief – Yahoo Canada Finance



This article first appeared in the Morning Brief. Get the Morning Brief sent directly to your inbox every Monday to Friday by 6:30 a.m. ET. Subscribe

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Things happen in markets, according to the Fed chair

The Federal Reserve wrapped up its latest two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, and offered investors a few surprises. 

As Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung notes, the Fed’s statement and subsequent press conference from Fed chair Jerome Powell “hinted that the U.S. economic recovery is getting closer to a place where it may not need as much monetary support.” 

But that day is not today. 

So dedicated Fed-watchers now turn their attention to the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium later next month, and await Powell’s comments on when (and if) the central bank might begin altering its pace of asset purchases. 

And while most of the questions Powell faced Wednesday revolved around inflation and how long transitory pricing pressures might last, woven into this conversation was a discussion of what’s been gnawing at the Treasury market over the last several weeks. 

When the Fed released its June policy statement on June 16 and released a projection for future interest rates that was more aggressive than investors had anticipated, the 10-year Treasury yield was sitting near 1.6%. As of Wednesday, the 10-year yield was just below 1.3%. 

And this move lower in Treasury yields has coincided with a resurgence in the big cap tech trade, a fade in the re-opening trade, and plenty of investor discomfort in both the equity and fixed income markets over the last several weeks. 

“In terms of what’s been happening in bond markets, I don’t think there’s a real consensus on what explains the moves between the last [Fed] meeting and this meeting,” Powell said Wednesday. 

“We’ve seen long-term yields go down significantly,” Powell added. “Some of it is a fall in real yields, which may have been connected to, some speculate…sentiment around the spread of the Delta variant and concerns about growth.”

The 10-year real yield, which reflects what investors expect the inflation-adjusted return on a 10-year note purchased today will be over the next 10 years, is currently near a record low of around -1.1%. But as Powell noted, there is also plenty about the recent move in Treasury yields that cannot — and perhaps need not — be explained.

“And there are also so-called technical factors,” Powell said, “which is where you put things that you can’t quite explain. I don’t see in any of that that there is anything that really challenges the credibility of our framework.” 

And in this response, we think Powell outlines how deciphering financial market moves involves a balance of prescription and description. It is descriptive to note that Treasury yields have declined in the last two months with some real yields falling to record lows. 

Offering a prescription — or a unified, definitive account of why such-and-such happened — will always prove more elusive. And may end up being flat out incorrect. 

Investors focused on timing swings in markets and profiting from these changes through time will, of course, have stories to tell about what is moving where and why. These stories are what keep the lights on at Yahoo Finance, and elsewhere across the financial world. 

But Powell’s vantage point on markets is one that allows the Fed chair to note changes in prices and monitor situations carefully. And as Powell said Wednesday, “we’re prepared to use our tools as appropriate.” 

By Myles Udland, reporter and anchor for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow him at @MylesUdland

Yahoo Finance PlusYahoo Finance Plus

Try Yahoo Finance Plus now.

What to watch today


  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Initial jobless claims, week ended July 24 (385,000 expected, 419,000 during prior week)

  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Continuing claims, week ended July 17 (3.192 million expected, 3.236 million during prior week

  • 8:30 a.m. ET: GDP annualized, quarter-on-quarter, second quarter (8.5% expected, 6.4% in first quarter)

  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Personal consumption, second quarter (10.5% expected, 11.4% in first quarter)

  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Core personal consumption expenditures, quarter-over-quarter, second quarter (6.0% expected, 2.5% in first quarter)

  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Pending home sales, month-on-month, June (0.5% expected, 8.0% in May)



  • 6:00 a.m. ET: (OSTK) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 67 cents per share on revenue of $767.6 million 

  • 6:15 a.m. ET: Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 39 cents per share on revenue of $1.43 billion

  • 6:30 a.m. ET: Merck & Co (MRK) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.32 per share on revenue of $11.20 billion

  • 6:30 a.m. ET: Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 37 cents per share on revenue of $3.06 billion

  • 6:30 a.m. ET: Valero Energy (VLO) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $21.47 billion 

  • 7:00 a.m. ET: Altria Group (MO) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.17 per share on revenue of $5.34 billion 

  • 7:00 a.m. ET: Molson Coors Beverage Co (TAP) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.33 per share on revenue of $2.80 billion 

  • 7:00 a.m. ET: T Rowe Price Group (TROW) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $3.20 per share on revenue of $1.91 billion 

  • 7:00 a.m. ET: Comcast Corp (CMCSA) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 66 cents per share on revenue of $27.18 billion

  • 7:00 a.m. ET: Yum! Brands (YUM) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 96 cents per share on revenue of $1.48 billion 

  • 7:05 a.m. ET: Citrix Systems (CTXS) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share on revenue of $838.7 million 

  • 7:10 a.m. ET: S&P Global Inc (SPGI) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $3.29 per share on revenue of $2.00 billion

  • 7:30 a.m. ET: Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.16 per share on revenue of $1.71 billion 

  • 7:30 a.m. ET: Albertsons Co (ACI) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 67 cents per share on revenue of $20.44 billion 

  • 8:00 a.m. ET: Mastercard (MA) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.75 per share on revenue of $4.38 billion 

  • 8:15 a.m. ET: PG&E (PCG) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 27 cents per share on revenue of $5.13 billion 

  • Before market open: The Carlyle Group (CG) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 61 cents per share on revenue of $665.00 million


  • 4:00 p.m. ET: Amazon (AMZN) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $15.75 per share on revenue of $115.06 billion

  • 4:00 p.m. ET: T-Mobile (TMUS) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 50 cents per share on revenue of $19.37 billion

  • 4:00 p.m. ET: Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $2.14 per share on revenue of $1.10 billion 

  • 4:00 p.m. ET: Gilead Sciences (GILD) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.75 per share on revenue of $6.06 billion

  • 4:05 p.m. ET: Upwork (UPWK) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 1 cent per share on revenue of $120.20 million 

  • 4:10 p.m. ET: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share on revenue of $259.08 million 

  • 4:10 p.m. ET: Twilio (TWLO) is expected to report adjusted losses of 14 cents per share on revenue of $598.69 million 

  • 4:10 p.m. ET: Pinterest (PINS) is expected to report adjusted earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $562.17 million 

  • 4:10 p.m. ET: Mohawk Industries (MHK) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $3.68 per share on revenue of $2.75 billion 

  • 4:10 p.m. ET: Spirit Airlines (SAVE) is expected to report adjusted losses of 79 cents per share on revenue of $818.00 million

  • 4:20 p.m. ET: United States Steel (X) is expected to report adjusted earnings of $2.91 per share on revenue of $4.59 billion

Top News

Fed says US economy making progress as central bank ponders pullback [Yahoo Finance]

Robinhood IPO: Shares priced and set to trade Thursday [Yahoo Finance]

McDonald’s Q2 earnings, sales jump on chicken sandwiches, promotions [Yahoo Finance]

Facebook’s online ad spending, recovery drive Q2 earnings beat [Yahoo Finance]

U.S. Senate advances roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill [Reuters]

Yahoo Finance Highlights

Pfizer: ‘No issues’ in testing for COVID-19 kid vaccine as Delta variant rises

China’s Big Tech crackdown is about protecting the Communist Party

These were America’s biggest consumer complaints of 2020

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 4 new cases, 66.1% of eligible population fully vaccinated –



Public Health reported four new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and a total of 66.1 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are now fully vaccinated, while 81.9 per cent have received at least one dose.

Another 5,913 people rolled up their sleeves Wednesday, the COVID-19 dashboard shows. Of those, 4,892 received their second dose and 1,021 got their first shot.

“We’re now up to just about 85 [per cent] of people eligible for their second dose being fully vaccinated,” observed Oliver Dueck, a software developer based in Fredericton, who has been tracking the province’s vaccine data for the past few months.

People become eligible for their second dose 28 days after their first dose.

“That leaves about 83,000 people who had their first dose at least 28 days ago who have not yet had their second dose,” he said.

In a statement, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said it’s important for all eligible New Brunswickers to get fully vaccinated, “especially as we near going fully green.

The province is set to lift all pandemic restrictions, including mandatory masks, gathering limits and provincial border checks for travellers within Canada, Friday at 11:59 p.m., regardless of whether it meets its vaccination target to have 75 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 and older fully vaccinated.

“If you have not yet done so, please act now. This will not only reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and of being seriously ill, it will also help to protect your family and friends,” Russell said.

Mobile walk-in Moderna clinics are being held across the province to help make getting vaccinated more convenient and accessible. Two clinics are slated for Thursday:

  • New Denmark — Recreation Centre, 160 Klokkedahl Hill Rd., between noon and 5 p.m.
  • Saint-Paul — Saint-Paul Golden Age Club, 6532 Route 515, between noon and 6 p.m.

Another clinic accepting walk-ins Thursday is:

  • Saint John — Exhibition Park, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (12 years and older – Pfizer-BioNTech)

On New Brunswick Day, Aug. 2, a mobile walk-in clinic offering Pfizer will be held in Fredericton at the Crowne Plaza, 659 Queen St., from noon to 5 p.m., for anyone those who not yet received their first or second dose.

A list of upcoming mobile and walk-in clinics is available online.

People can also book an appointment online through a Horizon or Vitalité health network clinic or a participating pharmacy.

Anyone 12 or older can be vaccinated. 

People are asked to bring their Medicare card, a signed consent form, and their record of vaccination if they’re receiving their second dose.

12 active cases

The four new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Thursday include:

Saint John region, Zone 2, one case:

  • A person 80 to 89

This case is a contact of a previous case.

Bathurst region, Zone 6, three cases:

  • Two people under 19
  • A person 40 to 49

All three cases are travel-related.

The four new cases of COVID-19 announced Thursday put the province’s active case count at 12. (CBC)

The province’s active case count now stands at 12.

No one is hospitalized with the respiratory disease.

There have been 2,358 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province since the pandemic began, with 2,299 recoveries so far and 46 COVID-related deaths.

A total of 379,699 COVID tests have been conducted.

Possible COVID exposure

Public Health has identified a possible exposure to COVID-19. Someone who tested positive may have been infectious while travelling on the following WestJet flights on July 19:

  • Flight 3461 – from Ottawa to Toronto, departed at 10 a.m. 
  • Flight 3404 – from Toronto to Fredericton, departed at 3:40 p.m.

People who travelled on these flights should self-monitor for symptoms, and if any develop, should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online or call Tele-Care 811 to get tested.

detailed list of potential exposures, including the locations and dates, is available on the government’s COVID-19 website. It is updated regularly.

Public Health offers COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call 811 or their doctor and follow instructions.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading