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Fauci says Canada 'getting into trouble' as COVID-19 cases surge worldwide – CBC.ca

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One of the top infectious disease experts in the world says despite early successes in the pandemic, Canada faces a worsening situation until a COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out widely and needs to “double down” on public health measures.

“Right now, the entire planet is in trouble. If you look at almost every country, there are very few exceptions,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a wide-ranging interview with CBC News. 

“The European Union, if you look at the number of new infections, it’s out of sight. The United States is out of sight. Canada, which was supposedly doing so well, is also getting into trouble. There’s a lot of community spread.” 

Fauci says the virus is primarily spreading at the “household level” among smaller groups of people who may not even know they’re infected — something to be vigilant about as the holidays and colder months approach. 

“We’ve got to be able to test widely in the community for asymptomatic spreaders of the infection,” he said by phone from Washington, D.C. 

“If you just test people who are symptomatic, you’re going to miss a very large contingent of the spread of infection in the community.” 

Vaccines on the horizon but a ‘long way to go’

Fauci, who has advised six U.S. presidents and has run the NIAID for almost four decades, said he was “surprised” by Pfizer and Moderna’s early vaccine trial results, which showed over 90 per cent effectiveness, but said it’s not yet “time to celebrate.” 

“I would have been extremely happy if this were a 75 per cent effective vaccine. I had an aspiration that it would be higher than that … but quite frankly, I did not expect it,” he said.

“It’s extraordinary to have two vaccines using a novel platform that had never before been used in an approved vaccine to have an efficacy so high.”

Both are mRNA vaccines that use a new technology to target the spike protein of the coronavirus, meaning no vaccines of this type have ever been approved for widespread human use.

While it’s still not known if the vaccines will provide long-lasting immunity to COVID-19, Fauci said, the fact that the Moderna vaccine also prevented severe disease in participants in the Phase 3 trial was “strikingly impressive.”

WATCH | Dr. Anthony Fauci tells Americans to remain vigilant:

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is telling Americans to see encouraging news about COVID-19 vaccines as motivation to be patient and follow basic public health advice, such as wearing a mask. 1:26

“The next thing to do is to get the vaccine approved by the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and get it out to the people who need it the most,” he said, which would include front-line health-care staff, essential workers and those with underlying medical conditions.

“There will be a distribution of vaccines that hopefully would start by the end of December, and then go into January, February, March, April, getting the higher-priority people vaccinated first, and then the general population.” 

Fauci said he’s hopeful that people with no underlying medical conditions would be vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-2021 but stressed that countries cannot “abandon public health measures” until then. 

“That would be a disaster,” he said. “I see the vaccine as ‘help is on the way,’ and it’s the light at the end of the tunnel — but we still have a long way to go.” 

Fighting ‘anti-science, anti-vaccine’ skepticism

Fauci said it’s not enough to have a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, because you also need to convince the “overwhelming majority” of the population to take it, which could be a challenge — especially in the U.S.

“There’s a lot of anti-science, anti-vaccine skepticism in the country by people who are not convinced that they want to get vaccinated,” he said. 

“Hopefully, the degrees of efficacy will be an incentive for people who might have been on the fence about getting vaccinated to actually get vaccinated.”

Fauci has largely been the face of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as demonstrated by this mural of him in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fauci said despite the “major advance” in developing two highly effective vaccines in such a short period of time, people should not “put down their guard” in the coming months. 

“I would hope that it would be an incentive to double down even more with the classical and simple public health measures,” he said, referring to wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, keeping physical distance, increasing ventilation and washing hands frequently.

“Those are very simple things that can go a long way in blunting the surges that we’re seeing right now.” 

Lockdowns and ‘COVID fatigue’

Fauci said politicians and public health officials at local levels may also need to step in to impose strict measures to control the virus, because a national lockdown mandate wouldn’t work in countries like the U.S. 

“There’s no appetite in the United States. We certainly are not going to have a central lockdown at the federal level, for sure — the president has said that’s not going to happen,” Fauci said.

“But what likely will happen and might be helpful is at the state and local level, where governors and mayors and community leaders lock down in a surgical way.”

Fauci said authorities can target settings where the virus is likely to spread by imposing limits on the number of people gathering and shutting down high-risk businesses if necessary.

“They can do that at a local level, without locking down the entire community — when you do that, the economic consequences are severe,” he said. “We should be able to do that without necessarily locking down the entire country.”

Demonstrators protest COVID-19 lockdown measures in Albany, N.Y., in April. Fauci said in the absence of a national plan, it’s up to local and state governments to impose measures that can help stop the spread of the disease. (Bryan R. Smith/Reuters)

Fauci said that while many people are experiencing “COVID fatigue” from a pandemic that has lasted the better part of a year, it’s important to focus on driving down transmission as we enter the winter months. 

“I think we can combat that by trying to convince [people] that there is light at the end of the tunnel if they hang on a bit longer — [if we] double down on these public health measures, then we might actually have a situation where we’ll have such control over the outbreak,” he said.

“The only way to get out of this and to get the economy back and to get back to normal is to essentially put an end to the outbreak aspect of this — to get it so low in the community that it’s not a big risk.”

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3 Nova Scotians appointed to the Order of Canada – CBC.ca

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Three Nova Scotians have been appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

They are among the 114 appointees announced Friday.

The list includes eight companions, 21 officers, one honorary member and 84 members. The full list can be found here.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” said a statement on the office of the Governor General’s website.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. More than 7,000 Canadians have received the honour since its inception.

Jeff Dahn of Halifax, who has led groundbreaking research on lithium-ion batteries, was appointed as an officer.

Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. (Jill English/CBC)

In 2017, he won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his work in making batteries increasingly efficient. He also won a Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2016.

Dahn works out of a lab at Dalhousie University. He also began a five-year research partnership with Tesla In 2016.

In the statement, the Governor General’s office also commended him for “his mentorship and adroit bridging of academia and industry.”

Dahn could not be reached for comment Sunday.

‘It’s humbling’

Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Wilson and John Eyking were appointed as members.

Wilson, a plastic surgeon in the Halifax area, was appointed “for his nationally recognized expertise in reconstructive and plastic surgery, and for his volunteer work on international medical missions.”

“It’s humbling, but a very nice addition to a great career,” Wilson said of the honour.

In the mid-80s, Wilson became the first person east of Montreal to dedicate himself to doing plastic surgery for children.

“It was a very satisfying thing for me to be able to look after a lot of the children who have either had to travel, or that hadn’t had, sometimes, the attention they would’ve had otherwise,” he said.

Wilson has spent more than 30 years doing plastic and reconstructive surgery for children. (Submitted by Ken Wilson)

In the mid-90s, Wilson began working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries and dental care to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. He travelled a couple times a year to do surgery in underdeveloped countries, and he estimates he went on about 46 missions.

In the late 1990s, Wilson became the chief of surgery at the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax, a position he held for more than a decade.

He stopped practising five years ago, but Wilson now works as a medical consultant for Doctors Nova Scotia and is chair of the board for Operation Smile Canada.

“It was a wonderful career,” said Wilson. “I gotta say, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have the opportunity to do what I did.”

While there is no ceremony this year due to COVID-19, Wilson was mailed his snowflake insignia, as well as a “lovely book” detailing the history of the Order of Canada and the many recipients over the years.

‘All in a day’s work’

Eyking, a farmer and entrepreneur who founded Eyking Farms, was recognized for his “personal and professional dedication to the Cape Breton community, particularly within the agriculture industry.”

Eyking, of Millville, N.S., immigrated to Canada in 1963 from the Netherlands. He started a farm, which later grew into a family operation run by him, his wife and their 10 children.

He is also an inductee of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Reached by phone Sunday, Eyking, 89, was modest about his appointment. He credited his farm’s accomplishments to the work of his large family.

“For me, it was all in a day’s work and I enjoyed it,” he said.

He, too, received a parcel from the Order of Canada, and said he enjoyed the book.

“There’s quite a few Cape Bretoners in there,” he said.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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 on


The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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