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Ford speaks as Ontario reports 1,913 new COVID-19 cases – CBC.ca

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Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration at the news that Canada will not receive any new doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week, though the general overseeing Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan remains hopeful the distribution delay won’t impede plans to immunize the general population by early August.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Ford called the news that Canada will receive no new Pfizer vaccines next week “troubling” and “a massive concern.”

“Until vaccines are more widely available, please stay home, stay safe and save lives,” he said. 

The news comes as the province recorded another 1,913 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with officials cautioning that Toronto Public Health — which consistently logs the most new infections each day — is “likely underreporting” its number of cases.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the artificially low total of 550 new cases reported by the city was due to a “technical issue,” but did not provide any further details.

For reference, over the three previous days, Toronto Public Health logged 815, 1035 and 903 cases, respectively.

Other public health units that saw double- or triple-digit increases were:

  • Peel Region: 346
  • York Region: 235
  • Durham Region: 82
  • Windsor-Essex: 81
  • Waterloo Region: 79
  • Middlesex-London: 73
  • Halton Region: 71
  • Hamilton: 63
  • Niagara Region: 52
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 48
  • Ottawa: 41
  • Huron-Perth: 37
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 31
  • Lambton: 28
  • Southwestern: 22
  • Eastern Ontario: 14
  • Chatham-Kent: 13

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)

Over 200,000 Ontarians vaccinated so far

At a technical briefing for media Tuesday morning, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force offered a rough breakdown of which groups of received a first dose of vaccine:

  • About 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and caregivers.
  • About 25,000 retirement home residents, staff and caregivers.
  • More than 99,000 health-care workers in other sectors.

With the more than 200,000 vaccines administered, Ontario has completed the first round of immunization at all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex — the four regions with the highest transmission rates of the virus. The first round of immunizations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in Ottawa, Durham and Simcoe-Muskoka. 

Still, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton cautioned, “The rise of community spread during the second wave is posing a serious threat to our long-term care homes.”

The province aims to finish vaccinating those at all remaining long-term care homes by Feb. 15.

At Tuesday’s technical briefing, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force also addressed how the province is responding to Pfizer’s announcement last week that it was slowing down production of its vaccine, resulting in delivery delays for Canada.

WATCH | An exasperated Premier Ford appeals to incoming U.S. president for vaccines:

The impact in Ontario will vary week to week, officials said, with an 80 per cent reduction in the number of doses that were originally expected the week of Jan. 25; 55 per cent the week of Feb. 1; and 45 per cent the week of Feb. 8.

In turn, the province will reallocate its available doses of the Moderna vaccine to more regions, while also extending the interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine in some situations to ensure that everyone who has had a first shot will have access to their second.

Residents and staff at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will receive a second dose in 21 to 27 days, the province says. All others who receive the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days after the first.

For those who receive the Moderna vaccine, the 28-day schedule will remain in place. 

As for whether the province still expects to immunize the general population of Ontario by late July or early August, General Rick Hillier said that will come down to whether there are any further hiccups with vaccine availability, but that he remains optimistic. 

Toronto to halt operations at mass vaccination clinic

Following the announcement of the delay, the province asked the City of Toronto late Tuesday to immediately stop operating a “proof-of-concept” mass vaccination clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The clinic, which began operating only on Monday, had aimed to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city noted that was entirely dependent upon vaccine supply.

People scheduled to receive the shot at the clinic over the next three days have had those appointments cancelled, Toronto Public Health said in a statement.

“The City’s Immunization Task Force is continuing to plan for city-wide immunization clinic roll-out and will continue to work with the province to determine next steps once vaccine supply is re-established,” the city said. 

Just over 34,000 new tests processed

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed just 34,531 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 6.8 per cent. Testing levels often fall over weekends, but there is capacity in the system for more than 70,000 tests daily. 

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 2,893, the lowest it has been since Jan. 4 this year.

For the seventh time in eight days, the numbers of cases reported resolved outpaced new infections. There are currently about 27,615 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said there were 1,626 patients in hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 400 were being treated in intensive care, the most at any point during the pandemic, and 292 required a ventilator to breathe.

Notably, a daily report generated by Critical Care Services Ontario and shared internally with hospitals puts the current number of ICU patients with COVID-19 at 418, with 303 still on ventilators.

Public health units also recorded 46 additional deaths of people with the illness, bringing the official toll to 5,479.

Twenty-nine of the further deaths were residents of long-term care. A total of 254, or just over 40 per cent, of long-term care facilities in Ontario were dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

The province said it administered another 14346 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, and that 224,134 people have been given a first dose. A total of 25,609 people in Ontario have gotten both shots.

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J&J's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, says FDA – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 49,917 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,652,282 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,359.666 per 100,000. There were 36,279 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,040,089 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.99 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,188 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 29,237 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 10,932 new vaccinations administered for a total of 376,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.049 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 17,141 new vaccinations administered for a total of 602,848 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 2,402 new vaccinations administered for a total of 66,372 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 48.20 per 1,000. There were 14,040 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 98,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.14 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,003 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,345 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 5,817 new vaccinations administered for a total of 186,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 6,521 new vaccinations administered for a total of 230,875 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.991 per 1,000. There were 19,899 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 941 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,364 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 344.205 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 62 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,073 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 182.642 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.93 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press

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Single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective, say U.S. regulators – CBC.ca

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Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for its approval for emergency use.

The FDA’s panel of independent experts is set to meet Friday to decide whether to approve the shot. While the panel is not bound to follow the advice of its experts, the FDA did so when authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was 66 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 against multiple variants in a global trial involving nearly 44,000 people, the company said last month.

Its effectiveness varied from 72 per cent in the United States to 66 per cent in Latin America and 57 per cent in South Africa, where a new variant has spread, though the vaccine was 85 per cent effective overall in stopping severe cases of the disease.

FDA finds vaccine is safe

The vaccine was effective in reducing the risk of COVID-19 and preventing polymerase-chain-reaction-test (PCR-test) confirmed COVID-19 at least 14 days after vaccination, the FDA said in its briefing documents.

Three vaccine recipients had severe side effects in the trial, but the FDA said its analysis did not raise specific safety concerns that would preclude issuance of an emergency use authorization.

Johnson & Johnson had not previously released details of its clinical trial data beyond efficacy rates.

Approval could speed up vaccination drives

While the overall effectiveness numbers may suggest Johnson & Johnson candidate isn’t quite as strong as two-dose competitors, all of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines have been tested differently, making comparisons nearly impossible.

It wouldn’t be surprising if one dose turns out to be a little weaker than two doses, but policymakers will decide if that’s an acceptable trade-off to get more people vaccinated faster.

The rival Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently being used in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries must be kept frozen, while the Johnson & Johnson shot can last three months in the refrigerator, making it easier to handle.

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division, Janssen, has applied for regulatory approval from Health Canada. That application is still under review.

Canada has ordered 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, with options for up to 28 million more, if necessary. Most of those shots are expected to arrive by the end of September.

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Meme stock mania kicks up anew after GameStop shares triple – BNN

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A flurry of buying that saw GameStop Corp. shares almost quadruple from Tuesday’s close spread to a host of other meme stocks at the center of last month’s day trader-fueled boom and bust.

GameStop jumped 104 per cent in Wednesday’s cash session, spurred by a final-hour surge that brought its biggest advance since Jan. 29, the day Robinhood Markets restricted trading in it and 49 other stocks at the height of the frenzy. An equally weighted Bloomberg basket of those rose more than 5 per cent, the most since late January. AMC Entertainment Inc. rallied 18 per cent to push a three-day climb toward 59 per cent. Express Inc. surged 41 per cent, Naked Brand Group gained 31 per cent and Koss Corp. jumped 55 per cent.

The flurry of activity inflated trading volumes in the meme stocks and caused an outage on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, the hub of the January volatility. The tumult continued in late trading, where GameStop rallied another 120 per cent before paring the advance. At US$135, the stock is up more than 200 per cent from its close on Tuesday.

“It seems like the Reddit crowd is still active and when you see a bit of news like that they’re pressing again,” Keith Gangl, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments, said in a phone interview. “Though I’m not sure how that’ll last,” he added

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The sudden revival in left-for-dead stocks recalled the frenzy last month that captured the attention of Wall Street, regulators and eventually Congress, as members of Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum egged on retail hordes in an attempt to take on professional short sellers.

Various explanations circulated as to what spurred the rallies. The GameStop frenzy came after Bloomberg News reported late Tuesday that the company’s chief financial officer Jim Bell was pushed out in a disagreement over strategy to make way for an executive more in line with the vision of activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen, the co-founder of online pet-food retailer Chewy.com. His addition to the board in early January underpinned the first flurry of moves in the stock after capturing the attention of WallStreetBets.

The clearinghouse whose demands for increased margin collateral from Robinhood forced the brokerage to restrict trading last month published a white paper Wednesday that laid the grounds for speeding up the stock settlement process. It proposed cutting settlement to one day from two, prompting some chest puffing among the retail crowd on Reddit.

The now infamous WallStreetBets forum, which boasts 9.2 million members, saw so much demand that the site would not load. When attempted, a page read “www.reddit.com is currently unable to handle this request” as of 4:43 p.m. in New York.

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–With assistance from Kamaron Leach.

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