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In wake of Christmas shopping, Toronto sees record high 957 new COVID-19 cases – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Toronto Public Health is reporting a new daily record of close to 1,000 COVID-19 cases as the city sees evidence of increased transmission from Christmas shopping.

The public health unit reported that Toronto logged 957 new cases as of 2 p.m. on Dec. 27 (The province reported a slightly lower number of 895 cases in Toronto due to different cutoff times for data collection).

In an update on Tuesday afternoon, Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said that there is some evidence that Christmas shopping has contributed to the rise in cases.

“What we have learned from our colleagues at Toronto Public Health is that the increase in their daily numbers can in part be attributed to pre-Christmas shopping, Christmas shopping trips, often in groups,” Yaffe said.

Yaffe did not elaborate on the data and city officials did not hold a briefing on the virus Tuesday, though they are scheduled to provide an update on Wednesday morning.

Toronto and Peel Region have been under a lockdown that has shuttered non-essential businesses to in-person shopping since Nov. 23.

Big-box retailer that sell groceries and other essential items were allowed to remain open, though some critics said the move produced bigger crowds in those stores.

On Boxing Day, the province tightened the restrictions to 25 per cent capacity per room in big box stores as a province-wide lockdown went into effect.

Easily accessible shopping also remained open in York Region for several weeks after Toronto and Peel went into lockdown, as the province heeded a request by local municipalities not to place them in lockdown as well.

On Tuesday, the city also reported that 58 more people have been hospitalized, bring the total number of people currently hospitalized with the virus in Toronto to 355. There were also 10 new deaths in the city and 554 recoveries.

Yaffe said it’s important to remember while going through numbers that they actually represent human beings.

“While the numbers, the data, the trends are all important to report, we cannot forget that these represent people, people who have been impacted by the virus and in too many cases have lost their lives,” she said. “So while I understand that the lockdown measures that came into effect on December 26 are not what we would want to be living through right now, this is what we need to do, what we must do to slow the transmission of this infection.”

In a tweet, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa sounded a similar note.

“Today’s summary of #COVID19 cases in TO is a new record high. This is why it’s so important for people to stay home & apart as much as possible at this time,” she said.

Province-wide, Ontario also set a new record for daily COVID-19 infections Tuesday, with 2,550 new infections reported.

Toronto reported 2,226 new cases on Monday, accounting for all new infections recorded over a four-day-period from Dec. 24-27, averaging out to around 557 new daily cases over that period.

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30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported in Manitoba on Sunday – CBC.ca

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There are 30 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and one more person has died from the illness, the province’s online coronavirus dashboard says.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is now 3.2 per cent, the dashboard says, down slightly from 3.3 on Saturday.

The province is no longer issuing COVID-19 news releases on weekends, which means updates on Saturdays and Sundays come from Manitoba’s online dashboards.

Those data portals offer less information than what’s typically included in a news release. For example, they do not provide any information on the age or health region of people who died from the illness.

Those and other details are expected to be revealed in the province’s next news release on Monday.

There are still 103 Manitobans hospitalized after getting COVID-19 and the number of people in intensive care rose by one to 26, the dashboard says.

Manitoba has now reported 1,172 deaths linked to COVID-19. The province’s seven-day new case average sank to just under 44.

On Saturday, the province did 1,465 more tests for the illness, the dashboard says, bringing the total number of swabs completed since the beginning of the pandemic to 865,786.

As of Sunday, Manitoba has fully vaccinated 66 per cent of its eligible population against COVID-19 while 78.6 per cent have at least one dose, the province’s online vaccine dashboard says.

That brings the province slightly closer to its final reopening plan goal of having 80 per cent with at least one dose and at least 75 per cent with both by Sept 6.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 57,446 people in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19. The dashboard says 55,719 of them are considered recovered, while 555 are still deemed active cases.

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Ontario reports 172 new COVID-19 cases and 2 more deaths; 7-day average remains unchanged – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario reported fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday, as the seven-day rolling average remains unchanged from yesterday.

Provincial health officials logged 172 new infections today, up from 170 on Saturday but down from 177 a week ago.

The province reported 192 cases on Friday, 185 on Thursday and 135 on Wednesday.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 159, unchanged from Saturday but up slightly from a week ago when it was 153.

The province’s virus-related death toll is 9,313.

Another 144 people recovered from the virus yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.

Ontario labs processed 13,902 tests in the past 24 hours, down from 19,131 the previous day.

The drop in testing contributed to a slight day-over-day rise in the positivity rate to 1.1. per cent, compared to 0.8 per cent on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health.

Another 152 lab-confirmed cases of variants of concern were identified in Ontario in the past 24 hours.

In the Greater Toronto Area, 48 cases of COVID-19 were logged in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, nine in York Region, 11 in Durham and seven in Halton.

There are currently 127 people in intensive care units across the province due to the virus and 81 of those patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

To date, there have been more 549,300 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 538,565 recoveries since January 2020.

Over 8.5 million people are fully vaccinated against the virus after receiving two doses of approved vaccines.

More than 18.9 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Ontario since mid-December, with 103,812 shots into arms yesterday alone.

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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EU regulator endorses use of Moderna's COVID-19 shot for children – Al Jazeera English

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European Medicines Agency gives all clear for vaccine to be used in children aged between 12 and 17.

The European Union’s medicines regulator has recommended authorising Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged between 12 and 17, marking the first time the shot has been approved for people under 18.

In a decision on Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said research in more than 3,700 children of 12 to 17 years of age showed that the shot produced a comparable antibody response to that seen in 18- to 25-year-olds.

Use of the vaccine, Spikevax, will be the same in adolescents as in people over 18, the EMA said.

Formal approval by the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – is needed to start rolling out the vaccine for teenagers. The body typically follows EMA recommendations.

Until now, the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech has been the only option for use in children as young as 12 in North America and the EU.

Vaccinating children has been considered important for reaching herd immunity and in light of the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Most children with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms or none. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill and can spread the virus.

‘Benefits outweigh the risks’

Moderna said in May that its vaccine was found to be safe and effective in teenagers. Hundreds of millions of doses of the shot have already have been administered to adults.

The EMA said common side effects in teenagers after vaccination with Spikevax were similar to those seen in older people.

But due to a smaller study size, the trial could not detect new uncommon side effects or estimate the risk of known ones such as myocarditis and pericarditis.

“The overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study; the CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) therefore considered that the benefits of Spikevax in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks,” the EMA said.

Heart inflammation such as myocarditis and pericarditis has been listed by the EMA as a possible but rare side effect from use of mRNA vaccines such as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s in adults.

Spikevax is already being used in the EU for people over 18, and in the United States and Canada.

Moderna has also sought authorisation in the US and Canada for its use in adolescents.

But with global vaccine supplies still tight, much of the world still is struggling to immunise adults, let alone children.

Agencies including the World Health Organization have urged rich countries to donate their doses to the developing world – where fewer than 2 percent of people have been vaccinated – rather than moving on to inoculate their less vulnerable populations.

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