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Mandatory gathering restrictions return to Edmonton, Calgary as Alberta sets new single-day COVID-19 record | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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There were 1,440 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Alberta over the weekend. That prompted Dr. Deena Hinshaw to re-introduce limits of 15 people or less at social gatherings, saying we have now “crossed a tipping point.” Julia Wong has the details from Monday’s health update.

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Gold Crashes Below $1,800 – OilPrice.com

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Gold Crashes Below $1,800 | OilPrice.com

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This year has been proving to be a gold speculator and investor’s dream after the yellow metal rallied hard to hit historical highs thanks to a perfect storm of a global pandemic, massive government stimulus packages, weakening dollar, and a stock market bull run that had finally run out of gas. The torrid rally represented the sharpest gain the metal has mustered in more than a decade. Wall Street hedge funds have been extremely bullish on gold, with some eyeing prices of $3,000 and even $5,000 per ounce.

To wit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that it expects gold to hit $3,000 by early 2022 while Citigroup and billionaire Thomas Kaplan, founder of New York-based asset management firm Electrum Group, believed that $5,000 was in the cross hairs.

But now there’s growing evidence that the gold rally could be done for now, and those lofty targets will remain out of reach for gold punters.

Gold prices have pulled back 13% after touching an all-time high of $2,075 in August, as a barrage of potential Covid-19 vaccine candidates continues to give the world hope that the worst could be in the rearview mirror.

Vaccine optimism

At least two successful COVID-19 vaccines now mark a major turning point in the battle against one of our biggest existential crises.

Two weeks ago, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) reported that their joint mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, had demonstrated nearly 95% efficacy in preventing Covid-19 infections in ~44,000 test patients. A few days ago, the companies confirmed those numbers in their final analysis, including being 94% effective in those over 65 years old.

Related: Can Big Oil Make Carbon Capture Mainstream? The good news came with a small caveat though: Pfizer’s vaccine needs a much cooler temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70° C) and up to -109 degrees Fahrenheit for shipment for the vaccine to remain viable, which could pose a major challenge in some locations.

So news that Moderna’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) Covid-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, has demonstrated similar efficacy as the Pfizer vaccine but remains stable at more manageable temperatures of 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F), or roughly the same operating temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator, for at least a month, was definitely great news.

More encouraging: Moderna has reported that its Covid-19 vaccine will cost $25 and $37 per dose depending on the amount ordered, roughly in the ballpark of a common flu shot which costs $10 and $50.

Even more encouraging news: The EU is likely to fast track approval for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, meaning they could enter mainstream distribution in its jurisdiction in a matter of weeks. Europe is experiencing the biggest second Covid-19 wave with Germany, Poland, France, and Spain having gone back to lockdown in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

Whereas the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on Messenger RNA technology, which is not only speedier to manufacture and develop but is also well-suited to rapid adaptation.

Unfortunately, messenger RNA, or mRNA, is also delicate, requiring careful cold storage and handling that complicate distributions.

The great news: There are several other vaccines that could be better suited for more widespread distribution.

Related: Why The Vaccine Oil Rally Won’t Last

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) and the University of Oxford have reported that their vaccine is 62-90% effective depending on dosage, but is cheaper than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and can also be stored at higher temperatures making it more accessible for lower income nations. The AstraZeneca candidate is an adenovirus-vector platform that gives people an inactivated virus to stimulate an immune response making it more stable than Pfizer and Moderna’s “mRNA-based” vaccines.

CureVac‘s (NASDAQ:CVAC) says its CVnCoV vaccine is stable for three months at +5 Celsius, or the standard refrigerator temperature. The vaccine remains stable for up to ready-to-use room temperature for 24 hours.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline‘s have announced that their two-dose recombinant protein vaccine can be stored between 2°C- 8°C.

Johnson & Johnson also has a Covid-19 vaccine in the pipeline, which, if successful, could be stable at refrigerated temperatures of 2°C – 8°C for at least three months and up to two years at -20 °C.

In short, there seems to be no shortage of Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are potentially even more stable than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Gold price to watch: $ 1,800

With the short-term gold momentum decisively skewed to the downside, Chris Vermeulen Chief Market Strategist Technical Traders has advised traders to keep an eye on the pivotal $1,800 price level. This support level could be tested before the next big upleg, but could also open the floodgates for gold to fall as low as $1,600 if it fails to hold.

With gold prices currently hovering slightly above this critical support level, the bulls will be hoping that things don’t fall apart completely.

By Alex Kimani for Safehaven.com 

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B.C. again sets record for number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations – Powell River Peak

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B.C. once again, on November 27, set a record for the number of new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period: 911.

The number had once been initially been reported to be higher – 941 on November 24 – but that figure was later revised to be only 706 because there had been a data error. The previous one-day record, after the data revisions, was 887 yesterday.

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With 14,336 people tested in the past 24 hours, the positive test rate was 6.35%.

Henry said that in future there will be more clarity over which tests are conducted by those whose tests are billed to the province’s Medical Services Plan (MSP), such as regular British Columbians who may have had some symptoms, and those whose tests are not billed to the MSP program. That latter group includes those in penitenturies, those who are tested for travel and those who are tested for work purposes. 

Including the 911 new infections, there have been 30,884 known COVID-19 cases since the first case was identified in the province on January 28.

There are also a record number of people in hospital: 301, or seven more than yesterday. Of those, 69 people – five more than yesterday – are in intensive care units.

Another 11 people in B.C. have died from COVID-19 infections, bringing the province’s death toll from the virus to 395. Eight of those people were in the Fraser Health region while three of them were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“The vast majority of these people were people in their 70s and 80s – our seniors, our elders, grandparents, family members.”Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said. “I know there are 11 additional families out there who are grieving today.”

There are a record 8,472 people actively fighting infections in B.C., and 10,430 people who health officials are monitoring for symptoms because they have had known exposure to identified cases. Of those infected, 21,304 have recovered.

The breakdown of where the new infections are located is as follows:
• 153 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 649 in Fraser Health;
• 27 in Island Health;
• 47 in Interior Health; and
• 35 in Northern Health.

Henry said that she is confident that Canada has contracts in place to ensure delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccines, when available and proven to be safe. 

“The importance of safety of these vaccine is is just paramount,” Henry said. “I know we have a very robust system, here in Canada, for ensuring that safety, and every lot has to be approved. So there are delays that can happen at many different levels, and we see this every year with our immunization programs.”

Henry said on November 25 that she hoped that there could be a roll-out of vaccines in B.C. in January.

There are a total of 59 outbreaks at healthcare facilities or seniors’ homes, which combine to involve 1,162 people: 719 residents and 434 staff.

New outbreaks at three seniors’ care homes have been identified, at:
• German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver;
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver; and
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey. 

The five ongoing active outbreaks at acute-care facilities, or hospitals, are at:
• Burnaby Hospital in Burnaby;
• Langley Memorial Hospital in Langley;
• Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver;
• Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge; and
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey.

There are 15 active outbreaks at seniors’ facilities in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and they include:
• Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion, in Vancouver;
• Revera Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver;
• Columbus Residence in Vancouver;
• German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver;
• Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver;
• Little Mountain Place in Vancouver;
• Louis Brier Home & Hospital in Vancouver;
• Renfrew Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Three Links Care Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver;
• Windermere Care Centre in Vancouver; and
• Youville Residence in Vancouver.

The 33 outbreaks at seniors’ facilities in the ​Fraser Health region include:
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Agecare Harmony Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Agecare Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Al Hogg Pavilion in White Rock;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Amica White Rock in White Rock
• Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Carelife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Cottage-Worthington Pavilion in Abbotsford;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Finnish Manor in Burnaby;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Center 2 long-term care facility in Delta;
• Harrison Pointe retirement home in Langley;
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community long-term care in Port Coquitlam;
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community assisted living in Port Coquitlam;
• Hollyrood Manor long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Jackman Manor in Langley Township;
• Kiwanis Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Laurel Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Menno Home in Abbotsford;
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey;
• Northcrest Care Centre in Delta;
• PICS Assisted Living in Surrey;
• Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• Tabor Home in Abbotsford;
• The Residence at Clayton Heights in Surrey;
• The Residence in Mission;
• Valley Haven Care Home in Chilliwack; and
• White Rock Senior Village in White Rock.

There are two outbreaks at seniors’ homes in Northern Health: North Peace Seniors Housing Society buildings in Fort St. John, and Rotary Manor Dawson Creek in Dawson Creek.

Two outbreaks are at seniors’ living facilities in the Island Health region: Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni, and Discovery Care Centre in Campbell River.

The Interior Health region has two seniors’ facility outbreaks, at Orchard Manor in Kelowna and Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

 

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Black (market) Friday | wellandtribune.ca – WellandTribune.ca

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Retailers in Manitoba are finding new loopholes within mandated public-health orders to peddle non-essential products, just in time for the busy holiday sales this weekend.

But speaking to reporters Friday, chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the province doesn’t want to penalize large businesses for exploiting apertures in prescribed restrictions just yet — even if they are directly contravening them by pushing merchandise out the door through new ways such as drive-thru services.

It’s a repeat of what happened only a week ago, epidemiologists and commerce stakeholders told the Free Press, when code-red restrictions were heightened to prohibit the in-person sale of non-essential items to begin with.

This time, however, they said the provincial government has had enough time to act and make appropriate changes before mass turnouts at retailers.

“We’re acting on good faith,” said Roussin, as bargain-loving Winnipeggers didn’t let pandemic restrictions keep them from their Black Friday shopping missions. “We’re not going to be issuing fines on this right now.”

News of in-person bargains travelled quickly Thursday and overnight, with hordes of shoppers lining up Friday morning, as early as 5 a.m. Parking lots were also quick to fill up with cars chock full of customers hoping to purchase discounted non-essential items, including electronics, toys, jewelry, makeup and clothing.

At Walmart, a new drive-thru service has been introduced, with individual locations either designating specific lanes for cars or asking people to park anywhere before a salesperson approaches them. Without requiring any advance notice or appointments, customers were able to place orders with a sales associate and pick between several items before paying for them with credit and debit cards or cash.

“It’s like I’m legit shopping for my stuff the way I would inside the store just by being outside,” said Gina Torros, a Winnipegger who waited in advance to get into the drive-thru outside the Empress Street Walmart to buy a new TV.

“It’s really cool, kinda like the pandemic doesn’t really affect this type of full shopping experience.”

Asked whether Walmart’s new services are allowed under current public-health rules for the province, Roussin said it is “completely against the spirit of the orders.”

He said only remote purchasing of non-essential items (through curbside pickup or delivery) is permitted. “Just because we are not fining them doesn’t change our overall message,” added Roussin.

Walmart declined to comment further on how it will adapt its new drive-thru services to be applicable under provincial restrictions. A spokesperson said the retailer, however, plans on continuing drive-thrus in Manitoba until at least Dec. 13, with discounted flyer items open to customers every Friday, Saturday and Sunday leading up to it.

Meanwhile, customers at the Real Canadian Superstore and Costco have been sent online flyers with discounts for in-person sales — resulting in plenty of traffic lined up at several of their parking lots in the city on Friday.

Martin Groleau, vice-president of marketing at Costco Canada, told the Free Press those lineups are “not necessarily our fault.”

“Yes, we’re offering discounts for Black Friday, but they’re not being offered in Manitoba stores,” said Groleau, who is also the director of membership at the company. “We are certainly not selling non-essential items either, please know that.”

The provincial government said a Costco on McGillivray Boulevard was handed a $5,000 fine for selling non-essential items to customers, in a news release on Friday. Groleau said he did not want to comment on that, and that he “still stands beside” his statement.

At Manitoba Liquor Mart locations, “hot buy” discount programs also caused some lineups. But a spokesperson said that wasn’t necessarily because of Black Friday specials.

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“We are not running any Black Friday specials — any and all discounts in our stores are the same as you would find any day or week of the year,” said Andrea Kowal, director of public affairs at Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, in a statement.

“The only advertising campaign we are doing right now… is actually to discourage busy stores — it encourages customers to not shop at peak times and think about using home delivery.”

Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist and health policy expert based in Winnipeg, said “all of this put together could easily cause COVID-19 transmissions.

“While I can’t speak to exactly the socio-economic or health reasons which Dr. Roussin is thinking of,” she said in an interview, “I can certainly say there’s already enough ways for people to access purchasing items if they need to — and maybe, a stern order would help preventing businesses from finding such loopholes.”

“It certainly is much safer just to stop this from happening altogether.”

Chuck Davidson, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, said public health should “move beyond messaging” for business owners and allow for restrictions, instead of “continuously telling them what to do without rules to govern it.”

“If you want to prevent it, you should,” he said. “But I don’t think you can blame businesses for finding creative ways to survive during this time until you’re going to. It’s the only time of the year they can be making up their pandemic losses.”

Roussin said Friday the onus is on customers flocking to stores, however.

“There are two sides to this — it’s a supply and a demand,” he said. “But, no matter what these stores have set up, there shouldn’t be a demand. Manitobans should be staying home.

“They should be responsible for going shopping for non-essentials when that is not our messaging.”

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