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NBA-Irving’s vaccination stance looms large over NBA season



The 75th season of the  NBA tips off on Tuesday with fans focused on Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, whose refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine in defiance of New York City’s mandate led the Nets to announce he would not suit up for the championship contender.

The loaded Nets roster includes Kevin Durant and James Harden but the team will be at a disadvantage without sharp-shooting point guard Irving, a seven-time All-Star who won a title with Cleveland in 2016.

Irving, 29, framed his decision as one of personal choice in an Instagram Live video last week.

“Nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies,” Irving said.

“You only get one of these (bodies). If you choose to get the vaccine, I support you. If you choose to be unvaccinated, I support you.”

More than 700,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19. Vaccination rates have risen more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, the White House said last week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the widely available vaccines can keep the recipient from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 while protecting others, particularly those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“It was a bold move by Brooklyn,” former NBA coach and current ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy told reporters on a call.

“I’m sure it came after great deliberation and speaking to Durant and Harden to see how they felt.”

New York’s Mandate requires proof of at least one shot of the vaccine to enter large indoor spaces. The NBA has said players who are unable to compete due to local mandates will miss out on pay.

Van Gundy said Brooklyn has accumulated enough talent to win a championship even without Irving but said he expects to see the situation get worked out one way or another.

“I think it will get resolved, and I don’t know how,” he said.

“I think we’ll see him play this year, and I’m hopeful for Brooklyn and really for NBA fans that we do, because he’s a special, special talent.”


Irving is not the only point guard who has generated attention during a busy offseason, which saw a flurry of moves at the sport’s most important position.

The dynamic Russell Westbrook has joined the Los Angeles Lakers, the rapidly improving Lonzo Ball has gone to the Chicago Bulls, and the tenacious Kyle Lowry is now a member of the Miami Heat.

Former player and coach turned ESPN commentator Mark Jackson said it will be fascinating to see those players adapt to their new environments.

Playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook gives the Lakers a “legitimate chance” to win it all, Jackson said.

Ball brings size and shooting ability to the Bulls and will benefit from playing alongside veteran forward DeMar DeRozan while Lowry is an elite point guard who adds “toughness” to the Heat squad, he said.

“I think across the board as a fan of the NBA, it’s an awesome time, and teams have really put themselves in position to improve, some to have a chance to win it all, some to make the playoffs,” Jackson said.

“It’ll be an entertaining season.”


(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)


WHO advises against using blood plasma of recovered patients as COVID-19 treatment –



The World Health Organization on Monday advised against using the blood plasma of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat those who are ill, saying current evidence shows it neither improves survival nor reduces the need for ventilators.

The hypothesis for using plasma is that the antibodies it contains could neutralize the novel coronavirus, stopping it from replicating and halting tissue damage.

Several studies testing convalescent blood plasma have shown no apparent benefit for treating COVID-19 patients who are severely ill. A U.S.-based trial was halted in March after it was found that plasma was unlikely to help mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients.

The method is also costly and time-consuming to administer, the WHO said in a statement Monday.

A panel of international experts made a strong recommendation against the use of convalescent plasma in patients with non-severe illness, the WHO said. They also advised against its use in patients with severe and critical illness, except in the context of a randomized controlled trial.

The recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is based on evidence from 16 trials involving 16,236 patients with non-severe, severe and critical COVID-19 infection.

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COVID vaccine clinics available this week – The North Bay Nugget



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A number of appointments for COVID-19 vaccine clinics – including some for children five to 11 years of age – are available across the region this week.

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Only individuals five to 11 years of age will be able to secure an appointment at a child and youth Clinic, although older siblings or parents will be able to receive an adult dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at these clinics if they are accompanying a child to their appointment.

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in five to 11-year-olds is not yet available at regular clinics. However, it is available at participating pharmacies throughout the district. Parents and guardians are encouraged to book an appointment at one of the participating pharmacies if they would like their child immunized this week and cannot secure an appointment at a clinic hosted by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.

Individuals are encouraged to bring a health card or another form of identification, if possible, as well as any required documentation for those with underlying health conditions eligible for a third dose. Eligible individuals who received their last dose before June 21 will be able to book and receive their booster dose this week.

Flu shots will also be available for those with COVID-19 appointments at the adult clinics this week.

Appointments are still available at the following clinics this week:

Parry Sound,  Wednesday, child and youth clinic at Parry Sound High School (111 Isabella St., Parry Sound) from 4 to 8 p.m.

South River,  Thursday, child and youth clinic at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (21 Mountain View Rd., South River) from 4 to 8 p.m.

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Mattawa, Friday, child and youth clinic at Élisabeth Bruyère Catholic Secondary School (359 Brydges St., Mattawa) from 4 to 8 p.m.;

North Bay,  Saturday, child and youth clinic at Northgate Shopping Centre (1500 Fisher Street, North Bay), former Gap location, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sturgeon Falls,  Tuesday, child and youth clinic at West Nipissing Public Secondary School (175 Ethel St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 8 p.m. and  Wednesday, at Marcel Noel Hall (219 O’Hara St., Sturgeon Falls) from 4 to 7 p.m.

To book an appointment or for more information, visit or call the health unit call centre at 1-844-478-1400 or 705-995-3810.

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More than 12500 Waterloo Region kids aged 5-11 have had 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine –



More than 12,500 Waterloo Region children aged five to 11 have had their first jab of a COVID-19 vaccine since they were first handed out 11 days ago.

Waterloo Public Health says 26.62 per cent of area residents of that age group’s estimated 48,000 have had their initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more:

Waterloo Region has special plans in store for Every Dose Counts weekend

This number increased by 8.5 per cent from Friday, with Waterloo Public Health no longer updating its totals over the weekend.

The agency says there have now been 941,742 vaccinations done in the area, which is 7,303 more than it reported on Friday.

However, the number of those getting their second dose continues to climb at a slow pace as that total now stands at 455,372, 569 more than was announced 72 hours prior.

This means that 75.24 per cent of all residents in the region have now had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The youth vaccinations could not come at a more prudent time as there were a host of COVID-19 outbreaks announced at schools across Waterloo Region over the past few days.

There were five new outbreaks announced over the weekend with four of those coming at schools including Mary Johnston Public School in Waterloo, Sir Adam Beck Public School in Baden, Saint John Paul II School in Kitchener and Forest Glen Public School in New Hamburg. The fifth new outbreak was at an unnamed auto sales location.

In addition, Waterloo Public Health reported another 125 positive tests for the coronavirus on Monday, lifting the total number of COVID-19 cases in the area to 21,145.

This lifts the rolling seven-day average number of new daily cases up to 34.6. A week ago, that number was 24.7.

Another 70 people were also cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases in the area to 20,549.

There have been no new deaths reported in the area in five days, leaving the death toll at 308, including one victim in December.

The region now has 282 active COVID-19 cases, the highest number that has been reported since July 12.

There are also 12 people in area hospitals, including two patients in need of intensive care.

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Ontario reports 887 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

Elsewhere, Ontario reported 887 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total case count in the province to 624,384.

Of the 887 new cases recorded, the data showed 373 were unvaccinated people, 24 were partially vaccinated people, 426 were fully vaccinated people and for 64 people the vaccination status was unknown.

According to Monday’s report, 139 cases were recorded in Toronto, 73 in Simcoe Muskoka, 60 in York Region, 60 in Peel Region and 55 in Ottawa. All other local public health units reported fewer than 50 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province now stands at 10,027 as three more deaths were reported.

—with files from Global News’ Jessica Patton

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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