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Premier’s ‘delightfully Nova Scotian’ cry to respect physical distancing goes viral – Global News



One premier’s war cry for citizens to respect physical distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic has gone viral.

The call to “stay the blazes home” came on Friday during one of Nova Scotia’s daily press conferences.

Premier Stephen McNeil spoke forcefully from a table accompanied by Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.

READ MORE: ‘Stay the blazes home,’ McNeil warns as Nova Scotia COVID-19 cases surpass 200

As he has done for every day since the province declared a state of emergency last month, McNeil urged Nova Scotian’s to respect physical distancing and remain indoors unless absolutely necessary.

“The virus will find you. Then it finds your loved ones. Then it finds your neighbourhoods…”

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“Then we have community spread,” McNeil said, appearing to barely contain his anger within his 6’7” frame.

Coronavirus: 29 new cases confirmed in Nova Scotia

McNeil was addressing a new Google report of location data collected from its users that showed a 95 per cent increase at the province’s parks from Feb. 16 to March 29 in comparison to a five-week period earlier this year.

“Then everyone is putting pressure on public health to solve it, and our health-care system to deal with it when all we have to do is stay the blazes home,” the premier said.

It’s a phrase that has captured the imaginations of Nova Scotians, many of whom remain cooped up at home and looking for something to break them out of the monotony.

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Within a few hours of the remark being made, the phrase was trending on Twitter, eventually reaching the No. 1 spot in Canada.

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Part of the popularity was the immediate memeification of the phrase, with social media users putting their editing skills to use to create new and inventive ways to capture the phrase.

It is now even beginning to appear on T-shirts, mugs and socks as Nova Scotians clamour for a physical item that has captured the attention of a frustrated populace.

Liz Mac, an artist and illustrator in Dartmouth, N.S., is one of the people working to fill that need.

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“People were saying, ‘oh, I want that on a T-shirt. I want this on a T-shirt’ and me being a broke artist, I saw an opportunity to give people what they want,” Mac said in a phone interview on Saturday.

Within a few hours of her creating her site, she had dozens of orders.

Mac said that the profit margins are fairly small on the items so she’s unlikely to make any money on the venture but she said it’s worth it.

“[Stay the blazes inside] is so delightfully Nova Scotian,” she said.

“You could tell that the premier is very angry with… a reckless few and it’s you know, as close as he can get to literally swearing at us without actually swearing.”

READ MORE: Stanfield’s looks to fill 50 jobs ‘immediately’ to make medical gowns

Adam Faber, a musician originally from Nova Scotia, compared McNeil’s attempt to shame the province into compliance as the premier being the province’s “angry dad.”

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Faber is known to make parody songs on his accordion and he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“You know people are just down for a laugh presently and they’re all stuck to their phones anyway,” said Faber.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm.”

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Faber’s song has since been shared hundreds of times online and he credits the unique East Coast culture for the phrase’s popularity.

“I think it’s just the perfect way to encapsulate how we deal as east coasters at a time of stress,” Faber said.

My Home Apparel, a company based out of Truro and Moncton, N.B., said they sold over $6,000 worth of their new “stay the blazes home” T-shirt in less than an hour.

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The company says 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to Feed Nova Scotia, the QEII Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund and Shelter Nova Scotia.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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City asking people to wear masks on buses, but not mandatory – GuelphToday



As the city prepares to allow more riders on Guelph Transit buses, it is asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

They are not mandatory.

Free 30-minute Guelph Transit service will continue for the rest of June but the city says thta with more businesses reopening and more people heading back to work, Guelph Transit is preparing to resume fare collection and regular schedules later in the summer.

In a news release Friday morning, the city said the request is based advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

“According to health officials, wearing a homemade face covering/non-medical mask is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. Wearing a mask has not been proven to protect the person wearing it, but it can help protect others around you,” the release said.

“As the buses get busy again, physical distancing may not always be possible. We’re asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Robin Gerus, general manager of Guelph Transit.

Guelph Transit is encouraging face coverings, not requiring them.

“It’s becoming more common to wear a mask on public transit in other cities, but it’s new for Guelph. Some riders may not be aware of or understand the latest guidelines from health officials. Some may not have resources to purchase or make a mask, or they may have a medical reason for not wearing one,” added Gerus. Everyone is welcome to use Guelph Transit, and we’re asking people to protect and respect each other as ridership increases.”

Since March, Guelph Transit made the following adjustments to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • free 30-minute service allows passengers to avoid using the farebox and board from the rear door
  • plastic barrier between the driver and passengers
  • hand sanitizing stations and cleaning supplies for drivers
  • no more than 10 people per bus
  • blocked several seats to encourage physical distancing between passengers

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City and Guelph Transit encourage riders to continue following the latest advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health:

  • wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer
  • stay at least two metres away from people you don’t live with
  • when you can’t maintain physical distancing, wear a non-medical mask or face covering

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WHO resumes hydroxychloroquine trial on Covid-19 patients – ITIJ



On May 25, WHO suspended the trial of the drug, which is usually used to treat malaria patients, after a study published in medical journal The Lancet found that Covid-19 hospitalised patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death, as well as an increased frequency of irregular heartbeats, than those who weren’t treated with it. 

However, WHO officials have since asserted that there is no evidence that the drug reduces the mortality in these patients, and the study has since been retracted over data concerns. 

“The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of solidarity trial including hydroxychloroquine,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference 3 June, adding that WHO planned to continue to monitor the safety of the therapeutics being tested in trials involving over 3,500 patients spanning over 35 countries. 

“WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions and solidarity,” Ghebreyesus said. 

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'Truly sorry': Scientists pull panned Lancet study of Trump-touted drug – National Post



NEW YORK/LONDON — An influential study that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients has been withdrawn a week after it led to major trials being halted, adding to confusion about a malaria drug championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Lancet medical journal pulled the study after three of its authors retracted it, citing concerns about the quality and veracity of data in it. The World Health Organization (WHO) will resume its hydroxychloroquine trials after pausing them in the wake of the study. Dozens of other trials have resumed or are in process.

The three authors said Surgisphere, the company that provided the data, would not transfer the dataset for an independent review and they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

The fourth author of the study, Dr. Sapan Desai, chief executive of Surgisphere, declined to comment on the retraction.

The Lancet said it “takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously” adding: “There are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.”

Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that used Surgisphere data and shared the same lead author, Harvard Medical School Professor Mandeep Mehra, was retracted for the same reason.

The Lancet said reviews of Surgisphere’s research collaborations were urgently needed.

The race to understand and treat the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of research and peer-reviewed scientific journals are go-to sources of information for doctors, policymakers and lay people alike.

Chris Chambers, a professor of psychology and an expert at the UK Center for Open Science, said The Lancet and the NEJM – which he described as “ostensibly two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals” – should investigate how the studies got through peer review and editorial checks.

“The failure to resolve such basic concerns about the data” raises “serious questions about the standard of editing” and about the process of peer review, he said.

The Lancet did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The NEJM could not immediately be reached for comment.


The observational study published in The Lancet on May 22 said it looked at 96,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, some treated with the decades-old malaria drug. It claimed that those treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine had higher risk of death and heart rhythm problems than patients who were not given the medicines.

“I did not do enough to ensure that the data source was appropriate for this use,” the study’s lead author, Professor Mehra, said in a statement. “For that, and for all the disruptions – both directly and indirectly – I am truly sorry.”

Many scientists voiced concern about the study, which had already been corrected last week because some location data was wrong. Nearly 150 doctors signed an open letter to The Lancet calling the article’s conclusions into question and asking to make public the peer review comments that preceded publication.

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the retraction decision was “correct” but still left unanswered the question about whether hydroxychloroquine is effective in COVID-19.

“It remains the case that the results from randomized trials are necessary to draw reliable conclusions,” he said. (Reporting by Michael Erman, Peter Henderson, Kate Kelland and Josephine Mason Editing by Leslie Adler, Tom Brown, Giles Elgood and Carmel Crimmins)

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