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Trudeau says first COVID-19 vaccines will face distribution hurdles in the new year – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Friday, November 6, 2020 2:56PM EST


Last Updated Friday, November 6, 2020 7:21PM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says some COVID-19 vaccine candidates expected in the new year will pose significant logistical and distribution challenges.

Trudeau says he hopes a viable vaccine will be available to Canadians in the spring but notes some of the initial doses will require special handling that could complicate distribution efforts.

“We know that some of the first vaccines to come out have extremely high degrees of logistical support necessary – things like freezers that can keep the vaccines down at -80 degrees Celsius for example, which doesn’t lend itself to mass distribution in pharmacies across the country, for example, but later vaccines that will be arriving will be able to do that,” Trudeau said Friday.

“So we have to have a very sophisticated plan to be able to roll out vaccines the right way; the right vaccines in the right place to the right people.”

Earlier this week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization outlined four key groups that should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Trudeau said those include populations with “a high degree of vulnerability,” such as Indigenous peoples and front-line health workers.

The prime minister’s comments came as Canada recorded more than 255,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday, with especially alarming daily totals emerging across the country.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced a record-breaking 802 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. On Friday, she reported another 609 infections.

Premier Jason Kenney said the province is at “a turning point” and called on Albertans to stop having house parties.

He also said more contact tracers are being hired.

Because tracers are unable to keep up with new cases, Alberta Health Services said that starting Friday staff would only notify close contacts of infections confirmed in health-care workers, minors and those who live or work within congregate or communal facilities. Others must notify their own close contacts.

Meanwhile, Manitoba health officials increased restrictions in the southern health region, following a similar move recently in Winnipeg.

Restaurants and bars will have to close except for takeout and delivery, and capacity limits will be reduced for religious services and other gatherings.

Provincewide, Manitoba reported 242 new cases and five additional deaths, with a testing positivity rate of 9.1 per cent.

Quebec announced 1,133 new cases and 25 additional deaths while Ontario reported 1,003 new cases and 14 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 300 cases are in Toronto, 280 in Peel Region and 125 in York Region.

And in Nunavut, the chief public health officer confirmed the territory’s first case of COVID-19 – located in the Hudson Bay community of Sanikiluaq, home to about 850 people.

Trudeau urged the nation to maintain vigilance against further COVID-19 spread, saying “this situation is serious” and now is not the time to let down our guard.

He said surging counts should remind us of loved ones we all must protect. For him, that includes his godfather and uncle Tom Walker, who has been in and out of hospital and had to be readmitted to hospital Thursday.

Trudeau also pointed to increasing evidence of aerosol spread and urged Canadians to do everything possible to reduce outbreaks before the weather turned cold.

“Winter is coming. That means we’re going to have to get into more enclosed spaces, we’re not going to be able to open windows wide in rooms, ventilation is going to become much more important. We need to remember to be careful.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2020.

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U.S. coronavirus vaccine plans take shape as hospitalizations set new records – Global News

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U.S. health authorities will hold an emergency meeting next week to recommend that a coronavirus vaccine awaiting approval be given first to healthcare professionals and people in long-term care facilities.

The meeting, announced on Friday by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee on immunizations, suggests that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be close to authorizing distribution of the long-awaited medication, at least to those considered most vulnerable.

Read more:
Coronavirus: U.S. Supreme Court rules against New York limits on religious services

United Airlines has begun moving shipments of the vaccine, developed by Pfizer Inc, on charter flights to ensure it can be quickly distributed once it is approved, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will vote on Tuesday to recommend that the FDA allow healthcare professionals and long-term care facilities to be the first two groups to get initial vaccine supplies, a CDC spokeswoman said.

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A green light for any vaccine would come as welcome news to Americans, who political leaders have clamped under increasingly aggressive measures to curtail the spread of the virus.






1:24
Coronavirus: Joe Biden, wife Jill highlight importance of Americans staying home for Thanksgiving


Coronavirus: Joe Biden, wife Jill highlight importance of Americans staying home for Thanksgiving

Los Angeles County health officials on Friday banned all public and private gatherings for at least three weeks and urged residents to stay home as much as possible.

The county exempted religious services and protests from the order, citing constitutional protections in an apparent acknowledgment of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week that rejected New York state’s restrictions on churches and synagogues.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, dismissed the top court’s decision as “irrelevant,” saying it was narrowly tailored to specific areas no longer subject to the limits.

Read more:
Risk of Thanksgiving coronavirus spike ‘extremely high’ in U.S., experts warn

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But the ruling could drive legal challenges against similar limits placed on houses of worship in other states, including California.

“It is fair to say that this Supreme Court ruling has broader implications and governors would be wise to be guided by it in any attempts to single out houses of worship for disparate treatment,” Randy Mastro, lead attorney for the Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn in the case, told Reuters.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said this week her latest COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings also applied to indoor religious services, reducing the maximum number of worshippers from 100 to 50 people.


Click to play video 'U.S. Thanksgiving feared to become COVID-19 superspreader event'



2:44
U.S. Thanksgiving feared to become COVID-19 superspreader event


U.S. Thanksgiving feared to become COVID-19 superspreader event

‘Skip the crowds’

Americans already weary from eight months of lockdowns began the holiday season on Friday under pressure to stay home, avoid gatherings and curtail Christmas shopping.

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One day after the nation marked a low-key Thanksgiving, malls and retailers imposing strict COVID-19 rules saw fewer shoppers for the traditional Black Friday start of holiday shopping.

“Remember, skip the crowds and shop from home this Black Friday,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a first-term Democrat, wrote on Twitter.

Read more:
White House still party planning amid coronavirus, ignoring advice from health officials

Roughly 90,000 patients were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals on Friday, a number that has doubled in the last month to the highest since the pandemic began.

“This is the reality we face when COVID-19 is allowed to spread unchecked – ICUs at capacity, not enough health care workers available,” New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a tweet.

Grisham, a Democrat, did not say who she believed had let the virus spread unchecked. The governor has imposed a lockdown requiring all “non-essential” businesses to close and residents to stay home.

About 880 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday in New Mexico. A hospital in rural Curry County was the latest to reach capacity in its intensive care unit this week, according to the county’s Facebook page.


Click to play video 'Joe Biden delivers Thanksgiving address, discourages large gatherings amid COVID-19 pandemic'



2:18
Joe Biden delivers Thanksgiving address, discourages large gatherings amid COVID-19 pandemic


Joe Biden delivers Thanksgiving address, discourages large gatherings amid COVID-19 pandemic

Some politicians and health experts feared Americans traveling for Thanksgiving could spread the contagion. Many heeded advice to stay home on Thursday but others chose to travel, saying they were willing to risk illness to see family.

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On the day before Thanksgiving, typically one of the busiest travel days of the year in the United States, more than 1.07 million people transited through U.S. airports – the most of any day since the start of the pandemic, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

More than 4 million traveled through airports from Sunday to Thursday, compared with more than 11 million for the same period last year, TSA data shows.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter and Melissa Fares in New York, Susan Heavey, Lisa Lambert, Diane Bartz and David Shephardson in Washington, Anurag Maan in Bengaluru and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles Writing by Dan Whitcomb Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Bill Tarrant, Robert Birsel)

© 2020 Reuters

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Gold Crashes Below $1,800 – OilPrice.com

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Gold Crashes Below $1,800 | OilPrice.com

Safehaven.com

Safehaven.com is one of the most established finance and news sites in the world, providing insight into the most important sectors in the business and…

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Gold Prices

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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