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Two Pfizer, AstraZeneca doses work against Delta variant: study – Al Jazeera English

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Two doses of Pfizer shot 88 percent effective at preventing the Delta variant while two doses of AstraZeneca are 67 percent effective.

Two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine are nearly as effective against the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant as they are against the previously dominant Alpha variant, according to a new study.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday showed the vaccines were highly effective against the Delta variant, now the dominant strain worldwide, provided a person had received two shots.

The study confirms headline findings given by Public Health England (PHE) in May about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca based on real-world data.

Wednesday’s study found that Pfizer was 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic disease from the Delta variant with both doses, compared with 93.7 percent against the Alpha variant, broadly the same as previously reported.

Two shots of AstraZeneca vaccine were 67 percent effective against the Delta variant, up from 60 percent originally reported, and 74.5 percent effective against the Alpha variant, compared with an original estimate of 66 percent effectiveness.

“Only modest differences in vaccine effectiveness were noted with the Delta variant as compared with the Alpha variant after the receipt of two vaccine doses,” Public Health England researchers wrote.

Data from Israel has estimated that Pfizer’s shot is less effective against symptomatic disease, although protection against severe disease remains high.

PHE had previously said that the first dose of either vaccine was approximately 33 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant.

Other vaccines also useful

The full study published on Wednesday found that one dose of Pfizer’s shot was 36 percent effective and one dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine was about 30 percent effective.

“Our finding of reduced effectiveness after the first dose would support efforts to maximise vaccine uptake with two doses among vulnerable groups in the context of circulation of the Delta variant,” the authors of the study said.

In June, makers of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine also said that it is about 90 percent effective against the highly contagious Delta variant [File: Leonardo Fernandez Viloria/Reuters]

Recently, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US city of Boston also said that in a laboratory setting, the antibody response from the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine worked well against Delta and that immune response lasted for about eight months.

In June, makers of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine also said that it was about 90 percent effective against the highly contagious Delta variant.

The shot, which Russia has actively marketed abroad, was previously found by researchers to be almost 92 percent effective against the original strain of coronavirus.

Denis Logunov, the deputy director of Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute which developed Sputnik, said the Delta variant efficacy figure was calculated based on digital medical and vaccine records, the Russian state-owned RIA news agency reported.

The Sputnik vaccine, however, has raised some controversy as it was introduced to the public even before a full trial was completed. It is still awaiting approval from the World Health Organization.

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Canada’s economy shrank for 2nd month in a row in May – CBC.ca

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Canada’s gross domestic product shrank by 0.3 per cent in May, the second consecutive monthly contraction as most industries slowed down.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that most industries shrank, especially construction, manufacturing and retail.

Even Canada’s red hot real estate sector shrank for the second month in a row. The real estate and rental and leasing sector was down 0.4 per cent in May after falling by 0.8 per cent in April. That’s the first two-month streak of declines since March and April of 2020.

“As housing sales and construction levels gradually return to more sustainable levels, this area of the economy could be a drag on growth in coming months,” TD Bank economist Sri Thanabalasingam said.

Agriculture and forestry, mining and oil and gas extraction, utilities and the public sector all expanded slightly.

All in all, the total value of all the goods and services produced by Canada’s economy was just shy of $1.98 trillion during the month. That’s still two per cent below the slightly more than $2 trillion that the economy was worth in February 2020.

The numbers for May come at the time when Canada’s economy was on the downslope of the third wave of COVID-19, and much of society was on some sort of lockdown or reduced capacity. But there are signs that a rebound has happened since.

Preliminary data for June suggests the economy grew by 0.7 per cent during the month. And July may have been even better — credit and debit card data suggests that consumers returned to spending on high-contact services including in-person dining, recreation activities and travel that had long been restricted to them, Thanabalasingam said.

June’s uptick means the economy will expand by about 0.6 per cent in the second quarter overall. That’s about a 2.5 per cent annual pace — much slower than the 6.5 per cent pace the U.S. economy clocked in the same period, but much better than the 8.3 per cent contraction seen in countries that use the euro.

Thanabalasingam said the data for May and June show just how up and down the economy may go from here on out.

“It may not be smooth sailing for the rest of the recovery,” he said.

“The delta variant is wreaking havoc around the world, leading to a retightening of restrictions in some countries. Canada has so far avoided the worst of this virus, but cases are rising in some provinces. A fourth wave could lead to another stalling in the recovery, though with relatively high rates of vaccination a full reversal appears less likely.”

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Canada’s Imperial Oil posts 7% fall in quarterly profit

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Canada‘s Imperial Oil Ltd reported a 7% fall in second-quarter profit on Friday, impacted by planned turnaround activity and weaker realized margins in its downstream refining business.

However, the company continued to post strong output from its largest asset, the Kearl oil sands mine in northern Alberta, which hit a new monthly production record in June.

Due to improved reliability Imperial is switching to one turnaround a year at Kearl, cancelling maintenance planned for this fall, and raised 2021 full-year production guidance to 265,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 255,000 bpd previously.

Like its peers Imperial has been benefiting from an increase in global oil prices, although fresh lockdowns and restrictions in some parts of the world to deal with rising cases from the Delta variant of the coronavirus have dented market optimism.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Imperial Chief Executive Brad Corson told an earnings call. “We saw another quarter of increasing commodity prices, but with continued slow recovery in demand.”

Calgary-based Imperial, which is majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, said its net income fell to C$366 million ($294.16 million), or 50 Canadian cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from C$392 million, or 53 Canadian cents per share, in the previous quarter.

Downstream recorded net income was C$60 million in the second quarter, compared with net income of C$292 million in the first quarter, the company said.

Total production averaged 401,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter ended June 30, down about 7% from the first due to planned oil sands turnarounds.

Imperial’s shares were last down 3% at C$33.82 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1 = 1.2442 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Sahil Shaw in Bengaluru and Nia Williams in Calgary; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Chris Reese)

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Your Cover Letter’s Third Paragraph — Getting the Reader to Act

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If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

 

In the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, gives a shape-up or ship-out speech to a group of real estate salesmen. He turns over a blackboard on which two sets of letters are written. One set of letters is “ABC.” Blake then shouts, “A-B-C. A, always; B, be; C, closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!”

 

To shorten your job search, envision you’re looking for your next client. Finding your next client is a sales process; therefore, you need to A-B-C. When you’re in A-B-C mode, you move through an employer’s hiring process much faster than passive job seekers.

 

A-B-C isn’t only for when you’re at the interview stage, intending to close the deal (obtaining a job offer). To get your network to inform you of job opportunities, get past gatekeepers, and especially to get that covenant interview, you need to A-B-C, which is why your cover letter’s last paragraph needs to be a call to action.

 

Here are 3 examples:

 

With my 15+ years of sales management experience, I know I can quickly get up to speed as ACME Inc.’s next Sales Director. I’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding my qualifications. Next Wednesday, I’ll reach out to schedule a call to discuss my thoughts on who to raise ACME Inc.’s ROI by 25% before year-end. I look forward to speaking with you.

 

I’m inspired by Callister Inc’s success in supporting homegrown businesses. I have several ideas for marketing strategies to increase profitability among your customer base and how I can grow your reach. I look forward to the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

 

I’m looking forward to discussing my skills and my 10+ years of international hotel management experience. I’ve several suggestions I’d like to pass by you on how Grand Budapest Hotel can increase its occupancy rate, a challenge all hotels face during the current pandemic. Please contact me at (555) 916-225-5887 or mary.smitters@hotel.com any time. I’ll be in touch next Friday to follow up.

 

Your closing paragraph needs to:

 

  • Be decisive. Decisiveness projects confidence, which is not to be confused with arrogance. Confidence is a massive turn-on with employers.Before the hiring manager can feel (hiring comes down to gut feel) you can do the job, they need to feel that you feel you can do the job.
  • Write to what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you.
  • Offer a teaser. To use another movie analogy, think of Marlon Brando’s words in The Godfather, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This sets the foundation for what’ll be discussed and therefore puts you in the driver’s seat.
  • Mention you’ll follow up. (Then DO IT!)

 

The last point is a job search game-changer. Many career experts claim following up is overly aggressive. The way I see it, not following up makes you passive, which is a form of being lazy. I’m repeating myself; employers don’t hire lazy.

 

There’s been a few instances where I’ve been overwhelmed with resumes. Those who called me almost always got an interview. I can recall three times where I hired the person based on a “follow-up” phone conversation.

 

A few weeks back, a Regional Sales Director for a large pharmaceutical company told me when hiring a sales representative, he only grants interviews to those who follow up. This makes sense since sales success requires being comfortable making calls.

 

Bottom-line: Following up by phone will set you apart from your competition.

 

Of course, if the job posting says “No phone calls please.”, which is uncommon, you need to respect such instruction.

 

Regarding signing off, use any of the following:

 

  • Sincerely
  • Best regards
  • Sincere regards
  • Yours truly
  • Respectfully

 

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier column, there’s no universal hiring methodology. Don’t stress over small details, such as how to sign off. Throughout your search, focus on communicating how you’re able to bring results (value). Such focus will have you A-B-C.

 

If you’re wondering what the other set of letters Blake had written on the blackboard, they were AIDA — Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. This is what your cover letter needs to do.

 

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

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