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Will we be wearing masks forever? Here's what experts think – Yahoo News Canada

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We’re now more than six months into the global pandemic, and it’s starting to feel like this bizarre version of normal might be here for a while. But, while many biopharmaceutical companies continue to work on making a safe and effective vaccine to protect against COVID-19, new comments from several prominent public health officials suggest that mask-wearing may be here to stay.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that face masks may be more protective than a vaccine. “We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” he said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”” data-reactid=”17″>Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that face masks may be more protective than a vaccine. “We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” he said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told Business Insider that “a combination of an effective vaccine&nbsp;and&nbsp;adherence to certain public health principles will get us to the point where we want to be, by the end of 2021.”” data-reactid=”18″>Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told Business Insider that “a combination of an effective vaccine and adherence to certain public health principles will get us to the point where we want to be, by the end of 2021.”

“I never said just the vaccine,” he continued. “You never should abandon the public health measures. And the intensity of the public health measures would depend on the level of infection in the community.” If there’s little to no spread of COVID-19 in any given community, then, Fauci says, “together with the vaccine, you might want to be able to say, ‘I can safely congregate with people.’ You may want to do it with a mask, or without a mask.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in June also found that regions in the world where people more commonly used face masks had milder COVID-19 epidemics. The authors specifically cited Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, among other countries, as having good mask usage and lower rates.” data-reactid=”20″>Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in June also found that regions in the world where people more commonly used face masks had milder COVID-19 epidemics. The authors specifically cited Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, among other countries, as having good mask usage and lower rates.

“These results suggest that early public interest with face mask may be an independently important factor in controlling the COVID-19 epidemic on a population scale,” the researchers wrote.

All this raises a huge question: Are face masks here to stay? Experts say they just might be.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life that he’s thought about this “a lot” lately, and there are a few reasons why he thinks masks have staying power.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Most of us think that a COVID-19 vaccine will be a good — but not perfect — vaccine,” he says. If a COVID-19 vaccine is 70 percent effective, which is more effective than the flu vaccine has been in recent years, “that means for every 10 people vaccinated, three will remain as susceptible as they were before they were vaccinated,” Schaffner says. “That means the only way they can be protected and the only way we can protect them is to keep wearing masks,” he adds.&nbsp;&nbsp;” data-reactid=”24″>“Most of us think that a COVID-19 vaccine will be a good — but not perfect — vaccine,” he says. If a COVID-19 vaccine is 70 percent effective, which is more effective than the flu vaccine has been in recent years, “that means for every 10 people vaccinated, three will remain as susceptible as they were before they were vaccinated,” Schaffner says. “That means the only way they can be protected and the only way we can protect them is to keep wearing masks,” he adds.  

Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, agrees. “A COVID-19 vaccine is likely not going to provide sterilizing immunity the way the measles vaccine does,” he tells Yahoo Life. “We’re going to still need to take protective measures for some time period, potentially until a second-generation vaccine is developed.”

Getting the population fully vaccinated once a vaccine is developed will also take some time and, with that, mask-wearing may become more ingrained in our culture, Adalja says.

Even once a vaccine is widely disseminated, it’s expected that some people won’t get it — and that could allow the virus to continue to spread. “The only logical thing is we will have to continue wearing masks and social distancing for quite some time,” Schaffner says.

Data has also shown that wearing masks could help affect the spread of other respiratory viruses, such as the flu. “In the Southern Hemisphere, there were very low flu rates this season — their winter — which have been partially attributed to the lockdowns and other measures,” Dr. David Cennimo, assistant professor of medicine-pediatrics infectious disease at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, tells Yahoo Life. “So, why wouldn’t we keep using masks, at least in the winter?”

Cennimo says masks may be a good option in the future for high-risk settings and settings with close contact “even after COVID-19 has died down.” Masks could also help prevent the spread of the common cold, rhinoviruses and the flu “just the same” as COVID-19, since they’re transmitted similarly, he says. 

Schaffner says that masks may eventually become more common in the U.S., similarly to how they’re used in Eastern countries. “Perhaps we are moving more toward what’s happened for years in countries in the East where, during cold and flu season, many people wear masks to protect themselves and others,” he says. “Masks may simply become part of life.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”44″>For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more from Yahoo Life” data-reactid=”59″>Read more from Yahoo Life

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox?&nbsp;Sign up here&nbsp;for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.” data-reactid=”64″>Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.

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Cenovus-Husky deal to result in upward of 2150 layoffs – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Officials with Cenovus Energy confirm the acquisition of Husky Energy will result in the elimination of between 20 and 25 per cent of the staff of the combined company.

Together, the companies currently have 8,600 employees and contractors, which means between 1,720 and 2,150 layoffs are planned.

According to Cenovus, the majority of the staffing cuts will occur in Calgary.

Cenovus announced it had purchased Husky on the weekend through a $3.8 billion share transaction. The deal is expected to be finalized in 2021.

Following the announcement of planned cuts at the combine company, Energy Minister Sonya Savage says there’s still reason for optimism regarding Alberta’s energy sector.

“Those who wish to see Canada’s energy sector shut down entirely will no doubt opportunistically seize upon today’s news,” said Savage in a statement. “But projections show continued global demand for fossil fuels well into the future. We believe that Canada should not cede that market to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

“As companies across the globe navigate unprecedented economic times, job restructurings are an unfortunate reality of weathering the storm. 

“As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Government focused on ensuring that the oil and gas sector is in a strong position for recovery, while also diversifying the economy to create new jobs.”

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'Already struggling' Calgary downtown core will be hit hard by job cuts from Cenovus-Husky merger – National Post

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Article content continued

“It’s an unfortunate thing, because, the timing being such, the pandemic has affected everyone in Calgary and certainly in Alberta,” Ball said. “For non-profits it means there’s been an increase in the demands for their services.”

It’s especially acute for the cultural non-profits, most of which are based downtown, she said.

“Of course people working downtown creates a vibrancy 5 to 7 and 7 beyond for bars and restaurants and also live in-person events and so the arts sector is tied to, in some ways, the vitality of the downtown core.”

Still, in spite of the doom and gloom, there are bright spots: On Monday, Suncor announced it would be relocating employees at its branch offices in the Toronto area to Calgary, essentially bringing 700 positions to Calgary.

“Yesterday, Suncor’s leadership spoke with our Downstream employees and let them know that over the course of 2021, we’d be moving our Downstream head office from Mississauga and Oakville to Calgary,” Suncor spokesperson Sneh Seetal said in an email.

Nenshi said that Suncor moving people to the city is good news, evidence of the city’s appealing real-estate market, compared to overheated business markets such as Toronto, something he hopes will bring even more business to the city.

“That’s really the pitch that we’re making to a lot of firms,” said Nenshi.

Woolley, for his part, also remains optimistic: “There is hope, I am a hopeful, optimistic Calgarian, I believe in our city, but it really does speak to the importance of us taking a look at economic diversification,” said Woolley.

With files from Geoffrey Morgan

• Email: tdawson@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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UPDATE: 17 New COVID-19 Cases in Windsor-Essex – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19 in our region.

Of the new cases, 12 are considered close contacts of confirmed cases. Further breaking that down, the health unit says nine of the 12 are household contacts of a confirmed case from the same household. Two other unrelated cases are close contacts of cases that visited from another jurisdiction and one case is a household contact from a different household.

According to the WECHU, the two households are not related to each other at this time.

Of the five remaining cases, three are community acquired and two are still being investigated.

There are still 44 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex as well as outbreaks at two workplaces, one in the construction sector in Lakeshore and the food and beverage industry in Kingsville.

The health unit is not reporting any outbreaks at local schools, long-term care or retirement homes.

Meanwhile, the provincial government is reporting 827 cases of COVID-19.  355 new cases are in Toronto, 169 in Peel, 89 in York Region and 58 in Ottawa.

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