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Woman roasted on social media after refusing to wear mask in Toronto hospital – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A Toronto woman who refused to wear a mask while seeking treatment at a hospital and was forced out filmed and posted the incident on social media, drawing condemnation from local officials, celebrities and thousands of others.

Letitia Montana said she went to St. Joseph’s Hospital with her son on July 4 for a “suspected broken finger.”

“You’re making me wear a mask otherwise you are going to deny me service,” she is heard saying in the video filmed at the front counter of the emergency room.

“Yes, we’re asking you to wear a mask,” a nurse replies.

The video does not show Montana being escorted out of the emergency room.

It has since been viewed more than four million times.

Non-medical mask use has been encouraged by health officials across North America, and became mandatory in all indoor, public spaces in Toronto on Tuesday, as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

A growing body of research has shown that mask use can reduce the emission of respiratory droplets that carry the virus, reducing the risk for people who cannot remain apart from infecting each other if both are masked.

It has also spurred backlash from some, including Montana, who say they lead to other health problems and their use was mandated as a form of political control.

Most on social media weren’t having any of it.

City of Toronto chief spokesperson Brad Ross warned Montana she was going to become a verb.

Councillor Michael Ford, who had to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 last month, chimed in as well, calling refusing to wear a mask selfish.

The encounter drew attention south of the border, where an even larger share of the population is up in arms against mask use due to COVID-19.

Montana said later on Twitter she stood by her decision to not don a mask in the emergency room.

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Liberty U's Falwell takes leave after social media uproar – Powell River Peak

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RICHMOND, Va. — Jerry Falwell Jr. took an indefinite leave of absence Friday as the leader of Liberty University, one of the nation’s top evangelical Christian colleges, days after apologizing for a social media post that caused an uproar even among fellow conservatives.

The private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, gave no reason for Falwell’s departure in a one-sentence announcement Friday afternoon. But it came after Falwell’s apology earlier this week for a since-deleted photo he posted online showing him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and his arm around a young woman in a similar pose.

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The statement said the executive committee of Liberty’s board of trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, met Friday and requested Falwell take leave as president and chancellor, “to which he has agreed, effective immediately.”

A high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump, Falwell has served since 2007 as president of the university founded by his evangelist father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.

He did not immediately return a call seeking comment. University spokesman Scott Lamb said he had no further comment.

In an interview this week with Lynchburg radio station WLNI, Falwell said the woman in the photo was his wife’s assistant and that the picture was taken during a “costume party” while on vacation.

“Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht,” the caption of the photo said, in part. “I promise that’s just black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”

He said the woman — who also had her midriff exposed — was pregnant, couldn’t get her pants zipped and he imitated her, saying it was all in “good fun.”

“I’ve apologized to everybody, and I’ve promised my kids … I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” he told the interviewer.

On Thursday, Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, a pastor who previously taught at Liberty, called Falwell’s behaviour “appalling” and said he should resign.

Besides Walker, some pastors who graduated from Liberty spoke out this week calling for a change in leadership at the school. Mark Davis, a Texas-based pastor, tweeted that “the name of Christ and the reputation of Liberty will continue to be dishonoured” without action against Falwell by the board. Colby Garman, a pastor who has served on the executive board of the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, tweeted Monday that it was “bewildering” to see Falwell maintain the board’s support. He responded to Friday’s news with appreciation.

“How is this Jerry Falwell Jr. photo even real?” tweeted conservative TV personality Meghan McCain, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “Also if you’re running the largest Christian university in America maybe don’t put photos of yourself on social media with your pants undone on a yacht — with random women in bad wigs. So gross, so hypocritical.”

The late Falwell founded Liberty in 1971 with just 154 students. Under the leadership of Falwell Jr., who is an attorney and not a minister, Liberty has grown into a leading evangelical university, with an immaculate campus and a significant endowment. Students must follow a strict code of conduct that includes modest dress and a ban on alcohol consumption.

In recent years, Liberty has served as a regular speaking spot for ambitious Republicans courting the young evangelical vote. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz kicked off a presidential campaign there in 2015.

Falwell was among the earliest Christian conservatives to endorse Trump’s previous election campaign. In late 2016 he told The Associated Press that Trump had offered him the job of education secretary but that he turned it down for personal reasons.

The vacation photo was the most recent in a string of controversies dogging Falwell in recent years, in both his role at Liberty and his personal life.

Last year, he settled a federal lawsuit in Florida over a real estate venture that involved a young Miami pool attendant, a case that drew national attention.

He more recently sparred with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and local officials in Lynchburg over his handling of coronavirus restrictions. He also faced stinging criticism from a group of Black alumni who said in a letter that he should step down after he mocked Virginia’s mask-wearing requirement in a tweet by invoking a blackface scandal that engulfed Northam last year. Several Black Liberty staff members resigned following the tweet, and several high-profile Black student-athletes announced transfer plans.

On Friday, Pastors Chris Williamson, Eric Carroll, and Maina Mwaura, who organized the June letter, issued a statement applauding the board’s decision.

“Liberty University deeply impacted us as students and we hope that its leadership can return to a focus of training ‘young champions for Christ’ with Biblical conviction for the Gospel and justice,” the statement said.

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Associated Press writers Alan Suderman and Elana Schor contributed to this report.

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Liberty U's Falwell takes leave after social media uproar – The Tri-City News

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RICHMOND, Va. — Jerry Falwell Jr. agreed Friday to take an indefinite leave of absence as the leader of Liberty University, one of the nation’s top evangelical Christian colleges, days after apologizing for a social media post that caused an uproar even among fellow conservatives.

The private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, gave no reason for Falwell’s departure in a one-sentence announcement late Friday afternoon. But it came after Falwell’s apology earlier this week for a since-deleted photo he posted online that showed him with his pants unzipped, stomach exposed and his arm around a young woman in a similar pose.

article continues below

The statement said the Executive Committee of Liberty’s board of trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, met Friday and requested that Falwell take leave as president and chancellor, “to which he has agreed, effective immediately.”

An early and high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump, Falwell has served since 2007 as president of the university founded by his evangelist father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.

He did not immediately return a call seeking comment. University spokesman Scott Lamb said he had no further comment.

In an interview this week with Lynchburg radio station WLNI, Falwell said the woman in the photo was his wife’s assistant and that the picture had been taken during a “costume party” while on vacation.

“Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht,” the caption of the photo said, in part. “I promise that’s just black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”

He said the woman — who also had her midriff exposed — was pregnant, couldn’t get her pants zipped and he imitated her, saying it was all in “good fun.”

“I’ve apologized to everybody, and I’ve promised my kids … I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out,” he said in the interview.

On Thursday, Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, a pastor who has previously taught at Liberty, called Falwell’s behaviour “appalling” and said he should resign.

In addition to Walker, some pastors who graduated from Liberty spoke out earlier this week calling for a change in leadership at the school. Mark Davis, a Texas-based pastor, tweeted that “the name of Christ and the reputation of Liberty will continue to be dishonoured” without action against Falwell by the board. Colby Garman, a pastor who has served on the executive board of the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, tweeted on Monday that it was “bewildering” to see Falwell maintain the board of trustees’ support. He responded to Friday’s news with appreciation.

“How is this Jerry Falwell Jr. photo even real?” tweeted conservative TV personality Meghan McCain, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “Also if you’re running the largest Christian university in America maybe don’t put photos of yourself on social media with your pants undone on a yacht — with random women in bad wigs. So gross, so hypocritical.”

The late Falwell founded Liberty in 1971 with just 154 students. Under the leadership of Falwell Jr., who is an attorney and not a minister, Liberty has grown into a leading evangelical university, with an immaculate campus and a significant endowment. Students must follow a strict code of conduct that includes modest dress and a ban on alcohol consumption.

In recent years, Liberty has served as a regular speaking spot for ambitious Republicans looking to court the young evangelical vote. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz kicked off a presidential campaign there in 2015.

Falwell was among the earliest Christian conservatives to endorse Trump’s previous election campaign. In late 2016 he told The Associated Press that Trump had offered him the job of education secretary but that he turned it down for personal reasons.

The vacation photo was the most recent in a string of controversies Falwell has faced in recent years, in both his role at Liberty and his personal life.

Last year, he settled a federal lawsuit in Florida over a real estate venture that involved a young Miami pool attendant, a case that drew national attention.

He more recently sparred with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and local officials in Lynchburg over his handling of coronavirus restrictions. He also faced stinging criticism from a group of Black alumni who said he should step down after he mocked Virginia’s mask-wearing requirement in a tweet by invoking a blackface scandal that engulfed Northam last year. He later apologized.

___

Associated Press writers Alan Suderman and Elana Schor contributed to this report.

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Four in 10 Sarnia-Lambton residents believe media exaggerating COVID-19: survey – Sarnia Observer

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Nearly 90 per cent of Sarnia-Lambton residents surveyed about the effects of COVID-19 are taking preventative safety measures such as physical distancing seriously, but a large segment – about 40 per cent – also believe the media is exaggerating the extent of the outbreak.

Lambton Public Health’s main office in Point Edward is shown in this file photo.

File photo / The Observer

Nearly 90 per cent of Sarnia-Lambton residents surveyed about the effects of COVID-19 are taking preventative safety measures such as physical distancing seriously, but a large segment – about 44 per cent – also believe the media is exaggerating the extent of the outbreak.

An official from Lambton public health, the agency overseeing one of the regions that’s been hardest hit by the pandemic on a per-capita basis, said this attitude could be concerning.

“While we have seen good adherence to public-health measures overall and this has helped to limit community spread in the past couple months, the sustainability of this is a concern if people don’t take it seriously,” Crystal Palleschi, a health protection supervisor, wrote Friday in an email.

When asked during the survey if the media had exaggerated the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, 17 per cent of respondents said they “strongly agree” while another 27 per cent indicated they “somewhat agree.” Men, at 49 per cent, and younger adults aged 18 to 35, at 52 per cent, were more inclined to agree, the survey suggested.

The results of the survey, commissioned by Lambton public health and conducted by market research firm Ipsos between May and June, were released Thursday. Officials said it suggested the majority of residents have followed public-health guidelines, but many have also experienced negative emotional, social and financial impacts because of the pandemic.

A total of 800 residents of Lambton County were surveyed between May 21 and June 10 using landlines and cellphones. The margin of error associated with sample size of 800 is plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, wasn’t available Friday but in a statement said, “the results provide greater insight into the key challenges being faced and the strengths our community has demonstrated in response to COVID-19.”

Some key findings health officials pointed to include certain people, such as the unemployed, workers making lower wages or those with poor mental health, are more vulnerable to the pandemic’s negative impacts. One in four participants stated their mental health has changed or worsened since the virus arrived locally.

“Certainly mental health was a concern before the pandemic, so the added pressures it places on many individuals continues to be a concern,” Palleschi said.

While 90 per cent of people were adhering to physical distancing and avoiding large social gatherings at the time of the survey, it also suggested about 40 per cent were eager to return to their pre-pandemic lifestyle.

“So the sustainability of that high level of adherence is the question,” Palleschi said. “As we reopen, it’s still important to physically distance, to limit your social circle and to wear a mask where required or you are unable to physically distance.”

Sarnia has mandated masks for indoor public settings through a bylaw and Petrolia is considering the same, but it’s only encouraged and not compulsory throughout the rest of Lambton County.

As of Friday afternoon, the local caseload remained steady at 319, with 17 of them active. Following a surge of 15 new cases one week earlier and a couple more over the long weekend, there hasn’t been a positive test in several days.

A total of 277 cases were resolved and 25 people have died, but none since June. About 1.7 per cent of the 18,485 tests have come back positive.

Bluewater Health, with hospitals in Sarnia and Petrolia, hasn’t had a COVID-19 patient in about two months.

@ObserverTerry

tbridge@postmedia.com

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