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Yen rises, yuan falls after China's Hubei reports sharp rise in virus cases – Reuters Canada

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The euro dropped to more than two-year lows against the dollar on Thursday as concerns about a sharp rise in the number of new cases in the coronavirus outbreak in China led investors to seek out U.S. assets.

FILE PHOTO: Pound and euro banknotes are seen in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The United States is better placed to weather the economic impact of the virus than the eurozone.

The coronavirus death toll in China’s Hubei province increased by a record 242 on Thursday to 1,310, with a sharp rise in confirmed cases after the adoption of new methodology for diagnosis, health officials said.

“Europe, and Germany in particular, have very strong trade linkages to Asian markets, and specifically with China,” said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities in New York. “Coming into the year, expectations were for a moderate growth rebound. While it did seem reasonable at the time, the disruptions are going to delay that narrative.”

The euro EUR= dropped as low as $1.0835, the lowest since May 2017. It breached technical support at the October low of $1.0877 on Wednesday. That leaves the currency vulnerable to further losses, analysts said.

The single currency also fell against the safe haven Swiss franc EURCHF= to 1.0610 francs, its lowest level since August 2015.

The Japanese yen JPY= gained against the dollar to 109.78 yen.

The greenback has benefited against the euro from a popular carry trade, where investors borrow in low-yielding currencies such as the euro and invest in dollars or other higher-yielding currencies.

Expectations that central banks will hold rates low, and may provide more accommodation if the coronavirus harms the global economy, is supporting risk appetite and may reduce the likelihood of a sharp selloff in stocks.

“The perspective is that rates will remain low, and that is cushioning some of the downside on the equity side,” Issa said.

Stocks overcame earlier weakness to hit record highs on Thursday. They have set a record closing high every day this week.

U.S. data on Thursday showed that U.S. underlying consumer prices picked up in January as households paid more for rents and clothing, supporting the Federal Reserve’s contention that inflation would gradually rise toward its 2% target.

Editing by Will Dunham

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Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

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TORONTO — The Canadian Medical Association says doctors still face hurdles getting personal protective equipment and fear they won’t be able to adequately respond to increased demands for the flu shot.

With COVID-19 cases surging to new highs in parts of Canada, the CMA is calling for government action to bolster the health system so that it can handle the possibility of a devastating “twin epidemic.”

“There’s going to be an increased demand for PPE, probably over and above what the demand was at the beginning of the pandemic,” CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said Tuesday from Fredericton, pointing to the reopening of businesses and schools as compounding pressures.

“It is an issue for protection for frontline workers.”

A CMA survey conducted Aug. 19 to 24 found more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents worried influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system.

Of the 598 doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.

The survey also found 54 per cent of respondents still faced challenges trying to acquire personal protective equipment.

Collins said that includes surgical masks, gowns, gloves and shields needed for routine doctor visits. She says that was already an issue back in August, before the current spike in cases, demand for COVID-19 testing and school openings.

“There were areas in the country where community based physicians were having challenges accessing PPE — they either couldn’t get it, it was not a sure-thing that when they ordered it they were going to get it, (or) that they would get it on time,” said Collins, who notes she had trouble supplying her own family practice back in the spring.

The survey found 68 per cent of doctors said they worried suppliers wouldn’t have enough PPE, 62 per cent expected orders to be delayed, and more than half worried global demand will hinder supply.

Nevertheless, three quarters believed the health-care system was better prepared with COVID-19 resurgences than during the first wave.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday it was preparing for the potential of simultaneous outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.

The agency said provincial and territorial governments have ordered more than 13 million doses of vaccine — an increase from last season’s order of 11.2 million doses.

Collins says the CMA has been assured by public health officials there will be enough doses to meet demand but says they cannot predict what the uptake will be. Still, they encourage all Canadians to get the vaccine.

Each province and territorial government decides how much to purchase for their populations, where they are distributed and when to begin the rollout.

While this varies, many start their vaccination programs in October or early November.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford stressed multiple investments to bolster the health system as it attempts to address a backlog of surgeries while grappling with COVID-19 and the coming flu season.

“We put a billion dollars into testing and tracing, which is absolutely imperative. We also have the immunization program for the flu vaccine which is 5.1 million doses. That is the largest ever in Canadian history,” Ford said.

While virtual care has reduced in-person appointments, Collins said doctors still need to see some patients face-to-face.

In addition to PPE, she said each visit requires cleaning supplies to sanitize between visits and time and staff to do that work. Collins said that all costs money.

“Doctors need to know … that there’s a concerted effort to co-ordinate (resources) amongst those different bodies and to communicate clearly to physicians what is available and to support those physicians,” she said.

“There are people with all kinds of other health-care conditions that need to be seen, they need to be assessed. And so there needs to be protection for them, protection for the doctor seeing them.

“Because COVID is among us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 2020092912098-5f735c422abff6c972be8b91jpeg.jpg, Caption: A man wears a face mask as he waits outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, September 27, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. A new survey finds many doctors fear they won’t have enough of the flu vaccine to meet demand.

The Canadian Medical Association says more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents say they worry influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system. Of those who offer the flu vaccine, half say they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

–>

Source:- Cochrane Today

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Up to Half a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine, Warn Conservationists

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Squalene, an organic compound harvested from shark livers, is used in a variety of areas, including pharmacology. It is the main ingredient in adjuvants, which are used to improve immune system responses to vaccines. Squalene-based adjuvants are currently used in vaccines to prevent different strains of influenza and coronaviruses.

Up to 500,000 sharks could be killed in order to produce a coronavirus vaccine, warned Shark Allies, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to restoring and preserving the shark population. The group’s estimates suggest that in order to vaccinate the world’s population with one inoculation for COVID-19, around 250,000 sharks would need to be killed. Given that previous studies said people would need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to develop an immune response, means that half a million of sharks could be killed to rid humanity of COVID-19.

Greedy Pharma

Shark Allies notes that many shark species, such as the gulper shark and basking shark have been classified as vulnerable, meaning their populations are decreasing. The group notes that the use of squalene harvested from sharks, could result in a disaster, with some species becoming endangered or even going extinct.

“Harvesting something from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable, especially if it’s a top predator that doesn’t reproduce in huge numbers”, said Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of Shark Allies.

The conservationist group says that squalene could also be produced from plants, but that process is approximately 30 percent more expensive than harvesting squalene from sharks.

“One of the reasons shark squalene is cheaper is because of the ease of extraction of squalene from the shark. Squalene with a purity of >98% is obtained directly from the liver oil of a shark after a single distillation phase in a vacuum at temperatures of 200-230 degrees Celsius. This process takes only 10 hours whereas nearly 70 hours of processing are required to obtain olive oil squalene with a purity higher than 92%. The purity of non-shark-derived squalene, however, can be comparable to that of shark squalene”, Shark Allies wrote in their petition addressed to various agencies in Britain, the European Union, and the United States and signed by more than 11,000 people.

The group notes that it is in no way asking pharmaceutical companies to slow down the process of producing a COVID-19 vaccine, but merely asks them to use non-animal derived squalene.

Source:- Sputnik International

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Doctors fear flu shot, PPE supply will lag: survey

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Nevertheless, three quarters believed the health-care system was better prepared with COVID-19 resurgences than during the first wave.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday it was preparing for the potential of simultaneous outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.

The agency said provincial and territorial governments have ordered more than 13 million doses of vaccine — an increase from last season’s order of 11.2 million doses.


Collins says the CMA has been assured by public health officials there will be enough doses to meet demand but says they cannot predict what the uptake will be. Still, they encourage all Canadians to get the vaccine.

Each province and territorial government decides how much to purchase for their populations, where they are distributed and when to begin the rollout.

While this varies, many start their vaccination programs in October or early November.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford stressed multiple investments to bolster the health system as it attempts to address a backlog of surgeries while grappling with COVID-19 and the coming flu season.

“We put a billion dollars into testing and tracing, which is absolutely imperative. We also have the immunization program for the flu vaccine which is 5.1 million doses. That is the largest ever in Canadian history,” Ford said.

While virtual care has reduced in-person appointments, Collins said doctors still need to see some patients face-to-face.

In addition to PPE, she said each visit requires cleaning supplies to sanitize between visits and time and staff to do that work. Collins said that all costs money.

“Doctors need to know … that there’s a concerted effort to co-ordinate (resources) amongst those different bodies and to communicate clearly to physicians what is available and to support those physicians,” she said.

“There are people with all kinds of other health-care conditions that need to be seen, they need to be assessed. And so there needs to be protection for them, protection for the doctor seeing them.

“Because COVID is among us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

By Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Source:- mississauga.com

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