Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci believes the average American could realistically have a coronavirus vaccine by April, he said yesterday. “That will likely be within the first quarter of 2021 by let’s say April of 2021,” Fauci told CBS Evening News. This predicted timeline seems to fit with President Trump’s claim that vaccines are coming “very soon.” Fauci added that the public getting access to COVID19 vaccines by April was the best case scenario. “That would be predicated by the fact that all of the vaccines that are in clinical trials have proven to be safe and effective,” he added. As of now, trials for three experimental vaccines – made by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Inovio – are paused due to potential safety issues, although experts say these holds are not necessarily cause for concern.
Photo Credit: The Today Show – YouTube
More Changes Could be Coming to Gyms and Health Facilities – Full COVID19 Update
Ontario is considering changing the safety protocols surrounding gyms following a COVID19 outbreak at a cycling studio that followed all public health guidelines. Ontario’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the outbreak at SPINCO in Hamilton is concerning. There are still 69 cases linked to the outbreak even though SPINCO says it has been following all procedures set in place by public health. Yaffe says the outbreak has prompted a review of the guidelines around fitness centres.
Here is yesterday’s news conference from Premier Ford:
Yesterday Ontario announced 721 new COVID19 infections after 32,200 tests were done. There were 783 newly resolved cases which decreases the number of active cases in the Province. Once again, Toronto and Peel Region lead the way with new infections. There were 270 new cases in Toronto, 170 new cases in Peel and 79 cases in York Region. The number of hospitalizations, ICU patients and ventilator patients all increased slightly. There were no new deaths reported.
Ontario is reporting 721 cases of #COVID19 as over 32,200 tests were completed. Locally, there are 270 new cases in Toronto, 170 new cases in Peel and 79 in York Region. There are 783 more resolved cases.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) October 14, 2020
With the Canada-U-S border still closed because of the COVID19 pandemic, Statistics Canada says the number of American travellers coming into Canada by car dropped 94 per cent from the same time last year. The agency says the number of Canadians returning to the country in September was down 93 per cent.
— Canada Border Services Agency (@CanBorder) October 10, 2020
Ontario is Hiring More Contact Tracers:
The province says it’s hired 100 new contact tracers with up to 500 more expected to be hired by mid-November. Premier Ford says contact tracing is an essential weapon in efforts to contain the spread of COVID19 and flatten the curve of the second wave. The province says the new hires will bring case and contact management staff across all public health units to more than 3,300, up from about 1,500 in the spring. An additional 150 staff will be provided to the Ottawa area and over 200 in Toronto — two of the three regions where new restrictions were imposed last week due to spiking cases.
Many Court Proceedings Now on Hold:
All in-person appearances set to take place in locally run provincial-offences court have been adjourned to January 22nd of next year. The same goes for appeals under the Provincial Offences Act. Courts will continue to hear non-trial proceedings in these cases, such as guilty pleas and withdrawals, remotely. And as of next week, the Ontario Court of Justice will also hear closing and sentencing submissions, and deliver sentences remotely. The province says the changes are meant to keep people safe as the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic takes hold.
Quebec health authorities reported 1,203 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, including 359 cases between October 10th to 12th that weren’t previously reported because of a technical problem. Ontario announced 721 new COVID19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 61,413. Mean time, Manitoba is seeing a continuing spike of COVID19 cases in Winnipeg, amid two weeks of tightened restrictions in the capital city. The province said there were 146 new COVID19 cases, and two more deaths — both in Winnipeg.
Yesterday, @GovCanHealth received an application for a #COVID19 vaccine candidate from Moderna, the third application in Canada. My department works with manufacturers to review their applications and ensure vaccines are safe and effective.
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) October 14, 2020
Seniors Could Lose Their Benefits:
Ottawa says as many as 63,000 seniors are at risk of losing their guaranteed income supplement in January because they have yet to file their taxes. Tax returns are how the government determines eligibility and the value of payments like the GIS, which goes to low-income seniors. About 73,000 people had their payments halted last year because of late returns.
Westjet is Cutting a Ton of Flights to Atlantic Canada:
WestJet says it has worked to keep essential air service going since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, but demand for travel is being severely limited by restrictive policies. The airline announced this morning it is indefinitely suspending operations to Charlottetown, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick and between Toronto and Quebec City. It is also significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s, Newfoundland. WestJet says the suspension eliminates more than 100 weekly flights starting November 2nd.
Effective November 2, we will be suspending our operations to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City while significantly reducing service to Halifax and St. John’s. This is a result of the impact of domestic quarantines, and continued decrease in demand. pic.twitter.com/78sr9PSz3v
— WestJet (@WestJet) October 14, 2020
New Measures to Protect Long Term Care Residents:
Residents of long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa will only be able to go out for medical or compassionate reasons starting Friday. The province says it’s barring social or personal outings in those regions to help keep long-term care residents safe as COVID19 cases surge. Those wanting to visit loved ones in a home are urged to call ahead to make sure the facility is free of outbreaks and confirm visiting policies and restrictions. The province says measures regarding long-term care will be updated as the COVID19 pandemic evolves.
Two York Region Schools Shut Down:
Two schools north of Toronto have been shut down and students moved to online learning after health officials say they confirmed COVID19 transmission between students. The York Catholic District School Board says Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in King City and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge are closed until the 26th. A York Region spokesman says that there have been eight confirmed cases associated with Our Lady of Fatima so far and another five confirmed cases and one probable case associated with Holy Name. While public health officials initially thought the cases at Our Lady of Fatima weren’t related to each other, the spokesman says an investigation uncovered some links. He says some of the cases at Holy Name involved people who were exposed to the virus at school.
Barron Trump Also Had COVID19:
Melania Trump says her and the president’s 14-year-old son, Barron, tested positive for COVID19 not long after his parents. But he had no symptoms and has since tested negative. She made the revelation in a lengthy note chronicling her personal experience with COVID19. The first lady says she was hit with a roller coaster of symptoms, including body aches and headaches, but treated them naturally with vitamins and healthy food.
To all who have reached out – thank you. Here is my personal experience with COVID-19 :https://t.co/XUysq0KVaY
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 14, 2020
Tons of Washington Infections Linked to Restaurants and Bars:
Officials in Washington, DC are warning residents not to relax their COVID19 precautions as the local infection numbers rise and the winter flu season approaches. More than 20 per cent of new cases are people who had been to a restaurant or bar in the preceding two weeks. Nearly a quarter had attended some sort of social event, according to contact tracing interviews.
Low Demand for Rooms Leads to Changes in Vegas:
One of the most exclusive resorts on the Las Vegas Strip is drastically reducing its operating hours due to low demand for rooms during the coronavirus pandemic. The Encore at Wynn Las Vegas announced the change on Tuesday, saying that it will operate on a five-day, four-night schedule beginning on October 19 and continuing until consumer demand increases. Guests at the five-star hotel – where room prices have fallen from a pre-pandemic average of $350 per night to around $169 – will be able to check in beginning at 2pm on Thursdays, and final check out will be noon on Mondays.
Canadians Are Shopping Online:
The COVID19 pandemic has Canadians spending more time and money online. Statistics Canada says a survey conducted last month found that 44 per cent of Canadians had dropped more money on technology, including computers, laptops and tablets, and 42 per cent had sprung for more video streaming services. The survey also found about a third of Canadians say they’ve received attempted identity-theft attacks and 14 per cent reported at least one attack related to COVID19 test results, a potential cure for the virus or about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Loans Going to Poorer Countries:
The World Bank says it’s not just the planet’s wealthiest countries that need access to safe and effective COVID19 vaccines. The bank has approved $12-billion dollars in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute vaccines, tests, and treatments. It’s part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160-billion-dollars to help developing countries fight the pandemic, and support the vaccination of up to one-billion people. Researchers are working on developing more than 170 potential COVID19 vaccines, but the world’s richest countries have already locked up most of the potential global supply through 2021.
COVID Has Caused Many Canadians to Reconsider Their Retirement Plans:
COVID19 outbreaks in long-term care homes across the country have prompted many Canadians to adjust their plans when it comes to where they will live as they age. An online survey by the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto’s Ryerson University finds that since the start of the pandemic, 60 per cent of respondents have changed their minds on whether they would arrange for themselves or an older loved one to live in a nursing or retirement home. Ninety-one per cent of respondents said they would try live independently in their own home for as long as possible.
Loneliness is Taking It’s Toll on Canadians:
A new study finds loneliness is taking a toll on the mental health of Canadians during the COVID19 pandemic. Last month’s mental health index by Morneau Shepell was down 10.2 points from its pre-2020 benchmark, continuing a trend seen in August and July. The index found people who identified loneliness as a concern during the pandemic had the lowest mental health score at minus 25.8. That was even lower than the score of minus 17.7 for those who cited a fear of dying from COVID19 as a worry.
Skate Canada Event Cancelled:
Some of the best figure skaters in the world will not be coming to Ottawa at the end of this month. Skate Canada International has been cancelled because of rising COVID19 cases in Ontario. The Grand Prix event was scheduled for October 30th and 31st in the nation’s capital, with no spectators but broadcast on television. Skate Canada International is one of six Grand Prix events around the world that traditionally kick off the figure skating season.
Cancelled: 2020 Skate Canada Internationalhttps://t.co/EdKkkVJD2Y
— Skate Canada / Patinage Canada (@SkateCanada) October 14, 2020
Six Nations Outbreak:
An Indigenous community in southwestern Ontario says it’s considering restoring some earlier COVID19 restrictions following a spike in cases. The Six Nations of the Grand River says there are now 14 active and 33 probable cases in the community — which it says is “in crisis.” A band council statement says the spike is associated with private gatherings, and band members travelling from event to event against public health advice. Elected chief Mark Hill says some of those people are symptomatic but not seeking testing, placing the community at a seriously heightened risk of exposure.
Ottawa Says No Trick Or Treating:
Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health is advising parents in the city not to take their children out trick or treating this Halloween. Dr. Vera Etches says the risk of going out on Halloween is the same as other events where people gather in groups. She calls it a non-essential activity and recommends families celebrate with members of their own household or dress up and share costumes virtually. Ottawa is one of three regions where new restrictions were imposed last week to try to halt the spread of COVID19.
The only thing scarier than Halloween being only 18 days away is realizing that Christmas is only 73 days away.
— Ottawa Public Health (@ottawahealth) October 13, 2020
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Region of Waterloo Public Health announced another double digit increase in COVID19 cases yesterday. There were 20 newly confirmed infections and another person in an area hospital. There are now 126 active cases in the Region. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health announced zero new cases yesterday and there are zero people in hospital right now.
Through case and contact management, we are finding more people are going out into the community when they feel ill. If you feel sick, stay home and make an appt. to be tested. This is one very important way you can help slow the spread in our community. https://t.co/Ge2WXTBY7H pic.twitter.com/jcRPwFoW2O
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) October 14, 2020
Waterloo Region Infections:
Public Health has confirmed a student at Groh Public School in Kitchener has tested positive for COVID19. The student was last in the school last Friday. All high-risk contacts have been directed to self-isolate.
Kitchener Extends Patio Season Until 2021:
The City of Kitchener is extending its patio program to at least January 1st. That will allow bar and restaurant owners the opportunity to offer food services on temporary outdoor patios city-wide and expanded sidewalk patios in the downtown core. Since the launch of the patio program earlier this year, the city says over 60 operators have extended or added temporary outdoor patios to their establishments.
NEWS: #Kitchener extends patio program to at least January 1, 2021 to support bar and restaurant operators.
— City of Kitchener (@CityKitchener) October 14, 2020
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot