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Trudeau says ‘we’re at a tipping point’ amid latest modelling data, new government benefits

Canada’s top health officials provided an update on the nation’s latest modelling data, which projects how COVID-19 will continue to spread throughout the country. 

Canada could see up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November if we maintain our current levels of contacts, according to just-released modelling data.

“We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, noting the country reported its most-ever daily cases on Thursday with 2,437 new infections.

Canada could see up to 5,000 new cases a day by late October if we don’t limit contacts

The latest modelling data by Public Health Agency of Canada shows that by Oct. 17, there could be 188,150-197,830 cases in the country, while the death toll is expected to increase to 9,690-9,800.

On Thursday — after Canada recorded its most-ever cases in a day with 2,437 — there were 175,559 total diagnoses and 9,557 deaths. Federal data projects that the country will see at least 133 additional fatalities and 12,591 more cases by Oct. 17.

“The acceleration of epidemic growth is concerning,” Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said. “The actions of individual Canadians are needed now to reverse this trend.”

Modelling data also shows that Canada may see up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November if we maintain our current levels of contacts. If Canadians decrease them by 25-35 per cent, we could see fewer than 3,000 cases a day by November, according to the data.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Tam said that the individual actions of people in some areas of the country have not been enough to decrease transmission. Therefore, such as in areas like Quebec and Ontario, additional measures have been in place, including strategic business closures in “order to put the brakes on the epidemic.”

Tam said that by acting fast and imposing restrictions, we have the best chance of limiting the spread and avoiding the public health system being overburdened.

“We are at an important juncture in the pandemic where we would very much like to see the voluntary actions of Canadians across the country be sufficient to bend the curve downward,” Tam added.

Tam, along with Trudeau and several other ministers, stressed the importance of limiting contacts this Thanksgiving weekend.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Along with the recent projections, the data showed how that across Canada trends vary, with the highest increase in cases occurring in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. In contrast, there hasn’t been a significant resurgence in cases in the Atlantic bubble, which consists of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. There also hasn’t been any community transmission in the territories.

Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada
Credit: Public Health Agency of Canada

Canada’s time-varying effective reproduction number (Rt), represents how many people are being infected by each new case. When it’s less than 1, it means that the “epidemic will die out.” However, Canada’s RT has been greater than

U.S. Government Asks Vaccine Makers To Hold Filing for Authorization Until They Have Enough Doses to Distribute

President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development
President Trump Makes Statement On Vaccine Development

Moncef Slaoui, head of the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” project to develop a coronavirus vaccine, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump deliversremarks about vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Credit – Drew Angerer—Getty Images

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its 10th month, the pressure to develop an effective vaccine, or vaccines, continues to mount. Speaking at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington Vaccine Symposium online, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed—the government organization funding and supporting development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines—provided the latest updates on when a vaccine (and how many doses) might be available in coming months.

Perhaps most strikingly, Slaoui said that the government has told vaccine manufacturers not to seek authorization of their drugs from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until they have enough doses to provide to a desperate public. “We have recommended to companies that if they achieve efficacy demonstration while no vaccine doses are available at industrial scale of several million doses to at least immunize a relevant fraction of the population, then they should refrain or consider refraining from filing an emergency use authorization, because the populations would have a major disappointment [over] expectation of the availability of the vaccine,” he said.

Emergency use authorization (EUA) is an accelerated review and authorization process by the FDA that would allow vaccine makers to distribute vaccines that are safe and effective but not fully approved by the agency.

Slaoui also supported the FDA in its recent conflict with the White House over stringent guidelines proposed by the agency for evaluating data from vaccine studies, which include a recommendation that all vaccine trial volunteers be followed for two months for any potential side effects. Vaccine makers supported the guidelines, but after initially rejecting them, arguing they would delay availability of the vaccines, the White House has accepted them.

At this point, meeting demand would not be a problem if an EUA were given to the two vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer, that are currently furthest along in testing. The companies began late-stage testing for these vaccine candidates in the summer, and Slaoui said the manufacturers have been manufacturing doses at large scale in parallel to testing. The government began stockpiling doses of these unapproved but promising vaccines “in the single digit millions” in September, and will continue to do so in October, he said, and both Moderna and Pfizer will likely have 20 to 30 million doses produced by November and December this year.

Two of the other most promising vaccines in development are from AztraZeneca and J&J, both of which are quickly enrolling participants in late stage studies outside of the U.S., and may deliver first hints of safety and effectiveness by late October or early November. However, even if those results prove positive, these companies would likely have to consider waiting until their manufacturing capabilities

Vaccine expert and whistleblower Rick Bright resigns from federal government

Vaccine expert and whistleblower Rick Bright on Tuesday resigned from the federal government, his attorneys announced in a statement. Earlier this year, Bright was removed from a top position at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bright, a high-ranking scientist, has said the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been slow and chaotic, prioritizing politics over science. Bright earlier this year filed a whistleblower complaint running over 300 pages.

Now, Bright has submitted his resignation to the National Institutes of Health effective immediately and has filed an updated complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging constructive discharge based on the failure of NIH leadership to assign him meaningful work, according to Bright’s lawyers.

“Dr. Bright was forced to leave his position at NIH because he can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists, resulting the in the sickness and death of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” his attorneys, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, said in a statement.

“After having his work suppressed for political reasons to the detriment of public health and safety, Dr. Bright was sidelined from doing any further work to combat this deadly virus,” their statement continued. “This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. He can no longer countenance working for an administration that puts politics over science to the great detriment of the American people.”

Before his transfer, Bright led the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which oversees vaccine development. Bright told CBS News earlier this year that his sense of urgency in the early days of coronavirus was not shared by all.

“I believe my concerns were shared by other scientists in the government. And I believe the NIH was also moving very quickly to start some research in developing a vaccine and starting a clinical trial for an antiviral drug,” he said. “What struck me though was my sense of urgency didn’t seem to prevail across all of HHS.”

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HHS whistleblower Rick Bright resigns from government

Rick Bright, the federal vaccine chief-turned-whistleblower who was reassigned to a different agency and subsequently criticized the Trump administration’s pandemic response, has left the federal government, Bright’s lawyers announced on Tuesday.

“Dr. Bright was forced to leave his position at NIH because he can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists, resulting the [sic.] in the sickness and death of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement.

HHS declined comment.

“We can confirm that Dr. Bright has resigned, effective today,” an NIH spokesperson said, adding that the agency “does not discuss personnel issues beyond confirming employment.”

Bright was abruptly removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April and reassigned to NIH, and he alleges that he was demoted because he opposed political pressure linked to an unproven Covid-19 treatment. In his updated filing with the Office of Special Counsel, Bright said that he was assigned “no meaningful work” at NIH since Sept. 4, further alleging that NIH Director Francis Collins “declined to support” his recommendations about coronavirus testing “because of political considerations.”

Bright testified to a House panel in May that he was punished by Health and Human Services Department leaders for raising concerns about hydroxychloroquine, the drug favored by President Donald Trump to treat the coronavirus despite scant evidence. Bright also used the hearing and other media appearances to speak out against the administration’s handling of the pandemic, saying that HHS had missed opportunities to prepare for the spread of Covid-19 and raising further charges of cronyism.

Bright appears in an upcoming documentary, “Totally Under Control,” which faults the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak and is set to be released next week. The New York Times first reported Bright’s resignation.

HHS has spent months rebuffing Bright’s claims, saying that as vaccine chief he lacked full visibility into the administration’s efforts and noting that Bright played a key role in the government’s acquisition of hydroxychloroquine. The health department also issued a document called “CLAIM vs. REALITY” that sought to rebut Bright’s points.

Meanwhile, Trump repeatedly dismissed Bright as a “disgruntled” employee.

Other officials have subsequently echoed Bright’s criticisms of the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak, including Olivia Troye, who advised Vice President Mike Pence on the coronavirus response before leaving the White House this summer.

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Whistle-Blowing Scientist Quits Government With Final Broadside

WASHINGTON — Rick Bright, a senior vaccine scientist who said he was demoted this spring for complaining about “cronyism” and political interference in science, resigned his final government post on Tuesday, saying he had been sidelined and left with nothing to do.

In a new addendum to the whistle-blower complaint he filed in May, Dr. Bright’s lawyers say officials at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked after his demotion, rejected his idea for a national coronavirus testing strategy “because of political considerations.” He also accused them of ignoring his request to join the $10 billion effort to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed.

“I long to serve the American people by using my skills to fight this pandemic,” Dr. Bright wrote on Sept. 25 to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the institutes, noting that he had 25 years of experience in vaccine development. “The taxpayers who pay my salary deserve no less.”

Dr. Bright’s resignation from the Department of Health and Human Services comes six months after he was ousted as the chief of the department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and reassigned to a narrower job at the health institutes, which also fall under the health department. At the N.I.H, he was supposed to take the lead on developing novel point-of-care coronavirus tests. His lawyers said he did that, creating a team that awarded eight contracts to build up coronavirus testing and exhausted its budget.

But, one of his lawyers said on Tuesday, Dr. Bright “remains very concerned” about the politicization of science from the White House, especially with the arrival from Stanford’s Hoover Institution of Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a neuroradiologist without training in epidemiology or infectious diseases. Dr. Atlas’s aversion to mask wearing and his belief that “herd immunity” could stop Covid-19 have made him a favorite of President Trump’s.

During his weekly meetings with Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, it has become clear that President Trump’s new science adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, “who lacks a background in infectious disease, is ‘calling the shots’ at the White House,” Dr. Bright’s lawyers wrote.

Dr. Collins did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have previously said that they strongly disagree with Dr. Bright’s characterizations, and Mr. Trump has called Dr. Bright a “disgruntled employee” on Twitter. An N.I.H. official said on Tuesday that the agency could “confirm that Dr. Bright has resigned, effective today,” adding that it “does not discuss personnel issues beyond confirming employment.”

Dr. Bright has been given “no meaningful work” since Sept. 4, the lawyers wrote.

“Dr. Bright was forced to leave his position at N.I.H. because he can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists, resulting in the sickness and death of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” the lawyers, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, said in a

Morrison government to spend $1.6bn funding at-home care for older Australians

Video: Public sector workers ‘very frustrated’ over 0.3 per cent pay increase: Unions NSW (Sky News Australia)

Public sector workers ‘very frustrated’ over 0.3 per cent pay increase: Unions NSW

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The Morrison government says it will fund 23,000 new packages for older Australians waiting to receive at home care, at a cost of $1.6bn.



a person sitting on a bed: Photograph: Yui Mok/PA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Tuesday’s budget increases the number of approved home care packages available over the next four years in response to both the aged care royal commission and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The interim report of the royal commission found the government needed to act urgently to reduce waiting times for older Australians seeking in-home support.

For the past two years, more than 100,000 Australians have been on wait lists for approved home care packages, with tens of thousands entering residential care prematurely as a result.

Related: How much will I get from the 2020 federal budget tax cuts? More if you earn over $100,000

The government has been under pressure over its aged care response during the pandemic. There have been more than 670 deaths nationally in aged care facilities, more than 640 of those in Victoria, and older Australians have been left to languish in soiled beds and clothes without proper food and hydration.



The Australian government has announced additional funding for aged care after criticism of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.


© Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
The Australian government has announced additional funding for aged care after criticism of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The health minister, Greg Hunt, said on Tuesday there would be an extra $81m for additional staff and training, on top of $101.2m the government announced for this purpose in March.

The health budget comprises $467bn in overall spending over four years, $16.5bn of that makes up the emergency response to the pandemic.

The government says it will increase funding for hospitals by $33.6bn over the new five-year national health reform agreement and provide $5.7bn for mental health, including already announced funding to double the number if Medicare-funded psychology sessions from 10 to 20.

Related: Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s 2020 budget speech – in full

Hunt said the budget would fund the government’s ongoing response to the pandemic and “helps chart the road out”, with aged care “a particular focus”.

Total funding in aged care will be $23.9bn over the forward estimates – an increase of $2.2bn Hunt said – including the $1.6bn for home care packages.

The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said on Tuesday night that aged care was “one of the greatest challenges we face in delivering essential services to Australians”.

He said additional responses and funding would be informed by the final report from the royal commission.

“The government will provide a comprehensive response to the final recommendations following receipt of that report,” he said. “This will involve significant additional investment.”

Tuesday’s budget includes $2.3bn in announced funding for investment in Covid-19 treatments and vaccines and funding for the listing of new drugs on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, including Lynparza for women diagnosed with ovarian

Poll: More blame US government than foreign nations for coronavirus crisis

More than half of Americans blame the federal government for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a higher number than those who said they primarily blamed foreign governments such as China for the disease’s spread.

A poll conducted for the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 56 percent of respondents say the U.S. government carries “substantial” responsibility for the state of American COVID-19 outbreak, while just 47 percent said the same about leaders of foreign countries and 39 percent blamed the World Health Organization (WHO).

That comes after months of the Trump administration blaming both China’s government and the WHO for the scale of the U.S. outbreak, which has surpassed 7 million cases and more than 209,000 deaths. Top administration officials have claimed for months that the U.S. response was hampered by China’s supposed unwillingness to share data with global health experts, as well as the WHO’s alleged deference to Chinese authorities.

Blame for foreign countries and the WHO is much more popular among GOP voters, 60 percent of whom said that substantial blame is due for leaders of foreign countries including China, while 55 percent said the same about the WHO. Just 37 percent of Democrats blamed foreign countries for the U.S.’s struggles against the virus, and even less — 27 percent — blamed the WHO.

Critics of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response have pointed to a rise in violence and bigotry suffered by Asian Americans as evidence that the president and other officials’ attempts to link the virus to China has resulted in a rise in racial discrimination.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,053 U.S. adults between Sept. 11-14, before President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE‘s own diagnosis of COVID-19 was announced last week. The poll’s margin of error is 4.1 percentage points. 

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U.S. government tried to “intimidate” California county health department to keep poultry plant open after COVID deaths, director says

There have reportedly been tens of thousands of coronavirus cases at meat and poultry plants. More than 44,000 workers nationwide have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200 have died, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an investigative nonprofit.

In late April, President Trump issued an executive order urging plants to stay open. Since then, CBS News has only been able to identify a couple of plants that were temporarily closed by government agencies due to COVID-19 outbreaks. One is the Foster Farms poultry plant in California’s Merced County.

Despite what it says was political pressure, the small county’s health department closed down the plant in Livingston for one week due to a COVID-19 outbreak that claimed some workers’ lives. 

One of those workers was Perla Meza’s 61-year-old father Filiberto, who she says worked unloading trucks at Foster Farms for years until he came down with COVID-19. 

“He was in quarantine for three days when everything got worse,” Meza said. 

In August, he went to the hospital and then into a coma for three days, Meza said. He later died.  

Some 2,600 people work at the plant. Merced County public health officials declared an outbreak there in late June, and during a visit, recommended Foster Farms test all of its workers, said department director Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp.

“You need to conduct universal screening of all of your staff. You have way too many staff here to be able to control one factor. You’re being controlled by the factors because you have so many people here,” Nanyonjo-Kemp said. “Don’t let your illness take over your facility.”

The plant said they would listen to the advice, Nanyonjo-Kemp said.

“Unfortunately, that did not materialize,” she told CBS News consumer investigative correspondent Anna Werner.

Only limited testing occurred, she said. In July, two workers died of COVID-19.  

The county continued to monitor the outbreak, and on August 7, Foster Farms provided a list showing the number of workers actively infected and those whose cases they described as “resolved.”

But county health officer Dr. Salvador Sandoval noticed the list contained no deaths, even though county health staff said workers had told them there were more.

So the health department emailed Foster Farms to ask if there were “any known deaths,” and the next week, received a new list. This time, Sandoval said, five names previously listed only as “resolved” were now listed as “deaths.”

The company put the names “in a category that made it difficult for our investigators to tag them as being people who had died,” Sandoval said.

He described what the company did as “misleading.” “I feel it’s wrong,” he said.

The company told CBS News, “There was no intentional effort on the part of Foster Farms to deceive the Merced (County) Public Health Department,” and said, “All issues related to the reporting of data were quickly resolved.”

But late in August, with eight deaths and over 350 confirmed cases, county health officials told Foster Farms the plant would