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Residents urged to stay home as second wave widens

Canadian public health officials are warning residents to stay home as much as possible, saying the next few weeks will be critical to the country’s efforts to contain Covid-19.



a group of people standing in front of a building: People wait for Covid-19 tests in Toronto in September.


© Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images
People wait for Covid-19 tests in Toronto in September.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that a second wave of the coronavirus was already underway in most of the country. Canada is at a “tipping point” in the pandemic, Trudeau said Friday.

“Not only is the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest daily recorded cases, well above what saw this spring,” said Trudeau during a press conference in Ottawa Friday.

The national daily case counts continue to increase sharply, with an average of about 2,000 new cases every day for the past week. That’s a 40% rise in the last week alone, according to government statistics.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak started, Canada has had a total of 175,380 cases and 9,593 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Hospitalizations and deaths continue to creep upward as well, with more than 600 patients currently in hospitals in Canada with Covid-19 and an average of about 18 deaths reported daily.

More than 80% of new infections are from Ontario and Quebec, and those under 40 account for 60% of the cases.

The province of Quebec is of particular concern, with urban hotspots in Montreal and Quebec City. Dine-in restaurants and bars were closed in those cities last week as new daily cases continue to climb.

Quebec reported 1,364 new cases of the virus on Tuesday alone, the highest daily case total since the pandemic began. That prompted a blunt warning to young people in Quebec to take the virus seriously and stay home.

Ontario joined Quebec Friday with targeted closures in its largest urban centers that include a ban on dine-in restaurants and the closure of bars. Both Toronto and Montreal, Canada’s two largest cities, have now shuttered restaurants and bars as hospitalizations increase.

“The young people that are not respecting the rule, they will have an impact on the system,” Christian Dube, Quebec’s health minister, said during a press conference in Quebec City Tuesday. “Don’t take the risk, please don’t test the hospital system.”

As recently as last month, Canada was being lauded for its efforts to flatten the curve.

Trudeau said more targeted closures, instead of a lockdown, are now possible during this second wave because more is known about how the virus is transmitted.

Despite the increase, Canada has had a small fraction of the cases of the United States, which has had 7.5 million cases and nearly 212,000 deaths.

Stay home for Thanksgiving

On Monday, Trudeau warned Canadians to stay home even for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, saying if Canada can once again flatten the curve that the country can “turn things around for Christmas.”

“We are going in the wrong direction now, which is why it is so important for Canadians to do what is necessary, to wear a

EXCLUSIVE-FDA widens U.S. safety inquiry into AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine -sources

By Marisa Taylor and Dan Levine

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broadened its investigation of a serious illness in AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine study and will look at data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same scientists, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has remained on hold since Sept. 6, after a study participant in Britain fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

The widened scope of the FDA probe raises the likelihood of additional delays for what has been one of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development. The requested data was expected to arrive this week, after which the FDA would need time to analyze it, two of the sources said.

Effective vaccines are seen as essential to help end a pandemic that has killed more than one million people worldwide.

The administration of President Donald Trump has pledged $1.2 billion to support development of the AstraZeneca vaccine and secure 300 million doses for the United States. Other leading companies in the U.S. vaccine race include Pfizer Inc , Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson.

Regulators in the UK, Brazil, India and South Africa have allowed AstraZeneca to resume its clinical trials there.

The FDA, however, wants to determine whether similar side effects emerged in trials of other vaccines designed by AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine partner, researchers at Oxford University, the sources said. That does not mean the agency believes there were safety issues associated with any of these vaccines, they added.

“It just shows that the FDA is being thorough,” said one of the sources.

Further complicating the situation is that the data requested by FDA is in a different format than what the U.S. regulator requires, two of the sources said.

The FDA declined to comment on discussions involving an experimental product. Oxford did not respond to requests for comment. AstraZeneca, in a statement, said: “We are continuing to work with the FDA to facilitate review of the information needed to make a decision regarding resumption of the US trial.”

VIRAL VECTOR

All of the vaccines it wants to review use a modified adenovirus as vectors to safely deliver genetic material from the target illnesses – flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and other diseases – into the body to stimulate an immune system response to fight future infection.

While other vaccine developers have used human adenoviruses for such vaccines, the Oxford researchers chose an adenovirus found in chimpanzees. They felt this would reduce the likelihood that an individual’s immune system would attack the vector virus due to prior exposure rather than the intended target.

Reuters reviewed six research papers that detailed safety data of vaccines using the engineered chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 for diseases including tuberculosis, prostate cancer and influenza.

In one of those trials, one serious adverse event cited by researchers was deemed unrelated to the vaccine.

The

Exclusive: FDA widens U.S. safety inquiry into AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has broadened its investigation of a serious illness in AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine study and will look at data from earlier trials of similar vaccines developed by the same scientists, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has remained on hold since Sept. 6, after a study participant in Britain fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

The widened scope of the FDA probe raises the likelihood of additional delays for what has been one of the most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development. The requested data was expected to arrive this week, after which the FDA would need time to analyze it, two of the sources said.

Effective vaccines are seen as essential to help end a pandemic that has killed more than one million people worldwide.

The administration of President Donald Trump has pledged $1.2 billion to support development of the AstraZeneca vaccine and secure 300 million doses for the United States. Other leading companies in the U.S. vaccine race include Pfizer Inc, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson.

Regulators in the UK, Brazil, India and South Africa have allowed AstraZeneca to resume its clinical trials there.

The FDA, however, wants to determine whether similar side effects emerged in trials of other vaccines designed by AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine partner, researchers at Oxford University, the sources said. That does not mean the agency believes there were safety issues associated with any of these vaccines, they added.

“It just shows that the FDA is being thorough,” said one of the sources.

Further complicating the situation is that the data requested by FDA is in a different format than what the U.S. regulator requires, two of the sources said.

The FDA declined to comment on discussions involving an experimental product. Oxford did not respond to requests for comment. AstraZeneca, in a statement, said: “We are continuing to work with the FDA to facilitate review of the information needed to make a decision regarding resumption of the US trial.”

VIRAL VECTOR

All of the vaccines it wants to review use a modified adenovirus as vectors to safely deliver genetic material from the target illnesses – flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and other diseases – into the body to stimulate an immune system response to fight future infection.

While other vaccine developers have used human adenoviruses for such vaccines, the Oxford researchers chose an adenovirus found in chimpanzees. They felt this would reduce the likelihood that an individual’s immune system would attack the vector virus due to prior exposure rather than the intended target.

Reuters reviewed six research papers that detailed safety data of vaccines using the engineered chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 for diseases including tuberculosis, prostate cancer and