Today’s coronavirus news: Rich countries get new vaccine before poorer ones, despite previous promises; NYC allows unvaccinated athletes to play

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:35 am Zimbabwe has launched a new vaccination campaign against COVID-19 which includes shots of children aged 12 and above to rescue a failing reader due to vaccination hesitancy and complacency.

This week, schools in the southern African country became vaccination zones with children in school uniforms queuing to receive the shots.

Many parents say they support the vaccination campaign to prevent schools becoming hotbeds of infection, although others remain skeptical.

“Getting them vaccinated will save us a lot of trouble. Maybe this will stop the constant school closures…online lessons wear us down every time schools are closed,” said Helen Dube, a mother who accompanies her 12-year-old daughter to a school in the crowded city of Chitungwiza, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of the capital, Harare.

8am First, we didn’t have enough masks to protect against COVID-19, and then we all had to wear them. Then we didn’t, then we did it again. There have been fights, criminal charges and protests over them. And now most of the warrants are lifted.

Evolutionary biologist Professor Sarah Otto said that since the introduction of the two-piece swimsuit more than 75 years ago, such a polarized debate had not raged.

“The last time wearing a small piece of cloth caused so much controversy was when bikinis were introduced,” said Otto, an expert in mathematical models of pandemic growth and evolution at the zoology department. from the University of British Columbia.

The mask split is a legacy that will long be debated after the pandemic is over, she said.

7:45 am Hamilton Public Health has removed rules aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in high-rise buildings that were put in place following three major outbreaks.

The change is part of a province-wide shift in the pandemic, moving from mandatory rules to voluntary recommendations.

“We are moving from a situation where we are working with requirements to guidelines,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Elizabeth Richardson told the Hamilton Board of Health this week. “There are guidelines that are in place.”

Until Monday, a letter of instruction set out the steps landlords must take for buildings 12 stories or higher to reduce the spread of COVID.

7:25 Poland is abolishing virtually all of its COVID-19 restrictions next week, a government official said on Thursday.

People will no longer be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces from Monday, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said. The only exception will be in medical facilities, where staff and patients will still need to wear them. He said other measures being abolished include quarantine for some travelers arriving in Poland and home isolation for those living in households with those who test positive.

People who test positive will still need to self-isolate at home. The decision comes as the number of new infections is falling.

6:30 a.m. A dance class, a play, the chance to hold a friend’s baby, even a family outing to the zoo.

These are some of the moments that many Ontarians have missed over the past two years of the pandemic and are looking forward to revisiting now with Omicron’s peak in the past.

But with public health restrictions, including masks, now scrapped, and messages from politicians that COVID is over, it can be difficult to navigate this sometimes jarring new reality.

Instead of acting like it’s 2019, one approach to this confusing time is to use a personal “risk budget,” taking small risks for meaningful memories while maintaining precautions in other areas. Group size, vaccination status, ventilation in a space, and time spent without a mask are all factors to consider when deciding when and where to “spend” the budget.

Read the full story of May Warren from The Star.

6:15 a.m. A new report highlights the impact high-cost loans have had on low-income borrowers during the pandemic, citing examples of people falling into ‘vicious cycles of debt’ as they struggle to cover the rising cost of bills .

The report released Thursday by ACORN, which advocates for low- and middle-income Canadians, comes as the non-profit group renews its call for the federal government to lower the legal limit on interest rates on installment loans. to 30%, down from 60 percent.

The survey of 113 ACORN members who turned to high-cost lenders such as Money Mart, Easy Financial and Cash Money revealed that a high proportion turned to payday loans, short term and smaller with extremely high annual interest rates.

But many have also taken out installment loans – which are repaid in installments over a longer period – borrowing $1,500 to $15,000 at annual interest rates of up to 60%.

Read Christine Dobby’s full story.

6:08 New York City’s mayor will announce on Thursday that he is exempting athletes and entertainers from the city’s vaccination mandate for private workers, a move that will allow Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play home games and unvaccinated baseball players to take to the field at the start of their season.

Mayor Eric Adams will make the announcement Thursday morning and it will take effect immediately, according to a person familiar with the upcoming announcement who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The city’s broad vaccination mandate for workers will still apply to people in other types of jobs, including government employees.

Adams had said he felt the vaccine rule was unfair to athletes and performers because a loophole in the measure, imposed under his predecessor, allowed visiting players and performers who do not work in New York to continue playing or performing even if they are not vaccinated.

Irving, a vaccine resistant, had been among the most prominent people affected. He was able to join the team in January, but only when they played out-of-town games.

6:05 The company behind a COVID-19 vaccine touted as a key tool for the developing world has sent tens of millions of doses to wealthy countries, but has yet to provide any to the effort supported by the to supply the poorest countries, a sign that inequality persists in the world. response to the pandemic.

COVAX had planned to make 250 million doses of Novavax available by March, but the UN agency in charge of deliveries says the first deliveries are unlikely to be made until April or May.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. CEPI, one of the organizations running COVAX, gave Novavax $388 million to accelerate vaccine development, aiming to make the vaccine available in poorer countries as the pandemic exploded two years ago.

The investment guaranteed COVAX the “right of first refusal” on the first doses of Novavax, but the agreement only applied to plants in the Czech Republic, South Korea and Spain, the carrier said. floor of CEPI, Bjorg Dystvold Nilsson.

There are other factories that aren’t part of the deal – and their hits go elsewhere.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has manufactured millions of doses of Novavax. According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the institute, more than 28.9 million of these doses were sent to the Netherlands in January and February, while Australia received around 6 million doses. Indonesia also received about 9 million doses in December.

Thousands of other doses of Novavax have also been shipped from a Dutch factory to other EU countries.

6:05 First, we didn’t have enough masks to protect against COVID-19, and then we all had to wear them. Then we didn’t, then we did it again. There have been fights, criminal charges and protests over them. And now most of the warrants are lifted.

Evolutionary biologist Professor Sarah Otto said that since the introduction of the two-piece swimsuit more than 75 years ago, such a polarized debate had not raged.

“The last time wearing a small piece of cloth caused so much controversy was when bikinis were introduced,” said Otto, an expert in mathematical models of pandemic growth and evolution at the zoology department. from the University of British Columbia.

The mask split is a legacy that will long be debated after the pandemic is over, she said.

Along with vaccines and social distancing, she said masks remain one of the most important layers of protection that help slow the spread of the virus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collated data released last December that if the number of people wearing masks increased by 15%, it could avoid the need for lockdowns and reduce financial losses.

Read the full Canadian Press story here.

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