Covid-19 cases are rising in many parts of Canada, but one region – Nunavut, a northern territory – is a lone place in North American that can say it’s free of coronavirus in its communities.
Last March, as borders around the world were slamming shut as coronavirus infections rose, officials in Nunavut decided they too would take no risks.
They brought in some of the strictest travel regulations in Canada, barring entry to the territory almost all non-residents.
Residents returning home from the south would first have to spend two weeks, at the Nunavut government’s expense, in “isolation hubs” – hotels in the cities of Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Ottawa or Edmonton.
Security guards are stationed throughout the hotels, and nurses check in on the health of those isolating. To date, just over 7,000 Nunavummiut have spent time in these hubs as a stopover on their return home.
It’s not been without challenges: People have been caught breaking isolation and have had stays extended, which has in part contributed to occasional wait times to enter the some of the hubs. There have been complaints about the food available to those confined to the hubs.
But, as coronavirus infections spread throughout Canada, and with the number of cases on the rise again, the official case count in Nunavut remains zero.
The “fairly drastic” decision to bring in these measures was made both due to the population’s potential vulnerability to Covid-19 and the unique challenges of the Arctic region, says Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr Michael Patterson.
About 36,000 people live in Nunavut, bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north and the Northwest Territories to the west, in 25 communities scattered across its two million square kilometres (809,000 square miles). That’s about three times the size of the largest US state – Texas.
The distances are “mind-boggling at times”, admits Dr Patterson.
Natural isolation is likely part of the reason for the lack of cases – those communities can only be reached year-round by plane.
In late September, there was an outbreak linked to workers who flew in from the south to a remote gold mine 160km (100 miles) from the Arctic Circle.
(Those cases are currently being counted as infections in the miners’ home jurisdictions, keeping the territory’s official positive count nil).
That outbreak has “almost no chance” of spreading in the community because there hasn’t been any travel between the mine and any of the communities for months, says Dr Patterson.
But where isolation can help, it can also create hurdles.
Most communities don’t have the capacity to do Covid-19 testing locally, so tests have to be flown in and out.
Early on, tests results could take a week meaning “you’re really, really far behind by the time you can identify and respond”, Dr Patterson says. There are efforts underway to boost testing capacity and turnaround times
Danish supermodel Nina Agdal cut a casual figure in a bulky white coat and a pair of distressed jeans after leading a workout class in the Hamptons on Saturday.
While grabbing a post-workout ice coffee with a few pals, the 28-year-old Sports Illustrated cover girl appeared in high spirits under a black face mask.
Despite keeping her gym-honed figure mostly concealed under a puffer jacket, she showed off her tiny waist by accessorizing with a mustard yellow crossbody bag.
As she strode around in a pair of hot pink Nike Sneakers, the fitness coach looked every inch the natural beauty with her signature blonde tresses in a low ponytail.
On her Instagram Story, the stunner uploaded pictures of her meal, which included soup and a sourdough crépe made from rice and lentils.
Following her intense sweat session, as she continues to teach fitness classes under quarantine, the girlfriend of Jack Brinkley-Cook enjoyed a nice steam shower.
‘Post workout steam shower,’ the catwalk star captioned a selfie of herself with wet hair and no makeup.
She continued: ‘Haven’t been in a steam room since February and omg it felt amaaazing to have your own…for the weekend.’
In her video, the star tagged The Reform Club Inn, where she has been leading in-person training sessions of her Agdal Method class for weeks.
Nina first became an international sensation during her relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio, who is 17 years older than she.
The pair of them split in 2017 when Nina was 25, and he is now dating 23-year-old blonde Camila Morrone, whose mother used to date Al Pacino.
In June, Nina rang in her third anniversary with Jack by posting a sweet album that showed them cuddling up and kissing during a beach picnic.
She gushed: ‘3 years later. Still on a beach. Still drinking wine. Still cracking jokes no one else would find funny.’
Jack’s biological father is Christie Brinkley’s third husband Richard Taubman, but he was adopted by her fourth husband Peter Cook, who is not to be confused with the
Massachusetts health officials on Sunday reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 744 new cases — one of the highest days of cases in the Bay State since the spring.
The 14 new coronavirus deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 9,737, the state Department of Public Health said. The three-day average of coronavirus daily deaths has dropped from a peak of 161 in May to 18 now.
The state has logged 143,660 cases of the highly contagious disease, an increase of 744 confirmed cases since Saturday. Of the 143,660 total cases, at least 118,892 people have recovered.
On Wednesday, Massachusetts health officials reported that 63 communities are now in the high-risk category for the coronavirus — a state record after 40 cities and towns were on the list last week. The state overall average is now in the red zone.
The daily percentage of tested individuals who are positive continues to hover around 4%. That figure at the start of September was between 1% and 2%, but the rate was 5.0% on Thursday, 4.5% on Friday and 4.0% on Saturday — the most recent day of available data.
The seven-day weighted average of the state’s positive test rate ticked down from 1.3% on Saturday to 1.2% on Sunday.
Coronavirus hospitalizations went down by 17 patients, bringing the state’s COVID-19 hospitalization total to 483.
The highest peak of Massachusetts’ coronavirus hospitalizations was 3,965 on April 21. The three-day average of coronavirus hospitalizations has jumped from 308 last month to 499 now.
Of the state’s 9,737 total coronavirus deaths, 6,278 are connected to long-term care facilities.
The state reported 25,294 residents and health care workers at long-term care facilities have now contracted the virus.
An additional 15,588 tests have brought the state’s total to more than 5.1 million tests.
There are 83 patients in the ICU, and 32 patients are currently intubated.
More than 219,000 Americans have died. The country’s death toll is the highest in the world, which eclipsed 1 million deaths last week worldwide.
The U.S. has recorded more than 8.1 million coronavirus cases — also the most in the world. More than 3.2 million people have recovered.
This article is part of a Wall Street Journal guide comparing President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on issues from climate change to health care and jobs.
WASHINGTON—Most of the differences between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on health care align on a central dispute: Mr. Trump wants to reduce the federal government’s role in Americans’ health care, while Mr. Biden wants to expand it.
Both agree that health-care costs should be reduced, but they disagree on how to address the coronavirus pandemic, health coverage, driving down prescription-drug prices and lowering insurance premiums.
Mr. Trump has backed much of a lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which sought to set certain basic coverage thresholds nationwide while providing federal subsidies for people to pay for insurance. The president has moved to push decision-making away from Washington and back to the states. He has supported work requirements in Medicaid and backs letting states pursue new arrangements to pay for Medicaid. He also wants to let states import certain drugs from other countries such as Canada to spur competition and reduce prices.
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Mr. Biden has called for the federal government to subsidize insurance for some people in states that didn’t expand Medicaid by automatically enrolling them in a federal public option that would resemble Medicare. The former vice president has said he would seek to reverse Trump administration changes that have undermined the ACA, and has proposed expanding the program by allowing people to buy into the public option. Mr. Biden has argued for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Mr. Trump, who this month tested positive for Covid-19, established a White House coronavirus task force in January to oversee the federal response to the pandemic, but he left many specific matters in the response, such as contact tracing and the acquisition of certain supplies, to the states. Mr. Biden has proposed that the federal government play a more centralized and active role in responding to the crisis.
Mr. Biden has said he would urge all Americans to wear masks and work with state leaders on mask mandates. Mr. Trump hasn’t called for mask mandates.
Mr. Biden would also restore funding to the World Health Organization. The president has been withdrawing the U.S. from the organization and redirecting the funding to other health programs.
Mr. Trump had pledged to repeal the ACA and replace it with a better alternative but has failed to do either during his time in office. Mr. Trump has supported key parts of a lawsuit from a coalition of Republican-led states to invalidate the ACA. The case is set to be heard by the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.
Mr. Trump signed two executive orders in September declaring it the policy of the U.S. to provide insurance protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions
MCHENRY AND LAKE COUNTIES, IL — A spike in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions could mean Lake and McHenry counties could see an end to indoor dining or restrictions placed on sports activities as early as this week, health officials said Friday. Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, is teetering on the edge of the state’s threshold for triggering additional mitigations — all set up as a way to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
McHenry County, in particular, has seen a steep spike in cases with the coronavirus positivity rate jumping nearly two percentage points in just one week. As of Oct. 14, the 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 positivity rate is 8.9 percent in McHenry County and 5.9 percent in Lake County, according to Illinois Department of Public Health stats.
Region 9 is currently at a 6.6 percent positivity rate — up from 5.9 percent a week ago. And last week, Lake County was removed from the list of counties at a warning level, but McHenry County was added to it.
Also on Friday, the state set a record for new coronavirus cases for a second day in a row totaling 4,554 new cases. Meanwhile, hospitalizations jumped more than 14 percent since the beginning of the week.
Similar health trends are cropping across the Chicago area and state health officials are urging mayors, police, state’s attorney’s office and other community leaders to take swift action to slow the spread of the virus as people, they say, are not abiding by rules set up to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings,” according to a news release from the state health department Friday.
Meanwhile, at least one school district in Region 9, Woodstock Community District 200, has decided to delay its move to hybrid learning due to COVID-19 trends. The school district only planned switch from remote learning to its hybrid model if McHenry County was on track on four of its COVID-19 metrics.
“According to the COVID-19 metrics provided by the McHenry County Department of Health, the county does not meet the metric for weekly count or new case increase. This number has increased for the previous two weeks and in fact has increased 51% for all of McHenry County residents and increased 42% for school age children in the last week,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan wrote in a letter posted on the school district’s website. “These significant increases caused the metric to fall short of the goal to move to hybrid instruction.”
In addition, area business owners are starting to worry what another shutdown could mean for their bottom line.
Melissa Blach, owner of Smoothology Smoothie Cafe in Crystal Lake, says her business has been destroyed by the pandemic, according to the Northwest Herald. Another shutdown for her cafe at 67 E. Woodstock Street if more restrictions are put in place
The U.S. Army is launching an effort to increase soldier performance by outfitting active brigades with special teams of fitness coaches, nutritional specialists and physical therapists by 2026.
The Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) strategy is designed to work with unit leaders and individual soldiers to hone performance and decrease the risk of injuries, which can affect combat readiness, officials from the Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT) said Thursday.
The goal of the service-wide effort is to outfit 110 active-duty brigades with performance teams and a dedicated training facility, a long-term effort that will require 500 uniformed personnel, 700 Army civilians and 1,900 contractors.
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In fiscal 2021, the Army has budgeted $110 million for 28 brigades to receive H2F performance teams. After that, up to 18 brigades will be resourced each year through fiscal 2026, according to Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the CIMT, which is overseeing the effort.
“If you look at the number of active-duty soldiers who are medically non-deployable, that equates to being short about nine brigade combat teams … that can’t deploy,” Hibbard told reporters Thursday at a virtual roundtable during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. “If we can reduce these non-availability rates for our soldiers just by 1%, the cost savings alone will pay for the cost of this program.”
As of Oct. 1, the service officially replaced its outdated Army Physical Fitness Test with the more challenging Army Combat Fitness Test, which is designed to build core strength and reduce common injuries that keep many soldiers from deploying, Hibbard said.
“We have to stop breaking our soldiers and, in order to do that, we have to prevent these injuries and preserve their long-term health. … The only way to do it is by embedding these H2F professionals in the brigades,” he explained. “For many years, we have called our soldiers ‘warrior athletes” … now we are actually starting to resource them just like any other professional sports team.”
The performance teams will include physical therapists, registered dieticians, occupational therapists, cognitive enhancement trainers, athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches at the brigade level, Col. Kevin Bigelman, director of Holistic Health and Fitness, told reporters.
“H2F performance teams will assess each soldier’s ability to meet the demands of their military occupational specialty, assignment or combat-specific tasks during a soldier’s career,” he said. “These teams advise commanders on performance readiness issues and integrate H2F into organizational training, mission planning and even personnel decisions.”
The brigade type will determine how large the H2F performance teams are, Bigelman said. Tier-one brigades such as infantry brigade combat teams will be outfitted with 37-member teams that include uniformed and Army civilian physical therapists, occupational therapists and registered dieticians, as well as seven contracted athletic trainers and 14 contracted strength and conditioning coaches.
Tier two brigades, such as an artillery unit, will likely need only a 25-member team
In this Fool Live video, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and longtime Motley Fool contributor Brian Orelli discuss Eli Lilly‘s (NYSE:LLY) monoclonal antibodies that target the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The company has a pair of antibodies, LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016 that it’s testing individually and in combination with each other. After the segment was recorded, a phase 3 clinical trial testing LY-CoV555 was paused by the National Institutes of Health, which is running the study.
Corinne Cardina: Let’s talk about Eli Lilly. This company is the oldest of them all. It is 145 years old. It has a $145 billion market cap. It’s based in Indianapolis. Eli Lilly has a portfolio of medicines including treatments in bone, muscle, joint, cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, endocrine, immunology, neurodegeneration, neuroscience, and pain. That’s a mouthful. They do a lot. They’ve been around for a long time.
In the second quarter of fiscal 2020, their revenue was $5.5 billion, down 2% from the same quarter the prior year. This stock also pays a dividend yielding about 2%. Eli Lilly has a neutralizing monoclonal antibody. They are calling it LY-CoV555. They call this a potent neutralizing immunoglobulin G, which is a type of monoclonal antibody, and it is directed at the spike protein of coronavirus that we just talked about. This was designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells which would neutralize the virus, potentially prevent, and treat COVID-19.
On Sep. 16, they released proof of concept data from an interim analysis of the phase 2 clinical trial. This showed a reduced rate of hospitalization for patients who were treated with this treatment. Eli Lilly has completed enrollment and the primary safety assessments of the treatment in a phase 1 study of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and they’re doing an ongoing long-term follow-up. A phase 2 study in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 is going on on an outpatient basis, so the non-hospitalized patients.
Lilly recently initiated a phase 3 study for the prevention of COVID-19 specifically in residents and staff at long-term care facilities. There’s a big need there, as we know. Then lastly, the treatment is being tested in the National Institutes of Health studies of outpatient and hospitalized patients. On Wednesday, Eli Lilly announced that they had promising data for the combination of this treatment with another of their neutralizing antibody which is LY-CoV016. The company also said that it has asked the FDA for an emergency-use authorization for the initial one, 555. It plans to submit a request for an emergency-use authorization for the combination treatment next month after it gets some more safety data and it has to produce a sufficient supply. This is the second antibody that we’ve talked about. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR) are partnered on one as well. Brian, could you explain what is a neutralizing antibody and how do these treatments differ?
Brian Orelli: Yes. A neutralizing antibody means that the antibody binds to the virus
Christopher Cross is on the mend.
The singer, 69, who is known for hits like “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” and “Sailing,” told CBS Sunday Morning that while he’s doing fine these days, his bout with COVID-19 earlier this year nearly killed him.
“There was some, you know, come-to-Jesus moments or whatever, where I was looking for any help I could get, you know, through this, to get outta this thing,” Cross told correspondent Serena Altschul. “‘Cause I wasn’t sure.”
When asked by Altschul when he thinks he was exposed, Cross said he assumes it was on a trip to Mexico.
“It was early March that I went to Mexico City for a concert,” he recalled. “And, to be frank, you know, nobody knew about masks or anything like that. No one wore masks on the plane. No one was doing that. We weren’t made aware that it was a problem.”
Along with his girlfriend Joy, Cross got very sick, and was left laid up at home for several weeks.
“We both got very sick with COVID,” he said. “We were sick for about three weeks. The biggest thing I remember is just incredible malaise — just, you couldn’t lift your head.”
Cross revealed his diagnosis on April 3 in a lengthy Facebook post, and advised those who weren’t taking the virus seriously to do so from now on.
“For those of you who still do not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, or think it is a ‘hoax’ or part of some conspiracy,” he wrote at the time, “my advice to you is to understand right now that this is a deadly illness spreading like wildfire throughout the world.”
While Cross soon felt he was on the mend, the virus proved to take more out of him than he realized.
“I went to the market. Then when I got home, I just, my legs just gave out,” said Cross. “That was it. Couldn’t walk at all.”
He was soon diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an illness where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Cross says his doctor believes the disease was caused by COVID-19. As his body struggled with the virus, he found himself hospitalized and unable to walk.
“You know, just, boom, I’m paralyzed. I’m in the hospital, but I can’t turn over. I can barely do anything,” said Cross. “My hands were also paralytic, which is hard, ’cause I play the guitar, of course. I wasn’t sure whether I would get that back.”
Cross calls his period of hospitalization “the worst 10 days of my life.”
“I couldn’t walk, could barely move. And so, it was certainly the darkest of times for me, you know?” he said. “It was really touch-and-go, and tough.”
When asked by Altschul what he was saying to himself during those horrifying moments in
In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged people to stay away from crowded emergency rooms and put-off elective surgery, including heart procedures, to reduce potential coronavirus exposure. As early as April, doctors worried that people experiencing life-threatening emergencies were avoiding hospitals. Those fears were validated.
In Boston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s March/April data showed heart attack hospitalizations down by 33 percent, stroke hospitalizations down by 58 percent, and referrals for breast and blood cancers down by more than 60 percent from the two months prior. Even those who experienced a heart attack or stroke avoided hospitals; one study showed a 38 percent drop in patients treated for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a life-threatening narrowing of a vital artery to the heart.
By June, 41 percent of Americans reported having had avoided some care due to Covid fears. The CDC found that emergency visits across the U.S. declined 23 percent for heart attacks from March to May and 20 percent for strokes. Though the World Health Organization (WHO) still urges people to avoid routine dental and health care visits, following that guidance can produce unintended consequences, some long term.
With ailments such as cardiovascular disease, delay in treatment can lead to preventable deaths or permanent disabilities. Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale University researchers looked at excess deaths – the number of deaths over what would be expected based on previous years – in March and April. They concluded that overall. 56,246 (65 percent) of the 87,001 excess deaths in the U.S. during those two months were attributed to COVID-19.
However, in 14 states, including populous California and Texas, more than 50 percent of excess deaths were attributed to other causes, most commonly heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. A person whose primary cause of death is cardiovascular or pulmonary may have also had COVID 19. The five states with the most COVID-19 deaths also experienced large proportional increases in deaths due to pre-existing chronic conditions: diabetes (96 percent), heart diseases (89 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (64 percent), and cerebrovascular diseases (35 percent). New York City experienced the largest increases, notably those due to heart disease (398 percent) and diabetes (356 percent).
But with diseases like cancers, delayed treatment and delayed diagnoses cause impacts that won’t be felt immediately. Those delays are mounting up. One national study of U.S. patients who received testing from Quest Diagnostics between January and April found the mean weekly number of new diagnoses for six common cancers dropped by 46 percent, with breast cancer diagnoses in March and April declining the most (52 percent), compared to the two months prior. Data from 20 U.S. health care institutions found breast cancer screenings down by 89 percent and colorectal cancer screenings down by 85 percent in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period last year.
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Biopharma stocks, which started the week on a firm footing, lost momentum mid-way through amid market-wide sell-off triggered by waning stimulus hopes.
The week was a quiet one from the perspective of news flow. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was in the news for both right and wrong reasons. The company’s Phase 3 trial of its coronavirus vaccine was paused due to a trial participant contracting an unexplained illness. On a positive note, the company reported solid quarterly results and lifted its guidance.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), meanwhile, stayed above political pressure and provided a realistic timeframe for filing for emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate.
Avenue Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ATXI) shares fell from $11 to just under $4 after FDA rejected its opioid pain drug on safety concerns.
Clinical trial disappointments led to Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) and Cyclerion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CYCN) shelving alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and sickle cell disease studies, respectively.
The week witnessed Nasdaq debuts by six biopharma companies, which collectively raised about $650 million in gross proceeds.
Here are the key catalysts for the unfolding week.
American College of Chest Physicians’ CHEST Annual Meeting 2020, being held virtually: Oct. 18-21
The Prostate Cancer Foundation’s 27th Annual Scientific Retreat: Oct. 20-23
IDWeek 2020: Oct. 20-25
American Society of Nephrology, or ASN, Kidney Week 2020 Annual Meeting: Oct. 22-25 (early programs scheduled for Oct. 19-21)
32nd European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer-the National Cancer Institute- the American Association for Cancer Research, or EORTC-NCI-AACR, Symposium: Oct. 24-25
Zosano Pharma Corp’s (NASDAQ: ZSAN) NDA for its migraine drug Qtrypta has a PDUFA action date of Oct. 20. With the company disclosing in late September that it has received a discipline review letter, which raised two concerns about the clinical pharmacology section of the NDA, a decision by the d-day seems unlikely.
The FDA is set to rule on Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: SPPI) BLA for SPI-2012 to treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. The PDUFA date is Oct. 24.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is scheduled to present at the ID Week 2020 full results of the pediatric Phase 2 proof-of-concept study of 20vPNC and detailed results from a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study of its potential first-in-class pentavalent meningococcal vaccine candidate.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) will present at the ASN meeting results from the ILLUMINATE-B pediatric Phase 3 study of lumasiran in treating primary hyperoxaluria type 1.
Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) is due to present final results of its pivotal trial of narsoplimab in the treatment of hematopoietic stem cell transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy. The presentation, in the form of a webcast, is scheduled for Oct. 22.
Mustang Bio Inc (NASDAQ: MBIO), founded by Fortress Biotech (NASDAQ: FBIO), is scheduled to present at the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s annual scientific retreat initial Phase 1 data on CAR-T cell therapy MB-105 in patients with PSCA-positive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The presentation is fixed for Oct. 23.
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