Tag Archives: ‘doing

Despite supply issues, Canada ‘doing pretty good’ on vaccine roll out: professor

If Dr. Noni MacDonald were to grade the federal government on its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out so far, she would offer a “solid B, if not a B-plus.”

“Given what we have to deal with … our provincial/territorial responsibility for health [and] our relatively small population for our huge geography, I think we’re doing pretty good,” said MacDonald.

She is the pediatrics professor at Dalhousie University’s School of Medicine and a founding member of the World Health Organization’s global advisory committee on vaccine safety.

With vaccine shipments from both Pfizer and Moderna delayed in recent weeks, the Trudeau government has faced criticism for its procurement and distribution process.

Pfizer didn’t ship vaccine vials to Canada this past week, citing delays as it retools production of its COVID-19 vaccine in Belgium. Moderna announced Friday it expects to ship 20 to 25 per cent less product than scheduled through the month of February. European countries have also faced delays receiving vaccines from both companies.

Data collated by the University of Oxford-based publication Our World in Data now puts Canada behind roughly two dozen countries in terms of the number of vaccination doses administered per 100 people. Canada lags behind countries including Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Bahrain and Serbia.

Just over 950,000 doses have been administered across Canada as of Jan. 30., according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

Moderna says vaccine shipments to Canada will be cut in February, just as Pfizer has changed its delivery schedule. We look at how provinces are taking the bad news. 2:00

For Conservative and Opposition leader Erin O’Toole, the delays signal a need for greater clarity on the federal government’s procurement plan and contracts.

“We need transparency on when people can expect to be vaccinated, which groups will be vaccinated first, how quickly we can get them out,” he told Power and Politics host Vassy Kapelos. 

Speaking on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that fluctuations in vaccine shipments are to be expected as global production builds, and that both Pfizer and Moderna will ship a total of six million doses by the end of March.

Geography and bureaucracy

Delays and a short supply of COVID-19 vaccines, MacDonald says, only tell part of the story of why Canada lags behind other countries.

The physical size of this country makes delivering vaccines to all regions a challenge. While getting vaccines to Hamilton from Toronto — a 70 km drive — is simple, transporting them to rural parts of the country is less straightforward.

“In Nova Scotia where I live, we have just under a million [in] population. We have one very, very big urban centre [and] one moderately big urban centre, but that only has about half the population of the province,” she told Cross Country Checkup.

The rest of the population, she says, is scattered across a large area, making vaccine delivery a challenge.

Canada has other vaccines in line for approval — how they compare to the ones already being rolled out and how COVID-19 variants are a complicating factor. 2:03

Israel and the United Kingdom, which top the global list of vaccine doses given, are a fraction of the size and more densely populated, making it easier to deliver and administer shots, MacDonald argues.

Provincial and territorial responsibility for health care requiring each jurisdiction to develop its own plan, as well as the lack of a national patient data system to track those who have received the shot or are most at risk, are also responsible for some of the hiccups.

“The plan that’s going to work in P.E.I. is not going to work in Ontario,” said MacDonald, adding that both Israel and the U.K. have one integrated health system responsible for their campaigns.

On par with France, Germany

MacDonald believes that compared to other countries and jurisdictions, Canada has made smart decisions in its vaccine roll out, particularly when it comes to assessing who is eligible.

Provinces and territories have prioritized those most at risk to be among the first vaccinated, typically focusing on age, occupation and health status.

And despite the country’s vast geography, Canada is on par with smaller countries like Germany, Sweden and France. “You’d think they’d be doing better than we are,” MacDonald said.

Going forward, the Dalhousie professor believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to close some gaps when it comes to who oversees health care.

“I actually think this has shown us how important public health and immunization are to the well-being of our country,” she said. 

“Perhaps there needs to be federal legislation that says that immunization should be co-ordinated nationally and public health should be co-ordinated nationally.” 


Written by Jason Vermes with files from Collins Maina.

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CBC | Health News

Plans to re-open amid pandemic take shape, but doing it is complicated

The latest:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his ministers and top public health officials are taking a rare break today from the daily briefings they’ve been providing since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many regular activities in Canada in mid-March.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam will post online her regular update on the number of Canadians infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and the number who have died because of it.

Since the outbreak hit Canada, it has become routine for Trudeau to provide daily briefings and take questions from reporters, followed by a separate briefing and question-and-answer session with Tam, her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and other ministers.

Prior to today, that routine has been broken only rarely — on Easter Sunday and last Sunday.

However, Trudeau devoted most of his briefing Thursday to the crash of a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter off the coast of Greece, and most of Friday’s briefing to his government’s decision to ban some 1,500 models and variants of military-style assault firearms.

Provinces prepare to reopen

The intrusion of other issues and today’s break from briefings come as provinces begin to take cautious first steps to relax the rigid restrictions on businesses and on the movement of people amid signs that efforts to curb the spread of the virus are working.

One public health expert has described efforts to reopen as “tricky.” Dr. Catherine Hankins, who co-chairs the leadership group of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, said it would be better if questions about immunity and the creation of an effective vaccine could be answered before the restrictions are lifted.

Ontario will begin to slowly reopen on Monday, with approval given to specific businesses, including garden centres with curbside pickup, lawn care and landscaping companies and automatic car washes

Nova Scotia is also easing some COVID-19 public health restrictions. Under the changes, municipal and provincial parks can reopen, as can garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses. Sportfishing is permitted and people can attend boating, yacht or sailing clubs for the purpose of preparing boats for use.

Like other provinces, Alberta is also gradually reopening. Golf courses will be welcoming players on Saturday. Physical distancing will need to remain in place and clubhouses and pro shops will remain closed, and golf carts will be single rider, unless both players are from the same household.

Quebec, with the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Canada, is set to reopen retail stores outside Montreal on Monday. The province also plans to double testing, aiming to do 14,000 tests a day by the end
of next week.

WATCH | Personal support workers are reusing masks:

Some personal support workers are using the same protective mask multiple times a day while going in and out of care homes because they worry about running out. 2:03

At her briefing Friday, Tam applauded Canadians for rising to the challenge of physical distancing, which has shuttered many businesses and forced people to isolate themselves at home.

“In fact, so much so you appear to have bent the curve, so bravo,” she said.


People were taking photographs of fenced-off cherry blossoms at a park in Toronto on Friday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

“We couldn’t be prouder at how Canadians have taken on our advice while adding a dash of creativity and vigour and keeping each other going with music, humour and the magic of kindness.”

Still, Tam warned it’s far too early for anyone to let down their guard.

The daily briefings are to resume Sunday and federal officials say there is still plenty to talk about to keep them going for some time to come.

While provinces eye ways to jump-start their economies, people across the country are struggling to receive EI payments after losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Many Canadians have gone weeks without benefits because of problems with their EI applications, and find they’re unable to make it through jammed phone lines to get help.

The C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council, which monitors recessions and recoveries in Canada, declared on Friday that the country is officially in a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is still less than two months old in Canada, but it said Friday the slowdown is already so swift and deep that it’s safe to declare a recession. 


Workers in personal protective equipment unload medical supplies from a cargo plan arriving from China at Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Que. on Friday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

As of Friday night, Canada had 55,061 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with the majority concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Provinces and territories list 22,762 of the cases as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting lists 3,507 deaths in Canada and two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

The contagious respiratory illness causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. 

Public health officials have cautioned that the recorded numbers are likely too low, noting that they fail to capture information on people who have not been tested or who are still under investigation as possible coronavirus cases. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people to behave as though there is coronavirus in their community, even if there haven’t been any recorded cases. 

What’s happening in the provinces and territories

Police in British Columbia have made hundreds of home visits to make sure residents who recently returned home from abroad are following self-isolation orders. The visits were to roughly 500 people who had not responded to phone calls and text messages from authorities making sure recent travellers were quarantining as promised. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

WATCH | Travellers arriving in B.C. met with strict quarantine instructions:

As travellers land in B.C., they are expected to have detailed quarantine plans and will receive followup calls a few days later. 2:07

Alberta is reporting an outbreak at an Amazon warehouse north of Calgary. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, says there are five cases at the site in Balzac. The company reported its first confirmed case among the more than 1,000 full-time workers on April 12.

Also Friday, Hinshaw announced the province is launching a voluntary mobile app to expand contact tracing. The app, once downloaded, uses Bluetooth to identify any other nearby phones that have the same app. Anyone with the app who later develops COVID-19 will be asked to upload the data to Alberta Health Services, which will use it to reach out to those who came in contact with the person. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

WATCH | Alberta plant to reopen after COVID-19 outbreak:

Employees of the Cargill plant in High River, Alta., are worried for their safety as the plant plans to reopen two weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak. 1:58

Saskatchewan on Friday reported 26 new cases — the largest single-day increase in more than a month, and the second largest increase in the province since the pandemic began, behind the 30 new cases reported on March 28. Of the 26 new cases, 19 are in La Loche and the surrounding area, including Clearwater River Dene Nation. 

“We’ve very concerned with the increase in cases,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer. “The current outbreak in the north is due to further community transmission; people who have been exposed in the community.” Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

New rules kick in for Manitoba care homes today, limiting health-care workers to just one care home. The province reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total to 279. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Winnipeg couple of 70 years ‘connect’ through window amid restrictions:

Winnipeg couple of 70 years ‘connect’ through window amid COVID-19 restrictions 1:34

Ontario reported eight COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 198. In response to the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes, a provincial health-care advocacy group is organizing a day of action Friday to call for improved access to testing and personal protective equipment at the facilities.

Also on Friday, the province announced it would allow some businesses to reopen on May 4 “under strict guidelines. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario. 


People wearing face masks are seen in downtown Ottawa on Friday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Quebec’s director of public health says the province is launching a more “aggressive” testing strategy in the community, as it begins to loosen pandemic restrictions. Dr. Horacio Arruda said the province is planning to conduct 14,000 tests a day, up from roughly 6,000 tests a day that it’s currently doing. 

Arruda also announced 163 more COVID-19-related deaths. While this is the highest number reported on a single day, he said it includes previously unreported deaths for the month of April. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including concerns parents and teachers in the province have over a plan to reopen schools in under two weeks.


A person is given hand sanitizer before being tested at a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal on Friday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick has now gone 13 days straight without a new case of COVID-19. “That is very good news, but we are still actively searching for cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, during Friday’s news briefing. On Thursday, Russell cautioned there will be new cases in New Brunswick, but health officials are now more prepared for the next wave. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

The Nova Scotia government announced Friday it is immediately easing some public health restrictionsRules around physical distancing and social gatherings remain in place. People must keep two metres apart and not gather in groups of more than five.  ​​​​​​ 

Nova Scotia reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total to 959 confirmed cases. The province has recorded 29 deaths related to COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.


A paramedic and an ambulance is seen at Northwood Manor, one of the largest nursing homes in Atlantic Canada, in Halifax on Friday. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Prince Edward Island had no new cases of COVID-19 again on Friday. Since Thursday, 75 new negative test results have returned, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., including how the premier is asking the federal government to change its COVID-19 benefits program in order to motivate people to get back to work.

WATCH | COVID-19: Is airborne transmission possible?

An infectious disease specialist answers your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including whether airborne transmission is possible. 2:18

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case on Friday. It’s the first in five days. On Thursday, the province introduced a reopening plan, which sets May 11 as a target date for the lifting of some restrictions, including around non-urgent medical care and low-risk outdoor activity. That plan allowed households to form a “bubble,” allowing them to spend time with one other household. On Friday, the province’s chief medical officer of health warned that allowance could be rescinded if the number of new cases spikes. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

In Canada’s North,  all of the territory’s 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered. Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee also announced Friday that someone has been charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for allegedly failing to self-isolate as required. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

WATCH | Some good news from across the country on Friday:

With much of the world struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some good-news stories to report. Here’s a brief roundup. 3:13

What’s happening in the U.S.

More than a dozen states let restaurants, stores or other businesses reopen Friday in the biggest one-day push yet to get their economies up and running again, acting at their own speed and with their own quirks and restrictions to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t come storming back.

People in Louisiana could eat at restaurants again but had to sit outside at tables three metres apart with no waiter service. Maine residents could attend church services as long as they stayed in their cars. And a Nebraska mall reopened with Plexiglas barriers and hand-sanitizing stations but few shoppers.

Meanwhile, the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19 won emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In a major study, remdesivir shortened patients’ recovery time from 15 days to 11 on average and may have also reduced deaths.


Shoppers wearing face masks enter a department store in Omaha, Neb., on Friday. (Nati Harnik/The Associated Press)

President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s hoping the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States will be below 100,000, which he acknowledged is a “horrible number.” Trump’s predictions of the expected U.S. death toll have changed over time, with his earlier 60,000 projection now being eclipsed. But he said at a White House event that “maybe millions of lives” have been saved by shutting down the economy.

More than 64,000 people have died in the U.S. so far.

With the crisis stabilizing in Europe and in many places in the U.S., countries and states are gradually easing their restrictions amid warnings from health experts that a second wave of infections could hit unless testing for the virus is expanded dramatically.


People wearing face masks are seen at a salon in Edmond, Okla., on Friday. (Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press)

In much of Colorado, people could get their hair cut and shop at stores again, though stay-at-home orders remained in place in Denver and surrounding counties.

Wyoming let barbershops, nail salons, gyms and daycare centres reopen. In Maine, golf courses, hairdressers and dentists opened.

Hotels near South Carolina beaches opened and state parks unlocked their gates for the first time in more than a month. But in Myrtle Beach, the state’s most popular tourist destination, hotel elevators will be restricted to one person or one family — a potential inconvenience at the area’s 15- and 20-storey resorts.


Workers wearing face masks are seen at a reopned restaurant in Houston on Friday. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Texas’s reopening got underway with sparse crowds at shopping malls and restaurants allowing customers to dine in, though only at 25 per cent capacity in most places. A video posted on social media showed a city park ranger in Austin getting shoved into the water Thursday while asking people in a crowd to keep six feet apart from each other. Police charged a 25-year-old man with attempted assault.

Around the country, protesters have demanded governors reboot the battered economy. More than 100 people chanted and carried signs in front of Chicago’s Thompson Center, where Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has an office, to call for an end to the statewide lockdown.

Pritzker has said he will not lift his order until it’s safe, and several counterprotesters expressed support for his position. Nurse anesthetist Benjamin Salazar held up a sign that read, “Stay home. We are getting tired of seeing people die.”


Protesters rally against Illinois stay-at-home order outside in downtown Chicago on Friday. (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act as she sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in the city of Gallup, population 70,000, to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post on the outskirts of the Navajo reservation.

In the hardest-hit corner of the U.S., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said schools and colleges will remain closed through the rest of the academic year.

In Washington state, where the nation’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in January, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that he is extending the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order through at least May 31 and that he will ease the restrictions in four stages. Washington also had the first deadly cluster of cases in the U.S., at a Seattle-area nursing home.

What’s happening around the world

Western countries ignored the warnings on the COVID-19 pandemic released as early as in January and wasted more than a month to take action to curb the spread of the virus, said Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the British medical journal, The Lancet.

Horton made the remarks in a recent interview with the China Central Television (CCTV). Horton said The Lancet published five papers in the last week of January, describing the new virus and what steps to take to curb the spread.

“We knew all of this in the last week of January, but most western countries and the United States of America wasted the whole of February and early March before they acted. That is the human tragedy of COVID-19, Horton said.

WATCH | WHO review finds COVID-19 remains a public health emergency:

‘We know too little about the transmission of the virus,’ said Dr. Didier Houssin, expert adviser to the WHO, as he identified key issues that need to be addressed.. 2:12

Countries must lift lockdowns gradually, while still being “on the look-out” for COVID-19 and ready to restore restrictions if the virus jumps back, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Vulnerable people in institutions, including those in long-term care facilities, prisons and migrant dormitories, must be protected, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert.

Even if the virus is coming under control, communities must know to still follow physical distancing and hygiene measures, and testing of suspect cases must continue, he said.

WATCH | Italian cities test physical distancing measures as restrictions soon to ease:

Picturesque Florence and Ostia prepare to slowly transition to a somewhat new normal beginning May 4. 1:02

In Germany, hundreds gathered in a square in Berlin on Friday to mark May Day. They did so in defiance of a ban on public gatherings of more than 20, exposing deep frustrations with physical distancing rules in place in Germany since mid-March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Germany has been slowly easing its way out of a six-week lockdown. Small shops reopened this week, and playgrounds, museums and churches will follow starting on Monday.

Most Germans support the lockdown enforced by the country’s 16 states and backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite its heavy toll on the economy, which is expected to contract by a record of more than six per cent this year.


Britain has hit its target of carrying out 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Friday, stressing the program is crucial to helping ease a national lockdown.

He set the target of 100,000 tests by the end of April after being criticized for moving too slowly compared to other countries such as Germany. Hancock also announced the British death toll had risen by 739 to 27,510 deaths — just below that of Italy, which was one of the first and worst-hit European countries.


People walk along a seafront promenade in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday. Spaniards are taking to the streets to do exercise for the first time after seven weeks of confinement in their homes to fight the coronavirus pandemic. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press)

French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that the end of the national lockdown on May 11 would only be a first step as France looks to pull out of the crisis created by the COVID-19 outbreak. The number of people who have died from the disease in France rose by 218 to 24,594 on Friday, while hospitalisations and people in intensive care continued to decline, France’s public health chief said.

Spain’s coronavirus death toll hit 25,100 on Saturday after 276 people died overnight, the health ministry said. Total cases rose to 216,582 from 215,216 on Friday. Spain has had one of the worst outbreaks in the world, but is past its peak and gradually easing lockdown restrictions.


A volunteer manufactures surgical gowns, made from operating theatre drapes, for The Royal Free Hospital at Kensington and Chelsea College in London on Friday. The project has so far produced more than 6,400 gowns. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Russia on Saturday reported 9,623 new COVID-19 cases over a 24-hour period, versus 7,933 new cases on Friday. That brings the total number of cases to more than 124,000. The nationwide death toll rose to 1,222 after 57 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.


A medical worker takes a swap at a coronavirus drive-thru testing centre in the parking lot of the closed Chessington World of Adventures Resort theme park in London on May 1. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Japan will formally decide as early as Monday whether to extend its state of emergency, which was originally set to end on May 6. 

In China, Beijing’s parks and museums, including the ancient Forbidden City, reopened to the public after being closed for months by the coronavirus pandemic.

Singapore’s health ministry on Saturday confirmed 447 new coronavirus infections, the smallest daily rise in two weeks, taking the city-state’s tally of cases to 17,548 with 16 virus-related deaths. Most of the new cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said. The country will allow selected businesses to reopen on May 12 in a cautious rollback of a two-month partial lockdown.

WATCH | May Day celebrations prompt surge at China’s tourist hot spots as COVID-19 restrictions lessen

Outside Beijing’s Forbidden City, one man expressed the joy of the moment:  “I hope that by coming here to visit, I can start a beautiful day in 2020.”   0:53

India said on Friday it would extend its nationwide lockdown for another two weeks after May 4, but would allow “considerable relaxations” in lower-risk districts marked as green and orange zones under the government’s plan to fight the novel coronavirus. 

The country registered another daily high in coronavirus cases, with nearly 2,000 recorded in the past 24 hours. India’s Health Ministry said Friday the 1,993 new cases and 73 more deaths bring the country’s totals to 35,043 cases and 1,147 deaths.

The government is due to decide the future of its 40-day lockdown on Sunday. It allowed migrant workers and other stranded people to resume their journeys on Wednesday, as well as some shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming to resume.

In Malaysia, most businesses will reopen on Monday after a six-week shutdown ordered to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools, cinemas and nightclubs will remain closed, along with the country’s borders, and mass gatherings will still be banned.

The decision has sparked criticism, including from members of the ruling coalition, that restrictions were being eased too soon.

The number of new infections with the novel coronavirus rose by 105 on Saturday, the highest daily increase since April 16. The number of known infections totalled 6,176 while fatalities stood at 103.


Police officers are seen wearing face masks while on patrol in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday. (Dmitri Lovetsky/The Associated Press)

South Africa has started to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, allowing people to exercise outside, starting Friday, but only between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

“With public spaces still closed … everyone is being herded onto the streets for this small window of exercise,” said Jane Flanagan, the Africa correspondent for the Times of London, who is in Cape Town.


Health workers protest outside Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa on Friday, demanding personal protective equipment for all front line health workers. South Africa began easing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns on Friday, with runners and dog-walkers returning eagerly to the streets but not all wearing the face masks that are now mandatory in the country with Africa’s most coronavirus cases. (Themba Hadebe/The Associated Press)

Zimbabwe‘s President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended a nationwide lockdown to fight the new coronavirus by two more weeks and announced a $ 720 million US stimulus package for distressed companies, most which will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

Brazil reported a record 7,218 cases in the last 24 hours and 435 additional fatalities. Peruvian authorities, meanwhile, closed a busy food market in Lima after mass rapid testing confirmed more than 160 positive cases.

WATCH | May Day 2020 brings protests, arrests and little physical distancing:

A roundup of events from some cities around the globe. 1:30

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CBC | Health News

Plans to re-open amid pandemic take shape, but doing it is complicated

The latest:

Alberta and Newfoundland became the latest provinces on Thursday to release frameworks for how they would reopen their economies, but as the guidelines come out, many businesses, health practitioners and even cities are working to figure out how they will operate as restrictions put in place because of COVID-19 are lifted.

Manitoba’s largest city is scrambling to try and get amenities like playgrounds and golf courses ready to reopen on Monday, after a provincial plan set out a timeline for lifting restrictions.

“There is much more to reopening than simply reversing measures that we’ve put into place,” Mayor Brian Bowman said, as he asked Winnipeggers to be patient with the reopening process. 

Retail shops and hair salons will also be allowed to reopen in Manitoba on Monday, but they’ll need a plan for how they are going to operate within the guidelines around hygiene and physical distancing. 

WATCH | Renters, landlords worry about another month of unpaid rent:

Legislation in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic means people can’t be evicted because of unpaid rent right now, but with another rent cheque due some tenants aren’t sure what will happen when the pandemic is over. 2:02

Ontario, which released a framework that focused on how the province would make decisions and not when it would reopen, on Thursday released specific guidance for businesses around what would be required to operate safely when they are allowed to open their doors.

“Today, we are telling our businesses how to be ready for when we get that green light,” Premier Doug Ford said. 

And while provinces eye ways to jump-start their economies, people across the country are struggling to receive EI payments after losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Many Canadians have gone weeks without benefits because of problems with their EI applications, and find they’re unable to make it through jammed phone lines to get help.

The C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council, which monitors recessions and recoveries in Canada, declared on Friday that the country is officially in a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is still less than two months old in Canada, but the council said Friday the slowdown is already so swift and deep that it’s safe to declare a recession.  

As of 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 53,669 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with the majority concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Provinces and territories list 22,104 of the cases as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting lists 3,299 deaths in Canada and two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

Public health officials have cautioned that the recorded numbers are likely too low, noting that they fail to capture information on people who have not been tested or who are still under investigation as possible coronavirus cases. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people to behave as though there is coronavirus in their community, even if there haven’t been any recorded cases. 

The novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. 

What’s happening in the provinces and territories

Police in British Columbia have made hundreds of home visits to make sure residents who recently returned home from abroad are following self-isolation orders. The visits were to roughly 500 people who had not responded to phone calls and text messages from authorities making sure recent travellers were quarantining as promised. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Albertans will have more space to roam outside beginning in early May after the province announced it is lifting some COVID-19 restrictions. Premier Jason Kenney said golf courses will open on Saturday (though pro shops and clubhouses will stay closed), followed by a broader opening of outdoor spaces in early May. Non-urgent medical services will be allowed to open Monday, with retail and businesses to follow later in the month. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.


Saskatchewan’s premier put travel restrictions on a broad swath of the province’s far north to try and deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. People there are now facing a ban on travelling outside their home communities for anything other than essential trips for food or medical needs. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan, including how reopening differences between Manitoba and Saskatchewan are making it complicated for border towns.

New rules kick in for Manitoba care homes today, limiting health-care workers to just one care home. Provincial health officials said Thursday that almost all of the province’s personal-care homes were ready for the rules to kick in. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Indigenous teen hoop dancer moves into Ottawa retirement residence to help during COVID-19:

‘I consider them almost, like, as a second family,’ said Makhena Katerie Rankin Guérin. ‘That bond, it’s so valuable to me.’ 7:26

Ontario reported eight new coronavirus outbreaks at long-term care homes on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 198. In response to the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes, a provincial health-care advocacy group is organizing a day of action Friday to call for improved access to testing and personal protective equipment at the facilities.

Also on Friday, the province announced 421 new cases, bringing its total to 16,608. In addition, there were 620 additional COVID-19 cases listed as recovered, bringing that total to 10,825. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario. 

Jewish General Hospital is facing a COVID-19 outbreak, but a spokesperson for the Montreal hospital said: “None of these events were triggered by sick health-care workers.” Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, which has recently announced a plan that would see it reopen primary schools, daycares, and many businesses this month.

WATCH | The political gamble of reopening Quebec | At Issue:

The At Issue panel discusses why Quebec seems to be moving to reopen faster than its neighbouring provinces, despite having the most COVID-19 cases, and how much of a political risk this is for the premier. Plus in this extended edition, the panellists weigh in on the return of the Conservative leadership race. 16:16

New Brunswick has now gone 12 days straight without a new case of COVID-19. The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said of the total 118 cases so far, there are only four active cases and no one is in hospital. Russell cautioned there will be new cases in New Brunswick, but health officials are now more prepared for the next wave. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia’s top public health official, Dr. Robert Strang, is urging people in the province to “stay the course.” Nova Scotia reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 947 confirmed cases. The province has recorded 28 deaths related to COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

Prince Edward Island had no new cases of COVID-19 again on Thursday. “We’ve had one case in the last two weeks and a total of six cases for the month of April,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., including details of a plan to reopen some schools to students who normally receive support from youth service workers and educational assistants.

WATCH | COVID-19: Is airborne transmission possible?

An infectious disease specialist answers your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including whether airborne transmission is possible. 2:18

Newfoundland and Labrador residents are now allowed to form two-household bubbles, a move introduced as part of the province’s broader reopening plan, which sets May 11 as a target date for the lifting of some restrictions, including around non-urgent medical care and low-risk outdoor activity. “We must remember that if any of our indicators show a worsening of our situation we can tighten those restrictions again, and we will not hesitate to do so,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

Nunavut reported its first case of COVID-19 on Thursday. Dr. Michael Patterson, chief public health officer in the territory, said the case was detected in Pond Inlet, and the person is in self-isolation. Nunavut had been the only remaining province or territory in Canada without a reported case of the novel coronavirus. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

WATCH | Some good news from across the country on Friday:

With much of the world struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some good-news stories to report. Here’s a brief roundup. 3:13

What’s happening in the U.S.

From Reuters, updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House let its two-week-old economic reopening guidelines expire on Thursday as half of all U.S. states forged ahead with their own strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis.

The enormous pressure on states to reopen, despite a lack of wide-scale virus testing and other safeguards urged by health experts, was highlighted in new Labor Department data showing some 30 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits since March 21.

Physical separation of people — by closing schools, businesses and other places of social gatherings — remains the chief weapon against a highly contagious respiratory virus with no vaccine and no cure.

But with economic pain reaching historic proportions, agitation to relax stay-at-home orders and mandatory workplace restrictions has mounted.

For the second time in two weeks, hundreds of protesters — including armed militia group members — thronged Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing demanding an end to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders.

The latest protest was sparked by the Democratic governor’s request, ignored by Republican lawmakers, to extend emergency powers she had invoked in a state hard hit by both the virus and closures to combat it.

WATCH | COVID-19 puts spotlight on health-care inequality in Georgia:

Georgia’s black population has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and is putting a spotlight on health care and economic inequality in the state. 1:59

About two-dozen states, mostly in the South, the Midwest and mountain West, have moved to relax restrictions since Georgia led the way late last week. Texas, Ohio and Florida — among others — this week outlined plans for doing so in the days ahead. 

But no companies are required to reopen, and it was not clear how many business owners and their employees would return to work, and how many patrons would venture back into stores and restaurants.

The number of coronavirus cases is still climbing in many parts of the country, although peaks appear to have been reached in New York state, the epicentre of the U.S. outbreak, and other places.


Pier and beach access are closed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Manhattan Beach, Calif. California was the first state in the nation to impose a stay-at-home order in early March, a move largely seen as having contributed to preventing a death toll similar to those in New York or New Jersey. (Valeria Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

The chief executive of American pharmceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc., maker of the experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir, said on Friday he expected the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act quickly over the company’s application for approval.

“We’re moving very quickly with the FDA,” Daniel O’Day said in an interview with NBC’s Today show. “And I expect that they’re going to act very quickly.” 

The U.S. National Institutes of Health on Wednesday said preliminary results from its trial of remdesivir showed that COVID-19 patients given the drug recovered 31 per cent faster than those given a placebo. 

What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 12 p.m. ET

As in much of the rest of Europe, Italy’s May Day traditions, which pay tribute to the role of workers in society, have been upended by lockdown rules forbidding gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The heart and soul of Italy’s May Day commemoration have been rallies led by union leaders, followed by an evening of rock and pop music in Rome, drawing crowds sometimes topping 100,000 in the square outside St. John in Lateran Basilica. This year, musical artists will take turns performing solo in venues without anyone in the audience. Their music will be broadcast on TV and by state radio, with the evening’s theme being, “Working in safety to build a future.”

Deaths from COVID-19 in Italy climbed by 269 on Friday, down from 285 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 1,965 compared to 1,872 on Thursday.

Britain has hit its target of carrying out 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Friday, stressing the program is crucial to helping ease a national lockdown.

He set the target of 100,000 tests by the end of April after being criticized for moving too slowly compared to other
countries such as Germany.


A medical worker takes a swap at a coronavirus drive-thru testing centre in the parking lot of the closed Chessington World of Adventures Resort theme park in London on May 1. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Spain’s government expects that the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy will shrink by 9.2 per cent this year and that unemployment will reach 19 per cent of the working-age population. Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calvino announced the grim forecast on Friday when she explained Spain’s economic stability plan that it has presented to the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that the end of the national lockdown on May 11 would only be a first step as France looks to pull out of the crisis created by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Traditional Labour Day protests that usually see thousands of demonstrators on streets were cancelled this year due to the virus outbreak that has killed 24,000 people across France.

Russia registered almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday in yet another record daily spike, bringing the total to 114,431. The number of cases is likely to be much higher as not everyone gets tested, and tests in Russia were reported to be only 70 to 80 per cent accurate.

In at least five Russian regions, health officials registered a surge of pneumonia cases. In Moscow, which accounts for half of all virus cases, all respiratory infections are likely to be caused by the coronavirus, according to the public health agency Rospotrebnadzor.

Japan will formally decide as early as Monday whether to extend its state of emergency, which was originally set to end on May 6. 

In China, Beijing’s parks and museums, including the ancient Forbidden City, reopened to the public after being closed for months by the coronavirus pandemic.

WATCH | May Day celebrations prompt surge at China’s tourist hot spots as COVID-19 restrictions lessen

Outside Beijing’s Forbidden City, one man expressed the joy of the moment:  “I hope that by coming here to visit, I can start a beautiful day in 2020.”   0:53

India said on Friday it would extend its nationwide lockdown for another two weeks after May 4, but would allow “considerable relaxations” in lower-risk districts marked as green and orange zones under the government’s plan to fight the novel coronavirus. 

The country registered another daily high in coronavirus cases, with nearly 2,000 recorded in the past 24 hours. India’s Health Ministry said Friday the 1,993 new cases and 73 more deaths bring the country’s totals to 35,043 cases and 1,147 deaths.


A volunteer at Jhandewalan temple in New Delhi packs free food packets Friday to be distributed by the Sewa Bharti organization during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19. (Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images)

The government is due to decide the future of its 40-day lockdown on Sunday. It allowed migrant workers and other stranded people to resume their journeys on Wednesday, as well as some shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming to resume.

A holiday atmosphere enlivened South Africa’s streets as the May Day public holiday is also when the country has begun easing its strict lockdown. For the first time in five weeks, people were permitted to walk outside for exercise between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and thousands, with mandated face masks and keeping distance, were out walking through the streets.


A South African Police Service officer commands a man to wear a face mask in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on Friday, during a joint patrol by the South African National Defence Force, the South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department. (Michele Spatari/AFP/Getty Images)

Some South Africans will be able to return to work in small batches and many businesses will resume limited operations. Many factories can resume operations in phases, starting with only a third of employees allowed to return, and they must abide by distancing and other guidelines.

Public transport, including trains and buses, will begin operating with a restricted number of passengers. Even with the easing, South Africa’s lockdown remains strict, with no sales of liquor and cigarettes permitted.

Zimbabwe‘s President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended a nationwide lockdown to fight the new coronavirus by two more weeks and announced a $ 720 million US stimulus package for distressed companies, most which will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

Brazil reported a record 7,218 cases in the last 24 hours and 435 additional fatalities. Peruvian authorities, meanwhile, closed a busy food market in Lima after mass rapid testing confirmed more than 160 positive cases.

WATCH | COVID-19 could be more severe in people with asthma:

People with asthma aren’t at higher risk of getting COVID-19, but an infection could result in more severe symptoms. 0:52

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U.K PM Boris Johnson is doing well, expected back at his office shortly, says minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “doing well” and is expected to be back at his office shortly, housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Monday after the British leader was admitted to hospital on Sunday night.

“He’ll stay in hospital as long as he needs to do that, but I’ve heard that he’s doing well and I very much look forward to him being back in Number 10 as soon as possible,” Jenrick told BBC radio.

“This isn’t an emergency admission and so I certainly expect that he’ll be back at Number 10 shortly,” he added, referring to Johnson’s Downing Street offices and residence.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests in what Downing Street said was a “precautionary step” because he was showing persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

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Bouwmeester ‘doing very well’ after cardiac episode during game

St. Louis Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester remained hospitalized and was undergoing tests Wednesday one day after suffering a cardiac episode and collapsing on the bench during a game in Anaheim.

General manager Doug Armstrong said the 36-year old Bouwmeester was unresponsive after collapsing on the bench Tuesday night. A defibrillator was used and he regained consciousness immediately before being taken to an Anaheim hospital.

“He is doing very well and is currently undergoing a battery of tests. Things are looking very positive,” Armstrong said during a news conference in Las Vegas.

Teammates Vince Dunn and Alex Pietrangelo immediately called for help after Bouwmeester slumped over with 7:50 left in the first period. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the Blues bench. After a couple of minutes, Bouwmeester was taken out on a stretcher through a tunnel under the stands as players stood in shocked silence on the ice. The game was postponed.

WATCH | Bouwmeester collapses on bench:

The Blues’ defenceman left the bench on a stretcher after collapsing during a break in play in the first period. 0:50

Pietrangelo said he visited Bouwmeester in the hospital Tuesday night and the rest of team got to see him via FaceTime. The team stayed overnight in Southern California before taking a chartered flight to Las Vegas, where they will play the Golden Knights on Thursday.

“It was important for us to see him. It made everyone feel a lot better that he was in good spirits,” Pietrangelo said.

The last player to collapse on an NHL bench before Bouwmeester was Dallas forward Rich Peverley in 2014. Peverley had an irregular heartbeat, and the quick response of emergency officials made sure he was OK. Detroit’s Jiri Fischer had a similar episode in 2005.

The NHL has had standards in place to deal with potential life threatening cardiac problems for several seasons. They include having a team physician within 50 feet of the bench. An orthopedic surgeon and two other doctors are also nearby.

Defibrillators must also be in close range. The home team has one on its bench and the away team must have theirs no further away than their locker room. Each medical team regularly rehearses the evacuation of a severely injured player before the season and all players are screened for serious cardiac conditions.

WATCH | Blues offer update on Bouwmeester’s condition:

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong gives an update on defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who collapsed on the bench Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks following a cardiac episode. 10:41

“The Peverley and Fischer incidents and now Bouwmeester reminded us all how important it is to have team doctors close to players’ benches and defibrillators easily accessible in short notice,” said Edmonton Oilers general manger Ken Holland, who was with Detroit in 2005 when Fischer collapsed on the bench. “It has probably saved all their lives. Incredible job by league and team medical people.”

Bouwmeester is in his 17th NHL season and his fitness and conditioning has always been a source of pride. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014.

Bouwmeester was skating in his 57th game this season and the 1,241st of his NHL career. He had skated 1:20 in his last shift before collapsing and logged 5:34 of ice time as the game got going.

“His training and the way he takes care of himself, it crystallizes how things can quickly change. It is a testament to the NHL and teams to have everyone positioned when something like this takes place,” Armstrong said.

Bouwmeester’s father was at the game as part of the team’s annual dads trip and accompanied his son to the hospital.

The Blues and Ducks are talking with the league about making up the game Armstrong said a full 60 minutes will be played and it will resume with the game tied at 1.

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Father says people with disabilities should be offered support to have children, not dissuaded from doing it

Framed family photographs, plaques, medals and homemade artwork compete for space on the walls of the Haddad family home. Shane Haddad is particularly proud of the wall that leads to his children’s bedrooms: three smiling portraits in full high school cap and gown. 

“We had a dream that our kids would be graduating, successful and important people in society and they’ve become just that.”

It’s a testament to a life of hard work and a constant battle to defy the expectations of others. 

Growing up in Regina in the 1960s and 1970s as a people with intellectual disabilities, Shane and his wife, Brenda, both had to fight for basic human rights. 

“People were calling us ‘retards’ growing up; ‘not being able to amount to much.'”  

So many people are challenging in saying, ‘Well, you are different, why should you have children?’ They should be telling people, ‘Yeah, you should have children but how can we support you?’– Shane Haddad

At the time, the local school board said it didn’t have the proper resources to teach Shane. He was forced to leave his family and spend four years at a school run by nuns in Edmonton. Ultimately, he learned to read and earned his Grade 9. 

Sports have always played a really important role in Shane’s life, and he can credit the Special Olympics for introducing him to Brenda.

She was attracted to his honesty and said “he let me be myself.”


Brenda and Shane Haddad got married on May 20, 1989, despite the misgivings of her parents. (Nichole Huck/CBC )

The couple decided to get married, despite the misgivings of her parents. 

“A lot of people said, you can’t do this. You can’t be normal like everybody else. They were thinking things, but they didn’t always say things. You could see it in their eyes and face,” said Brenda. 

Her parents worried that Shane wouldn’t be able to adequately support their daughter. 

“We basically told Brenda’s mom and dad that we were getting married on May 20, 1989, and show up or don’t bother, but that’s the date,” said Shane.

They newlyweds were excited when they became pregnant in the first year of marriage. They had the first of three children, all of whom have special needs, according to Shane. He said their doctor was encouraging and arranged for a parent aid to come to their home and help out a couple of times a week to teach some parenting skills. 

It’s a support Shane said would be helpful for any new parent. 

The Haddads always knew they’d be great parents; what they needed to fight was society’s expectations of what was possible for people with intellectual disabilities. 


Brenda and Shane have been married for 30 years. Here, they stand in front of a wall showcasing all of the family’s wedding photos. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

According to Inclusion Saskatchewan, an organization dedicated to the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities, people with special needs having children is still quite rare. Shane said this will continue to be the case until there is a fundamental shift in how our society functions. 

“I think because so many people are challenging in saying, ‘Well, you are different, why should you have children?’ They should be telling people, ‘Yeah, you should have children but how can we support you?'”

Brenda said one of the biggest lessons she’s learned in parenting is that it’s OK to not know everything and it’s OK to ask for help if you don’t understand.

“You don’t try and solve it on your own.” 


All three Haddad children competed in the Special Olympics. Tyler (left) and Matthew (right) competed with their father for Team Canada. Tyler won the male athlete of the year award in 2018. Matthew lives in Regina and works construction. (Submitted by Tyler Haddad )

Shane had hoped to become a high school janitor, but that required a Grade 12. Doors were repeatedly shut in his face. 

“No one would hire me and give me a legitimate chance to make a living,” he said. 

Out of necessity, he started his own yard care business. 

Shane and Brenda also fought to make sure their children had the access to resources in their local school that they had been denied growing up. 

“We wanted him to be in the neighbourhood school, inclusion where he could be with his friends and he doesn’t have to uproot every three years and go to a different school and maybe not have very many friends because of it,” said Shane.

The children were taught from a young age to “see the ability, not the disability.” The family motto “never give up” adorns bedroom walls on handwritten posters, and it’s lived out by every member of the family. 


Over the years Shane has won countless awards for his involvement with the Special Olympics and in his role as an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. (Nichole Huck CBC )

In Grade 8, their oldest son, Tyler, desperately wanted to go to Cochrane High School, but he was told he’d need to raise his reading level by six grades. He got a tutor, and did. 

Their youngest child, Whitney, struggled to get her driver’s licence. 

“And every time she came back and she was crying because she was so disappointed in herself, and I kept telling her, believe in yourself and sooner or later you’ll do it,” said Shane. 

On the fifth attempt, Whitney came home with a big smile on her face. 

Society had already lit a match under us with, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. I can do this. I can do that, look at me now.– Shane Haddad

The family hasn’t just advocated for their own members.  Shane has been involved in groups representing people with intellectual disabilities. He served as president of People First of Canada. The family has continued to be heavily involved in the Special Olympics, competing in games all over the world. 

In high school, Tyler served as a peer support worker.

“They knew they could talk to me because I wouldn’t judge them,” he said.


Whitney Haddad, 22, displays photos of her niece on her bedroom walls. Whitney works at McDonald’s and helps her family take care of her niece. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

And when a 21-year old Tyler came home with the news that his girlfriend was pregnant, the family supported the young couple. When it ended after a year, Tyler moved back in with his parents and they welcomed his daughter, Rylie, into the household. 

The eight-year-old proudly shows off her own awards in the bedroom that used to belong to her father, smiling largely as she points to one for courage she received from her school. 

The handwritten message “Never give up. You can do this!” greet her every time she enters her room. 

It’s a way of approaching life that Rylie was born into.

“For us it was easy, because society had already lit a match under us with, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. I can do this. I can do that, look at me now,” said Shane. 

Beautiful Mess is a series that aims to glean wisdom from parents. Read other pieces here.

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