Tag Archives: others

Visitors to B.C. care homes deemed ‘essential’ move to front of vaccine line — others wait and worry

Jody Vance said her heart skipped a beat when she got an unexpected phone call from the long-term care facility where her elderly father lives.

She braced herself for bad news, but instead the voice on the other end told her something so many Canadians would love to hear: a dose of the Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine was being set aside for her.

“It was kind of was a little bit surreal,” she said. “It felt like hope.”

Vance got the shot because staff at the long-term care facility in Delta, B.C., declared her an “essential” visitor for her 82-year-old father. Driving him to emergency cancer surgeries during the pandemic made her eligible for such status.

To Vance, the main benefit of being vaccinated is that her dad won’t need to be isolated from her for his own protection. 

B.C. is one of the few provinces — Ontario and Nova Scotia are taking a similar approach — ushering essential visitors to the front of the vaccine line as a priority group. It’s up to the discretion of each facility to determine who is considered essential.

There is no cap in B.C. on the number of approved essential visitors, but only one will be allowed at a time with exceptions made for end-of-life care.

Those left to wait say they are also left to wonder if the delay could ultimately be too long.

Visiting loved ones in long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic often means no physical contact. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A frustrating process

“I don’t know how long she’ll be with us,” said Niovi Patsicakis, speaking about her 98-year-old mother, who lives at Evergreen Long-Term Care in White Rock.

Patsicakis said her mom has been mostly confined to her room in the facility for nearly three months, and Patsicakis hasn’t been able to visit since before Christmas. She said she fears the lack of in-person mother-daughter visits has affected her mom’s health.

But unlike Vance, Patsicakis said she has not been deemed essential by her mom’s long-term care facility. 

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), essential visits include those for compassionate care reasons such as critical illness, hospice care, end of life and medical assistance in dying. They can also include visits by a person who assists with feeding, mobility and communication needs.

WATCH | British Columbians with loved ones in long-term care talk about their experiences trying to get vaccine priority: 

As the vaccine rolls out in long-term care homes across the country, some provinces, including British Columbia, are also prioritizing essential caregivers for a shot to benefit residents and staff. But there’s some inconsistency about who qualifies as essential. 2:03

The B.C. Health Ministry has also said a clergy member can be designated as an essential visitor.

Health authority and facility staff, in collaboration with the long-term care resident, determine who gets essential visitor status, according to BCCDC in guidelines published on Jan. 7.

Patsicakis’ visits in the past have tended to be social in nature, but Patsicakis said her mother’s health seems to be deteriorating since their loss of contact.

“I can see a huge difference in how mom has gotten much worse,” said Patsicakis. “Her language skills have weakened as well as her mood. Sometimes, she’s confused or doesn’t want to get out of bed.”

Trying to get an essential designation has been difficult and frustrating, she said.

Niovi Patsicakis, right, says she has tried multiple times to be designated as an essential visitor so she can spend time with her mom, Sophie Patsicakis, left, who is 98 years old and in a long-term care facility in White Rock, B.C. (Submitted by Niovi Patsicakis)

Patsicakis said essential visitors to Evergreen are evaluated by a group that includes facility faculty and a representative from the local health authority, Fraser Health. She said she wrote Evergreen administration three times to plead her case and filed a complaint with an advocate at the health authority’s patient quality care office.

She said she requested Evergreen’s decision be sent to her in writing in November and never received it. As of Jan. 20, she said hadn’t heard anything from Fraser Health either.

“I know so many people are devastated,” she said, adding she is part of a social media group of others like herself who are supporting one another as best they can.

The National Institute on Ageing said families in British Columbia are enduring the most restrictive long-term care home visitation policies in the country.

B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie says decisions around who qualifies as an essential or designated visitor can be arbitrary because care-home residents and their families don’t have an association that represents them. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said the lack of an association that represents residents and their families at the 300 care homes in B.C. means they don’t have a voice in policy discussions between the government and care-home operators.

She said care home operators seem to be arbitrarily deciding who qualifies as an essential or designated visitor.

Patricia Grinsteed, 91, who survived COVID-19, touches hands with her daughter through a glass barrier at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, B.C. in June. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, provided the latest numbers of people who had qualified as essential visitors during a press event on Jan. 18.

Henry said about 8,000 people have met the criteria and will receive a vaccination during the province’s first phase of a four-phase immunization program, which is underway. There are approximately 30,000 people living in long-term care facilities

“The default, we believe, should be that every person, every resident who has a person who can care for them, should have a designated essential visitor, but that has been a challenge to operationalize,” said Henry.

Applications for essential status are available on the provincial health ministry’s website. There is an appeal process for people who do not like the initial decision.

One Abbotsford long-term care home operator said the more people who are designated essential, the better.

“Because of staffing levels, this gives us that extra layer of assistance — they are doing things like supporting their loved one with feeding or mobility,” said Dan Levitt, executive director of Tabor Village. “So they need that vaccine, and that’ll make a big difference for all of us.”

B.C. Health Minister, Adrian Dix, said by March, when residents and staff at long-term care facilities have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, people will have more social visiting access to their loved ones and some daily activities put on hold will begin to resume for residents. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

During a Friday press briefing, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the frustration felt by people disappointed to hear they are not considered essential.

“Everyone should feel that their participation, their social life, their visiting of their loved ones is essential,” he said.

Dix said vaccinating residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living facilities now could lead to eased restrictions around social visits by March, when all residents and staff are expected to have received both doses of their vaccines.

“It’s going to allow a lot of things to happen, including more visits from family members and loved ones and friends,” he said.

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CBC | Health News

Rescuers recover body after Norway landslide, continue search for 9 others

Rescuers found one body on Friday, two days after a landslide in southern Norway swept away at least nine buildings, police said, with nine people still missing.

Another 10 people were injured after Wednesday’s landslide in the residential area in the Gjerdrum municipality, about 30 kilometres northeast of the capital, Oslo.

“One person has been found. Unfortunately this person is confirmed dead,” the head of the police operation at the site, Roy Alkvist, told reporters, declining to give any details about the person.

Emergency workers are continuing their search in what Bjoern Nuland, head of the health team at the site, said was still a rescue operation. A search-and-rescue team from neighbouring Sweden was assisting.

Some 1,000 people have so far been relocated from Gjerdrum, including 46 people from an area two kilometres away from the landslide, after cracks were observed in the ground.

Emergency services work during a rescue operation in Ask on Friday. (Terje Bendiksby/NTB/Reuters)

The landslide and the rescue effort have gripped the Nordic nation of 5.4 million.

King Harald, 83, said at the start of his traditional New Year’s Eve speech on Thursday that the “tragic event leaves a deep impression on us all.”

“I feel with you who go in the New Year with grief and uncertainty,” he said.

“With you who have lost your homes, and who are right now despairing and do not see the way forward.”

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CBC | World News

Canada-U.S. border rules: Why some travellers get to cross while others are shut out

Kim Zavesky is desperate to return to her home in Golden, B.C.

After retiring last year, she and her husband — both Americans — sold their house in Chandler, Ariz., and moved most of their belongings to their second home in Golden, in southeastern British Columbia.

The plan was to rent a place in the United States for the first part of the year and spend the rest of the year in Golden. But then the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential traffic in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, blocking the couple from accessing their Canadian property.

“All my stuff is there, all my documents except for my passport,” Zavesky said. “It’s like not being able to go home.”

Adding to her frustration is the fact that, despite the border closure, Canadians can still fly to the U.S for leisure travel. That includes snowbirds who are currently flocking to the Sunbelt states.

“The unfairness of it really bothers me,” Zavesky said. “Whatever the rules are, I just feel like it should be the same.”

Americans Kim Zavesky and her husband, Paul, are prohibited from entering Canada to visit their home in Golden, B.C., under policies the federal government put in place after the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential traffic in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Kim Zavesky)

Although Canada and the U.S. agreed to close their shared border to non-essential travel during the pandemic, they each crafted their own policies. That has sparked some confusion and frustration because the rules vary — depending on which border you’re crossing.

Political scientist Don Abelson said the different rules between the two countries isn’t surprising.

“You’re still dealing with two sovereign countries who have jurisdiction over their own border, and they certainly have jurisdiction and responsibility for developing their own policies,” said Abelson, a professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. 

Snowbirds OK to fly south

The Canada-U.S. land border is set to stay closed until Dec. 21, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implied on Tuesday that the date could be extended.

“The [COVID-19] situation in the United States continues to be extremely serious,” he said on CBC Radio’s The Current.

Since the start of the border closure, the Canadian government has barred Americans from entering for non-essential travel by all modes of transport.

But while the U.S. has barred Canadian travellers from crossing by land, it still allows them to fly into the country. The U.S. has declined to tell CBC News why it made this decision, but in general, its air travel restrictions are less stringent than Canada’s.

Despite soaring COVID-19 infections in the U.S., a number of Canadians have taken advantage of the flying exemption, including snowbirds who are heading south to escape the Canadian winter.

“No way in hell we’re staying here,” said Claudine Durand of Lachine, Que.

Snowbirds Claudine Durand and her husband, Yvon Laramée, of Lachine, Que., travel to Florida each winter for two months. Durand says they’re still going this year, despite the pandemic. (Submitted by Claudine Durand)

If the land border is still closed when Durand and her husband head to Florida in late January, they plan to use a new service offered by Transport KMC. The Quebec company flies snowbirds — and transports their vehicles — across the Quebec-New York border.

“Basically, it solves our problem because we want to take our RV down,” Durand said, adding that she plans to take all COVID-19 safety precautions while in Florida.

The federal government advises Canadians not to travel abroad for non-essential travel during the pandemic but says it can’t prevent people from leaving.

Those who do must quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Canada.

Family exemptions

Canada and the U.S. also have different rules for family member exemptions.

Following protests from families separated by the border shutdown, the Canadian government loosened its travel restrictions in June to allow Americans with certain immediate family in Canada to enter the country for any reason by both land and air.

In October, the government further widened the exemptions to include additional family members, as well as couples who’ve been together for at least a year.

Conversely, the U.S. offers no exemptions for Canadians crossing into the country by land to visit family, unless they’re tending to a sick relative.

U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders suggests the U.S. hasn’t bothered to loosen the restrictions as the pandemic drags on because separated family members can still fly to the country.

“There’s a huge alternative,” said Saunders, who’s based in Blaine, Wash. “There’s no restrictions on flying.”

WATCH | Some Canadians decide to spend winter in U.S. amid COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping some Canadian snowbirds from heading to the U.S. this winter, but they’re not all willing to take the risk for warmer weather. 2:07

One affected group that has found no way around the federal government’s travel restrictions are Americans who own property in Canada. Some of them argue they, too, should get an exemption to enter the country.

“I pay [property] taxes. I would more than live by the rules,” said Zavesky, who points out she has a place where she can quarantine for 14 days — her home in Golden, B.C.

Mark Brosch of Atlanta owns a cottage in Muskoka Lakes, Ont. He said he believes he should be allowed to enter Canada so he can check on a property that has sat vacant for 10 months.

“I get across the border and I go to my cottage and quarantine for 14 days,” he said. “I am less of a risk to the public in Muskoka than the people that travel back and forth from Toronto every weekend.”

Mark and Sandra Brosch of Atlanta are shown at their cottage in Muskoka Lakes, Ont., during a previous summer. This year, the American couple can’t visit their property due to the border shutdown. (Submitted by Mark Brosch)

When asked about property owners, the Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC News in an email that U.S. visitors will be allowed to re-enter Canada when it’s deemed safe to do so.

“Travel into Canada for tourism and recreation purposes is currently prohibited, regardless of the ability of the traveller to quarantine for the full 14 days upon arrival,” spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau said. 

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CBC | World News

For Ness Murby, coming out as a trans athlete is about helping others — all while making Paralympic history

Unshackled from societal constructs and speaking with the joy and clarity of someone who understands fully the freedom that exists within self actualization, Canadian Paralympian Ness Murby begins sharing his story.

“I’m blind. I use a guide dog. I’m also genderqueer. Transmasculine. And my pronouns are he and him,” Murby told CBC Sports from his home in Vancouver. 

Then he laughs, a little nervously but also with relief. 

It’s taken 35 years to get this point — not without dark, lonely and searching moments, somewhat all but a distant memory now as Murby basks in this newfound ecstasy of being able to openly and publicly speak about his journey. 

He credits his grandparents, specifically his grandmother Shirley Dawn Murby, for igniting a spark within him at a very young age that for more than two decades was ruminating in his head and heart.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked me when I was six years old,” Murby said. 

“And without pause I said a husband and a father. You couldn’t have done it better in Hollywood. That actually happened. It’s surreal.”

Murby is happily married to his wife Eva Fejes, who is responsible for getting him to Canada in the first place. The two met years ago in Japan and immediately fell in love. Fejes is a Canadian citizen and the two eventually settled in Vancouver. 

“I’m in awe of how she’s defined her life. I will say it is an honour to be married to her. I love her so dearly,” he said. 

Murby uses a guide dog for competition. (Submitted by Ness Murby.)

Born and raised in Australia

Murby was born and raised in Australia with limited eyesight and is today blind. He competes in the F11 category in discus, that includes athletes who “have a very low visual acuity and/or no light perception.”

He’s competed for his native country of Australia, Japan and Canada at a number of international events, including the most recent at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil, traversing the world not only in pursuit of the podium in a myriad of sports but has also been unrelenting in his search to love and accept himself — the two are inextricably linked. 

“I had the embers of self-concept burning within me my entire life. My grandparents taught me I was enough just being me,” Murby said. 

“I’ve always known who I am but being congruent with that knowing and understanding that knowing has been the journey.”

Murby competes in the F11 category in discus, that includes athletes who “have a very low visual acuity and/or no light perception.” (Submitted by Ness Murby)

Destination complete. In a recent interview on the podcast Five Rings to Rule them All, Murby came out publicly as trans for the first time, speaking about the importance of this moment and wanting to be intentional about meeting it. 

“I wanted to be sure that I was able to represent where I’m at with conscious words. Words matter. This being the first time to speak openly about my gender identity in any setting,” he said. 

Despite potentially becoming the first trans athlete to compete at the Paralympics or Olympics, this was never about publicity or drawing attention to Murby — he makes that very clear. 

“It’s my experience that Para athletes don’t get attention. This was entirely about doing this openly and recognizing that it might help someone else,” he said. 

“Not doing this publicly means it’s less likely to be universally observed.”

Or talked about. And Murby wants people to ask questions, get uncomfortable and challenge their own limiting beliefs.

Murby speaks about all of this with the perspective of someone who has spent many waking hours and sleepless nights contemplating the cost of living incongruently and how that shows up in life and sport. 

“There’s never going to be a right time. And there’s never going to be a too late time. Being present and mindful in the moment. It is about who you are right here, right now. Nothing that’s gone before that changes the integrity of who you want to be,” Murby said. 

“I understand that living in limbo and incongruence can really be damaging.”

Weight of the feeling

It has been damaging for Murby, the weight of feeling like he wasn’t living authentically pressing down on him at every turn. But deep down there’s always been a desire to break through that — that time has finally arrived. 

And now as Murby sets his sights on competing in Tokyo in discus at next summer’s Paralympics for Canada, he wants his story to serve an important tale about what it means to not only create space for oneself but also to create space for those around us to show up fully. 

“This has shown me that it does feel better to be open, to be out, to be me. I look forward to competing unquestionably as me, because it will be the very first time. This is the very first time for me where the trade off won’t be my self concept. And that’s huge,” he said. 

Murby understands the universality of his struggle and is imploring people to see the humanity that exists within everyone. (Submitted by Ness Murby)

And while this is just one person’s story about acceptance, resilience and growth, Murby understands the universality of his struggle and is imploring people to see the humanity that exists within everyone. 

“Just because we can’t imagine doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I am just one person but I am not the only person. It’s imperative we don’t assume anyone else’s experience but that we do invite it to the table. There’s enough space for all of us,” he said. 

“Tolerance is not the same as acceptance. Allyship is active and it has to be intentional. Assuming it exists as a matter of course, doesn’t make it so. It necessitates our conscious consideration. We need to take on the accountability and carve out spaces for each other, especially when coming from a place of privilege.”

Murby exemplifies the intersectionality between sport and disability, social constructs and breaking through them — and has been unrelenting in first looking at himself critically in determining how to move forward and then also inviting those around him to do the same.

“Our present orthodoxy doesn’t nurture our self concept as being the utmost importance and doesn’t respect the gravity of that. A really important message is that without our personal concept, we cannot self actualize,” he said.

Above all, Murby stresses that none of this is easy and that it requires immense bravery. 

He says he’s been lucky because at the core of who he’s always been, there’ve been embers of self-concept burning within him. 

“I urge everyone to ask the question when we are speaking and when we act, for what purpose and what cost?” Murby said. 

“That should be at the fundamental core.”

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Marketplace tested over 20 different masks. Here’s what will best protect you and others during the pandemic

Wearing a mask is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19, but rigorous tests conducted on behalf of CBC’s Marketplace found that while some work very well, others offer little protection from the particles that transmit the novel coronavirus. One type of mask can even spread those particles to others.

Months into the pandemic, there are still no standards for consumer masks. So Marketplace opted to compare more than two-dozen masks to what is commonly considered the gold standard in protecting health-care workers from infectious diseases like COVID-19 — the N95 mask. 

Marketplace purchased the masks in stores and online from a variety of sellers. The masks were also made out of varying materials and featured different designs. 

Marketplace put the masks through the rigorous National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standard test, conducted at a lower air-flow regimen to reflect normal breathing. The test is usually reserved for N95s and personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for health-care workers. A standard NIOSH aerosol test measures filtration efficiency, meaning the quantity of particles the mask filters out as the wearer breathes in. 

An image shows leakage from an ill-fitting mask during Marketplace’s lab test at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. (CBC)

An N95 mask must have a 95 per cent filtration efficiency. 

“This is the benchmark test. And it’s actually useful because it allows us to compare consumer market masks to masks that we know a lot about,” said James Scott, a professor from the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Scott is a specialist in bioaerosols and runs the lab where Marketplace‘s tests were run.

The test pulls a constant breath of air containing tiny salt particles through the mask material. The salt particles are similar in size to particles able to contain the coronavirus that might originate from droplets expelled by an infected person’s breath, cough or sneeze. During the test, samples of air inside and outside the mask are compared to see how effective the mask is at reducing the level of particles.

Previous tests on consumer masks have commonly looked at how masks can help block particles when coughing or sneezing and prevent transmission to others. But the Marketplace test shows that certain materials make some masks better at limiting wearers’ exposure by filtering what they breathe in, Scott said.

“Even fairly low-efficiency masks are actually quite effective at catching much larger particles. But, it takes a really good mask to catch the small ones as well. And we know that the virus will travel not only on the big ones but the small ones as well,” said Scott.

PHOTOS | A closer look at filtration efficiency of mask materials:



Polypropylene fabric masks as good as N95

Marketplace‘s test found some masks are just as good as an N95 when it comes to filtering out those potentially harmful particles, including one made with something called polypropylene fabric. 

A mask with an inner layer of melt-blown non-woven polypropylene and outer layers of cotton. (CBC)

Polypropylene fabric, in this case, is a melt-blown, non-woven plastic fabric. Melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene (NWPP) is commonly used in surgical and N95 masks.

The consumer mask Marketplace tested with an inner layer of melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene fabric and outer layers of cotton had filtration efficiency rates as high as an N95. Scott said the combination of multiple materials contributed to the strong result. 

“This is a really good example of multiple layers of different materials combining to make something greater than the sum of the parts,” said Scott.

An example of a blue three-ply surgical-type mask Marketplace tested. (CBC)

Blue three-ply surgical-type masks

One of the two-ply, high thread count cotton masks Marketplace tested. (CBC)

Blue three-ply surgical-type disposable masks also reported some of the highest filtration efficiency rates in the Marketplace test, which was of no surprise to Scott, as most contain that melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene fabric. 

“It’s this interwoven matrix of fibre. Air needs to travel around each one of those fibres and it meets the next fibre and it needs to bend its path. So as it does that, those fabrics pull out lots and lots of particles,” said Scott.

Two-ply and three-ply cotton masks 

Marketplace also tested a number of cotton masks, including a two-layer, 100 per cent cotton mask, and a three-layer, 100 per cent cotton mask. More layers of cotton didn’t necessarily mean a better mask. The three-layer cotton mask Marketplace tested did not perform well, but the two-layer cotton mask did. 

One of the three-ply cotton masks Marketplace tested. Thread count unknown. (CBC)

There was also a noticeable jump in filtration efficiency in cotton masks made with a higher thread count.

Masks made with 600 and 680 thread count cotton had filtration efficiencies almost twice that of the other cotton masks tested. Scott said the weave of a fabric is critical when it comes to catching those potentially harmful particles. 

When it comes to cotton masks, Marketplace‘s test suggested the tighter the weave, the better. 

Scott points out that manufacturers of consumer masks are not currently required to disclose details about thread count, and without that information it’s difficult to say for certain what contributed to some cotton masks’ poorer performance. 

Valve masks, like the one seen here, are not effective at blocking COVID-19. (CBC)

Masks to avoid

Scott said consumers should avoid wearing valve masks. While they are useful for protecting someone from inhaling paint fumes or when working in a wood shop, they do not help control the spread of the virus.

The reason is simple. 

“Air only moves through the filter part of the mask when air comes in. It doesn’t move through the filter to exhale. It moves through the valve,” he said. “So there’s nothing to intercept those particles that you may be shedding into the environment.”

Although valve masks are not recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada, some members of the federal security force at Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa were seen wearing them. (CBC)

Transport Canada has banned the wearing of valve masks, as has Via Rail, and airlines such as Air Canada. Toronto, Ottawa Public Health, Hamilton Public Health and the BC CDC all recommend against the use of valve masks.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said: “Masks with exhalation valves are not recommended, because they don’t protect others from COVID-19 and don’t limit the spread of the virus.” 

Despite this, some members of the federal security force at Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, mandated to provide physical security for parliamentarians, employees and visitors to the parliamentary precinct, have been wearing valve masks while on duty.

One of the rayon masks Marketplace tested. (CBC)

In an email, the Parliamentary Protective Service told Marketplace: “The masks issued by the Parliamentary Protective Service (the Service), despite having a valve, meet the criteria outlined by PHAC regarding the appropriate use of non-medical mask or face covering. The Service has since replenished its stock with masks that do not include a breathing valve.”

Other masks to avoid

The neck gaiter-style mask and bandanas were among the poorest performing when it came to filtration efficiency rates. Scott said the thin, porous materials they are made from is likely the reason they did a poor job filtering out any potentially harmful particles, which is made worse by their loose fit.

A two-layer, 100 per cent rayon mask was also among the worst performing masks Marketplace tested for filtration efficiency. 

One of the gaiter-style masks Marketplace tested. (CBC)

Lack of standards, testing for consumer masks

Physician and infectious diseases specialist Monica Gandhi from the University of California, San Francisco expects mask requirements to be around for the foreseeable future, at least until there is enough of a safe and effective vaccine. 

“I have become more and more convinced that they are one of the most important pillars of pandemic control,” said Gandhi. 

As Marketplace‘s research has found that consumer masks protect the wearer in addition to others, public health agencies recently updated their guidelines to include that messaging.

Last week, Health Canada quietly updated its mask-wearing guidelines, adding “to protect yourself and others.” On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control went further, updating its recommendations in favour of masking by outlining a number of studies that point to masking as drastically reducing transmission of the disease for both the wearer and others.

WATCH | How masks protect not only others, but the wearer, too:

An infectious disease specialist cites research that suggests wearing a mask can lead to less severe illness from COVID-19 by limiting how much of the virus someone inhales. 0:35

“This is an incredibly exciting update from the CDC since messaging that allows the public to know that masks protect you as well as others will be more powerful in convincing skeptics that masks are important in public spaces to slow down spread and disease from COVID-19,” Gandhi said. 

She also made note of research released in September that suggested wearing a mask can lead to less severe illness from COVID-19 by limiting how much of the virus someone inhales.

The CDC did not cite the study in its bulletin. However, Gandhi said there is accumulating data behind this hypothesis.

Regardless, she said: “Stressing that a mask protects you is getting out the same message we have been trying to convey for the past many months of the pandemic — that wearing a mask gives you a sense of control over your own destiny and protection. It is an important message.”

WATCH | These are the most effective face masks:

Marketplace put more than two dozen consumer masks to the test to see which ones do a better job at protecting you and why. 2:12

With rigorous standards in place for medical-grade masks in Canada and around the world, Scott anticipates standards for consumer masks are likely coming as a consequence of the pandemic.

Marketplace asked Health Canada why there is still no guidance on packaging for consumers with respect to mask performance, or best practices for manufacturers looking to make better masks.

Health Canada said that although it has not set out or endorsed any standards for face coverings, it is actively monitoring the development of standards for face coverings and may revise its position when new information becomes available.

Tips for finding the right mask

What to look for.

  • Start with something that fits you properly. Scott said a mask should fully cover your nose and chin, and be as tight fitting as possible around the rest of your face. If your glasses or sunglasses fog up when you are wearing your mask, you should choose another.

  • Scott suggests consumers look for masks made with multiple layers, and that at least one of them be cotton, preferably the highest thread count you can find.

The average person does not need the same level of protection as a health-care worker on the front lines, Scott said, noting that any mask is better than no mask at all.

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CBC | Health News

Paralympian Brittany Hudak helping others through social work during pandemic

Brittany Hudak woke up with jangled nerves and gold in her sights on the first day of the 2020 World Para-Nordic Ski Championships.

Then came the knock at her hotel room door that changed everything.

In the middle of the night, organizers had cancelled the event. The Canadian team needed to fly home immediately due to the rising threat of COVID-19 in Europe.

“I thought it was a joke,” says Hudak, a bronze medallist in biathlon at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “I was super excited and felt so confident in my fitness. We train all season long to be at our best on that day in March. I couldn’t believe that it came to such a disappointing end.”

On the flight home, a despondent Hudak took stock and pledged to find her own silver lining in the midst of the pandemic.

One year earlier, she had finished her degree in social work at the University of Regina, but dedicated herself to competing instead of working in her chosen field.

So she dusted off her resume and set out to find work as a helper.

Helping others triumph

These days, she splits her time between training at the winter paradise that is the Canmore Nordic Centre and her job at a Calgary-area residential group home for teenagers.

Some of the clients are battling addictions. Some are in trouble with the law. Some are dealing with crippling financial insecurity.

“I knew social work was not going to be easy,” she says. “You see a lot in a day, and you hear a lot in a day.

“It’s about meeting the individual where they’re at and understanding their situation. I really love learning about people’s struggles and trying to help them triumph over those adversities.”

WATCH | Hudak wins bronze at the 2018 Winter Paralympics:

24-year-old Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native Brittany Hudak won bronze, her first-career Paralympic medal, in the women’s biathlon 12.5 km standing race. 6:28

Hudak, 27, understands what it’s like to struggle.

“Growing up missing part of my arm, I always knew I was in a minority group,” she says. “I know certain groups in society are oppressed and have things go against them. My background with a disability I think really helps me in social work.”

The Prince Albert, Sask., product discovered biathlon at age 18 thanks to a chance encounter with Colette Bourgonje, a 10-time Paralympic medallist.

Hudak was working at a Canadian Tire store in Prince Albert, and Bourgonje struck up a conversation, urging her to try out cross-country skiing.

“We have Colette to thank for finding Brittany,” says Robin McKeever, head coach of the Canadian para-Nordic team. “Our focus is on Beijing in 2022 and I’m hoping for Brittany to repeat the medal she won in Pyeongchang or go for a couple more medals. We have a great team around her, and she’s getting to the perfect age as a skier and an endurance sport athlete.”

Brittany Hudak waves after winning bronze in biathlon at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang. (Submitted by Brittany Hudak)

Like most elite winter athletes, Hudak has no idea when she’ll race again on the World Cup circuit. She hopes the Beijing Olympics will happen, but realizes there’s no guarantee given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

“It would be so easy to spend a lot of focus and energy wondering what is going to happen,” she says. “I’m trying to reserve my energy and focus on what’s in my control.”

To that end, she is building her fitness to be in the best shape of her life for 2022.

And, at the same time, she’s trying to help a group of teenagers in crisis find their way through their own personal storms.

“I think it’s really important to have balance,” she says. “If I didn’t ski as well as I would have liked to in an interval session, it can seem like such a big deal when I’m only focused on sports.

“When I leave and go to work, sometimes it’s a refreshing thing for me to have the mental switch. I realize a bad day for someone else is 1,000 times worse than a bad day for me on skis.”

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Princess Eugenie Shares Photo of Her Back Scar to Encourage Others to Be ‘Proud’ of Their Blemishes

Princess Eugenie Shares Photo of Her Back Scar to Encourage Others to Be ‘Proud’ of Their Blemishes | Entertainment Tonight

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Officer in George Floyd death faces 2nd-degree murder charge, others also charged

Prosecutors on Wednesday expanded their case against the police who were at the scene of George Floyd’s death, charging three of the officers with aiding and abetting a murder and upgrading the charges against the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to second-degree murder.

The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, whose caught-on-video treatment of the handcuffed Floyd spurred worldwide protests. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four were fired last week.

“We are here today because George Floyd is not here,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in announcing the charges. “He should be here. He should be alive, but he’s not.”

Widely seen bystander video showing Floyd’s death has sparked anger around the world against police brutality and discrimination.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted the news, calling it an “important step for justice.” 

A second-degree murder conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. The charges of aiding and abetting a second-degree murder carry the same potential sentence. 

Ellison asked the public to give the prosecutors the time and space to do their work. “George Floyd mattered,” he said during a Wednesday news conference. “He was loved. His family was important. His life had value. We will seek justice for him and for you.”

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family, called it “a bittersweet moment” and “a significant step forward on the road to justice.” Crump said Ellison had told the family he would continue his investigation into Floyd’s death and upgrade the charge to first-degree murder if warranted.

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The move punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.

At least 12 deaths have been reported connected to the protests, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.

WATCH | Protesters react: ‘We can make a big change’:

Anthony Williams and Rev. Greg Drumwright say they believe the charges against the four officers involved in George Floyd’s death will mark a turning point in U.S. history. 2:58

Some tense incidents continued Tuesday night, but were far less prevalent than in preceding days. Police and National Guard troops used tear gas, flash-bang grenades, non-lethal rounds and other means of dispersing crowds near a police precinct in Seattle, Wash., near Centennial Park in Atlanta and at demonstrations in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla.

2 medals of valour

Personnel records released by the city show Chauvin served as a military policeman in the U.S. Army in the late 1990s. Since being hired as a police officer in 2001, he has been awarded two medals of valour: one for being part of a group of officers who opened fire on a stabbing suspect after the man pointed a shotgun at them in 2006, and one for apprehending a man in a domestic incident in 2008.

In the latter case, Chauvin broke down a bathroom door and shot the man in the stomach.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was arrested Friday, is now facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Floyd. (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Chauvin was reprimanded in 2008 for pulling a woman out of her car in 2007, frisking her and placing her in his squad car after he stopped her for speeding 10 miles (16 km) per hour over the limit. His dashboard camera was not activated and a report said he could have interviewed the woman while standing outside her car.

Lane, 37, and Kueng both joined the department in February 2019, and neither have any complaints on their files.

Lane previously worked as a correctional officer at the Hennepin County juvenile jail and as a probation officer at a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys.

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, left, Thomas Lane, centre, and J. Alexander Kueng, right, have been charged with aiding and abetting murder in the death of George Floyd. (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department)

Kueng was a 2018 graduate of the University of Minnesota where he worked part-time as campus security. He also worked as a theft-prevention officer at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis while he was in college.

Tou Thao, a native Hmong speaker, joined the police force as a part-time community service officer in 2008 and was promoted to police officer in 2009. He was laid off later that year because of budget cuts and rehired in 2012.

Terrence Floyd, brother of George Floyd, sat several minutes at the makeshift memorial outside the store where George was arrested and later pinned to the ground. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Civil rights probe launched

Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on Tuesday launched a civil rights investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department and its history of racial discrimination in hopes of forcing widespread change.

The official autopsy by the county medical examiner concluded that Floyd’s death was caused by cardiac arrest as police restrained him and compressed his neck. The medical examiner also listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use, but not as causes of death.

The autopsy report was released Wednesday. It also showed Floyd tested positive for 2019-nCoV, the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. 

Crump and the Floyd family commissioned a separate autopsy that concluded he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression caused by Chauvin’s knee on his neck and other responding officers’ knees in his back, which made it impossible for him to breathe.

People help lift up a photo of Floyd as it is mounted on the side of the bus station near where he was detained by police. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

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Report: China Sells Minorities Into ‘Forced Labor’ to Benefit Apple, Foxconn, Others

Ongoing human rights violations in China were a significant topic of discussion at the end of 2019. The country has sought to block criticism of its policies towards Tibet, the still-ongoing Hong Kong protests, and its imprisonment of a million or more Uighurs and other ethnic minority groups in forced re-education camps. A new bombshell report from Australia indicates that the Uighurs and other minorities aren’t just being subjected to forced re-education — they’re being used as slave labor after completing their terms of “study.”

The paper, by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, doesn’t use the term “slavery,” preferring to rely instead on the euphemism of “forced labor.” Here’s how the situation is described (Uighur and Uyghur are two different ways of spelling the same word):

It is extremely difficult for Uyghurs to refuse or escape these work assignments, which are enmeshed with the apparatus of detention and political indoctrination both inside and outside of Xinjiang. In addition to constant surveillance, the threat of arbitrary detention hangs over minority citizens who refuse their government-sponsored work assignments. Most strikingly, local governments and private brokers are paid a price per head by the Xinjiang provincial government to organise the labour assignments…

The Uyghur workers, unlike their Han counterparts, are reportedly unable to go home for holidays… Uyghur workers are often transported across China in special segregated trains… Multiple sources suggest that in factories across China, many Uyghur workers lead a harsh, segregated life under so-called ‘military-style management’. Outside work hours, they attend factory-organised Mandarin language classes, participate in ‘patriotic education’, and are prevented from practising their religion. Every 50 Uyghur workers are assigned one government minder and are monitored by dedicated security personnel. They have little freedom of movement and live in carefully guarded dormitories, isolated from their families and children back in Xinjiang. There is also evidence that, at least in some factories, they are paid less than their Han counterparts.

There’s a common perception that the difference between slaves and free individuals is that the latter is paid for their work, but the truth is more complex. This article from the Organization of American Historians is a deep dive into the history of slaves earning wages in the South. In some cases, slaveowners found it advantageous to allow slaves to earn a certain amount of money and to spend it on improving their own lives or the lives of their families. The same is undoubtedly true in China today.

If you can’t refuse a work assignment, can’t go home to see your family, can’t practice your religion, are forced to live by a schedule in which virtually every minute of your life is regimented for you, are kept under constant or near-constant surveillance and subject to the whims of headhunters who earn a bounty for delivering you to a job, and didn’t get any choice in the matter, I’d argue you’re effectively a slave. In some cases, workers’ families are also under simultaneous surveillance back at home, which provides an extra incentive for the slaves “prisoners with jobs” to behave themselves.

Image by Disney, from Thor: Ragnarok. This is one of those “I needed a bit of a joke, because the next few images are really nauseating” moments.

The ASPI estimates that up to 80,000 Uighurs have been forced into labor camps this way, some of them directly after finishing their indoctrination at Chinese re-education centers. The report includes three case studies focused on factories producing goods for Nike, Adidas/Fila, and Apple. A total of 83 companies have been identified as benefiting from these practices:

Abercrombie & Fitch, Acer, Adidas, Alstom, Amazon, Apple, ASUS, BAIC Motor, BMW, Bombardier, Bosch, BYD, Calvin Klein, Candy, Carter’s, Cerruti 1881, Changan Automobile, Cisco, CRRC, Dell, Electrolux, Fila, Founder Group, GAC Group (automobiles), Gap, Geely Auto, General Electric, General Motors, Google, H&M, Haier, Hart Schaffner Marx, Hisense, Hitachi, HP, HTC, Huawei, iFlyTek, Jack & Jones, Jaguar, Japan Display Inc., L.L.Bean, Lacoste, Land Rover, Lenovo, LG, Li-Ning, Mayor, Meizu, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Mitsumi, Nike, Nintendo, Nokia, The North Face, Oculus, Oppo, Panasonic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Roewe, SAIC Motor, Samsung, SGMW, Sharp, Siemens, Skechers, Sony, TDK, Tommy Hilfiger, Toshiba, Tsinghua Tongfang, Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, Vivo, Volkswagen, Xiaomi, Zara, Zegna, and ZTE.

How many vocational schools do you know of that don’t have completely fenced-off areas and a dozen or more security checkpoints?

The report details how this massive system of relocation and forced labor has been built up under the guise of an aid program known as “Xinjiang Aid.” What appears superficially as a targeted aid program for the poor and undereducated people in the province is a relocation and reeducation program meant to destroy their culture and religious practices. Companies all over China have been encouraged to provide “industrial Xianjing aid” by building factories in the province to absorb what China terms “surplus labor capacity” or to hire Uighurs for other tasks in factories across the rest of China.

Factories are well-compensated for taking these workers and advertisements for their services have reportedly begun popping up in Chinese publications, as shown above and below:


Compare that with some vintage advertisements for American pre-owned human property.

The report details how, days before Tim Cook visited an O-Film Technology factory in 2017, the company transferred 700 Uighurs to a separate factory. In a now-deleted press release, Cook praised the company for its “humane approach towards employees.” The company reportedly continued to hire more Uighur prisoners throughout the year.


The ASPI doesn’t make any damning accusations that any specific Western company knew that its products were being built by slave labor. There are multiple diagrams attached to each case report that make it clear how intricate some of these supply chains are. When you look at the supply chains for companies like O-Film, you immediately see just how many major firms could be buying products tainted by the use of slave labor:


The ASPI does not argue that Apple or any other company has been aware of what has been going on within their supply chains. But the web of connections between these firms implies many companies have benefited from this practice and need to take immediate action to address it. Past that immediate problem, this is another area where we as a society have to choose whether we want to stay quite so cozy with a nation with an increasingly awful human rights record.

If you’ve paid attention to the clashes over issues like freedom of speech between the United States and China over the past six months, it’s become very clear that China isn’t just attempting to control what is said within its borders. In multiple instances, the Chinese have targeted low-level employees or minor embarrassments with hostility beyond all proportion to the alleged offense. This overreaction is not an accident. It’s part and parcel of how the nation is demonstrating its willingness to enforce its own cultural and social norms on others.

While it is absolutely possible for nations to have positive effects on each other, it is past time to let go of the fiction that engaging with China in economic terms will intrinsically lead the company to democratize its policies or protect the rights of its citizenry. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China has moved to curtail freedom of the press and freedom of speech. It has imprisoned 1-2 million citizens in political re-education camps and is forcing some of those citizens into what is effectively slavery to manufacture cheap goods for Western markets.

I’m Not Just a Consumer

Businesses make a lot of assumptions about what their customers will or won’t want. One of the most offensive, I’d argue, is the idea that customers are sensitive to nothing but price. Suggest that we might benefit from moving production to a country where minority workers and their families aren’t literally enslaved to provide cheap labor, and someone will instantly bring up the fact that prices would go up if anything changed. In some cases, that’s probably true. A more meaningful question that few people seem to have the guts to ask these days is, “So what?”

Over the past few years, we’ve watched smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung jack up the price of smartphones to the point that $ 1,000 isn’t even guaranteed to buy you a top-end product any longer. The iPhone XR starts at $ 600 while the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $ 1,100, but everybody knows that it doesn’t cost Apple an extra $ 500 to build an iPhone 11 Pro Max. For the past few years, both Samsung and Apple have increased prices simply because they could increase prices.

Somehow, however, the same MBAs who confidently predict to the Tim Cooks of the world that the market will cheerfully absorb a price increase engineered for the sole purpose of installing more gold-plated bathtubs in the C-suites would quail at the idea of refusing to do business with a reprehensible dictatorship that inflicts catastrophic human rights abuses on its own citizenry. The idea that I might be willing to pay more for an iPhone because Apple wants to spend more money propping up its own stock is treated as a given. The idea that I might be willing to pay more for an iPhone because I don’t believe the Chinese government should be rewarded for literally enslaving people? Well, that’s letting morality get in the way of business.

And yet, the fact remains: I would vastly rather pay an extra $ 50-$ 100 to know my phone wasn’t made with slave labor than I would to pay an extra $ 50-$ 100 so that some rich schmuck on Wall Street can make an extra million bucks in bonuses this quarter. I know I am not the only person who feels that way.

The clash of values between China and the United States isn’t going to go away. Writing in 1945, philosopher Karl Popper described what is now known as the paradox of tolerance, stating: “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

I am aware of all of the reasons — literally billions of reasons — why United States’ companies seek access to Chinese markets. I am aware of the hyper-optimized supply chains and the decades of investment US companies have made in them. Any effort to shift even a small amount of manufacturing out of China would be difficult and time-consuming, and in many cases, alternatives would have to be developed from scratch. Furthermore, because the Earth’s resources are unevenly distributed, some nations have a much larger supply of valuable resources than others. The United States has most of the world’s helium. China has a huge percentage of rare earths. Bolivia has a huge chunk of the world’s lithium reserves. Even in the best of cases, we live in a global, interconnected economy. There is no way to simply wave a wand and roll the clock back to the early 20th century.

There is, however, still time for Americans to push back on the idea that access to Chinese markets is the highest value to which we, as a people, can aspire to. And since every conversation starts with someone choosing to start it, I’ll go first. I am not willing to pay higher drug prices so that the pharmaceutical industry can continue ripping off Americans with exorbitant drug prices. I am not willing to pay higher prices for goods and services so that “disruptive” companies can pocket their employees’ tips. I am not willing, generally speaking, to watch my own costs rise so that people who already make more money in a day than I’ll make in a year can get just a little richer.

But I would be willing to pay more for my electronics and devices if it meant knowing that the countries and companies where these devices were manufactured weren’t enslaving their employees, driving them to suicide, exposing them to poisonous toxins, or otherwise destroying their lives, particularly when one of the benefits of doing so is knowing that my fellow citizens will not be subject to being fired for the crime of accidentally liking the wrong tweet.

If Tim Cook wanted to demonstrate the courage Phil Schiller claims Apple possesses, he could declare that Apple would take a leadership position in certifying that the workers employed at every company in every part of its supply chain were ethically treated and that none of the profit from its raw material purchases would be used to finance wars or conflict around the world. It would be an enormous challenge — one befitting a trillion-dollar company with enough yearly revenue to qualify as the 42nd-largest economy in the world. If the other companies named in this report joined him, they would collectively represent enough purchasing power to force even China to the bargaining table, if backed up by the US government.

The very concept of the “marketplace of ideas” is that people are allowed to bring their thoughts and ideas to the metaphorical table for everyone to peruse them. The connection between China deploying slave labor in factories and, say, the protests in Hong Kong, is that China doesn’t want anybody talking about any of this, and it’s already proven its own willingness to use extraordinary measures to clamp down on dissent, even when that dissent comes from other countries. We ignore these trends at our own peril.

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Chinese Canadians support others returning from China through self-imposed quarantine

Chinese Canadians concerned about potential coronavirus spread have launched mutual help groups to encourage those who have travelled to China to go through self-imposed quarantine.

Canadian health officials have urged anyone returning from Hubei — the Chinese province at the centre of the outbreak — to voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days. But many have chosen self-imposed quarantine even if they haven’t been to Hubei, organizers of the groups told CBC News. 

“We built a WeChat group consisting of volunteers and people who were recently in China,” Naijun Wang told CBC News in Mississauga on Saturday.

“We have hundreds of people across Ontario and other provinces. We’re working together as a team trying to help [in this] hard time.”

Wang and other volunteers are using the WeChat social media and messaging platform to provide support — such as  shopping services and deliveries — to those in quarantine. 

Wang has been making deliveries over the past two weeks. So far, he has delivered supplies to seven families.

Chinese Canadians have launched mutual help groups on WeChat to connect with and offer help to people in self-imposed quarantine. (Angelina King/CBC)

The most common items being requested by people in quarantine are hand sanitizer, face masks and groceries, he said. 

There’s no face-to-face contact between the volunteers and those in quarantine. After requests are made via WeChat, the closest available volunteer buys the items and delivers them to the family’s doorstep. The volunteer then sends a picture to alert the person who made the request that the items have been delivered. 

“You still have people coming, especially students, so we try to encourage more people to join the group,” Wang said.

“When everybody works together, it will be easy for us. It’s team work. When there is a need for help, I’ll be there. I’ll be there to help people.”

The most common items being requested by people in quarantine are hand sanitizer, face masks and groceries. (Angelina King/CBC)

Volunteer Bing Cui, who lives in Aurora, Ont., said it was an easy decision for him to support people who need help, especially after they took the step to be self-quarantined. 

“Maybe the whole family, they don’t have any other friends or people to support [them] to buy something for them, so I just do the voluntary thing to support them,” Cui told CBC News.

“These people self-quarantined, take responsibility for the whole community or the whole society. That’s their activity just to reduce the risk of the whole community, so as a member of the community I just want to contribute something. 

“Also, I want to set an example for my son to volunteer to contribute to the society,” Cui added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over the new coronavirus that has infected more than 37,000 people and killed 811 people in mainland China — surpassing the number of deaths globally during the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic. Coronavirus cases have also been confirmed in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.  As of Saturday, there were seven confirmed cases in Canada.  

So far only two deaths have been reported outside mainland China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both of those victims were Chinese nationals.

“When facing these problems, worry or discrimination or some complaint doesn’t help,” Cui said.

“What we need is love, or to work hard together to help each other, to support each other and then I think finally we will win the battle with the virus.”

CBC News spoke to a man in self-imposed quarantine who said he is grateful to the other members of his community who have volunteered to do pick-up and delivery.

The man, from Toronto, did not want to be identified because of the stigma associated with coronavirus.

“The volunteers deliver food to the door of my house twice and now I have plenty of supplies,” he told CBC Toronto. “Also, two of my friends who returned to Toronto also voluntarily started self-quarantine and the volunteers delivered food and supplies to their apartment.”

This man, from Toronto, who did not want to be identified because of the stigma associated with the coronavirus, says he is grateful to the other members of his community who have volunteered to do pick-up and delivery. (CBC)

“I see so many Chinese people start their self-quarantine considering safety to the public and I’m really surprised that so many Chinese strangers help people like me in the community without even charging a penny, especially [now] when the weather is not really good and windy and they have their own work,” he said.

“The Chinese community really shows helpfulness and consideration to everyone. It’s really perfect.”

The volunteers say there are hundreds across Ontario ready to help complete strangers with anything from grocery shopping  and running errands to delivering vehicles at the airport.

They say they’ll continue making deliveries as long as needed, adding that if people continue to take extra precautions to keep other people safe, they’ll keep helping them to make that possible.

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