Tag Archives: plans

‘Don’t make plans for Easter’: Ford hints at restrictions as Ontario sees 2,336 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario confirmed 2,336 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as a government agency that tracks hospitalizations reported the biggest single-day jump in admissions of patients to intensive care since the pandemic began.

It’s a situation that Premier Doug Ford addressed Tuesday, speaking in one of the Toronto neighbourhoods hardest-hit by COVID-19. 

“I’m extremely concerned about the situation that we’re seeing,” Ford said of the number of people in intensive care, particularly young people.  

“Don’t make plans for Easter,” he said, saying further lockdowns could happen depending on the guidance of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. 

Tuesday also marked the last day for retired Gen. Rick Hillier, chair of the vaccination rollout taskforce, who maintained that by the first day of summer, all eligible Ontarians will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Ford was also asked about whether Ontario might adjust its vaccination plan based on the fact that younger people now make up the majority of the province’s COVID-19 cases. 

“Our goal is to make sure we take care of the most vulnerable,” he said of the province’s strategy to vaccinate in descending order of age groups, adding there are no plans now to change that strategy. 

Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO) says 46 more people with the illness were taken to intensive care units since yesterday morning, bringing the current total to 410. Admissions of COVID-19 patients to ICUs peaked at 420 in mid-January, during the height of the second wave in the province.

CCSO compiles a daily internal report that hospitals and health organizations use for planning. The latest data show that COVID-19 patients require, on average, about two weeks of critical care, according to the agency. 

The Ontario Hospital Association cautioned this morning that the province “could face a surge of patient transfers and cancelled surgeries as we fight a third wave” of COVID-19.

(You may notice that the ICU figures reported by CCSO often differ from those the Ministry of Health posts on its public COVID-19 dashboard. That’s because the ministry removes a patient from its count once they have stopped testing positive for the virus, even if that patient remains in critical care with complications. As such, CCSO’s count is regarded as the more accurate accounting of the COVID-19 situation in hospitals.)

Meanwhile, an infectious disease expert on Ontario’s COVID-19 science table told CBC News the pandemic is “completely out of control”  and that total hospitalizations are already more than 20 per cent higher than at the start of the last provincewide lockdown.

Dr. Peter Juni, also a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Toronto, said the current pace of Ontario’s vaccination effort is not sufficient to curb the current growth in cases. The latest surge is largely fuelled by variants of concern, particularly B117, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.

So far, a total of 20,117 samples that tested positive for COVID-19 have also screened positive for a telltale genetic mutation that indicates the presence of a variant, including 1,210 added in today’s provincial report.

The science table projects that variants currently account for about 68 per cent of all new cases in Ontario. 

Premier Doug Ford is expected to provide an update on the immunization campaign this afternoon. The province has repeatedly expressed frustration at the pace of deliveries from the federal government.

On that front, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Pfizer-BioNTech has agreed to move up delivery of five million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada from late summer to June.

The accelerated delivery means Canada now expects to receive 9.6 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that month, he said.

As of yesterday evening, Ontario had received 2,358,965 doses of vaccines and administered about 89 per cent of them.

The new cases reported today include 727 in Toronto, 434 in Peel Region, 229 in York Region, 194 in Durham Region, 144 in Ottawa and 123 in Hamilton.

They come as labs completed 36,071 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a positivity rate of 6.2 per cent.

The seven-day average of daily cases climbed to 2,207, its highest point since January 26.

The Ministry of Education reported another 518 school-related cases confirmed between last Friday and yesterday afternoon, including 440 students, 77 staff members and one person who was not identified. A total of 58, or about 1.2 per cent of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools, are closed due to the illness.

Public health units also recorded the deaths of 14 more people with COVID-19, bringing the official toll to 7,351.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

Europe Plans 20,000 GPU Supercomputer to Create ‘Digital Twin’ of Earth

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

Anyone who’s tried to buy a graphics card lately knows how tough it can be to find something in stock, let alone for a reasonable price. The European Union, however, thinks this is a grand time to slap 20,000 GPUs into a supercomputer with the aim of studying climate change with a simulated twin of our planet. The plan to create a digital twin of Earth might end up delayed due to the relative lack of available GPUs, but this isn’t going to be an overnight project. 

The EU calls the upcoming computer Destination Earth, or DestinE for short. This massive raft of GPUs will allegedly be able to create a highly accurate copy of Earth down to kilometer-scale that simulates how climate change will affect us. Users will be able to vary conditions and project the effects on food security, ocean levels, global temperature, and so on. 

This level of detail will allow researchers to predict the future, at least in some small way. Peter Bauer is deputy director of the European Centre for Medium-​Range Weather Forecasts and lead author on the new study detailing DestinE. Bauer uses The Netherlands as an example of what a digital Earth clone could do. “If you are planning a two-​metre high dike in The Netherlands, for example, I can run through the data in my digital twin and check whether the dike will in all likelihood still protect against expected extreme events in 2050,” says Bauer. DestinE could guide decisions large and small as Europe seeks to reduce emissions and plan for the impacts of climate change. 

The team planning DestinE have ballparked 20,000 GPUs based on the Cray Piz Daint supercomputer in Zurich (above). That device runs on more than 5,000 Pascal-based Nvidia Tesla GPUs, and scientists believe it will take about four times the computing power to create a digital twin of Earth. That’s how the scientists arrived at the 20,000 number. We will take their word for it that this isn’t some crazy scheme to build a secret crypto mega-mining rig. 

DestinE is part of the EU’s $ 1 trillion initiative to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. That would just about cover 20,000 GPUs if the EU were buying everything right now, but thankfully, it’s not working to assemble DestinE just yet. Researchers hope to have the supercomputer up and running within the next seven to ten years. That many GPUs are sure to draw a ton of power, even if they’re more efficient cards from a few generations in the future. Hopefully, the EU’s climate change computer doesn’t contribute to climate change itself.

Now read:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtreme – ExtremeTech

Canadian NHL teams exploring hosting fans, but no plans as of yet

At least five of Canada’s NHL teams have talked with their provincial government about fans returning to their buildings before the current season ends, but one infectious disease expert thinks it makes more sense to wait until the fall.

The Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets all say they have explored the possibility of putting some fans back in the stands. Canadian teams have played in empty buildings since March 12, 2020, due to concerns about COVID-19.

“We have had preliminary conversations with local authorities about a plan to host some fans at Rogers Arena this year, however nothing is imminent,” said a statement from Canucks Sports and Entertainment. “Any plans to welcome fans back this year will be with the approval and guidance of public health officials. We expect discussions to continue in the near future.”

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ont., pointed to rising COVID-19 cases in several provinces.

“I mean Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are all not in great places,” he said. “There is case growth in every single one of these cities. It’s hard to justify putting a bunch of people in a single place.”

Chagla said October may be a better time for fans to return as more people will have been vaccinated.

“I think you’re getting closer to normal by the fall,” he said.

“It might not be like full 100 per cent but you probably could get half capacity, so that’s a good thing.”

WATCH | Rob Pizzo recaps week 10 in the NHL’s all-Canadian division:

In our weekly segment, Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:54

Edmonton served as one of the NHL’s two playoff hub cities. Rogers Place was empty when it hosted the Stanley Cup final and the IIHF World Junior Championships.

“We believe we can host fans in Rogers Place and do it as safely as any venue in the world, based on our track record and expertise,” Tim Shipton, senior vice-president of communications and government relations with the Oilers Entertainment Group, said in an email. “We will only move forward with the plan, in conjunction with Alberta Health, as they ultimately need to sign off on the plan.”

A spokesman for the Flames said the team is also talking with the provincial government.

Rob Wozny, the Winnipeg Jet’s vice-president of communications, said the team has ongoing discussions with the province.

“We have shared we have the ability, experience, and resources to open the arena … when it is safe to do so, but no timeline has been discussed,” he said in an email.

A spokesman for the Quebec government said talks have been held with the Canadiens.

A Toronto Maple Leafs spokesman deferred any questions about fans returning to the provincial government.

Dakota Brasier, press secretary to the minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, said “the province will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, other health experts and local public health to determine when and if it is safe for measures to be lifted.”

Chagla said even if fans are allowed back in buildings before the season ends May 8, the numbers will be limited because of social distancing concerns.

“You’re probably looking at maybe 2,000 maximum,” he said. “It’s how much can you get reasonable distancing. As much as we say two metres, it probably needs to be a whole lot more than that considering all the interfaces between people.”

Most American teams hosting fans

In the U.S., 18 of the 24 American-based teams have already welcomed a limited number of fans or plan to allow them this month. Numbers have ranged from three per cent to 30 per cent of capacity.

David Legg, a professor of sports management at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said the return of a limited number of fans presents a whole series of challenges for teams.

Clubs will face questions about safety protocols; how many staff to hire; the best way to offer food and beverage service; and who gets tickets and at what price.

“I hate to use the word unprecedented but that’s exactly what it is,” said Legg. “No one’s got a model or pattern from which to follow.

“I think every team is guessing. Do you offer the tickets to past season-ticket holders … or do you simply put it out to the highest bidder? How you price them becomes tricky because you really don’t know what the demand is going to be.”

There’s also the risk of games being postponed. The Canadiens had four games postponed last week after two players were placed in COVID-19 protocol.

Enforcing mask rules, when people are cheering, eating and drinking, can cause problems.

“In some respects, I would think they might be better off just waiting until next fall again,” Legg said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Sports News

White House says U.S. plans to send 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada

The United States plans to send roughly 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that it is not using to Canada and Mexico through loan deals with the two countries, the White House confirmed today.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that a number of countries, including Canada and Mexico, have asked the U.S. for doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but those loan deals are still being worked out. 

Psaki confirmed today that the U.S. has “seven million releasable doses” of the AstraZeneca vaccine “available.”

“2.5 million of those, we are working to finalize plans to lend those to Mexico, and 1.5 million to Canada,” she said.

“It’s not fully finalized yet. It’s our aim and what we’re working toward, to Canada and Mexico. It’s a complex process and our team is working with the companies to move it forward.”


White House press secretary Jen Psaki takes a question from a reporter during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

“This virus has no borders,” a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity earlier in the day. “We only put the virus behind us if we’re helping our global partners.”

The “releasable” vaccines are ready to be used once they arrive, Reuters reported. Under the deal, the United States will share doses with Mexico and Canada now — with the understanding that they will send the United States doses in return. The official said that would take place later this year.

The Biden administration has come under pressure from allies worldwide to share vaccine doses — particularly the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is authorized for use in other countries but not yet cleared for use in the United States.

AstraZeneca has millions of doses made in a U.S. facility and has said that it would have 30 million shots ready at the beginning of April.

The deal does not affect President Joe Biden’s plan to have vaccine doses available for all adults in the United States by the end of May, an official told Reuters. The deal is likely to be announced publicly in the coming days.

Two officials said the vaccine would be delivered in “short order” once the deal was completed, but they declined to give a more specific timetable.

The Associated Press also quoted an unnamed official saying that a loan deal for 2.5 million doses to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada is in the works.

U.K. clears AstraZeneca

News of the loan deal comes as the United Kingdom’s drug regulator reports that a “rigorous scientific review” has ruled out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as the cause of blood clots in veins. The regulator is doing a more detailed study looking at blood clots in the brain.

The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any risks.

Health Canada officials are attending a meeting of the European Medicines Agency, which is set to issue a report on blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine today.

Many European countries halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of blood clots in about three dozen patients.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Canada is monitoring all the evidence closely. 

Health Canada has said the vaccine’s benefits are strong and it has not seen evidence to link the vaccine to blood clots.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | World News

As vaccine supply ramps up, provinces and territories fine-tune rollout plans

Vaccine deliveries are ramping up and provinces and territories are starting to unveil more of their vaccine rollout plans.

Each province has a phased plan for vaccine deployment which indicates when the various priority groups can expect to receive the shots.

Here’s what we know so far about who’s getting the shots and when.

British Columbia

B.C. is still in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout, which covers residents and staff of long-term care facilities, health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients and remote and isolated Indigenous communities.

The subsequent phase is expected to run through March and includes seniors 80 and over, Indigenous seniors 65 and over, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in congregated settings and staff providing in-home support to seniors.

B.C. is planning to announce the details of Phase 2 of the immunization program on Monday.

Immunization clinics overseen by local health authorities are being organized in 172 communities in school gymnasiums, arenas, convention centres and community halls.

B.C. said it would start reaching out to those in line for vaccines in Phase 2 to tell them how to pre-register for immunization appointments.


A truck carrying COVID-19 vaccine crosses the Canada-U.S. border into B.C. on Monday, Dec. 12, 2020. (CBSA/Lestudio Neuf)

People will be notified by postcard, email, text or phone call, through specialty clinics, independent living homes, home care services and family physician offices.

Pre-registration for vaccinations opens in March. People can pre-register, online or by phone, two to four weeks before they are eligible. Eligibility is based on the current phase of the vaccination program and the recipient’s age.

Those contacted for vaccination appointments are pre-screened for eligibility before they choose a location, date and time to receive the shot.

Mass clinics for the general population are scheduled to start on April 6, beginning with the 75-79 age group.

The B.C. government website says it is developing a registration and record system and a process to register for vaccine access and receive a formal record of immunization.

For more information about B.C.’s vaccination plan, go here.

Alberta

As of Feb. 24, seniors 75 and over (born in 1946 or earlier) and seniors 65 and over living in First Nations and Métis communities were eligible for vaccination. The Alberta government estimates there are about 230,000 seniors in these two groups.

Starting the first week of March, select pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer will be offering the vaccine. By the end of the week about 100 pharmacies will provide shots. A list of participating pharmacies can be found here.

Staff at participating pharmacies will contact people who are eligible for the shots.

Given the anticipated vaccine delivery schedule, Alberta Health Services says it expects it will be vaccinating people in this first phase over most of March.


Allan Pasutto, 86, of Penhold, Alberta gets the COVID-19 vaccine in Red Deer. (AHS)

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April. Vaccinations in this phase will be offered to anyone aged 50 to 74 years, anyone with underlying health conditions, First Nations and Métis people aged 35 and older, residents and staff in congregate living settings and eligible caregivers.

The Alberta government says that, as supply increases, it will accelerate vaccinations on the model of its annual flu campaign by using Alberta Health Services staff, community pharmacies and family physicians. The province was able to administer 1.3 million flu shots in six weeks last fall — an average of over 30,000 shots per day.

Starting February 24, Alberta started using an online booking tool www.ahs.ca/covidvaccine. Those eligible for vaccination also can call the province’s 811 Health Link number for information.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said appointments are now available seven days a week from 8:20 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. at 58 sites around the province, and the hours will be extended as more vaccines arrive.

No walk-ins are allowed. Seniors who can’t find transportation to their appointments can call 211 — the government’s information line for programs and services — for help.

For more information about Alberta’s vaccination plan, go here.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Phase 1 is still underway, focusing on health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care homes, residents 70 years and older and residents in remote and northern regions over the age of 50.

People eligible for vaccination in Phase 1 are being contacted directly by phone or mail.

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April and will cover the general population, starting with people aged 60-69 and working down in 10 year increments. Phase 2 will also cover individuals considered to be extremely vulnerable to infection, and staff and residents of group homes and emergency shelters.


Doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are loaded onto a plane for delivery to Southend and Wollaston in Saskatchewan. (Colin Ratushniak )

The province said it expects that when Phase 2 begins, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be operating 226 vaccine clinics in 181 communities across the province. Those clinics will include mass vaccination sites, drive-through locations and mobile vaccination clinics. More sites will be added through pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

A mass vaccination clinic will open in April at the International Trade Centre at Evraz Place in Regina. Appointments will be needed.

People will be asked to register for vaccination through an online platform or by phone. 

For more information about Saskatchewan’s vaccination plan, go here.

Manitoba

Manitoba’s immunization teams are now vaccinating all residents age 92 and older (born on or before December 31, 1928) and First Nations people 72 and older (born on or before December 31, 1948).

Vaccinations are also available to individuals working in laboratories handling COVID-19 specimens, in immunization clinics and testing sites and in isolation accommodation facilities. The vaccine is being offered now to those working in congregate living facilities who were born on or before Dec. 31, 1960, and people working in licensed personal care homes.


A COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered in Thompson, Manitoba. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Health care staff who work for acute care facilities and emergency response services (ERS), home care workers, correctional facility staff, dental office staff and those who work in facilities providing services insured by Manitoba Health and Seniors Care (such as family medical practices and outpatient surgical units) are eligible for the vaccine.

So are community services workers, staff at homeless shelters and family violence shelters and those who provide disability services and child and family services.

The next eligible group includes health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of shared living facilities and essential workers. It’s not known yet when Manitobans in this group will receive their shots.

Manitoba has set up a Vaccine Queue Calculator to allow Manitobans to estimate when they’ll receive their vaccines.

The province expects to open two new “supersites” for large-scale vaccinations in Selkirk and the Morden-Wrinkler area the week of March 12, bringing the number of such sites to six. (Three are in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson, with a fourth facility at the airport outside Thompson.)

The province says it plans to expand to 13 supersites throughout Manitoba in April. It has hired 1,212 staffers to help with the vaccination effort.

More than 400 medical clinics and pharmacies have applied to be a part of the immunization campaign.

Manitobans with questions about the vaccination plan and their position in the queue can go to this website or call a toll-free number: 1-844-626-8222.

Manitoba’s booking portal is still in the testing phase.

Ontario

Ontario’s vaccination rollout is in Phase 1, which covers staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and highest-priority health care workers.

In March, Phase 1 is expected to expand to adults 80 years of age and older, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings, high-priority health care workers, all Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Vaccines have been delivered to Ontario’s 34 public health units in Ontario and the pace of the rollout could vary depending on the region.


Nicole Laplante, centre, receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Embrun, Ont., Jan. 13, 2021. (Submitted by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit)

Phase 2 is set to begin in April. This phase will add more vaccination sites, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres and aboriginal health centres.

In August, the province is to move to Phase 3 and make vaccines available to everyone who wants to be immunized.

The Ontario government’s online portal for mass vaccination pre-registration and appointment booking is set to launch on March 15. For those without access to the internet, the province will establish a customer service desk to register and book appointments. Neighbourhood mobile clinics are being planned by local public health units. 

For more information about Ontario’s vaccination plan, go here.

Quebec

On the island of Montreal, vaccinations are now available to people 80 and older. To make an appointment, go to this website or call 514-644-4545.

The rest of Quebec will start vaccinating anyone 85 years of age or older next week. Anyone born before 1936 can start making an appointment for their first dose on February 25, by phone (1-877-644-4545) or online.

Quebec has posted a document describing the procedure here. Once more vaccines arrive, Quebec plans to expand inoculations to include seniors 70 and up and those with chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The province has started to prepare by securing mass vaccination sites, such as the Olympic Stadium.


Quebec Premier François Legault and Health Minister Christian Dubé watch a woman register for her COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

It has set up mass vaccination sites already in major urban centres in anticipation of an increase in the vaccine supply.  One of them — the Palais des congress de Montreal, in the heart of downtown — is set up to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day.

For more information about Quebec’s vaccination plan, go here.

New Brunswick

Phase 1 is underway, covering long-term care residents and staff, front line health care staff, First Nations adults 16+ and individuals 85 and over.

Clinics are being held this week and next at 321 licensed long-term care homes and those vaccinations are expected to be completed by March 14. Residents and staff are being contacted directly by their employers to register for vaccination. Others in Phase 1 are being contacted directly to book appointments.

For individuals aged 85 or older living in the community, details on clinic locations and registration process will be announced in the coming weeks.


A box containing 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 arrives at the Miramichi Regional Hospital. (Government of New Brunswick)

Phase 2 starts in April and will include residents in other communal settings, health care workers providing direct patient care (such as pharmacists and dentists), firefighters, police officers, home support workers for seniors, people 70 and over, people with complex medical conditions, volunteers at long-term care homes, people 40 and over with three or more chronic conditions and truckers or workers who cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly.

The N.B. government’s website says that details about who can register for vaccination and when will be announced in the coming weeks. Clinic locations are also being finalized.

The province is asking residents to wait for those details instead of tying up resources by calling the provincial tele-care number or their local health practitioners.

Prince Edward Island

P.E.I.’s vaccination effort is in its first phase, which will continue throughout March. Public health nurses had been delivering the vaccines; trained pharmacists were approved recently to administer the doses as well.

Those getting vaccinations in this phase are residents and staff of long term care homes, health care workers in direct contact with patients who face an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 and older, adults 18 and older living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff of shared living facilities (such as group homes, shelters and correctional facilities) and truck drivers and other workers who routinely travel out of the province.

Starting February 22, vaccine clinics in P.E.I. will start giving doses to seniors aged 80 and older. You can find a list of clinics here.

The province says other population groups will be told when they can be vaccinated as the rollout continues. The province expects to have four clinics in operation starting in March — in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague.

Vaccinations in P.E.I. are by appointment only. When their turns come up, Islanders can book their appointments by calling 1-844-975-3303 or by filling out a form available through this government website.

For more information about Prince Edward Island’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s vaccination effort is in Phase 1. That covers those who work directly with patients in hospitals or care homes, people who live and work in long term care homes and people who live and work in adult residential care centres and regional rehabilitation centres.

There’s no word yet on when the next phase of the vaccine rollout will begin. When it does, it will include: anyone who works in a hospital (and might come into contact with patients); doctors, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists and pharmacists; people who live in correctional facilities, shelters and temporary foreign worker housing; people who are required to travel regularly for work (such as truck drivers); people responsible for food security (such as workers in large food processing plants); those aged 75 to 79 and those 80 and older.


Alvena Poole, 83, receives her vaccine from Allison Milley, a nurse at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, on Feb. 22, 2021. (Communications Nova Scotia)

N.S. Public Health is holding prototype clinics before deploying vaccines across the province.

The first prototype clinic — for seniors 80 years and older — opened at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax starting the week of Feb. 22. 

More clinics will open in the coming weeks: in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro on March 8; in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth on March 15, and in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth on March 22.

The province also is planning to set up clinics in pharmacies as well.

Those at the head of the queue will receive letters from the province explaining how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Once contacted, appointments can then be booked online or by calling 1-833-797-7772 the week before the clinic opens.

For more information about Nova Scotia’s vaccination plan, go here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador is in Phase 1 of its immunization plan. Doses in this first phase are earmarked for congregate living settings for seniors, health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, people 85 and older and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities.

It’s not known yet when the next phase of the province’s vaccination plan will begin. That phase will cover health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of all other congregate living settings and essential workers. These categories are still being defined by the province and its health department says details of future phases are still being finalized.


Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald smiles at St. John’s public health nurse Ellen Foley-Vick after giving her the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in St. John’s, Nfld., on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Sarah Smellie/The Canadian Press)

For more information about Newfoundland & Labrador’s vaccination plan, go here.

Yukon

Priority groups in Yukon have received their first doses and, in some cases, their second doses as well.

As of Feb. 19, high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents and staff had received their second doses.

Those living in remote rural communities and people aged 65 and older are to start getting their second doses beginning the week of Feb. 22.

Over the past few weeks, every community outside Whitehorse has been visited by one of two mobile vaccine clinic teams (named ‘Balto’ and ‘Togo’) delivering first doses to all residents 18 and over.

In Whitehorse, a mass clinic will open on March 1 that will deliver up to 800 immunizations a day — both first and second doses.

All Whitehorse residents 18 years of age and older can now book appointments for their first shots.

Those living in Whitehorse must book appointments online or by calling 1-877-374-0425. In rural Yukon, where internet access may be an issue, appointments are recommended but walk-ins are also welcome.

For more information about Yukon’s vaccination plan, go here.

Northwest Territories

All NWT long-term care residents have received first and second doses. The NWT COVID-19 vaccine strategy says the general population can expect access to the vaccine in late March or early April.

The original NWT strategy said there would be enough doses to immunize 75 per cent of eligible residents 18 years of age and older should by the end of March. That target date has now been put off to the end of April.

“This generous initial allocation from the federal government recognizes the territories’ limited health care system capacities and the vulnerabilities of remote Indigenous communities,” says the strategy document.

The vaccine schedule and booking tool are now online and will be updated as more doses are delivered.


Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, territorial medical director, receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Stanton Territorial Hospital on Jan. 10. (Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority)

Those living in larger centres are expected to call or book online for their vaccinations. In smaller communities, dates and locations for vaccination clinics will be advertised and residents will be asked to show up.

Multiple small mobile vaccine units are travelling to 33 communities to help local health care staff administer doses.

For more information on NWT’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nunavut

Nunavut says it expects to have 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18 vaccinated by the end of March.


Nunavut is only using the Moderna vaccine right now and has been staging vaccine clinics in two or three communities at a time.

Starting March 1, the next round of clinics to administer the first dose will be held in five communities.  

Starting around March 5 and March 6, nine locations will start holding clinics for the second dose of the vaccine. 

In Iqaluit, vaccinations are by appointment only and are being directed toward elders 60 or older, those living in community shelters, front line health workers, Medivac flight crews, residents and staff of group homes and Iqaluit’s Akaausisarvik Mental Health Treatment Centre, and residents and staff of correctional facilities.

The next phase in Iqaluit is expected to begin March 1 and will be for people age 45 and over.

Nunavut relays COVID-19 information through public service announcements on TV, social media, community radio and the government’s website. The website shows the locations of clinics, their times of operation and contact information.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

Reopening plans ‘shortsighted,’ doctor says as Ontario reports 1,087 new COVID-19 cases

A doctor who was demoted after speaking out about the province’s handling of the pandemic expressed concern on Sunday about Ontario’s reopening plans as the province reported 1,087 new COVID-19 cases. 

Dr. Brooks Fallis, a critical care physician at the William Osler Health System, said in an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live that he believes Ontario is headed for a third wave amid the rising numbers of cases involving variants of concern, and that not enough is being done to prevent it. 

“I think we’re doing really everything too quickly,” Fallis said.

“I think we should be taking a real pause across the province and across the country to realize how serious the implications of these variants are.” 

The province reported on the weekend that there are more than 400 cases of variants of concern in Ontario.

There are 391 cases of the B117 variant, the one first detected in the United Kingdom, nine cases of the B.1.351 variant, the one first detected in South Africa, and one case of the P.1 variant, the one first detected in Brazil.

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Dr. Brooks Fallis speaks out against reopening plans in several provinces as officials study potential implications of the spread of new COVID-19 variants. 8:46

Along with variants being more transmissible and potentially more deadly, Fallis said there is potential for immune evasion for some strains. That means if a person contracted COVID-19 once, that person could get it again.

Once a variant of concern is established, particularly the variant first detected in the United Kingdom, it’s very hard to contain, according to Fallis. 

From an economic perspective, Fallis said the reopening plans are “shortsighted,” noting that the variants will “explode” in the population and lead right back to a lockdown.

“I don’t really believe that it helps businesses to give them a short period of reopening, only to close them for longer because we open the door to the new variants.”

Fallis has been publicly critical of the province’s pandemic response, something he has said led to a demotion earlier this year as interim medical director of critical care at the William Osler Health System.

Both his employer and Premier Doug Ford’s office deny that claim.

Fallis has said speaking out and advocating for a better response will meaningfully save lives and change the outcome of the pandemic, something he says is a physician’s obligation. 

Ontario reports 1,087 new cases, 13 new deaths

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,087 new COVID-19 cases and 13 new deaths on Sunday, one day before York Region is set to move out of lockdown and back into the province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework.

Most new cases were seen in the Greater Toronto Area, including 344 in Toronto, 156 in Peel Region and 122 in York Region, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said. 

Sunday is the fourth straight day in which daily case counts have topped 1,000.

As for new deaths, four are among residents in long-term care homes.

The additional deaths reported on Sunday bring the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities since the pandemic began to 6,861.

The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 sits at 660, a slight decrease from 699 seen on Saturday.

Of that number, 277 were being treated in ICU and the number of people on ventilators remained at 181, according to the health ministry. 

Ontario’s network of labs processed 48,200 test samples in the past 24 hours, which pushed the province’s positivity rate up to 2.7, Elliott said. 

As of Saturday, 556,533 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.

York Region will be in the red-control zone as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday. 

Toronto, Peel and the North Bay Parry Sound will remain under the stay-at-home order until at least March 8. 

Excitement ‘palpable’ at Toronto vaccination clinic 

Meanwhile, as the province prepares to deal with an increased supply of vaccines, the vaccination clinics themselves are being set up. 

In an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live, Emily Musing, vice president of quality and safety at the University Health Network vaccination clinic, said this is the first week in several weeks that the network has been able to provide first doses to many people eligible according to the province’s priority groups. 

Musing said her clinic is ready to vaccinate as many people in a day as possible. She said the clinic just needs the go-ahead from the province.


In an interview on CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live, Emily Musing, vice president of quality and safety at the University Health Network vaccination clinic, said this is the first week in several weeks that the network has been able to provide first doses to many people eligible according to the province’s priority groups.  (Rosemary Barton Live)

“The level of excitement, delight is palpable,” she said of the people waiting in line at the clinic to receive their first or second dose of the vaccines. 

“People are seeing that, finally, a vaccine is available and they’re going to be able to be protected against COVID-19.” 

In a tweet, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie shared a photo of Paramount Fine Foods Centre field house completely transformed into one of the region’s five vaccination sites.


The site, “where up to 600 people an hour can be vaccinated at full capacity” is slated to open soon, Crombie said in the tweet Sunday. 

Phase 1 of the rollout is expected to include adults 80 years of age and older, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings, high priority health care workers, all Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Phase 2 is set to begin as early as March. Under this phase, more vaccination sites will be added, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres and aboriginal health centres.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

Who’s next? Provincial, territorial vaccination plans begin to take shape

Vaccine deliveries are starting to ramp up again and Canadians everywhere are asking themselves the same questions: When will it be my turn? And how will I know?

Each province has a phased plan for vaccine deployment which indicates when the various priority groups can expect to receive the shots.

All provincial and territorial governments maintain they’re ready to speed up the vaccination effort as the supply increases, but some of their timetables remain vague. Here’s what we know so far about who’s getting the shots and when.

British Columbia

B.C. is still in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout, which covers residents and staff of long-term care facilities, health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients and remote and isolated Indigenous communities.

The subsequent phase runs over February to March and includes seniors 80 and over, Indigenous seniors 65 and over, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in congregated settings and staff providing in-home support to seniors.

B.C. says the province’s general population will start getting the vaccines in April, with older residents getting their shots first.


Andy Yoon, 77, of Abbotsford B.C., became the first long-term care resident in the Fraser Health region to receive the COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 24, 2020. (Submitted by Fraser Health)

Immunization clinics overseen by local health authorities are being organized in 172 communities in school gymnasiums, arenas, convention centres and community halls.

B.C. said it would start reaching out by the end of February to seniors 80 years and older, Indigenous seniors aged 65 and older and Indigenous Elders to tell them how to pre-register for immunization appointments.

Pre-registration for vaccinations opens in March. People can pre-register, online or by phone, two to four weeks before they are eligible. Eligibility is based on the current phase of the vaccination program and the recipient’s age.

Those contacted for vaccination appointments are pre-screened for eligibility before choosing a location, date and time to receive the shot.

After an individual gets their first vaccine dose, they’ll be told by email, text or phone when they can book an appointment for their second dose.

For more information about B.C.’s vaccination plan, go here.

Alberta

Alberta is in the first phase of its vaccine rollout. This phase — which is expected to run until the end of the month — covers health care workers who could be in direct contact with COVID-19 patients and residents of long-term care facilities.

As of Feb. 24, seniors 75 and over and seniors 65 and over living in First Nations and Métis communities will be eligible for vaccination. The Alberta government estimates there are about 230,000 seniors in these two groups.

Given the anticipated vaccine delivery schedule, Alberta Health Services says it expects it will be vaccinating people in this phase over most of March.


Masked Kehewin Cree Nation elders pray at a ceremony marking the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the northern Alberta community on Feb. 8, 2021. Kehewin council member Greyeagle Cardinal looks on from behind plexiglass. (Jodi Cardinal)

Phase 2 is expected to begin in April. Vaccinations in this phase will be offered to anyone aged 50 to 74 years, anyone with underlying health conditions, First Nations and Métis people aged 35 and older, residents and staff in congregate living settings and eligible caregivers.

The Alberta government says that, as supply increases, it will accelerate vaccinations on the model of its annual flu campaign by using Alberta Health Services staff, community pharmacies and family physicians. The province was able to administer 1.3 million flu shots in six weeks last fall — an average of over 30,000 shots per day.

For more information about Alberta’s vaccination plan, go here.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Phase 1 is still underway, focusing on health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care homes, residents 70 years and older and residents in remote and northern regions over the age of 50.

The timing is still not known, but Phase 2 will cover the general population starting with people aged 60-69, extremely vulnerable individuals and staff and residents of group homes and emergency shelters.

The province expects that when Phase 2 begins, there will be 226 vaccine clinics in 181 communities across the province operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Those clinics will include mass vaccination sites, drive-through locations and mobile vaccination clinics. More sites will be added through pharmacies and doctors’ offices.


Debbie Frier, registered nurse, left, injects Leah Sawatsky, an emergency room nurse, right, with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Regina General Hospital in Regina on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

People will be asked to register for vaccination through an online platform or by phone. 

For more information about Saskatchewan’s vaccination plan, go here.

Manitoba

Manitoba’s immunization teams are now vaccinating residents at 1,400 congregate living sites, including hospitals, supportive housing facilities and assisted living sites. On February 19, immunization began in Brandon and Winnipeg.

The next eligible group includes health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of shared living facilities and essential workers.

Manitoba has set up a Vaccine Queue Calculator to allow Manitobans to estimate when they’ll receive their vaccines.

On March 5, the province expects to open two new “supersites” for large-scale vaccinations in Selkirk and the Morden-Winkler area, bringing the number of such sites to six. (Three are in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson, with a fourth facility at the airport outside Thompson.)


Michael David Blacksmith, a traditional ceremony and sun dance leader from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, is vaccinated at a pop-up site in Winnipeg. (Submitted by Government of Manitoba)

The province says it plans to expand to 13 supersites throughout Manitoba in April. It has hired 1,212 people to help with the vaccination effort.

More than 400 medical clinics and pharmacies have applied to be a part of the immunization campaign once a suitable vaccine is approved for use in these settings.

Manitobans with questions about the vaccination plan and their position in the queue can go to this website or call a toll-free number: 1-844-626-8222.

Ontario

Ontario’s vaccination rollout is in Phase 1, which covers staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and highest-priority health care workers.

As the vaccine supply increases, Phase 1 is expected to move on to adults 80 years of age and older, staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings, high priority health care workers, all Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Phase 2 is set to begin in March. This phase will add more vaccination sites, including municipally run locations, hospital sites, mobile vaccination locations, pharmacies, clinics, community-run health centres and aboriginal health centres.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford watches a health care worker prepare a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN vaccine clinic in Toronto on January 7, 2021. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Phase 3 covers the general population and is expected to begin by late summer.

The Ontario government is developing an online portal for mass vaccination pre-registration and appointment booking. For those without access to the internet, the province will establish a customer service desk to register and book appointments. Neighbourhood mobile clinics are being planned by local public health units. 

For more information about Ontario’s vaccination plan, go here.

Quebec

Quebec continues to inoculate priority groups such as health care workers on the front lines, those who live in long-term care or seniors’ homes (known as CHSLDs) and those living in remote areas.

Once more vaccines arrive, Quebec plans to expand inoculations to include seniors 70 and up and those with chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The province has started to prepare by securing mass vaccination sites, such as the Olympic Stadium.


A box of Pfizer/BioNTEch COVID-19 vaccine is taken from a UPS truck past news photographers to the Maimonides long-term care home in Montreal on December 14, 2020. (Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services/Reuters)

It has already set up mass vaccination sites in major urban centres in anticipation of an increase in the vaccine supply.  One of them — the Palais des congrès de Montréal in the heart of downtown — expects to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day.

Quebec’s health department says it’s planning a public information campaign to inform residents about the vaccination process.

For more information about Quebec’s vaccination plan, go here.

New Brunswick

Phase 1 is underway, covering long-term care residents and staff, front line health care staff, First Nations adults and individuals 85 and over.

Phase 2 starts in April and will include residents in other communal settings, health care workers providing direct patient care (such as pharmacists and dentists), firefighters, police officers, home support workers for seniors, people 70 and over, people with complex medical conditions, volunteers at long-term care homes, people 40 and over with three or more chronic conditions and truckers or workers who cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly.

The N.B. government’s website says that details about who can register for vaccination and when will be announced in the coming weeks. Clinic locations are also being finalized.


New Brunswick’s first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrives on a cargo flight from Montreal. (Shane Magee/CBC)

The province is asking residents to wait for those details instead of tying up resources by calling the provincial tele-care number or their local health practitioners.

Prince Edward Island

P.E.I.’s vaccination effort is in its first phase, which will continue throughout March. Public health nurses had been delivering the vaccines; trained pharmacists were approved recently to administer the doses as well.

Those getting vaccinations in this phase are residents and staff of long-term care homes, health care workers in direct contact with patients who face an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 and older, adults 18 and older living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff of shared living facilities (such as group homes, shelters and correctional facilities) and truck drivers and other workers who routinely travel out of the province.

Starting February 22, vaccine clinics in P.E.I. will start giving doses to seniors aged 80 and older.

The province says other population groups will be told when they can be vaccinated as the rollout continues. The province expects to have four clinics in operation starting in March — in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague.


Long-term care resident Art Johnston, 98, was the first person other than a health care worker to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on P.E.I. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Vaccinations in P.E.I. are by appointment only. When their turns come up, Islanders can book their appointments by calling 1-844-975-3303 or by filling out a form available through this government website.

For more information about Prince Edward Island’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s vaccination effort is in Phase 1. That covers those who work directly with patients in hospitals or care homes, people who live and work in long-term care homes and people who live and work in adult residential care centres and regional rehabilitation centres.

The next phase will include: anyone who works in a hospital (and might come into contact with patients); doctors, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists and pharmacists; people who live in correctional facilities, shelters and temporary foreign worker housing; people who are required to regularly travel for work (such as truck drivers); people responsible for food security (such as workers in large food processing plants); those aged 75 to 79 and those 80 and older.

N.S. Public Health is holding prototype clinics before deploying vaccines across the province.

The first prototype clinic — for seniors 80 years and older — will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax starting the week of Feb. 22. The province is planning to set up clinics in pharmacies as well.


Audrey Wiseman, 85, was one of the first long-term care residents in Nova Scotia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Those at the head of the queue will receive letters from the province explaining how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

For more information about Nova Scotia’s vaccination plan, go here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador is in Phase 1 of its immunization plan. Doses in this first phase are earmarked for congregate living settings for seniors, health care workers at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, people 85 and older and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities.

The next group to get shots will include health care workers who were not included in Phase 1, residents and staff of all other congregate living settings and essential workers. These categories are still being defined by the province and its health department says details of future phases are still being finalized.

For more information about Newfoundland & Labrador’s vaccination plan, go here.


Newfoundland and Labrador received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

Yukon

Priority groups in Yukon have received their first doses and, in some cases, their second doses as well.

As of Feb. 19, high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents and staff had received their second doses.

Those living in remote rural communities and people aged 65 and older are to start getting their second doses beginning the week of Feb. 22.

Over the past few weeks, every community outside Whitehorse has been visited by one of two mobile vaccine clinic teams (named ‘Balto’ and ‘Togo’) delivering first doses to all residents 18 and over.

In Whitehorse, a mass clinic will open on March 1 that will deliver up to 800 immunizations a day — both first and second doses.


Agnes Mills, 85, was the first person in Yukon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Mark Kelly Photography/Government of Yukon)

All Whitehorse residents 18 years of age and older can now book appointments for their first shots.

Those living in Whitehorse must book appointments online or by calling 1-877-374-0425. In rural Yukon, where internet connectivity may be an issue, appointments are recommended but walk-ins are welcome.

For more information about Yukon’s vaccination plan, go here.

Northwest Territories

All NWT long-term care residents have received first and second doses. The NWT COVID-19 vaccine strategy says the general population can expect access to the vaccine in March.

The strategy says enough doses to immunize 75 per cent of eligible residents 18 years of age and older should be delivered by the end of March.

“This generous initial allocation from the federal government recognizes the territories’ limited health care system capacities and the vulnerabilities of remote Indigenous communities,” says the document.

The vaccine schedule and booking tool are now online and will be updated as more doses are delivered.


Chris Balla, the Beaufort Delta regional operations manager for Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, is responsible for making sure vaccines and vaccinations teams make it to their final destinations. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Those living in larger centres are expected to call or book online for their vaccinations. In smaller communities, meanwhile, dates and locations for vaccination clinics will be advertised and residents will be asked to show up.

Multiple small mobile vaccine units are travelling to 33 communities to help local health care staff administer doses.

For more information on NWT’s vaccination plan, go here.

Nunavut

Nunavut says it expects to have 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18 vaccinated by the end of March.

Nunavut is only using the Moderna vaccine right now and has been staging vaccine clinics in two or three communities at a time.

Beginning next week, seven communities will be getting their first doses of the vaccine.

In Iqaluit, vaccinations are by appointment only and are being directed toward elders 60 or older, those living in community shelters, front line health workers, Medivac flight crews, residents and staff of group homes and Iqaluit’s Akaausisarvik Mental Health Treatment Centre, and residents and staff of correctional facilities.


A Canadian North Flight lands on the tarmac in Iqaluit, Dec. 30, carrying Nunavut’s first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

The next phase in Iqaluit is expected to begin in March.

Nunavut relays COVID-19 information through public service announcements via TV, social media, community radio and the government’s website. The website shows the locations of clinics, their times of operation and contact information.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

SpaceX Plans First All-Civilian Spaceflight This Year

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

The history of civilian human spaceflight is brief, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is going to have to change that if he’s ever going to realize his dream of colonizing Mars. We’re not there yet, but SpaceX is taking a step in that direction announcing the first all-civilian spaceflight. Musk is partnering with Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman, who will ride the Dragon spacecraft along with three others for the “Inspiration4” flight. This isn’t only another rich person buying his way into space — Inspiration4 could also benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the tune of a few hundred million dollars. 

SpaceX succeeded last year in its quest to deliver a human-rated spacecraft to NASA. The Falcon 9 and Dragon passed all the necessary tests and are now the primary way astronauts reach the International Space Station (ISS). However, the Dragon is a commercial spacecraft, so SpaceX can do whatever it wants with the seats on its own flights. Previously, and space tourism required deals with governments like Russia that were willing to sell access. 

The orbital flight, which will last between two and four days, will launch in late 2021, but the companies are wasting no time promoting it. Shift4Payments plans to ramp up the campaign with a Super Bowl ad. Isaacman has committed to donating $ 100 million to St. Jude as part of the project, and he hopes to use the remaining three seats to raise $ 200 million more. One of the four is also reserved for an entrepreneur who uses Isaacman’s Shift4Shop e-commerce platform. The rest of the crew will be announced later this year. 

Isaacman in a Dragon capsule.

Musk says the flight will use a Dragon capsule dubbed “Resilience,” which is currently docked at the ISS. That’s no problem because the Dragon, like the Falcon 9 that launches it, is a reusable vehicle. SpaceX can just ferry it down to Earth, clean it up, and mount it on a Falcon 9 for launch. 

SpaceX has long pushed the idea that the public should have access to space, and this isn’t the first demonstration. Inspiration4 sounds like a more restrained version of Yusaku Maezawa’s deal to fly around the moon in a SpaceX Starship. The timeline for that mission is still up in the air, but Maezawa had to cancel his proposed “girlfriend contest” last year after it was pointed out the whole thing was very creepy. He’s still going to the moon at some point, but it won’t be a dating opportunity. 

While access to space is expanding, you still need to have a few million lying around to guarantee a trip to the stars. If you’re short on cash, keep an eye on the Inspiration4 announcement. Maybe you’ll have a shot at claiming one of those seats.

Now read:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtreme – ExtremeTech

Google Shuts Down Stadia Games Studio, Plans to License Tech

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

Google announced its Stadia cloud gaming service almost two years ago, but the company is already planning to shake things up. In a new blog post, Google says it will shut down its game studio and will instead rely entirely on third-party developers. Google adds that this is just part of a larger strategy to strengthen its Stadia partnerships, but this feels like the beginning of the end for Google’s fledgling game streaming platform. 

Stadia is in the same general category as GeForce Now and Microsoft xCloud: Instead of using local hardware like a PC or game console to render images, Stadia has powerful servers that do the hard work and then stream video of the gameplay down to your devices. Stadia works on phones, tablets, Chromecasts, and almost any computer that can run Chrome. The service launched with a handful of third-party games and a few temporary exclusives, but Google promised first-party content that would take full advantage of the platform’s capabilities. That’s no longer in the cards without its Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) division, which has offices in Los Angeles and Montreal. The move will affect about 150 developers, most of whom will be moved to other jobs at Google. However, gaming veteran Jade Raymond will be leaving Google after joining the company in 2019 to run SG&E. 

Google says it will continue to bring third-party games to the platform, but the cost of creating AAA games is very high. Although, it’s hard to believe Google didn’t see that coming. Regardless, Google says it wants to continue developing the underlying technology of Stadia and license it to other companies. It’s unclear how this is going to jive with the existing Stadia storefront. Letting other firms run cloud gaming services with Stadia tech would only create more competition for Stadia, which won’t have any exclusive Google-developed games after this move. 

The end of SG&E also means we may never see the “new generation” of gaming Google promised. At launch, Google envisioned online worlds with thousands of people interacting in real-time, along with integrated live streaming and Google Assistant features. It’s unlikely any third-parties are going to build things like that for Stadia when Google can’t even be bothered to support its own platform. If Google does give up on Stadia in a few years, we’ll probably point to this as the first nail in Stadia’s coffin. 

Stadia isn’t dead, and Google could still sort this out if it can just choose a lane. You can play select Stadia games for free on almost any device by going to the website on your computer or downloading the Stadia app. If you want the Stadia controller with its lower-latency connection, those are still available for $ 69 (and it is a very good controller). Although, spending money in the Stadia ecosystem might not be the best call when Google itself is shying away from the investment.

Now read:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Barcelona plans to appeal Messi 2-game suspension for incident vs. Athletic Bilbao

Lionel Messi avoided a tougher sanction and was suspended for only two matches on Tuesday after hitting an opponent in an incident away from the ball in the Spanish Super Cup final.

The Barcelona forward was facing a suspension of up to 12 matches for swinging his arm at an Athletic Bilbao player at the end of the team’s 3-2 loss on Sunday. The Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee did not deem the incident to be too serious and applied a less severe penalty. The committee also fined the club 700 euros ($ 845 US) and Messi 600 euros ($ 725).

Barcelona said it would appeal Messi’s suspension.

After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm at the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and after a video review Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances with Barcelona’s main squad.

Messi had been sent off twice while playing for Argentina’s national team, including a few seconds into his debut in a friendly against Hungary in 2005. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile. He was also sent off once while playing for Barcelona’s “B” team.

Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with “excessive force” while the ball was not near him.

Messi will miss Barcelona’s matches against third-division club Cornella in the Copa del Rey and against Elche in the Spanish league. He was already expected to miss the game against Cornella with coach Ronald Koeman trying to keep Messi’s minutes under control to avoid serious injury.

The 33-year-old Messi had been doubtful to play in the Spanish Super Cup final because of an unspecified fitness issue that had caused Koeman to leave him out of the semifinal match against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when Barcelona prevailed in a penalty shootout.

Messi, who asked to leave the club in the off-season but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches. He was far from his best on Sunday despite helping set up the team’s first goal.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Soccer News