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Is your N95-style mask failing you? Lab tests show some falling way short of filtration standards

As more dangerous variants of the coronavirus spread, many Canadians are looking to upgrade their mask. 

That has some people reaching for N95-style respirators that promise to filter at least 95 per cent of airborne particles.

When shopping online and in stores, consumers are most likely to find the international equivalents of the coveted N95, as these masks are still generally not available in stores. 

The imported equivalents include the KN95 respirator, which meets the Chinese standard of 95 per cent filtration efficiency and the KF94, which meets the Korean standard of 94 per cent filtration efficiency.

However, as demand for these masks has grown, so has the presence of counterfeits and poor-quality respirators in Canadian stores.

To find out how much Canadians can trust what they’re buying, CBC’s Marketplace tested 14 KN95 and KF94 respirator brands purchased from Amazon and big box stores. 

Three masks from each brand were tested at a lab at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health to see if they meet their filtration efficiency claims. Half failed.

“As a consumer in Canada right now, you can’t be confident of going to a reputable vendor, buying a pack of masks with a stamp that says KN95 or N95 or KF94, and have really any confidence that those masks meet that standard, and that’s a huge worry from me as an academic, but also as a consumer,” said James Scott, a professor of occupational and environmental health who oversaw the testing. 

Marketplace shared the failing results with the stores and the manufacturers who made them. Some stores have since removed the products or say they are investigating further. Others maintain they are following regulatory guidelines. 

What do the test results tell you? 

While some masks tested well below the 95 per cent filtration standard threshold, others failed by just a percentage point or two. So how much do the results matter?

According to emergency room physician Dr. Jay Park of San Diego, Calif., it depends on who is using the mask and the level of protection they need or want. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Park has been working to verify the authenticity and quality of N95-style respirators destined for hospitals. He has since shared his expertise and compiled tips on what average consumers can look for when buying these masks.

“The respirators on the low end of the test results may provide a similar level of protection to many cloth masks,” said Park. 

WATCH | We tested 14 types of KN95 and KF94 masks. Here’s what we found:

CBC Marketplace tested KN95 and KF94 masks sold online and at big box stores. Half of them didn’t offer the level of protection they’re supposed to. 6:27

As for the masks that came in just a percentage point or two below the standard, he said they can still be used.

“If you are a consumer and you’re just using this to go shopping or do low-risk activities, then yes, your testing results do show that it protects you better than cloth masks. You don’t have to throw them out. I think that you just need to be informed that these do not meet KN95, 95 per cent filtration standards.”

Scott said that the consequence of a failing mask could be greater for those at higher risk of exposure or more severe disease.

“They matter for [health-care] workers and to a similar extent they matter for members of the public who have very specific susceptibilities where they need to go that extra distance to [protect] themselves from people in the environment.”

Should I be wearing a KN95 or KF94 respirator?

Experts agree the best protection against COVID-19 is to limit contact with others by staying home and physical distancing. When it comes to masking, the level of protection is up to you. 

“I don’t necessarily think that the general population necessarily needs the highest protection possible,” said Park. “Do you deserve the highest protection possible? Do you want the highest protection possible? Now those are different questions, right?”

He advises that those at higher risk choose the best protection available to them. 

“If you’re telling me that you’re riding the subway or you need to ride public transportation, or you’re a teacher and you’re working in an indoor classroom full of children that typically don’t show signs and symptoms of COVID-19, then yes, I believe you should get the highest protection possible.”

What are some tips to avoid poor-quality or counterfeit respirator masks?

1. Cut out resellers

Park advises to avoid resellers. Instead, he said to buy directly from the source or companies with a history in selling personal protective equipment (PPE).

These companies, he said, are more likely to have a relationship with a reputable supplier. Some manufacturers also sell directly to consumers, including Canadian companies that have recently been ramping up production of N95-style respirators.

2: Avoid the FDA logo

Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration had temporarily authorized the sale of some KN95 and KF94 respirators during the pandemic. However, even authorized respirators are not allowed to use the FDA logo.

“The FDA logo is for the official use of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not for use on private sector materials,” the FDA website says. 

If you see the FDA logo on product packaging and marketing, it means it’s likely not authorized, said Dr. Jay Park. (CBC)

3: Be wary of unmarked packaging or an unknown manufacturer

Some of the products Marketplace purchased arrived in unmarked packaging or in boxes that did not include the manufacturer’s name and address. That’s another red flag, said Park. 

“You don’t want to buy something that is potentially a medical product and not know who the manufacturer is for you to be able to trace back and say OK, this is who made it and I can look up their registration or certification online,” he said.

Park said unmarked packaging is a red flag. (John Lesavage/CBC)

4: Check Health Canada, the FDA and CDC websites

Health Canada has a list of authorized medical devices for uses related to COVID-19. You can check whether your mask is among them. However, only respirators authorized under the interim order introduced after COVID-19 struck are on this list. 

The FDA also has a list of KN95s and other imported respirators that have been authorized for use. 

You can also check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of Counterfeit Respirators/Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval.

Park has also created a PPE authentication site that aggregates the data on masks that are authorized for sale or recalled in Canada, the U.S and Europe.

What do the companies say about the results?

Marketplace reached out to the stores and retailers selling the KN95 and KF94 respirators that failed the filtration test. Here is how they responded: 

Well.ca, whose masks tested among the lowest, did not respond directly to the test results. Instead, it directed Marketplace to contact the manufacturer. That information was not listed on the product packaging and Well.ca did not provide it when asked.  

Amazon said that it verifies that all masks on their sites are legitimate. It said that there are “bad actors” that purposely evade their protections and that they removed the products that failed. The seller of the Seal Goods mask on Amazon said the ones purchased by Marketplace could be counterfeit.

Walmart also removed the mask that failed from its website. It said it does not permit the sale of KN95’s and that the product purchased should never have been for sale. They did not explain how this mask and other KN95s ended up on their site. 

Home Depot and Home Hardware said they follow regulatory standards. Home Depot said that it is investigating further. 

Marketplace also shared its results with Health Canada, which said it “monitors information about counterfeit, fraudulent and unauthorized COVID-19 devices, including personal protective equipment. Devices that are confirmed to be counterfeit or unauthorized are removed from the market and are not permitted to be sold in Canada.”

  • Watch full episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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CBC | Health News

Margarita Gracheva’s ex-husband cut off her hands. Now she has a show on Russian TV

Ten hours under the hot lights of a TV studio listening to appalling stories of spousal abuse and depressing indifference from Russian authorities had left Margarita Gracheva visibly upset and exhausted.  

“You really do get tired and worried about people when you hear their stories — it’s difficult,” said the 28-year-old mother of two during a break in the taping of the program Blizkiye Lyudi or Intimate People.

Gracheva, whose own horrific experience with a psychotic husband ended with her being kidnapped, attacked with an axe and having both hands severed, has just started a new chapter in her life after being named co-host. 

The program is a first-of-a kind venture on the Rossiya channel that makes domestic violence front and centre as it tries to put audience members and viewers into some of the awful situations faced by abused women.

The effort to strengthen protections against domestic violence in Russia has been intensely disheartening, so the fact that such a program was ever green-lighted is notable, said Gracheva.

Gracheva and co-host Leonid Zakhoshansky tape a promo on the set of their show. (Dmitry Kozlov/CBC)

Her co-host, well-known Russian TV personality Leonid Zakhoshansky, said Gracheva’s mutilated body bears witness to an ordeal guests can associate with.

“It’s frightening, a very frightening story. She is very strong, very strong.”

In December 2017, in a jealousy-fuelled rage, Gracheva’s then-husband, Dmitri Grachev, drove her to an isolated wooded area outside their home in St. Petersburg and repeatedly struck her with an axe, delivering more than 40 blows to every part of her body.

Grachev hacked off both of her hands, leaving her disfigured for life.   

The fact that her pulverized bones and flesh fell into the snow and were kept cold meant doctors were able to reattach one hand, the left, although she has little movement in it. 

Sophisticated artificial hand

At the end of her right arm, she now uses a sophisticated artificial hand that is connected to her muscles so she can use it to grasp objects and even make some fine motor movements.

Her ex-husband was sentenced to 14 years in jail.

In the months leading up to his savagery, Gracheva tried multiple times to get the attention of authorities, including after he threatened her with a knife.   

She said police told her since he had not physically hurt her, there was nothing they could do and the case was closed.

CBC News met Margarita Gracheva in St. Petersburg 18 months ago, where she described her ex-husband’s attack. (Pascal Dumont/CBC)

Our CBC News Moscow bureau first met Gracheva in December 2019 when she spoke at length about her ordeal and her determination to forge ahead in a new life with a new purpose.

After her appointment as co-host of the  TV show, we met with her again recently on the set in Moscow.

Personally, Gracheva now appears to be thriving. 

WATCH: Russian woman gets TV show on spousal abuse after ex-husband’s horrific attack:

After Margarita Gracheva’s ex-husband cut off her hands with an axe in a fit of jealousy, she vowed to recover and help fight domestic violence in Russia. Now, she describes what it’s like to host a first-of-a-kind TV program aimed at helping women. 1:10

In addition to landing the new high-profile job, she has remarried and said her two boys, eight and six, are in good spirits despite all that’s happened.

The format of her new program sees women who have suffered physical abuse from their partners or some other form of mistreatment tell their stories.   

They are then offered advice or counselling by a selection of lawyers, psychologists and members of the audience.

‘Help with real action’

“The goal of the program is to help — not just to talk to but to help with real action,” said Gracheva, whose role appears to be less of an interviewer and more of a compassionate presence.

One segment featured the story of Elena Verba, a young mother who was stabbed 57 times by her husband, a police officer, who left her to die and then went to work.    

The couples’ young son found her later in a pool of blood and called his father on the phone saying, “Mommy wouldn’t wake up.”

At one point, Verba had gone to her husband’s supervisors at the police station to try to get him charged, but they resisted, saying it would cost him his pension.  

Verba’s mother, Anna, made an emotional appearance on the program that left Gracheva and many members of the audience in tears.

Anna Rivina is the head of Nasiliu.net, a group that supports victims of violence and has been designated as a ‘foreign agent’ by the Russian government. (Alexei Sergeev/CBC)

On a more positive note, another woman whose husband had kidnapped her children and threatened to kill her used her appearance on the program to gather up the courage to leave the family home and take refuge in a women’s shelter with her kids.

“This is not my job, not my profession,” Gracheva said of her role as a de facto counsellor, noting that the long, emotional days do not come easy to her. 

“I really do worry about all these cases and live out their stories through myself.”

Beyond Gracheva’s own successes with the show and her family, other progress for women coping with family violence issues has not been as promising. 

Gracheva lost both her hands when her ex-husband attacked her with an axe. One hand was re-attached. The other could not be saved and was replaced with an artificial hand. (Submitted by Margarita Gracheva)

Russia was already an outlier among developed countries for its weak legislation on domestic violence.

Restraining orders are non-existent and there are virtually no legal means for women to keep violent partners out of the family home.

In 2017, Russia’s Duma — or parliament — made domestic violence that doesn’t involve broken bones a misdemeanour, akin to getting a traffic ticket.

Furious women’s groups and non-governmental organizations that had been pushing to stiffen penalties ran into dogged resistance from Orthodox church groups.

What appeared to be a promising initiative to introduce new legislation in the Duma — it was even championed by a prominent female member of President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party — was stalled by the pandemic and has since fizzled.

Groups designated ‘foreign agents’

Then at the end of 2020, as part of a sweeping bid to limit the influence of non-Russian organizations in domestic politics, Putin signed into law a bill that designates many groups with anti-domestic violence agendas as “foreign agents,” undercutting their work further. 

It’s a Soviet-era term that invokes extremely negative connotations of spying and treason and essentially robs local NGOs of their ability to fundraise.

“We need to write on these billboards that we are foreign agents. And, of course, nobody wants to put it on,” said Anna Rivina, the Moscow-based founder of Nasiliu.net (No to Violence), which supports victims of violence.

“They believe that we want to ruin Russian families. They believe that this is something from the West, something about ‘MeToo,’ about feminism— that it’s not common for Russian society.”

Gracheva poses for photos with her new husband, whom she has not publicly identified. (Submitted by Margarita Gracheva)

Rivina was in a Moscow court last week trying to get the designation overturned, but to no avail.

Statistics on domestic violence in Russia are hard to come by but Rivina’s group claims three-quarters of Russian women will experience domestic violence from a partner at some point in their lives. That figure comes from research published by a team at a St. Petersburg university in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have made the situation even worse.

In March 2020, Russia’s human rights ombudsman was quoted in state media as saying calls to a domestic abuse hotline more than doubled from 6,054 to more than 13,000 when the city of Moscow was locked down. 

Well-known Moscow criminal lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky is one of Blizkiye Lyudi‘s expert panellists who believes Russia needs many more such forums to discuss domestic violence. Because of that, he volunteered his time to help those who appear as guests.

“It’s much easier to change the law than to change the mentality,” he told CBC. “When you change the mentality, it takes much more time than everything else, and the mentality of a lot of people in our country is that family violence is something very logical.

“It’s my home. I close the door to you. I do whatever I want because I’m the master here. And that’s awful.”

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Canada will recommend AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for those over 65, documents show

Canada will change its guidelines on the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine and recommend it be given to those over age 65, according to documents obtained by CBC News and sources with direct knowledge of the guidelines.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) previously recommended Canadians over 65 not receive an AstraZeneca-Oxford shot earlier this month, despite emerging evidence from around the world demonstrating its ability to prevent severe COVID-19 in older adults.

But the NACI recommendations were based largely on AstraZeneca-Oxford’s clinical trial data and didn’t examine real-world evidence past Dec. 7 — months before the effectiveness of the vaccine was fully realized in other countries for older age groups.

Those recommendations led provinces to reorganize their vaccination plans for seniors and meant those aged 60-64 could receive the shots ahead of older age groups, who are at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Sources with firsthand knowledge of the new recommendations confirmed to CBC News that NACI plans to update its guidelines on the vaccine Tuesday. 

Documents obtained by CBC News — marked “final” and dated Tuesday, but which may be subject to change — show the decision is based on emerging real-world data from other countries. The recommendations also state that mRNA vaccines, such as those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, will still be “prioritized” for older age groups. 

“Following this careful review, NACI decided to expand recommendations for the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to include those 65 years of age and over,” the documents read. 

Pharmacist Abraam Rafael administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Maureen Doyle at his pharmacy in Toronto on Sunday. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

The documents state real-world data of vaccine effectiveness — for those over 65 who received one dose of AstraZeneca’s — saw a “reduction in the risk of symptomatic disease and hospitalization” that appeared to reach a “comparable level” to those aged 18 to 64.

CBC News reached out to representatives from NACI, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada for comment but did not receive a response by publication time.

No evidence

Other countries such as France and Germany initially advised those 65 and older not to receive the shot, but overturned their decisions earlier this month after new evidence showed the vaccine significantly reduced hospitalizations in that age group.

But Germany followed other European countries like Denmark and Norway on Monday and suspended the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot over reports of blood clotting in some recipients of the vaccine. Italy and France did the same. 

WATCH | Benefits outweigh risks with AstraZeneca vaccine, experts say:

Despite some European countries temporarily halting use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine after 30 cases of blood clots, experts maintain it is still safe to use in Canada. 2:01

AstraZeneca-Oxford said Sunday a “careful review” of all available safety data for more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and the U.K. showed “no evidence of an increased risk” of blood clots. 

It’s unclear if NACI’s guidelines for the vaccine will change further in light of the blood clotting reports, but the documents make no mention of them and there is no evidence to suggest Canada will follow suit in suspending the use of the shot. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is safe and Canadians should have no concerns about receiving it.

Already hesitant

It’s unclear how the change in recommendations will affect provincial and territorial vaccine rollout plans, given that those aged 60-64 have already started receiving shots and continue to be booked for appointments. 

Quebec is the only province so far to ignore the national recommendations. Officials there said last week they would administer the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to seniors.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and medical director of infection control at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said the vaccine has already raised concerns from the public because the clinical trials underestimated its effectiveness, did not enroll enough people over 65 and lacked key data because few participants actually got infected with COVID-19. 

“People are already hesitant around this vaccine from that,” he said. “And even if you do get better data to support its use you now still have to fight against these three different streams of negativity towards this vaccine.” 

Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said issues with data from Scotland, regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine in older age groups, may have factored into NACI’s initial decision. 

“Overall, what has happened with the AstraZeneca vaccine has been very, very unfortunate from almost the get-go,” said Stall, who is a member of NACI but does not speak on behalf of the committee. “So many things, unfortunately, went wrong along the way.” 

Stall said the reported blood clotting also “reared its ugly head” at an extremely unfortunate time. 

“Then of course, people see a product that I think they perceive as inferior,” he said. “Secondly, [the initial shipment] expires on April 2, so people feel like this is sort of like this second rate product that’s imminently expiring that the government is trying to get rid of.” 

Stall said all of those factors combined have led to a “very, very understandable but unfortunate perception” that AstraZeneca-Oxford’s is somehow a “bad vaccine” — which simply isn’t true. 

WATCH | Blood clots likely unrelated to vaccine, epidemiologist says:

People who got blood clots after taking the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine probably would have gotten them anyway, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos. He says blood clots are a common ailment among people who are currently the focus of many vaccine programs. 4:01

“I do believe that probably when all is said and done, that the AstraZeneca vaccine is going to show similar real world efficacy in terms of preventing those outcomes we care most about, the hospitalizations and deaths, very comparably to the mRNA vaccines,” he said. 

Matthew Miller, an associate professor of infectious diseases and immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the emergence of real-world data allows officials to continually assess how effective the vaccine is globally.

“That data is now very strongly suggesting that the vaccine is working in those older individuals, and is particularly good at preventing severe infection and hospitalization, which are ultimately the outcomes that are most important,” said Miller, who also works with NACI.

“What we don’t want to have happen is these individuals, especially those who belong to vulnerable demographics, becoming seriously ill, hospitalized and dying. Those are the things that stretch ICU capacity and so those are the outcomes of greatest concern.”

Chagla says clear, transparent communication from politicians and public health officials is needed in order to explain to Canadians why the change was made. 

“It wasn’t the fact that it was ineffective, it was the fact that there just wasn’t data — but there is now,” he said. 

“There is going to be a stigma done by this but at least if people have the right information to make an educated decision and feel like their public health officials are being open and transparent with them, it at least encourages people to make the decision that they need to.”

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Watch That Curling Show

Click on the video player above to watch That Curling Show on CBC Sports.

Live coverage resumes on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET and continues each night during the 2021 Brier.

Co-hosts Colleen Jones, six-time national curling champion, and CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux bring you up to speed on everything you need to know as rinks from across Canada battle to be crowned national curling champions.

On Sunday’s edition, Wayne Middaugh – who has been filling in nicely for injured Ontario skip Glenn Howard  –  joins the show to discuss the Brier so far.

WATCH | Celebrating Brad Gushue’s Olympic gold 15 years later:

Hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux take you behind the scenes in the world of curling. 0:00

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CBC | Sports News

Mobile RTX 3070 Reviews Show Performance Variations in Gaming

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If you’re shopping for a gaming laptop, it’s important to check reviews before you buy. We’ve discussed this issue before in a CPU context, but it’s just as important in GPUs. A recent set of reviews from our sister site PCMag offer an illustrative example of why.

PCMag just reviewed the Alienware m15 R4 and the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XC. Both of these systems are built around the Intel Core i7-10870H. Both feature an RTX 3070 — the Gigabyte system has the Max-Q version of the card, while the Alienware has a standard RTX 3070. We would normally expect the Gigabyte system to outperform the Alienware thanks to its use of a Max-Q card. Max-Q cards are binned for high efficiency in a given power envelope, not maximum performance. A Max-Q GPU is typically slightly slower than a full-sized equivalent.


The CPU-centric benchmarks PCMag ran show the Alienware m15 R4 narrowly losing to the Gigabyte Aero in most tests, though it wins Handbrake. There’s only a little variation between the two. The GPU tests are more interesting:

These results collectively show some interesting trends. The ROG Zephyrus 15 is only equipped with an RTX 2080 Super (Max-Q), but it clearly punches well above its weight class. The RTX 3070 is faster in Fire Strike but loses Sky Diver. In Far Cry 5, the gap between the RTX 2080 Super and the RTX 3070 Max-Q is 3.2 percent and 5.6 percent in favor of the RTX 3070 in the Gigabyte system. The fact that the R4 is only a little faster suggests that RotR is CPU-bound at this point in any case.

PCMag gives high marks to both of these gaming laptops, so I want to say up front that I’m not trying to trash the RTX 3070 or imply that the Max-Q version is a bad card. Even the fact that the RTX 2080 Super outperforms the RTX 3070 Max-Q isn’t an automatic problem in and of itself, especially when we haven’t factored price into the equation.

What’s interesting about the performance of the RTX 2080 Super versus the RTX 3070 Max-Q versus the regular RTX 3070 is the impact different thermal solutions can have on the laptop’s performance. PCMag didn’t run any ray tracing benchmarks, unfortunately, so it’s not clear how the Turing-equipped laptop would have fared against Ampere in that test. Our guess is that the architectural improvements in the architecture would still deliver a boost even if the RTX 2080 Super seems to have more room to stretch its metaphorical legs overall.

Each of the laptops in PCMag’s review offers a different balance between weight, performance, display resolution, refresh rates, and thermals. In this case, both the Asus ROG and the Alienware are able to target higher performance levels due to the specifics of their respective implementations. The Gigabyte system offers excellent gaming performance, but it doesn’t always match either of its competitors.

One of the best ways to maximize long-term performance is to check the performance of the specific system model you want to buy, with an eye towards how it lands in various 3D benchmarks. While there’s always test-to-test variation, you can typically pick out a pattern across a series of tests.

If I had to choose between the RTX 2080 Super-equipped system and an Ampere system at the same price, and performance slightly favored Turing, I’d still choose Ampere. Over time, newer games are more likely to favor Nvidia’s newer architecture over the older one, especially given how popular Ampere has been. Ampere also should offer efficiency gains in ray tracing, even if Turing is more competitive in other tests.

If you want to maximize your long-term performance when you buy a gaming laptop, there’s no substitute for reading reviews of the specific systems you’re interested in.

Now Read:

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Canada’s COVID-19 case numbers show early positive signs

Cases of COVID-19 are declining in many parts of Canada, but experts say those early positive signs are dependent on widespread restrictions. 

Quebec, now under a province-wide curfew, has seen new cases declineOntario has showed 10 consecutive declines in its seven-day average, a metric that helps to spot long-term trends compared to daily numbers that can spike up and down.

Caroline Colijn, an infectious disease modeller at Simon Fraser University, said most of the provinces seem to be declining.

“Ontario’s kind of uncertain, Saskatchewan’s growing still or again, but the rest are kind of flat or declining,” said Colijn, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in mathematics for evolution, infection and public health.

“That’s the first decline we’ve seen in Quebec and Ontario for quite a while,” she said. “In our models, it looks like a genuine decline.”

More tools needed

In B.C., for example, Colijn said the epidemic is stabilizing with strict measures such as telling people not to socialize outside their household.

But Colijn fears Ontario’s stay-at-home order, Quebec’s curfew and restrictions in other provinces aren’t solutions that people can sustain for months.

If people don’t limit their number of contacts with others then cases will start to climb again until vaccinations reach the general population. 

“Unless we want to do this for six months, we do need to be thinking about throwing other tools that we have available at this problem.”

WATCH | Researchers test new tools for COVID-19 surveillance:

Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax are working on a 3D-printed ball that can collect a building’s sewage and test the water for coronavirus. They say the tool could be used to trace outbreaks and to test the effectiveness of vaccines. 4:05

Colijn said widespread restrictions, symptomatic testing and contact tracing remain cornerstone tools. But those tools should be supplemented with wider rapid testing technologies coming to the fore, which Colijn believes could support re-opening the economy.

Federal and provincial scientists are validating rapid tests, currently used at remote mines as well as the film and airline industries, for more widespread use. 

Sask. heading in the wrong direction

Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist at the University of Saskatchewan, divides the country’s into three main groups based on per-capita case counts:

  • The top: Atlantic Canada, which has the fewest cases.
  • The middle: Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., which have showed month-long improvements in COVID-19 activity following lockdowns. If trends in Ontario and Quebec continue, then they could be added to the middle group. 
  • The bottom: Saskatchewan, which Muhajarine said isn’t even heading in the right direction, with an average of 300 new cases daily.

Muhajarine is concerned about the steep climb in COVID-19 deaths in the Prairie province.

“On Dec. 1, we had 51 deaths and by Jan. 1 it tripled to 155,” he noted.

In the first 21 days of the month, another 84 people have died in Saskatchewan.

“We really need to reverse course,” Muhajarine said. “To do that, we need very strict measures with a stay-at-home order and enforcement of orders. When we see the case numbers reverse course, we have to get our testing, tracing and isolation regime back up.”

Restrictions on retail stores, restaurants and bars could help bring cases, hospitalizations and deaths down given how Saskatchewan is “stretched to the limit,” he said.

Even places with early signs of decline, like Ontario, will see hospitalizations and deaths continue to climb for a period because of the lag time from new infections in December, health experts say. 

Essential workplaces key for Ontario

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician with Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., said the province’s seven-day averages are encouraging.

A worker at the Gateway Postal facility, in Mississauga, Ont., on Wednesday. Canada Post confirms a major outbreak of COVID-19 at the plant — the largest mail facility in the country that reflects how cases continue to occur among essential workers. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“We’re now more than two weeks past what would be the New Year’s surge,” Chakrabarti said, referencing people socializing over the holidays despite advice from public health officials and politicians to stay at home. 

Now that the holiday peak in new cases is over, regular winter transmission of the virus is happening in the population, he said.

Chakrabarti recalls how during the province’s first wave in the spring, cases came down and then were stuck at a plateau for months, which he said could happen again.

Driving case counts down further would ease pressure on health-care systems and protect vulnerable residents of long-term care homes.

The key, he says, is to tackle where transmission is still happening: essential workplaces.

“We were seeing people getting infected at work and then bringing it home to their family, where it was being amplified,” he said of the first wave. “That’s still happening and something a lockdown doesn’t address.”

It’s why Chakrabarti and others advocate for:

“Yes, there are some people who are breaking the rules,” Chakrabarti said. “But we also need to look at the very different industrial setups because these factors are huge, right? This is one of the reasons why things haven’t ever really turned quickly in Ontario.”

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CBC | Health News

Trump allies involved in rally that ignited U.S. Capitol siege, records show

Members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington, D.C., rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.

A pro-Trump non-profit group called Women for America First hosted the Save America Rally on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House.

But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.

Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally.

The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in U.S. history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

WATCH | Further details emerge about mobs that attacked the U.S. Capitol:

Washington increases security to prepare for potential violence leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, while more ugly details emerge about the white nationalist mobs that rampaged Capitol Hill last week. 2:43

A week after the rally, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice. But the political and legal fallout may stretch well beyond Trump, who will exit the White House on Wednesday before Democrat Joe Biden takes the oath of office. Trump had refused for nearly two months to accept his loss in the Nov. 3 election to the former vice-president.

Women for America First, which applied for and received the Park Service permit, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the event was financed and about the Trump campaign’s involvement. The rally drew tens of thousands of people.

In a statement, the president’s re-election campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event.” No campaign staff members were involved in the organization or operation of the rally, according to the statement. It said that if any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign took part, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.”

At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month. Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign’s director of operations into January 2021. She did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Trump campaign aides tried to hide connections

The AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles and removed tweets that referred to the rally. Two blocked a reporter who asked questions.

Caroline Wren, a veteran Republican fundraiser, is named as a “VIP Advisor” on an attachment to the permit that Women for America First provided to the agency. Between mid-March and mid-November, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. paid Wren $ 20,000 US a month, according to Federal Election Commission records.

During the campaign, she was a national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the president’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Wren was involved in at least one call before the pro-Trump rally with members of several groups listed as rally participants to organize credentials for VIP attendees, according to Kimberly Fletcher, president of one of those groups, Moms for America.

Wren retweeted messages about the event ahead of time, but a cache of her account on Google shows at least eight of those tweets disappeared from her timeline. She apparently removed some herself, and others were sent from accounts that Twitter suspended.

One of the messages Wren retweeted was from Stop the Steal, another group identified as a rally participant on a website promoting the event. The Jan. 2 message thanked Republican senators who said they would vote to overturn Biden’s election victory, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.

She also retweeted a Jan. 1 message from the president promoting the event, as well as promotional messages from one of the president’s sons, Eric Trump, and Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist and a spokesperson for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Wren did not return messages seeking comment and locked her Twitter account after the AP reached out to her last Monday to ask her about her involvement in the Trump rally and the tweets she had removed. Several days later, she blocked the AP reporter.

WATCH | U.S. overcompensating for Capitol riot with inauguration security, expert says:

The huge security rollout in Washington, D.C., ahead of the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 is because there is not a good grasp of intelligence, says security expert Christian Leuprecht, and officials don’t want a repeat of the Capitol security breach on Jan. 6. 5:33

Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of former top Trump aide Mick Mulvaney, is listed on the permit attachment as the “VIP Lead.” She worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile. FEC records show Maggie Mulvaney was earning $ 5,000 every two weeks from Trump’s re-election campaign, with the most recent payment reported on Nov. 13.

Maggie Mulvaney had taken down her Twitter account as of last Monday, although it reappeared after the AP asked her about the account’s removal.

She retweeted several messages on Jan. 6, including one from the president that urged support for the Capitol Police. Trump’s Twitter account has been suspended, but the message could be seen in a cache of her Twitter account captured by Google. She also retweeted a message from her uncle, urging Trump to address the nation.

Maggie Mulvaney did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The insurrection at the Capitol prompted Mick Mulvaney to quit his position as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland. He told CNBC a day after the assault that remaining in the post would prompt people to say, “‘Oh yeah, you work for the guy who tried to overtake the government.”‘

Review of crowd reveals white supremacists, off-duty police

The leaders of Women for America First aren’t new to politics.

Amy Kremer, listed as the group’s president on records filed with Virginia’s state corporation commission, is “one of the founding mothers of the modern day tea party movement,” according to her website. Her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, is the organization’s treasurer, according to the records.

WATCH | Martin Luther King III discusses violence at U.S. Capitol:

We speak to Global human rights leader Martin Luther King III about his reaction to last Wednesday’s riots in Washington and his thoughts on the next presidency. 10:31

The IRS granted Women for America First tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization a year ago, with the exemption retroactive to February 2019. The AP requested that the group provide any tax records it may have filed since then but received no response.

In a statement issued the same day rioters attacked the Capitol, Amy Kremer denounced the assault and said it was instigated after the rally by a “handful of bad actors,” while seeming to blame Democrats and news organizations for the riot.

“Unfortunately, for months the left and the mainstream media told the American people that violence was an acceptable political tool,” she said. “They were wrong. It is not.”

WATCH | The U.S. ‘has a far-right extremist problem,’ national security expert says:

Nicholas Grossman, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, weighs in on the Capitol Hill siege and the potential for further violence in the United States propagated by far-right extremists and conspiracy believers. 8:01

The AP reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless during the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.

The review found the crowd was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, Republican political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, off-duty police, members of the military and adherents of the baseless QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile cannibals.

Videos posted on social media in the days following the Capitol attack show that thousands of people stormed the Capitol. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building, and many other officers were injured. A woman from California was shot to death by Capitol Police, and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos.

‘We couldn’t possibly have afforded that’: rally leader

Trump’s incendiary remarks at the Jan. 6 rally came after a two-day series of events in Washington, D.C., organized by a coalition of the president’s supporters who echoed his baseless accusations that the election had been stolen from him. A website, MarchtoSaveAmerica.com, sprung up to promote the pro-Trump events and alerted followers, “At 1 PM, we protest at US Capitol.” The website has been deactivated.

Another website, TrumpMarch.com, shows a fist-raised Trump pictured on the front of a red, white and blue tour bus emblazoned with the words, “Powered by Women for America First.” The logo for the bedding company “My Pillow” is also prominent. Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, is an ardent Trump supporter who’s falsely claimed Trump didn’t lose the election to Biden and will serve another four-year term as president.

WATCH | What the U.S. Capitol riots have set in motion for extremists:

Although some platforms have tried to silence extremists after the Capitol Hill riots, they are using the darker corners of the internet to plan for their next move — and experts are worried about what could be around the corner. 4:22

“To demand transparency & protect election integrity,” the web page reads. Details of the “DC PROTEST” will be coming soon, it adds, and also lists a series of bus stops between Dec. 27 and Jan. 6 where Trump backers can “Join the caravan or show your support.”

Kimberly Fletcher, the Moms for America president, said she wasn’t aware the Trump campaign had a role in the rally at the Ellipse until around New Year’s Day. While she didn’t work directly with the campaign, Fletcher did notice a shift in who was involved in the rally and who would be speaking.

“When I got there and I saw the size of the stage and everything, I’m like, ‘Wow, we couldn’t possibly have afforded that,”‘ she said. “It was a big stage. It was a very professional stage. I don’t know who was in the background or who put it together or anything.”

WATCH | Photos capture riots in U.S. Capitol:

Andrew Harnik, a photojournalist with The Associated Press, recounts the moments when he sheltered in place with members of the U.S. Congress and shares some of the powerful images he took. 6:36

In addition to the large stage, the rally on the Ellipse featured a sophisticated sound system and at least three Jumbotron-style screens projecting the president’s image to the crowd. Videos posted online show Trump and his family in a nearby private tent watching the rally on several monitors as music blared in the background.

Moms for America held a more modest Save the Republic rally on Jan. 5 near the U.S. Capitol, an event that drew about 500 people and cost between $ 13,000 and $ 14,000, according to Fletcher.

Justin Caporale is listed on the Women for America First paperwork as the event’s project manager. He’s identified as a partner with Event Strategies Inc., a management and production company. Caporale, formerly a top aide to first lady Melania Trump, was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020, according to the FEC records, and he most recently was being paid $ 7,500 every two weeks. Caporale didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Tim Unes, the founder and president of Event Strategies, was the “stage manager” for the Jan. 6 rally, according to the permit paperwork. Unes has long-standing ties to Trump, a connection he highlights on his company’s website. Trump’s presidential campaign paid Event Strategies $ 1.3 million in 2020 for “audio visual services,” according to the campaign finance records. The company declined to comment for this story.

Another person with close ties to the Trump administration, Hannah Salem, was the rally’s “operations manager for logistics and communications,” according to the permit paperwork. In 2017, she took a hiatus from the consulting firm she founded and spent three years as senior White House press aide, “executing the media strategy for President Trump’s most high-profile events,” according to her company bio and LinkedIn profile.

Last week, within minutes of an AP reporter sending her a LinkedIn message asking about her involvement in and understanding of what happened on Jan. 6, Salem blocked the reporter and did not respond to questions.

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CBC | World News

Ontario issues stay-at-home order as COVID-19 models show province is at ‘dangerous point’

The Ontario government has announced a provincial stay-at-home order and new restrictions, as new COVID-19 modelling revealed Tuesday shows the health-care system is on the verge of being overwhelmed.

The province says it is issuing the stay-at-home order effective Thursday at 12:01 a.m., which will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, like going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

“Our province is in crisis,” Premier Doug Ford said. 

“The system is on the brink of collapse. It’s on the brink of being overwhelmed.”

The province says it is enacting the following measures, which will come into effect between today and Thursday:

  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. 
  • People are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.
  • The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

“Community transmission is widespread. It’s in our hospitals, it’s in our long-term care homes, and it’s in our workplaces,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday.

The province also announced Tuesday that schools in these public health units will not return to in-person instruction until Feb. 10:

  • Windsor-Essex
  • Peel Region
  • Toronto
  • York
  • Hamilton

“Schools in hotspots may not resume,” Elliott said. 

WATCH | Premier Ford outlines state of emergency:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared an immediate state of emergency and will impose a stay-at-home order as of Thursday at 12:01 a.m., in an effort to curb surging COVID-19 cases, which threaten to overwhelm the province’s health system. 1:12

You can find more information about Ontario’s new restrictions here.

New modelling reveals Ontario is at a ‘dangerous point’

Ford was asked Tuesday if government inaction has anything to do with the current state of the pandemic in Ontario, to which the premier responded the province is doing everything in its power to slow the spread of the virus.

“We work as a team. And any mishaps, I’m wearing it,” Ford said.

New modelling released Tuesday shows if Ontarians don’t significantly reduce their contact with others during the pandemic, the province’s health system will become overwhelmed and deaths will exceed first-wave totals before a vaccine has time to take effect.

“We’re at a dangerous point,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, at a morning briefing.

There are now cases of COVID-19 in every region of Ontario, Brown said, and the province’s hospitals are facing a potentially deadly influx of patients.

“The growth of the pandemic is particularly acute right now,” he added, noting that increases in new daily cases is above seven per cent “on our worst days,” well into worst-case scenario territory for the outlook of the illness in the province.

WATCH | Dr. Adalsteinn Brown discusses how current COVID-19 trends could impact hospital care:

Before revealing the province’s latest modelling on the pandemic, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown explained the dire health risks people will soon face. 1:05

The revised modelling suggests that despite restrictions put in place last month, mobility and contacts between people have not decreased in Ontario. Survey data shows a majority of people are trying to limit the spread of the virus by following health advice, but case numbers will not go down until more people follow that example, Brown said.

And despite repeated assertions from provincial officials and the premier alike that Ontario was building an “iron ring” around its long-term care homes to protect seniors, the figures released Tuesday also show that almost 40 per cent of the province’s long-term care homes now have active outbreaks of COVID-19.

Elliott claimed Tuesday that the province is “building that iron ring around the long-term care homes by the vaccinations that we’re doing” — but Ontario officials have promised an “iron ring” around those homes long before vaccines were ever approved by Health Canada.

The province’s forecasts now suggest there will actually be more deaths in long-term care in the pandemic’s second wave compared to the first. Since Jan. 1, 2021, 198 long-term care residents and two staffers have died.

Modellers also warned that patients with COVID-19 now occupy more than 400 ICU beds in Ontario, causing surgeries and other procedures to be delayed or cancelled, which will lead to “real consequences for health.”

Brown said that currently, about one quarter of Ontario’s hospitals have no ICU capacity left, while another quarter have only one or two beds available at any given time. The hospitals with no or very limited ICU capacity are spread out throughout the province, he added.

“This is no longer an issue of one or two regions,” Brown continued.’

Choices about who gets care on horizon

Projections now show there could be about 500 COVID-19 patients in intensive care by mid-January and potentially more than 1,000 by February under more severe scenarios.

Moreover, total admissions of patients with COVID-19 to hospitals have climbed 72.2 per cent in the last four weeks. 

If current hospitalization trends continue unabated, health-care providers will be forced to make choices that “no doctor ever wants to make,” Brown said.

“There will be choices about who will get the care they need and who will not.”

Public health experts are also warning that a new, more easily transmissible variant of the virus first identified in the U.K. could begin spreading rapidly in the province, considerably extending the period of time it will take for case counts to drop significantly. 

Eight more people infected with the U.K. variant of the coronavirus in Ontario were identified yesterday. A total of 14 instances of the variant have been identified, but “it’s very likely that we have more that we’re not aware of,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, at the briefing.

Three of the cases reported today currently have no known links to travel, suggesting community spread could already be happening. In a worst-case scenario in which the variant is spreading uncontrolled, models show Ontario could see up to 20,000 new cases each day by mid-February.

Yaffe said that survey results and current trends indicate the “lockdown” measures implemented late last year were “not enough.”

Asked if Ontario’s immunization campaign could meaningfully slow transmission of the novel coronavirus, Yaffe said that it will take “many months” to reach herd immunity, which requires about 60 to 70 per cent of the population to be vaccinated.

WATCH | Premier Ford on why he isn’t in favour of a curfew:

Ford told reporters Tuesday he does not believe in implementing a curfew to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario. “As soon as you tell the people of Ontario you’ve lost trust… that’s it, it’s game over, you might as well throw in the white flag,” Ford said. 0:46

Both Brown and Yaffe said today that any plan to effectually slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province will require social supports for essential workers who need to take time off work, so that “nobody has to choose between getting a test and putting food on the table.”

Ford has thus far rejected calls for up to 10 paid sick days for workers in Ontario. When asked about the issue Tuesday, he deferred to federal assistance programs.

2,903 new cases reported today

All this comes as the province reported another 2,903 cases of COVID-19 and 41 more deaths of people with the illness today.

The new cases include 837 in Toronto, 545 in Peel Region, 249 in York Region, 246 in Niagara Region, 166 in Waterloo Region and 158 in Windsor-Essex.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in cases were:

  • Hamilton: 86
  • Durham Region: 75
  • Middlesex-London: 74
  • Ottawa: 68
  • Lambton: 63
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 58
  • Southwestern: 51
  • Halton Region: 47
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 41
  • Chatham Kent: 26
  • Huron-Perth: 23
  • Eastern Ontario: 18
  • Haldimand-Norfolk: 11
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 10
  • Thunder Bay: 10

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell slightly to 3,523.

There are now 30,141 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide. 

Ontario’s network of labs processed 44,802 test samples for the virus and reported a test positivity rate of 7.8 per cent. 

The province says another 11,448 doses of vaccines were administered yesterday. A total of 133,553 shots have now been given out in Ontario. 

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital increased by 138, up to 1,701 — a new pandemic high. Of those, 385 are being treated in intensive care and 262 require the use of a ventilator to breathe.

Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll is now 5,053.

Here’s the latest provincial modelling on the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario:

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CBC | Health News

Former CNN talk show host Larry King hospitalized with COVID-19, network says

Former CNN talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday.

Citing an unidentified person close to the family, CNN said the 87-year-old King is undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Hospital protocols have kept King’s family members from visiting him.

The Peabody Award-winning broadcaster was among the United States’ most prominent interviewers of celebrities, presidents and other newsmakers during a half-century career that included 25 years with a nightly show on CNN.

He has had medical issues in recent decades, including heart attacks and diagnoses of diabetes and lung cancer.

Last year, King lost two of his five children within weeks of each other. Son Andy King died of a heart attack at 65 in August, and daughter Chaia King died from lung cancer at 51 in July, Larry King said then in a statement.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmarks Show Even the Fastest GPU in the World Can’t Play at 4K

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Polish developer CD Projekt Red has been working on Cyberpunk 2077 in some capacity since 2012, and that’s a long time for hype to build. Anticipation has ratcheted up each time the game was delayed in 2020, but it finally launched this week. It was probably impossible for Cyberpunk to live up to the hype, but the performance issues aren’t helping. Current-gen consoles struggle, and the latest benchmarks show just how much power a PC needs to run the game well.

Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in Night City, a futuristic megacity where corporations rule. You play a V, a mercenary who gets caught up in the machinations of Night City after stealing an experimental biochip with the mind of a long-dead terrorist (played by Keanu Reeves) stored on it. The visual style of the game is bold, flashy, and apparently very difficult to render unless even with the latest GPUs. 

We’re just starting to get detailed PC benchmarks with the launch version of the game. According to Techspot, even the $ 1,500 RTX 3090 barely clears 40 frames per second with all the settings cranked and the resolution set to 4K. At 1440p, you can get up above 60 fps with that premium GPU. If you’ve got something a bit more middling like an RTX 2070 or AMD RX 5700 XT, good luck even breaking 40fps on ultra settings. 

I’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 on a PC at 3440×1440 with an RTX 2080 Super, which was a $ 700 GPU in early 2020. The game is very playable on high settings, but ultra sometimes dips below 40fps, which I would not consider an enjoyable experience. Adding ray tracing to the mix makes matters worse — some areas of the game slow to a crawl with 20-30fps with medium RT enabled. Nvidia’s AI-powered DLSS can boost performance somewhat, but any GPU more than a year old is hopelessly outclassed by this game. 

CDPR fans are currently venting their frustration online, but the developer promises updates are on the way. Although, this is a very, very ambitious game. There might not be any magic bullet fixes that will boost performance — time might be the only solution. Cyberpunk 2077 is straddling consoles and GPU generations. The RTX 3000 series and next-gen consoles run the game much better, but you can’t buy any of those unless you’re willing to pay the insane markups from resellers. That’s if you can even find one. Even RTX 2000-series cards are priced over $ 1,000 because of the ongoing shortage. It’s just not a great time to launch this game, but it wouldn’t have been any better back in April.

Now read:

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