Archive for May 8th, 2020

Microsoft will fix Surface Laptop 3 ‘hairline fractures’ for free – Engadget

May 8th, 2020

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Canada Post plant in Calgary – Global News

May 8th, 2020

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Canada Post processing plant in north Calgary on Friday.

READ MORE: Dr. Hinshaw encouraged by declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alberta

The Crown corporation said that in the last month, it informed Alberta Health Services about six positive cases at the main sorting facility located at 1100 49 Ave. N.E.

“These occurred at separate times over a three-week period dating back to April 20,” Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said in a statement to Global News.

“Some of the employees have not been in the building since early April. In the most recent case, the employee hadn’t been in the building since May 5.”

Canada Post said it was told by AHS that the provincial health authority “does not believe these cases occurred in the workplace but rather that exposure occurred externally and all cases were unrelated,” adding that employees were asymptomatic at work.

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A file image of a Canada Post truck.
A file image of a Canada Post truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

An outbreak is declared when there are five or more cases at a facility, Alberta Health said.

“It requires evidence of epidemiologically linked transmission of five or more COVID-19 cases with a common exposure, such as attending the same facility, community gathering, dinner party or workplace,” said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications at Alberta Health.

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At her media briefing, Hinshaw explained how outbreaks are handled.

“What happens in any kind of worksite outbreak is that the cases are identified and they’re asked questions about when they started to have symptoms, and then the contact tracers determine what the time frame was where they could have passed that infection to others,” Hinshaw explained.

“Anyone who’s a close contact of that person would be required to be home in self-isolation for 14 days from that point of last contact.”

Canada Post safety measures

Canada Post said it has performed sanitation in the plant as recently as last weekend, “on top of the more frequent cleaning occurring in the facility as part of the enhanced cleaning processes we put in place in March.”

It said it has implemented safety measures, including adding sanitization stations and providing personal protective equipment.

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Canada Post said affected employees are placed on paid leave and any employee identified through contact tracing will remain at home on leave awaiting further instruction from public health authorities.

“We will continue to work closely with [AHS], support the difficult work they are doing and follow their guidance,” Hamilton said.

“Just last week, officials from [AHS] toured our Calgary facility to see the measures we are taking to keep employees safe and were pleased with our proactive approach to keep any risk to a minimum.”

READ MORE: Inmate at Calgary Remand Centre tests positive for COVID-19: Hinshaw

As of Friday, there were 1,883 active COVID-19 cases in the province, according to Alberta Health.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New York investigates coronavirus in children after 5-year-old NYC boy dies from complications, Gov. Cuomo says – CNBC

May 8th, 2020

New York is investigating how Covid-19 impacts children after a 5-year-old boy in New York City died this week from coronavirus-related complications, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

“This is every parent’s nightmare, right? That your child may actually be affected by this virus. But it’s something that we have to consider seriously now,” Cuomo said at a news briefing in Poughkeepsie, New York. “While rare, we’re seeing some cases where children affected with the Covid virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or the toxic shock-like syndrome.”

The child in NYC died Thursday and the state Department of Health is investigating several other cases, he said. Cuomo said there have been 73 cases in the state of children falling severely ill with the symptoms. State health data shows at least three children under 10 years old have died from the coronavirus in New York.

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins. Symptoms include a high temperature, a sunburn-like rash and flu-like symptoms such as a headache and sore throat.

Kawasaki disease causes swelling of the heart’s blood vessels and mainly affects children under the age of 5, according to the U.K.’s NHS. Symptoms include a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry or cracked lips and red fingers or toes. The Mayo Clinic says it is usually treatable.

“Caution to all people who again may have believed that their child couldn’t be affected by Covid,” Cuomo said. “This information suggests we may want to revisit that quote-unquote fact, that assumption, and if you see any of the symptoms that are on the chart that your child is evidencing, caution should be taken.”

Governor Cuomo

Children generally do not develop severe disease from the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the CDC noted in a report last month that “Severe outcomes have been reported in children, including three deaths.”

“Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults,” the CDC’s site says. “While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.”

The World Health Organization has previously warned that the coronavirus appears to cause some children to develop symptoms consistent with Kawasaki syndrome.

The WHO has asked its global network of clinicians to be “on alert” for such cases around the world. The coronavirus, which is primarily a respiratory disease, is affecting more than just the lungs, as first thought, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program. 

“Obviously it’s causing inflammation and attacks tissue other than lung tissue,” he said. “We are in a situation where clinicians are looking at what those other effects of having this coronavirus infection are.”

It’s “very important” that researchers look further into such reports to better understand the nature of the virus and the disease it causes, Ryan said. He added that the condition remains very rare.

The spread of the virus in New York is decelerating in New York, Cuomo said, adding that “the beast is on the run.”

The net change in Covid-19 hospitalizations and net change in intubations, or people placed on a ventilator, both fell onThursday, he said. He added that the number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations have remained basically flat for several days but remain far below the peak. He said 216 people died on Thursday in New York due to Covid-19, down from 231 on Wednesday.

“We’re finally ahead of this virus. For so long we were playing catch up,” he said. “I feel for the first time that we’re actually ahead of it. We have shown that we can control the beast.”

Cuomo said he’s hesitant to begin reopening the economy as some other governors already have. He said other countries have reopened after wrestling with an epidemic and then had to close down again due to a resurgence. Cuomo acknwoledged that “the economics are devastating.”

The U.S. Labor Department reported earlier Friday that 20.5 million workers lost their jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7%.

“There is no doubt that this is a horrific period to live though,” Cuomo said. “But we have to get through it … If we make a mistake and we react too quickly, the situation’s only going to get worse and only going to get longer.”


Kenney says Alberta doctors’ pay must be ‘managed’ post-pandemic – The Globe and Mail

May 8th, 2020

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Rideau Club in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

As Alberta has recently been adding or restoring millions of dollars in pay to its physicians, Premier Jason Kenney says things will have to change once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“We’re now facing a $20-billion deficit. So while we continue to maintain and in some cases increase physician compensation, we must manage it in the future,” Kenney told the house Friday during question period.

Kenney noted that provincial physicians are the highest paid in Canada and in recent years saw their pay rise “while Albertans’ incomes were cratering.”

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The United Conservative premier also rejected a renewed Opposition NDP call to fire Health Minister Tyler Shandro on the grounds Shandro has lost the trust of doctors by cancelling the master agreement with their bargaining representative, the Alberta Medical Association, earlier this year.

“This minister has taken on the difficult task of ensuring that we get more bang for the taxpayers’ buck in the health system, and that’s one of the many reasons I support him,” said Kenney.

Kenney’s comments are the latest salvo in a battle now playing out in the legislature, courts, media and hospitals across the province.

The fight began in earnest in February, when Shandro used a new law to cancel the master agreement with the AMA.

Shandro then unilaterally implemented new fee and benefit rules that kept overall compensation at its current level of $5.4 billion, but involved changes some rural and family doctors warned could force them to close their practices or reduce service.

In the weeks that followed, as the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, doctors pushed back, with some cancelling hospital duties. Shandro relented, cancelling fee changes for extra-long visits (which the AMA estimates was worth $200 million) and two weeks ago, rolled back on billing changes in order to keep rural doctors working in emergency and baby delivery rooms (worth $81 million).

The changes have been met with mixed results, with some rural doctors saying they will keep working in hospitals. Others say no, that without a negotiated deal any government announcement today can be erased tomorrow with the stroke of a pen.

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Kenney’s government remains committed to reining in doctor compensation costs, estimated to rise by $2 billion over the next three years if left at the current growth rate.

Health spokesman Steve Buick, in a statement, said, “We’re committed to maintaining spending on physicians at $5.4 billion, the highest level ever and the highest per capita in Canada.

“Looking beyond the (COVID-19) emergency, we need to hold spending at or near current levels and move toward the per-capita level in the other provinces over several years.

“We’re not planning to reverse any decisions on compensation.”

The AMA has disputed the government’s salary figures, saying Alberta doctors remuneration is not out of line with other jurisdictions.

Dr. Christine Molnar, head of the AMA, said rising physician costs are to keep pace with external factors, rising tech costs, an aging population and inflation — not because doctors are seeking a larger profit margin.

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“We have not asked for an increase in rates,” said Molnar in an interview.

“We’ve actually offered to decrease the rates paid for each service to support the needs of Albertans.”

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said that after the COVID-19 crisis, “we’re going to have a whole ‘nother crisis around physician compensation and physician, attraction, recruitment and availability as a result of the debacle.”

The AMA is suing the province for cancelling the master agreement, calling it a violation of charter-protected rights to collectively bargain.

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Report says cellphone data suggests October shutdown at Wuhan lab, but experts are skeptical –

May 8th, 2020

WASHINGTON — A private analysis of cellphone location data purports to show that a high-security Wuhan laboratory studying coronaviruses shut down in October, three sources briefed on the matter told NBC News. U.S. spy agencies are reviewing the document, but intelligence analysts examined and couldn’t confirm a similar theory previously, two senior officials say.

The report — obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit — says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Oct. 7 through Oct. 24, 2019, and that there may have been a “hazardous event” sometime between Oct. 6 and Oct. 11.

It offers no direct evidence of a shutdown, or any proof for the theory that the virus emerged accidentally from the lab.

Click here to read the report (information identifying individuals has been redacted).

If there was such a shutdown, which has not been confirmed, it could be seen as evidence of a possibility being examined by U.S. intelligence agencies and alluded to by Trump administration officials, including the president — that the novel coronavirus emerged accidentally from the lab.

But that is one of several scenarios under consideration by U.S. intelligence agencies. Many scientists are skeptical, arguing that the more likely explanation is that the virus was transmitted to humans through animals in a Wuhan live produce market. The World Health Organization said Friday it believed the “wet” market played a role in the spread of the disease.

The first known case of coronavirus in China has been traced back to Nov. 17, but some researchers are beginning to question that timeline, given that a case has been documented in France in December.

The document says its analysis suggests the pandemic began “earlier than initially reported” and “supports the release of COVID-19 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

The document doesn’t cite direct evidence to support that assertion. The analysis seems to account for only a tiny fraction of the cellphones that would be expected in a facility that employs hundreds of people. Dr. Just Vlak, a Dutch virologist who visited a nearby satellite facility of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in late November and met with WIV’s head of bio-security, told NBC News that the facility he visited had between 200 and 300 staff.

The document obtained by NBC News also says that an annual international conference planned for early November in the same lower-security portion of the WIV that Vlak visited appears to have been “cancelled and never took place.” The conference actually went forward as planned. A second version of the document viewed by NBC News is annotated to say that the conference did proceed. No other differences between the two versions of the document were observed.

For that and other reasons, some officials are skeptical of the analysis, which is based on commercially available cellphone location data. One U.S. official who has seen the document said the data “looks really weak to me and some of the conclusions don’t make sense.”

Earlier, U.S. intelligence agencies received reports based on publicly available cellphone and satellite data suggesting there was a shutdown at the lab, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter say. But after examining overhead imagery and their own data, the spy agencies were unable to confirm any shutdown, and deemed the reports “inconclusive.”

May 4, 202001:45

Another U.S. official said intelligence agencies may give the data another look in the wake of this new report. And still another intelligence official said there may be more private cellphone location data that could shed further light on the matter.

Because the Wuhan lab is a high-security facility in an adversary nation studying dangerous pathogens, it is a collection target for several U.S. intelligence agencies, multiple officials told NBC News. Data gathered would include mobile phone signals, communications intercepts and overhead satellite imagery, the officials said.

Analysts are now examining what was collected in October and November for clues suggesting any anomalies at the lab, officials said.

Congressional intelligence committees have also been given the document, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., appeared to be alluding to it or a similar report in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Would be interesting if someone analyzed commercial telemetry data at & near Wuhan lab from Oct-Dec 2019,” Rubio tweeted. “If it shows dramatic drop off in activity compared to previous 18 months it would be a strong indication of an incident at lab & of when it happened.”

A Rubio spokesman declined to comment.

May 5, 202002:36

Among the many questions about the document is who wrote it. The cover page says “MACE E-PAI COVID-19 ANALYSIS.” It’s unclear what that means, although E-PAI may stand for “electronic publicly available information.”

President Donald Trump has said he has seen evidence that gives him “a high degree of confidence” that the virus emerged accidentally from a lab, but U.S. intelligence officials say they have not reached that conclusion and lack hard evidence to support it.

China has consistently denied that the virus escaped from a lab, and Chinese media recently called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “evil” for suggesting the possibility.

Those who suspect such a lab release point to a body of circumstantial evidence:

  • A Jan. 24 study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that three of the first four cases — including the first known case — didn’t provide a documented link to the Wuhan wet market.
  • The bats that carry the family of coronaviruses linked to the new strain aren’t found within 100 miles of Wuhan — but they were studied in both labs.
  • Photos and videos have emerged of researchers at both labs collecting samples from bats without wearing protective gear, which experts say poses a risk of human infection.
  • A U.S. State Department expert who visited the WIV in 2018 wrote in a cable reported by The Washington Post: “During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, [U.S. diplomats] noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
  • According to Senate Intelligence Committee member Tom Cotton, R-Ark., the Chinese military posted its top epidemiologist to the WIV in January.
  • The Shanghai laboratory where researchers published the world’s first genome sequence of the coronavirus was shut down Jan. 12, according to The South China Morning Post.
  • According to U.S. intelligence assessments, including one published by the Department of Homeland Security and reviewed by NBC News, the Chinese government initially covered up the severity of the outbreak. Government officials threatened doctors who warned their colleagues about the virus, weren’t candid about human-to-human transmission and still haven’t provided virus samples to researchers.

Despite all that, most scientists and researchers believe natural animal-to-human transmission is the most likely scenario.

Ruaridh Arrow, Louise Jones and Lorand Bodo reported from London.

Louise Jones and Lorand Bodo contributed.


Canceled Prince Of Persia Redemption Footage And A Fake Nintendo Direct | Good News Gaming – GameSpot

May 8th, 2020

Two children in New York have died from severe illness linked to coronavirus – CBS News

May 8th, 2020

A 5-year-old boy in New York has become the second person in the state to die from a mysterious illness believed to be connected to the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. Cuomo said 73 children in New York have been severely ill and urged vigilance. 

“While rare, we’re seeing some cases where children affected with the COVID virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome that literally causes inflammation in their blood vessels,” Cuomo said Friday. “This is every parent’s nightmare, right? That your child may actually be affected by this virus. But it’s something that we have to consider seriously now.”

CBS New York reports that a young boy died late last week in Westchester County after suffering from neurological complications from what’s now called pediatric multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome. The boy tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating he contracted the virus at some point.

The syndrome is thought to be related to Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious illness previously noted in children with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. New York’s health department is now investigating the cases.

CBS News has learned that the CDC is investigating the disease. 

Cuomo urged people who believed children could not be affected by the coronavirus to take the news to heart. “We may want to revisit that quote-unquote fact, that assumption,” he said.

At least five of the country’s roughly 100 confirmed cases are in Chicago, including 10-year-old Joshua Smith, who was in the ICU for a week. Smith’s mom, Lagwena, who recently recovered from coronavirus, has been sleeping at the hospital with him. It’s not clear when Smith will be released, but he’s improving. 

“It’s hard,” Smith’s mother told CBS News. “But I couldn’t imagine my life without my child, so I’m grateful.” 

Earlier this week, after 15 children were hospitalized with a rare condition, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner of the New York City Health Department’s Division of Disease Control, said in a letter that while symptoms varied among the children depending on which organ system is affected, all showed “features of Kawasaki disease or features of shock.” 

According to Daskalakis, all the children experienced a persistent fever, more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, and less than half experienced respiratory symptoms. 

Adriana Diaz contributed reporting. 


Highlight Reel #544 – Animal Crossing Is For Art Lovers – Kotaku

May 8th, 2020

Xbox Series X Addresses The Promised Next-Gen Gameplay – IGN Daily Fix – IGN

May 8th, 2020

Two children die in NY after experiencing ‘very rare’ syndrome that may be linked to coronavirus – CNN

May 8th, 2020

Two children in New York have died after experiencing a “very rare” syndrome that may be linked to coronavirus. There are now 73 pediatric patients across New York state who display symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome. CNN’s Athena Jones has more. #CNN #News