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Young Canadians spreading COVID-19 in all kinds of ways



Cottages, dinners, family gatherings are all sources of reported Ontario cases

The virus behind COVID-19 has a knack for slithering through society undetected. 

Not everyone gets a fever, and not everyone gets a cough. Instead, the range of symptoms can pop up in various parts of someone’s body, like a nagging headache or upset stomach, mimicking a whole host of other ailments. Many people don’t feel sick enough to worry, if they ever get symptoms at all.

So when someone young and healthy does test positive for SARS-CoV-2 — as hundreds of Canadians now do every day — the question often is: Where’d they catch it? 

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford often points the finger at crowded parties. “We can’t have these big parties,” he said earlier this month. “We can’t have the big weddings.”

There are multiple recent reports of cases tied to bustling indoor spaces — from strip clubs to wedding events — that build on months of research showing the combination of crowds, close contact and closed settings for virus transmission is like kindling for a fire.

But younger Canadians may also be fuelling the spread of COVID-19 in far more mundane ways, with potentially dire consequences. 

Emerging details from public health officials suggest a variety of social gatherings are helping SARS-CoV-2 find new hosts — and in Ontario, a majority of those virus carriers are under 40.

They’re getting infected at cottages, family gatherings, dinner parties — all kinds of indoor settings, and not always the ones with large, headline-making crowds.

“The vast majority of transmission is with close contact with someone who’s infected, typically for a prolonged period of time in an indoor environment,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Toronto-based infectious disease specialist.

Risks in indoor settings

The notion that indoor settings are riskier is nothing new. For months, case studies from around the world have highlighted danger zones: cruise ships, a call centrea choir practice.

But the specifics of where real people are getting real infections in Ontario has been hazier, beyond now-obvious hot spots like long-term care homes and other institutional settings.

In recent weeks, a clearer picture began emerging. 

On one end of the spectrum, there are the big, risky gatherings called out by Ford: A series of wedding events in Markham led to more than 20 cases, for example, while infected staff at two Toronto strip clubs sparked multiple confirmed cases and hundreds of possible exposures.

In London, Ont., at least nine university students have tested positive for the virus so far, and public health officials suggested they socialized in the city’s jam-packed downtown bar scene.

Living life during a pandemic can be confusing. But experts say you can navigate how to approach different settings and activities once you know the risks. 1:11

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum: smaller groups of friends and family meeting up indoors.

In Windsor, public health officials recently carried out contact tracing and tracked more than 30 recent cases back to one family’s social life — including parties and dinners with friends at home and a card game in a storage unit, the region’s local newspaper reported.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, on Monday outlined several similar settings that led to recent infections, including one family gathering and another family’s trip where time was spent with someone who wound up having COVID-19.

“Personal gatherings are the main driver of cases,” Dr. Mustafa Hirji, acting medical officer of health for Niagara Region, noted in a tweet the same day.

With COVID-19 on the rise among those under 40 in Ontario, science communicator Samantha Yammine warns that playing the blame game won’t help bring down the numbers among the young. 8:53

One striking case study from Ottawa involved a 10-person cottage trip. It’s a gathering size allowed by the province, as long as there’s physical distancing in place, but according to the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, the trip wound up being a cautionary tale.

“There was one person who developed cold-like symptoms while at the cottage party and then tested positive on their return home. Subsequently, seven of those friends tested positive for COVID-19,” Etches recently told Ottawa’s city council. 

“Within nine days, one person with symptoms became 40 confirmed people who tested positive.”

After leaving the cottage, some members of the group had visited work and retail locations, including two child-care centres that wound up shuttered to prevent further spread — and several people ended up hospitalized.

‘It leaves lasting damage’

That’s the ripple effect of young adults getting infected: They can pass it on to more vulnerable people, including the elderly and those in long-term care, who are more likely to wind up seriously ill or worse.

Those younger Canadians themselves could also fare poorly, even if death is a rare outcome.

According to a random sample of hospital outpatients from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 per cent of previously healthy adults between 18 and 34 weren’t back to their usual health 14 to 21 days after testing positive, while thousands of others around the world say their symptoms are lasting far longer.

Nada Forbes, a 37-year-old mother of two living in Oakville, Ont., has been suffering with lingering symptoms for six months after testing positive for the virus following a trip to Egypt in March.

The illness started with chest pain, but Forbes never had a fever or cough, which are the usual symptoms. Instead, she wound up having various gastrointestinal issues and shortness of breath.

“You can get a moderate case, or a mild case, that goes on and on and on, and leaves lasting damage and leaves you with these lingering problems — when you started as a healthy person without any pre-existing conditions,” she warned.

Don’t ‘shame and blame’

Months into the pandemic, health experts now say it’s crucial the younger demographic is better informed about how to avoid spreading the virus, without any finger-pointing.

“Harm reduction is not about shame and blame,” said Samantha Yammine, a Toronto-based neuroscientist and science communicator.

Yammine said for many young adults, avoiding risk can be difficult. She recently surveyed her roughly 70,000 Instagram followers about their COVID-19 experiences, and hundreds of respondents cited various challenges — from living with roommates or in a multi-generational home, to working in sectors where safety measures aren’t always followed. 

“Why did we ever open up indoor dining and have a setting where people would be talking loudly, with people in large groups, without wearing masks?” Yammine said.

The province is holding off on the next phase of reopenings, but there’s no word yet if officials will start scaling back limits on the size of gatherings or implementing any lockdowns to curb rising case counts.

In the meantime, Bogoch said that for young adults trying to safely navigate daily choices, it’s all about layering in protection to lower the risk as much as possible, such as increasing ventilation and wearing masks as much as possible.

“You want to get together for this wedding, for your friend’s birthday, for some other ceremony, but let’s make smart choices,” he said. “So can you do it outside? Can you spread apart? Can you have fewer numbers?”

Yammine said the aim can’t be zero risk, since that’s an impossible goal.

“If we focus on what we can do versus what we can’t do, we can empower people to make decisions that are more safe but allow them to live their lives,” she said. “Because this isn’t going away any time soon.”


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Facebook tightens political ad bans as U.S. election nears




Company also bans ads that ‘praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon’

Facebook Inc. on Wednesday banned ads on its flagship website and Instagram photo and video sharing service that claim widespread voting fraud, suggest U.S. election results would be invalid, or which attack any method of voting.

The company announced the new rules in a blog post, adding to earlier restrictions on premature claims of election victory. 

The move came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump used the first televised debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden to amplify his baseless claims that the Nov. 3 presidential election will be “rigged.”

Trump has been especially critical of mail-in ballots, and has cited a number of small, unrelated incidents to argue that fraud was already happening at scale.

Facebook has been under fire for refusing to fact-check political ads more broadly and for rampant organic misinformation.

Citing hate speech rules, it also moved Wednesday to remove Trump campaign ads suggesting that immigrants could be a significant source of coronavirus infections.

Facebook has outlined the steps it’s taking to protect the integrity of the U.S. election. It will remove ads promoting voter fraud, and will not allow new political ads in the week leading up to the election, but there are concerns the plans don’t go far enough. 1:53

Facebook said the new election ad prohibition would include those that “portray voting or census participation as useless/meaningless” or that “delegitimize any lawful method or process of voting or voting tabulation … as illegal, inherently fraudulent or corrupt.”

Facebook also cited ads that call an election fraudulent or corrupt because the result was unclear on election night or because ballots received afterward were still being counted.

QAnon banned from platform

The company added that as of Sept. 29, it has banned ads that “praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon” from its platform.

QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of beliefs, based on anonymous web postings from “Q,” who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration.

Starting Wednesday, Facebook will direct people to credible child safety resources when they search for certain child safety hashtags, as QAnon supporters are increasingly using the issue and hashtags such as #savethechildren to recruit, the social media company said in a blog post


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Liberal government to spend $10B on infrastructure to fuel pandemic economic recovery




Initiatives such as broadband, clean energy and agriculture aim are part of economic recovery plan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna make announcement in Ottawa. 0:00

The Liberal government is spending $10 billion in infrastructure initiatives such as broadband, clean energy and agricultural projects as part of its plan to boost growth and create one million jobs after the pandemic pummelled the economy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna will announce details of the plan for the Canada Infrastructure Bank plan during a news conference at 11 a.m. ET, and is carrying it live.

The plan has five major initiatives: 

The Liberal government’s throne speech promised to create more than one million jobs to rebuild from the pandemic.

The $10 billion announced today is part of the CIB’s $35 billion pot of federal investments.

In a statement, CIB chair Michael Sabia said the federal money aims to leverage additional money from private and institutional investors.

“In that way, the CIB can have bigger impacts that benefit Canadians and Canada’s economy,” he said.


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RCMP watchdog raises serious concerns about strip searches




Iqaluit detachment specifically called out for removing bras

The watchdog for the RCMP says the force has problems with the way it justifies strip searches and needs to better train members about the controversial practice.

In a report made public today, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) found the rationale and documentation for strip searches “is often lacking.”

It specifically calls out the detachment in Iqaluit, where members removed bras.

“The commission found that the RCMP’s national personal search policy (including cell block searches) is unclear and inadequate, and that divisional policies pertaining to strip searches are either inadequate or inappropriate, often due to their reliance on national policy,” notes the report, which is dated Sept. 30 and was released Thursday morning.

“The RCMP’s inability to evaluate and report on policy compliance has a chilling effect on public accountability, self-evaluation and independent review.”

Many Mounties unaware of personal search policies

The report from the independent oversight body also reveals that many Mounties are not aware of personal search policies and that no mandatory training exists beyond basic instruction to cadets at the RCMP depot.

It also recommended more specialized supervisory training on personal searches from senior personnel.

“The commission is particularly concerned with the inadequate supervision of members, lack of articulation on files, and overall lack of knowledge of what constitutes a strip search at the Iqaluit detachment. Interviews revealed that bras are routinely removed and searches are video-recorded,” notes the report.

In one 2015 case, officers forcibly removed a woman’s bra and left her topless in cells, said the CRCC. The woman broke her arm as she tried to resist the officers removing her undergarment and medical care was not provided within a reasonable period, according to the report.

Top court found strip searches ‘degrading’

Today’s findings follow up on a 2017 report that found “significant shortcomings” in the RCMP’s personal search policies, which included strip searches.

CRCC chairperson Michelaine Lahaie said the RCMP has made a number of positive changes over the past three years and now better distinguishes between personal searches and strip searches.

“In spite of the strides made by the RCMP, the CRCC found that further clarification on national policy is required,” she wrote.

In a letter to Lahaie, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed with most of the 2020 report’s findings.

Both CRCC reviews follow a 2001 Supreme Court case that ruled that strip searches are “inherently humiliating and degrading.”


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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study




Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

Blacks and Latinos in California are cited for minor non-traffic infractions at far higher rates than their white counterparts, a new study found.

The findings, released Wednesday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, found that black adults were up to 9.7 times more likely to be cited for minor offenses like loitering or jaywalking.

Latinos, meanwhile, were up to 5.8 times more likely to receive citations than white adults in the same jurisdiction.

The study analyzed data for non-traffic citations issued by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies between July 2018 and December 2019.

“We spend millions of dollars discriminatorily enforcing these non-traffic infraction laws against black and Latinx people,” Elisa Della-Piana, the group’s legal director, said in a statement.

“The fines and fees are largely uncollectable, but the debt burden, warrants and arrests cause significant harm.”

In Los Angeles, black residents were 3.8 times more likely to be cited for non-traffic infractions than whites between 2017 and 2019, receiving 30 percent of all such citations by the LAPD during that time span despite comprising 7 percent of the population, the study found.

The LAPD also issued 63 percent of all “loitering-standing” citations to black residents, the study found.

Data from police in Long Beach, meanwhile, showed that black adults were 3 times more likely to be issued infractions from 2017 through 2019 — comprising 36 percent of all of citations issued despite making up just 11 percent of the city’s population.

A similar pattern was also found in San Diego, where black adults were 4 times more likely to be written up for minor infractions than white residents, data showed.

“The results are harmful,” according to the study’s authors. “As other studies have documented, even brief encounters with the police can be traumatic, and officers are often more disrespectful to Black and Latinx people.”

No one who received a citation was fined less than $100, with most getting penalized between $250 and $500, the study found.

The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment on the study by the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for police unions in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, meanwhile, insisted cops are not biased while on the job.

“When it comes to enforcing the laws, we focus on behavior — not color, not race, not creed, not religion and not sexual orientation,” spokesman Tom Saggau told The Mercury News.

“Police don’t create the laws, and if these attorneys don’t want quality-of-life crimes enforced, they should talk to legislators.”


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Air Canada orders first batch of 25,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits




New tests can detect coronavirus within as little as 5 minutes

Air Canada has ordered its first batch of rapid tests to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 0:00

Air Canada has ordered 25,000 testing kits that can detect COVID-19 in someone in as little as five minutes, a key hurdle for an industry that’s desperately trying to make it safe and possible for travellers to fly again.

The first batch of tests will be for employee volunteers, now that the devices by Abbott Laboratories have been approved for use in Canada by federal health and safety authorities, the airline said Thursday.

Current tests have to be administered at testing centres, which have been plagued by long lineups, and results can take days.

The new test is faster and requires a nasal or throat specimen to be collected from a patient on a swab and inserted into an analyzer to detect the presence of the virus. Positive results come back in as little as five minutes. Negative results can take about 13 minutes to verify.

The airline is moving ahead with the plan after a testing phase when it partnered with McMaster University and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to test arriving international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

“Preliminary results from the study indicate testing can help protect customers and facilitate the safe relaxation of government travel restrictions,” Air Canada said.

More than 13,000 tests

Since the test began on Sept. 3, more than 13,000 travellers have been tested.

More than 99 per cent of the tests came back negative. Of the less than one per cent that came back positive, more than 80 per cent were identified on the initial test, while the rest were detected with a followup test seven days later.

“We believe testing will be key to protecting employees and customers until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine is available,” said Air Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jim Chung. 

“Rapid testing is also a means to enable governments to relax current blanket travel restrictions and quarantines in a measured way while still safeguarding the health and safety of the public.”

Airlines have been hit harder than many other industries, as fears of the virus have walloped demand for travel, and border restrictions have limited the number of flights that airlines are even allowed to offer.


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Students suspended over recording of Calgary school principal using N-word




Calgary Catholic School District says word used ‘strictly for educational purposes’

Multiple students from St. Michael School in Calgary have been suspended after a portion of a conversation between a group of Black students and their principal was shared online. 

The audio recording in question catches the principal uttering a racial slur.

“So how come it’s OK for you to say [the N-word]?” principal Lianne Anderson asked a group of Black students, questioning their use of the word.

Principal Lianne Anderson was recorded using the N-word with a group of Black students. CBC News has bleeped the audio. 0:06

One of the students shared the recording with a family member, who posted it online, calling the principal’s choice to use the N-word “unacceptable.”

The Calgary Catholic School District is defending Anderson’s actions and said the principal chose to use the word “strictly for educational purposes.”

“The word was more so used in a situation to explain, like, ‘If it’s not OK for me to use the word, why is it OK for you to use the word?'” said district spokeswoman Sandra Borowski. “I think the whole point was to kind of clarify that, bottom line, the use of the word is just generally unacceptable for anyone.”

Adora Nwofor, an anti-Black racism activist and coach in Calgary, said this type of response illustrates the need for more anti-racism training in schools. 

“To use the N-word without saying ‘N-word,’ if you are not part of the oppressed population, is oppression,” Nwofor said. “To police Black people on the use of a term that we are taking back for ourselves is not really the correct response.”

Multiple students have since been suspended for violating the school’s code of conduct. 

“I definitely understand that there is, you know, the possibility that it’s coming across that the students are being disciplined for the use of that word,” said Borowski. “But at the end of the day, they’re only being disciplined for having recorded a conversation, taking clips out of context and posting that conversation online. So it’s unfortunate that the topic of a negative racist term is the focus of the conversation.”

The student code of conduct states that “making, possessing, selling, accessing or sharing any audio, visual or audiovisual recording of any individual without the individual’s consent unless the recording is of a public space or an event open to the public” is considered to be “unauthorized” by the school district. 

Nwofor, who also is a leader for the local Black Lives Matter chapter, said the conversation never should have happened, because Black people are allowed to use the word if they choose. 

“It is a word that we are reclaiming that was used to oppress people, and if you are not Black and you are using that word, you are using it as an oppressor and it means you have privilege,” she said. “If you have privilege and you use that word, you are being an oppressor and you’re being racist, quite frankly.” 

A case of ‘taking that power back’

Alberta activist and education consultant Sagal Yusuf said hearing this story makes her emotional, because she remembers situations just like it happening to her during her school days. 

“It’s supposed to be, you’ve taken the power that [the word] has to be violent and to be used against you and you use it in a completely different context, and you’re using it as a way of expressing affection for somebody else,” she said.

“When someone else uses it who is not Black, who is white, especially someone in a position of power like this, you are basically saying, ‘I’m taking that power back from you … and I’m going to use it in the same manner that it was used in the past, to put you in a traumatic and violent state.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said all its staff are required to provide welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity. 

“Each of our staff members are part of our faith development, in other words a Catholic community of caring, where we teach values based on faith, caring, respect, responsibility, trust and family. Staff also attend a mandatory annual boundaries presentation, which outlines appropriate staff behaviour,” the district said in an email to CBC News. 

The district said it has also recently formed a committee that examines and addresses racism and discrimination.

“[We are] currently looking into providing additional support that will create a better understanding and ability to recognize derogatory and or racist language.”

Board has ‘zero tolerance for any instances of racism’

Borowski said the school board takes these situations seriously. “We do say that we have zero tolerance for any instances of racism and discrimination at our schools.”

Nwofor said she understands why there might be rules about using the word at a school, and said if there is zero tolerance, then the principal should never have said the word. 

“I would tell the authority figure the correct way to handle it is to say, ‘We have a zero N-word policy here, and we are going to discuss with your guardians about how to move forward.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said the principal is not facing any disciplinary actions. Nwofor said that’s not fair.

“That principal should be reprimanded, there should be a very high cost to using that word,” she said. “What the white children who are privileged are seeing is that it’s OK to say it. They’re seeing that they’re not going to get in trouble — it’s the Black kids who are going to get in trouble.”

Yusuf said there are plenty of ways the principal could have had a discussion with the students about the word without actually using it. 

“Given the context that we’re living through, you have to be completely, deliberately trying to ignore everything in order for you to be able to use the word. If it was a sincere discussion, if she wanted more information about the use of the word, it’s very simple to use … ‘the N-word,'” she said.

“If it was supposed to be an educational thing, if it was supposed to be something where they can have a discussion, you don’t actually have to use the word.”


For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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Three men discovered dead in backyard




Three men discovered dead in backyard

Los Angeles authorities are investigating after three men in their 30s were found dead in a backyard.

LA County sheriff’s deputies received a call shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday from a woman at Norwalk home, where the trio was found unresponsive, NBC Los Angeles reported.

One man was discovered in the pool, while two others were out of the water in the backyard, CBS LA reported.

Firefighters also responded and attempted life-saving measures on the victims, but the men were all pronounced dead at the scene, Fox11 reported.

No information was released about the circumstances surrounding the deaths.


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Kylie Jenner: I Registered 50K People to Vote! I’m Saving America!




It wasn’t a huge shock to see that Kylie Jenner posted thirst traps to save democracy by encouraging people to vote.

Laugh if you want, but … it’s working.

Kylie's Face

It’s not like Kylie Jenner needs an excuse to flaunt her incredible body in a bikini … but she used her powerful curves for a good cause.

On Monday, September 28, she took to Instagram to grab eyes and attention with her gorgeous body.

Her caption encouraged all of her followers to register to vote, using the same influence that she used to become a makeup mogul to try to save America.

Kylie Jenner IG voting promo 2020

Apparently, Kylie’s curvaceous reminder to register to vote worked.

TMZ reports that Kylie’s post drew in massive traffic to

As a result, the site was inundated with a 1500% boost of traffic driven from Instagram.

Kylie 2020

Over 48,000 potential new registered voters arose from one Instagram post. The number is likely continuing to rise.

That is, folks, about fifteen times the normal amount of traffic that sees.

Phrased another way, received an 80% increase in total users of its voter registration and verification tool between one day and the next.

Kylie Jenner's Sailor Cleavage

Before anyone speculates that these numbers are inflated by other factors, such as this being the week of the first debate, these metrics are not a mystery.

Only about 2,900 users took the leap from Instagram to the registration verification tool on Sunday.

This was out of 174,000 to use that tool that day from any source. So yes, it seems clear that Kylie sent them.

Kylie Jenner Voter Registration

Believe it or not, only about 138 million out of 328 million Americans voted in 2016.

It is truly an indictment of our system that anyone, from politicians to celebrities to influencers, has to beg people to vote.

That said, in many cases, voters are not demotivated because of some intrinsic personality flaw, but because of campaigns designed to discourage them, including voter disenfranchisement.

Kylie Jenner Gropes Herself

This year has shown unprecedented enthusiasm for early voting, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and by the absolute horrors of the Trump Administration.

Four years ago, fewer than 10,000 Americans had voted early. This year, so far, more than 1 million have cast their ballots.

This year has the highest rate of early voting in US history.

Kylie Jenner 2020

One thing of interest is that Kylie has not technically endorsed any candidate. In 2016, she voiced her support for Hillary Clinton.

It’s no mystery who Kylie is voting for, as with the rest of her family, but she has yet to officially state that she’s supporting Biden.

The general consensus is that Kylie may be keeping quiet out of misplaced respect for brother-in-law Kanye West and his farcical Presidential run. 

Kylie Jenner's Cleavage in 2020

(LOL, can you imagine having to talk to Kanye with a straight face? Kim roped her entire family into an uncomfortable position by marrying him)

Some may say that the numbers using the site, impressive though they may be, aren’t enough to tilt an election in either direction.

While it’s true that the electoral college awards disproportionate voting power to sparsely populated rural states, a massive show of voter enthusiasm can overcome even the greatest electoral roadblocks.

Kylie Jenner: The Cleavage

Additionally, there is more than just the presidency at stake right now.

Yes, deposing one a brainrotten maniac who openly gives instructions to white supremacist groups is the highest priority.

But senate races, government races, and other key items on the ballot can come down to just a few thousand votes. Winning back the White House is only part of the solution to save our country from ruin.


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