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COVID-19

As data pours in from around the word, it’s clear Omicron is ending the pandemic

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That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

In the United Kingdom where the Omicron wave is about 2 to 3 weeks ahead of North America, the Chair in Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool says the UK is entering “a new Covid-era”, which he says is “the beginning of the end”.  The Chair in Infection and Global Health goes on to say “life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic”.

This informative graph which he explains in depth in the video, John Campbell shows how as the cases of Omicron are at least 300% higher than at the peak of the pandemic, other metrics including hospitalizations, deaths, and patients ventilated are FAR lower than the peak.

As John Campbell shows us in this video presentation, there is a lot of reason to be optimistic about the very near future! As always Campbell includes links to the sources of his data as well as the names and positions of those he is quoting.  This is included below the video.

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-metr…

Marco Cavaleri, EMA head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/events/e… https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/events/e…

Boosters, can be done once, or maybe twice, but it’s not something that we can think should be repeated constantly.  We need to think about how we can transition from the current pandemic setting to a more endemic setting.  With omicron there will be a lot of natural immunity taking place on top of vaccination, We will be fastly moving to a scenario which is close to endemicity

Fourth dose for all Data has not yet been generated to support this approach. Repeated vaccinations in a short time frame will not represent a sustainable long term strategy

Endemic Covid, very soon https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-599… Omicron, endemic Consistent and predictable, not boom and bust Common colds, influenza, HIV, measles, malaria, tuberculosis

A new Covid-era Prof Julian Hiscox, Chair in Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool UK, New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group 

We’re almost there, it is now the beginning of the end, at least in the UK.  I think life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic. Should a new variant or old variant come along, for most of us, like any other common cold coronavirus, we’ll get the sniffles and a bit of a headache and then we’re OK

If you’re willing to tolerate zero deaths from Covid, then we’re facing a whole raft of restrictions and it’s not game over in a bad flu season, 200-300 die a day over winter and nobody wears a mask or socially distances, that’s perhaps a right line to draw in the sand

Dr Elisabetta Groppelli, virologist, St George’s, University of London

I am very optimistic We’ll soon be in a situation where the virus is circulating, we will take care of people at risk, but for anybody else we accept they will catch it – and your average person will be fine We need to accept the fact that our flu season is also going to be a coronavirus season, and that is going to be a challenge for us However, it is still uncertain how bad winters will be as the people who die from flu and Covid tend to be the same (You can’t die twice)

Prof Azra Ghani, epidemiologist, Imperial College London

Covid will still be around, but that we no longer need to restrict our lives. It seems like it’s taken a long time, but only a year ago we started vaccinating and we’re already an awful lot freer because of that. A new variant that can outcompete Omicron and be more pathogenic.

Prof Eleanor Riley, immunologist, University of Edinburgh

When Omicron has finished and moved through, immunity in the UK will be high, at least for a while.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Judge decides ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer Tamara Lich stays out on bail

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OTTAWA — Tamara Lich, a key organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” protest that gridlocked Ottawa for weeks, will remain released on bail while awaiting trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips said he made his decision because she has followed her bail conditions, her surety has supervised her well and she’s already had a “taste of jail,” which he said lowered her risk to reoffend.

The judge said he does not accept that Lich breached her release conditions by agreeing to receive an award, and added Lich can be trusted to respect the conditions of her release.

She was released in March with a long list of conditions, including a ban from all social media and an order not to “support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.”

The terms of Lich’s release were intended to prevent a similar protest from happening in the national capital, the judge said, adding the court does not seek to control people’s political views.

“The courts are not a thought police. We seek only to control conduct to the extent that certain behaviour will violate or likely lead to violation of the law,” he said.

The protest is over and has left Ottawa, he said, adding it would be “practically impossible” to mount a similar protest in the city again.

Lich’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said in an interview Wednesday that he was pleased with the decision.

“She’ll be able to conduct her life in a lot more normal fashion as a result of the judge’s ruling,” said Greenspon.

Moiz Karimjee, a Crown prosecutor, said last week that Lich violated one of her bail conditions by agreeing to accept an award for her leadership during the Ottawa protest, and should be sent back behind bars to wait for her trial.

Greenspon argued last week her bail conditions should be loosened to allow her to come to Ontario and use social media.

He told the court that the social media ban imposed on Lich was unnecessarily broad and has had a huge impact on her life while she’s been out of custody.

However, Phillips said Wednesday the ban on Lich’s access to social media is warranted.

“Social media can be a problematic feedback loop where people get egged on and caught up in group activity they would never perform on their own,” he said.

Social media “undoubtedly contributed to and even drove” Lich’s conduct related to the protest, and her separation from it is necessary to lower her risk of reoffending, said Phillips.

Noting that Lich is in her late 40s, Phillips said she should be able to remember “how to use the social skills she surely built up before the advent of the internet.”

Lich is able to communicate by many other means, including email, phone or meeting in person, he said.

Greenspon said while he would have liked to see the social media ban reversed, “the most important thing was the rejection of the Crown’s efforts to to put her back in jail for agreeing to accept an award.”

The judge did amend her release conditions to allow her to visit Ottawa.

Lich’s motivation for coming to the city cannot be disclosed because it is under a court-ordered publication ban.

Phillips reiterated the high unlikelihood that Lich could organize an event resembling the convoy protest.

While she’s permitted to come to Ottawa, Lich is not allowed to visit the downtown core so as not “to walk around the very neighbourhoods she is alleged to have traumatized,” he said, except to attend court or meet with legal counsel.

Lich and fellow protest organizer Chris Barber are jointly accused of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation.

The “Freedom Convoy” protest evolved into a weeks-long demonstration that congested the streets of Ottawa in February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19

Jail ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizer Tamara Lich again, Crown argues in Ottawa court

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By Laura Osman in Ottawa

The Crown is accusing “Freedom Convoy” organizer Tamara Lich of breaching her bail conditions and prosecutors argue she should go back to jail until her trial.

A judge initially denied Lich bail after her arrest during the massive protest that overtook downtown Ottawa for more than three weeks in February, but she was released in March after a review of the court decision.

She appeared virtually on Thursday in Ontario Superior Court, where lawyers wrangled over how the bail hearing should proceed.

Lich and fellow protest organizer Chris Barber are jointly accused of mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief and intimidation.

She was released with a long list of conditions, including a ban from all social media and an order not to “support anything related to the Freedom Convoy.”

The Crown says Lich has violated one of her bail conditions by agreeing to accept a “freedom award” from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a legal advocacy group that supported the protest.

The organization planned to honour her at a gala celebration for inspiring “Canadians to exercise their Charter rights and freedoms by participating actively in the democratic process,” and leading the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa.

That protest evolved into a weeks-long demonstration that gridlocked the streets of Ottawa and eventually led the federal government to invoke the Emergencies Act in an effort to dislodge the participants.

“Ms. Lich has suffered for the cause of freedom by spending 18 days unjustly jailed, and exemplifies courage, determination and perseverance,” the organization wrote in a statement on its website, which the Crown included in its notice of application.

The website said Lich would attend the award dinner in Toronto on June 16, if a review of her bail conditions would allow her to attend, as well as events in Vancouver and Calgary.

The Toronto event is expected to include a keynote address by columnist Rex Murphy.

During the protest, Keith Wilson, a Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms lawyer, spoke on behalf of the convoy protesters at a news conference and described Lich as a client.

“Tamara Lich ought to be detained,” the Crown’s notice of application concludes.

Meanwhile, Lich’s lawyers plan to argue that her bail conditions are too restrictive and should be reconsidered.

Her lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, told the court Thursday that the social media ban imposed on Lich was unnecessarily broad and has had a huge impact on her life while she’s been out of custody.

He said she wishes to be in contact with her 94-year-old grandmother by social media and communicate with her friends and family.

The hearing is expected to last two days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2022.

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