An inaccurate Canadian study suggesting an extremely high rate of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccines has been retracted due to a major mathematical error — but not before it spread like wildfire on anti-vaccination websites and social media. The preprint study, which was released by researchers at the Ottawa Heart Institute last week but has not been peer-reviewed, looked at the rate of myocarditis and pericarditis cases after Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations in Ottawa from June 1 to July 31. The study identified 32 patients with the rare side effects out of a total of 32,379 doses of mRNA vaccines given in Ottawa in the two-month period, finding an inordinately high rate of close to 1 in 1,000 — significantly higher than other international data has shown. But the researchers made a critical error that experts say caused the study to be “weaponized” by the anti-vaccination movement at a time when concern over COVID-19 vaccine side effects are top of mind for parents whose kids may soon get the shot.
Recent rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death among unvaccinated Albertans have been at least eight times higher — and as much as 60 times higher — compared to the fully vaccinated population, depending on which age range you look at. That’s according to a new CBC News analysis of data published by the provincial government. Data experts with Alberta Health reviewed the analysis and confirmed the methodology as an effective way to compare severe outcomes relative to both vaccination status and age — while also accounting for the population sizes of each group. These types of comparisons can be tricky, because the risk of severe outcomes increases with age, but so too does the rate of vaccination. As such, population-wide comparisons don’t tell the full story.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on their way back to Canada after spending over 1,000 days in detention in China. Trudeau said the two Canadians boarded a plane Saturday morning Chinese time with Canada’s ambassador to China Dominic Barton. “These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal,” Trudeau said. “It is good news for all of us that they are on their way home to their families.” Trudeau made the announcement hours after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was released from house arrest in Vancouver and allowed to return home to China after securing a deal to drop U.S. charges against her. As part of the new deferred prosecution agreement, Meng plead not guilty to charges that she committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran. Kovrig, a former diplomat, and businessman Spavor were detained in China days after Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December 2018 on behalf of the United States.
Calgary MP-elect George Chahal’s seat chances in the Liberal cabinet could be in jeopardy, after it was revealed Friday that police are looking into a video which appears to show him swapping another election candidate’s campaign flyer for his own. The video, taken by a doorbell camera, was shared on social media earlier this week. In it, Chahal is seen climbing the steps of the home in the dark, taking an election brochure from the door, folding it and then putting different papers on the front step. He’s wearing a jersey with “CHAHAL” and the number 21 on the back, and “VoteGeorge” on the front. Police said on Friday that they’d received a report about the incident the day before and were investigating what happened, though it wasn’t known whether the investigation would stay with police, or be transferred to Elections Canada. Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said this begs the question of whether this was the only incident of Chahal swapping pamphlets, or if it was just the only one caught on camera.
All of Alberta’s recent COVID-19 ICU admissions and the majority of the deaths reported in the province this week had no vaccine protection at all, according to chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “One hundred per cent of new ICU admissions were in Albertans who did not have any vaccine protection,” she said in Thursday’s COVID-19 update. According to Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, that’s 45 people in the last two days. In the last five days, an average of more than 23 people have been admitted to Alberta’s ICUs each day. Yiu said the ICU admission numbers are highs the province hasn’t seen in the three previous waves of COVID-19, nor in Alberta’s history. She said every day, the province reaches a new high. Nearly all current COVID ICU patients ‘have not had both shots’. Alberta reported 1,660 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 20,180. Labs completed nearly 18,000 tests, putting the province’s positivity rate at 9.4 per cent. Officials said 1,058 people were in hospital as of Thursday, with 226 being treated for COVID-19 in ICUs. An additional 17 deaths linked to the virus were also reported.
Video making its way across social media Tuesday shows Calgary-Skyview Candidate George Chahal — the only Liberal to win a seat in the CPC-blue city Monday night — supposedly removing a rival candidate’s flyer from the door of a home Sunday night and walking away with it, before leaving one of his own. Glenn Pennett, who owns the northeast Calgary home, said his video doorbell recorded the entire interaction, adding the flyer taken by Chahal belonged to the Conservative incumbent Jag Sahota, who lost her seat to Chahal on election night. “Taking stuff off my property, and leaving something else — I would do anything to have him charged,” he told the Sun Tuesday evening. Chahal’s campaign manager Randall Zalazar admitted to the Sun that Chahal took the flyer, but said he did so because it contained incorrect information.