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Coronavirus news and updates for Wednesday 18 May 2022

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories when available.

12:25 p.m Eric Clapton, a critic of coronavirus vaccines and pandemic restrictions, has tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled two upcoming European performances.

Clapton’s upcoming shows in Zurich on Tuesday and Milan on Wednesday will be postponed, he announced on his Facebook page and official online site. The 77-year-old rocker tested positive after his concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 8.

“Eric is also committed to avoiding any transmission of infection to his band, crew, promoters, their staff and of course the fans,” the statement said. He hopes to continue the tour starting with two concerts in Bologna on May 20th.

“It is very frustrating that, having avoided COVID throughout lockdown and throughout the period that travel restrictions have been in place, Eric should have succumbed to COVID at this time,” the statement said.

Clapton has expressed skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine in the past. In 2020, he and Van Morrison released an anti-lockdown song entitled “Stand and Deliver” with the lyrics: “Do you want to be a free man, or do you want to be a slave?” He also hit the ground running a year later song “This Has Gotta Stop” around.

Clapton got both of AstraZeneca’s shots against the virus but said he’s had “severe reactions” and fears he’ll never play again. According to the CDC, clinical trials have found the vaccine to be safe.

9:30 am Germany plans to spend another 830 million euros ($872 million) to buy new coronavirus vaccines that will allow the country to deal with a number of possible variants this fall, the health minister said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the government has already ordered enough of the existing vaccines and a vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech through the European Union to counteract the Omicron variant. He said the new funding is for a vaccine being developed by Moderna to target both Omicron and other variants.

“We rely on a broad portfolio of vaccines; we have to be prepared for all eventualities,” said Lauterbach. “We don’t know which variants we will encounter in the fall.”

“One lesson from the pandemic is that we never want to run out of vaccine again,” he added, alluding to the slow start of the EU and Germany’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign early last year. “We want to be able to offer a fourth shot to anyone who needs or wants it.”

However, the minister left open whether a fourth vaccination would be recommended for everyone. That depends on which variant comes later this year.

The existing recommendation of the independent German Vaccination Advisory Council from February calls for an additional booster vaccination for people aged 70 and over and other high-risk groups, including residents of nursing homes, people with immunodeficiency and medical staff.

7:45 o clock The ongoing baby food shortage that has plagued the U.S. for weeks, prompting parents to stock up, is beginning to spread to Canada.

Concerned about shortages north of the border, experts and consumers are asking why Canada isn’t making more of its own formula — and why the country’s largest formula maker isn’t selling to Canadians.

Product shortages in the US began in mid-2021 and were in large part due to shortages of some raw materials used to make the formula, as well as global supply issues caused by the pandemic.

The shortage was further exacerbated in February when certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products were recalled after reports of bacterial infections in four infants who ate the powdered formula. All four infants were hospitalized and two died.

Read the full story of Rosa Saba from the Star

7:20 a.m An Ontario doctor who allegedly wrote illegitimate COVID-19 vaccine exemptions for hundreds of dollars a pop also reportedly told patients that refusing vaccination orders was like resisting the Nazis and that half of the people who get vaccinated, will die.

That’s according to recent court filings in a case brought by Dr. Celeste Jean Thirlwell in Divisional Court against her own professional regulator, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Thirlwell, a psychiatrist who also practices sleep medicine, was investigated by the college last year over reports that she issued individuals and helped them get waivers from COVID vaccines. In November, the college directed Thirlwell not to grant exemptions for COVID vaccines, face masks or testing for the disease and to agree, among other things, to allow the college to see their OHIP statements.

Read the full story of Kenyon Wallace and May Warren from The Star

Wednesday 5:52 am: North Korea on Wednesday added hundreds of thousands of infections to its growing tally of pandemic cases, but also said just a week after announcing an outbreak, a public health crisis it appears to be managing, a million people have already been freed from suspicion COVID-19 have recovered from isolation as global experts express deep concern over dire fallout.

The country’s anti-virus headquarters announced 232,880 new cases of fever and another six deaths in state media on Wednesday. Those numbers bring the total to 62 deaths and more than 1.7 million cases of fever since late April. More than a million people were said to have recovered, but at least 691,170 remain in quarantine.

Outside experts believe most fevers are due to COVID-19, but North Korea lacks testing to confirm so many. The outbreak is almost certainly bigger than the fever count, as some virus carriers may not develop a fever or other symptoms.

Read Tuesday’s coronavirus news.

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