Hurricane Teddy advances and majority support mask-wearing: In The News for Sept. 22

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Sept. 22 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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Ontario is expected to announce its COVID-19 fall preparedness plan today.

Premier Doug Ford has promised the plan will help the province grapple with a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

The strategy comes as daily virus case counts continue to climb to levels not seen for months in Ontario.

Ford has been under pressure to release the updated plan as opposition politicians say it should have come weeks earlier.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says parts of the plan are currently being implemented, including increased testing capacity.

The new plan comes as Ontario continues to struggle with long line ups at some of its 147 COVID-19 assessment centres.

Ford announced an Ontario-wide crackdown limiting the number of people permitted at social gatherings over the weekend.

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Also this ...

A new survey suggests the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases across Canada comes with a similar increase in support for the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 83 per cent of respondents feel governments should order people to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

That represented a 16 per cent increase from July, before the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has sparked concerns many parts of the country are entering the dreaded second wave of the pandemic.

Even more — 87 per cent — felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19 while 21 per cent felt it was an infringement on personal freedoms, a decline of six per cent from July.

As for the anti-mask protests that have happened in various parts of the country in recent weeks, 88 per cent of respondents said they opposed the demonstrations while 12 per cent supported them.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 18 to 20 and surveyed 1,538 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

"In a way, again, the anti-maskers are a minority and not a growing minority in Canada," said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

"The fear of catching it is on the rise. People believing there will be a second wave is on the rise. And now people saying we should make the masks mandatory is on the rise."

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And ...

Weather warnings have been issued for virtually all of Atlantic Canada as hurricane Teddy advances toward the East Coast.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Atlantic coastlines of mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, where the storm will bring strong winds, heavy rain and pounding surf on Tuesday night — and could make landfall early Wednesday.

The storm's expected track now encompasses almost all of mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, eastern P.E.I. and the western half of Newfoundland.

Although Teddy will likely transition to a large and intense post-tropical storm as it closes in on the region, it is expected to churn out gusts between 80 and 100 kilometres per hour.

"These winds could cause power outages, breaking branches and possible tree falls, especially due to trees still having their full foliage," Environment Canada said in a statement. "Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur."

Wind warnings are in effect for the Atlantic coast of mainland Nova Scotia for Tuesday, when the winds are expected to reach 90 km/h during the day.

The highest rainfall amounts are likely to be north and west of Teddy's eventual track, with some areas getting as much as 75 to 100 millimetres.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

A woman suspected of sending envelopes containing the poison ricin, which were addressed to the White House and other places in Texas and may have come from Canada, is expected to appear in federal court in Buffalo, New York, today.

Officials in the U.S. say the letter going to Washington, D.C., had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House.

The Mounties raided the woman's home in Montreal on Monday and said they didn't know if she lived there, but added that there was a clear link between her and that residence.

The RCMP's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team is leading the operation with support from local police and firefighters.

The home is located in a multi-unit building on Vauquelin Blvd. in St-Hubert, Que., bordering a forest and not far from an airport.

Canadian law enforcement was called in to help the FBI investigate after American authorities found evidence the suspicious letter to the White House had originated in Canada.

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On this day in 1851 ...

The capital of Canada was moved from Toronto to Quebec City.

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Entertainment news ...

LONDON — Lawyers for a British newspaper publisher that's being sued for invasion of privacy by the Duchess of Sussex argued Monday that she made personal information public by co-operating with the authors of a book about her relationship with Prince Harry.

Her lawyers deny the claim.

The former Meghan Markle is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website over five February 2019 articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Harry in 2018.

Meghan, 39, is seeking damages from publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd. for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

At a hearing Monday at the High Court in London, the publisher sought to amend its defence in light of a book about Meghan and Harry that was published last month.

It said the book — "Finding Freedom" — "contains a great deal of detailed information about (Meghan's) personal life, including a number of passages referring to her relationship and communications with her father, and a section referring to the letter which is at the heart of this case."

Antony White, the senior lawyer for Associated Newspapers, said in written submissions that the book appeared to have been written with Meghan and Harry's "extensive co-operation."

But Meghan's lawyers denied that she co-operated with the authors of the book, Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie.

"The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book," Meghan's lawyer Justin Rushbrooke said in a written submission.

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ICYMI ...

EDMONTON — A new piece of medical equipment created at the University of Alberta may give doctors a quicker and safer way to resuscitate patients who go into cardiac arrest due to COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus can create complications in the lungs and many patients are placed on their bellies to improve ventilation.

"The lungs get so bad, we put them into these prone positions," Matthew Douma, a registered nurse and an assistant adjunct professor of critical care medicine at the university, said Monday.

Many patients with severe COVID-19 go into cardiac arrest, Douma said, and doctors have to turn them onto their backs to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. That makes it risky for doctors, who are exposing themselves to COVID-19 as the patient faces them.

There may also be a delay in the help patients may need, because doctors have to first flip them over onto their backs.

The result was a new CPR board that can be placed between a mattress and patients on their stomachs. A protruding piece of the board, near the breastbone, adds pressure to the chest area while medical staff do compressions on the backs of prone patients.

Douma said lab tests on the board showed a 40 per cent increase in the number of effective chest compressions on mannequins in that position.

"It's filled a gap," said Douma. "We didn't have this. We didn't know what we would do in a cardiac arrest on a prone patient should the situation arise.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020

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