What’s happening now
Educators face non-stop stress as schools mark Mental Health Week
As school boards mark Mental Health Week from May 2-8, educators are facing high levels of stress amid ongoing staff shortages and no clear path to solve them.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association says that even as the province moves toward an endemic phase of COVID-19, the pandemic is still impacting schools, creating high absence rates, and building stress within a system that continues to put strains on staff and students.
“There are serious sub and teacher shortages in multiple jurisdictions across the province,” said ATA president Jason Schilling.
“The pandemic is still with us, teachers are becoming sick, schools are not able to get the subs they need, so everyone is scrambling.
“That is adding to stress levels, and it’s impacting learning in the classroom.”
Two new subvariants of COVID appear to dodge natural immunity
In the past week, cases of a new variant of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 have tripled in South Africa, two cases have shown up in the United States, and others have appeared in Denmark, Scotland and England. While BA.4 is making its way to other countries, BA.5 has been slower to leave South Africa and Botswana.
The World Health Organization last month added the two subvariants to its monitoring list, but said it was tracking just a few dozen cases globally.
The two new sublineages can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave, but are far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19, South African scientists found.
Omicron subvariant BA.2 more transmissible but not more virulent: Quebec report
The subvariant of the novel coronavirus that accounts for most COVID-19 infections in Quebec is more transmissible than the previous Omicron strain, but it is not more virulent, the province’s public health institute said Tuesday.
About 90 per cent of new COVID-19 infections randomly screened in Quebec since mid-April involve the BA.2 subvariant, which replaced the original Omicron strain — BA.1 — responsible for a surge in infections last winter.
On Tuesday, the Institut national de sante publique du Quebec said, “The risks of hospitalization or any other serious illnesses related to BA.2 were comparable to those associated with BA.1.
The institute’s report found that vaccines were 10 per cent to 40 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infections in the six months after the second dose. A third dose increased the effectiveness against symptomatic infection to between 40 per cent and 74 per cent.
Woman says Amazon fired her because she got ‘long COVID,’ lawsuit claims
A former Amazon.com Inc employee sued the online retailer on Monday, saying it wrongly fired her and demanded she repay wages after she contracted “long COVID.”
Brittany Hope, 29, a former brand manager for Amazon’s fashion line The Drop in Manhattan, is seeking damages for alleged violations of federal, state and New York City disability laws.
The Brooklyn resident said she was hospitalized after being diagnosed with the flu on Feb. 3, 2020, four months after being hired, and a few weeks before the coronavirus started taking hold in the United States.
Hope said she “later realized” she had been “seriously ill with COVID and long COVID.”
Sharon Osbourne tests positive for COVID while looking after Ozzy
Sharon Osbourne has been struck down with COVID-19 after flying home to Los Angeles to look after her husband Ozzy.
The ‘Black Sabbath’ star fell ill with the virus last week, promoting Sharon to step away from her new TalkTV gig in Britain to head back to the U.S.
Now, Sharon has revealed she’s caught the virus from her husband along with her daughter Kelly, admitting “the entire household has it now.”