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Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is pleased Sunday’s game was played after a brief COVID-19 uncertainty: ‘This stuff can happen and is real’

Matt Nagy had just come off a 3½-hour roller coaster ride. He had pulled the plug on starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky early in the third quarter and turned to backup Nick Foles. He had seen his team rally back from three scores down in the fourth quarter on the road to win — again.

Nagy had just finished celebrating a remarkable 30-26 upset of the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when he was reminded that the status of Sunday’s game had, at one point, been uncertain.

On Saturday morning, the Falcons moved rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell to the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list after they learned he tested positive for the coronavirus. Terrell became the first player this season forced to miss a game because of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. And as the Falcons and the NFL gathered details for their contact tracing efforts, there was at least some pause Saturday about whether Sunday’s game might need to be postponed.

The Bears were preparing for their Saturday evening flight to Atlanta when word of Terrell’s status reached Halas Hall.

Said Nagy: “I told the team literally the second that came out. Because that helped me. It backs me up when I tell them to wear your mask everywhere you go.

“In the facility, wear your stinking mask. It’s not hard. Do it. And don’t get relaxed on it because this stuff can happen and is real. Then all of a sudden you’re told you can’t play or you can’t coach.”

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Sunday that Terrell had two tests come back with positive COVID-19 results and one with a negative result. No one else within the Falcons organization tested positive Friday. And after all players and coaches were tested again Saturday, the Sunday morning results revealed no additional positive tests.

The NFL has been successful since the start of training camp at preventing the virus from spreading within organizations. On Tuesday, the league and the NFL Players Association revealed the results of the most recent stretch of testing Sept. 13-19. A total of 2,438 players were tested a combined 14,074 times during that period with zero confirmed positive tests.

The timing of Terrell’s positive result late this past week, though, added a new layer of uncertainty and caused the rookie to miss Sunday’s game. But ultimately the league’s troubleshooting procedures worked smoothly and allowed the Bears and Falcons to play Sunday without much concern.

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Can Canada’s border be reopened securely in a COVID-19 world? Here are some of the alternatives specialists are taking a look at

Since March, it’s been everything about Fortress Canada.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our ports of entry have actually been limited. Visitors from other nations have been mostly barred. Numerous international trainees and migrant workers have actually been kept away. Loved ones have actually been divided by the border. Even asylum seekers have been shut out.

But some say the time will come to change that.

Numerous professionals argue Canada can not continue to keep its doors shut to the world and await an efficient coronavirus vaccine to be widely offered, something some have actually speculated might not happen up until2024

How might Canada resume to visitors? How could it be done– incrementally and safely?

” We can not maintain blanket border limitations forever,” says Dr. Vivek Goel, an expert on the federal COVID-19 Resistance Task Force and advisor for CanCOVID, the nationwide research study network for the coronavirus.

” That truly takes us to: ‘How do we approach reopening in a safe way while keeping all the work that’s been done within our nation, so we don’t re-introduce infections?'”

Before assessing how Canada may ease its border restrictions, it’s most likely worth asking the concern of whether the closures have worked.

That question turns out not to be so easy.

” When you take a look at the science around border closures, the proof is not very thick, due to the fact that we haven’t had that experience with border closures and pandemics,” states Steven Hoffman, director of the Worldwide Method Laboratory and a teacher of global health, law and government at York University.

” It might effectively work, but we just do not have yet research that reveals it.”

When news initially emerged in January and February about an extremely infectious virus emerging in China, countries including Canada followed the World Health Organization guidelines and kept the border open, depending on health screenings at entry points.

In March, when COVID-19 was declared an international pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately contacted all Canadians abroad to return home prior to travel limitations were enforced, so the nation might concentrate on managing the spread of the virus within its border.

With some exceptions approved, non-essential travel was prohibited and inbound visitors have actually been subjected to a health questionnaire and compulsory 14- day quarantine.

A current paper released by Hoffman and University of Ottawa professor Patrick Fafard discovered 18 countries had mandated quarantines as of March 18 for inbound tourists from high-risk areas such as China, while 55 nations had banned travel from high-risk regions and 37 nations had actually enacted overall border closures.

Two months later on, 14 countries had quarantines for tourists from high-risk areas, 29 countries had restrictions against travel from these regions and 113 nations had total border closures.

There have been a range of health measures embraced in many countries– social distancing, regular washing hand and face mask wearing– making it practically impossible to determine how well the border procedures in and of themselves are working.

” We’ve seen deference to government, scientists and attorneys around what makes one of the most sense,” Hoffman states.

” Obviously, we should be accepting the science and the law, however border steps are based upon a lot more than science and law. Eventually, actions taken at the border are political.”

Public surveys have actually regularly revealed Canadians’ overwhelming assistance for border limitations specifically at the land ports of entry with our nearest neighbour, the United States, where more than seven million Americans have contracted the infection and about 203,000 have actually died.

The General Public Health Agency of Canada waits the decision to keep Canada closed.

” Epidemiological evidence has demonstrated that more to those border steps, imported cases of COVID-19 dropped precipitously, from 3,840 confirmed and likely cases in March to approximately 175 each month over the subsequent months,” the company’s representative, Tammy Jarbeau, states in an email.

” Other nations have similarly shown substantial reductions in importation of cases even more to imposition of quarantine measures.”

Canada’s brand-new COVID-19 cases have mainly been spread through neighborhood transmission, as officials appear to have an excellent handle on finding and tracking imported cases, despite events of Americans breaking quarantine guidelines driving to Alaska through Canada and flights flagged for possible exposure to the infection.

” Individuals believe the travel restrictions are a remedy for this problem,” says Kelley Lee, a Simon Fraser University public health professor and the Canada research chair in worldwide health governance.

“( They believe) ‘If we just close the border, everything will be fine.’ Obviously, that’s not the case. And they end up being complacent.”

Lee becomes part of an international research team that’s studying how different limitations are working to combat COVID-19 in hopes of developing a tool to guide global border policies throughout a pandemic.

” We need to make individuals mindful that border constraints are just one set of procedures. … It’s not like somehow you simply shut your border and the pandemic is going to go away,” she says.

There are other possibilities– some more practical than others.

Canada could resume its border to travellers from countries where the spread of coronavirus is under control.

The federal government might establish a travel pre-authorization system to evaluate the threats of COVID-19 that a visitor provides before choosing to let them in the proverbial door.

Or Canada could, in theory, lift travel constraints to all, but quarantine everyone who gets here in this country for 14 days in federal government centers.

There are different examples of travel limitations for the federal government to draw on.

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Since July, the EU has lifted its border restrictions against non-essential tourists from more than a lots “safe nations” outside of the union, including Canada, that have low infection rates and robust containment steps in place. Countries within the union and the U.K. have actually peaked once again in September and constraints are being re-imposed.

Places such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have actually imposed stringent government quarantines and tracing steps on inbound travellers.

And within Canada, 2 months earlier, the Atlantic provinces formed a travel “bubble” to restart traffic between New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, following months of local limitations to stop the spread of COVID-19 Case counts have stayed low throughout the region.

” When you think of travel constraints, it’s a class of procedures trying to stop individuals from moving and after that transmitting an infection. It varies from us remaining in our homes to people moving from nation to country,” says Lee.

” We have different scales of motion and range. These are comparable steps. We are just attempting to get people to keep away from one another.”

All steps have their advantages and disadvantages.

Holding getting here tourists in designated facilities under federal government watch is pricey and would be a logistical problem.

Individuals can video game GPS locators by leaving their cellular phones at their expected quarantine venue.

Safe travel bubbles are based upon shared public health practices and suitable infection rates of taking part jurisdictions. They won’t work, for example, if a country is all at once open up to both high-risk tourists from the U.S. and visitors from low-risk Canada.

And country conditions can likewise evolve rapidly.

In August, thousands of British holidaymakers in Croatia were caught in a rush to return house to prevent a 14- day quarantine after the Balkan state was suddenly removed from the UK government’s travel passage list.

Given that the start of September, Goel and McMaster University microbiologist Marek Smieja have begun a research study at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Passengers volunteer to self-swab and are supplied with two test packages to repeat on Day 7 and 14 after their arrival, while in quarantine. Individuals’ samples are picked up by carriers and tests are done at St. Joseph’s health center in Hamilton.

Individuals are asked about their quarantine condition and public health procedures. A risk evaluation is performed based on where they’re coming from and what activities they have prepared while in Canada. For example, a visitor who sticks with a relative or just remains in a conference centre throughout their see is thought about lower risk than somebody who will make numerous stops throughout the country.

A pilot project is underway to look at how Canada might address COVID-19 risk of individual travellers, based on their country of origin and their plans within our borders.

The study wishes to enrol 16,000 international tourists by early October, with outcomes readily available by the end of November to help direct the federal government on what to do with its travel limitations.

The objective of the research study is to develop a pre-travel assessment and permission plan based upon the level of COVID-19 risk somebody presents.

The customized assessment outcome would then determine the duration of the quarantine, if any. Those thought about low risk could be exempted from a 14- day self-isolation, which hinders the travel plan for people who just have a week-long getaway or require to be here for simply a three-day company conference.

” Our view is to start to get ready for this longer period of what might be several years as the vaccine is being presented, so the break out may be under control but individuals will still want to have some reassurance about the visitors that are can be found in. So we can get tourist and other markets going once again,” Goel states.

” General, about 10 percent of the global economy is connected to take a trip and tourism. It’s not simply the airlines and cruise lines. It’s the hotels, taxis and dining establishments.”

Nevertheless, there are threats involved in any measure: Quick self-swab tests might not be as accurate and threats posed by travellers from the very same source country can vary.

To unwind the travel constraints and resume the border, Canada will initially need to have its own outbreak under control with a gradually low infection rate. It also needs to increase its capability for testing and tracing.

” If we see 15,000 individuals being available in each day and each requires 2 tests, it’s already going to strike Ontario’s day-to-day (COVID-19) testing capacity,” says Goel. “Our capability requires to be lot of times than what’s presently offered.”

Lee states the terms “border closure” and “take a trip bans” are misleading because it is not a binary option like a door that opens or shuts.

” If you are to lift the limitations, you require to put other things in location,” she keeps in mind. “You have to be able to spot those brand-new cases that can be found in and get them to comply with the quarantine. There are alternatives, however a great deal of it comes down to the other steps within the border measures.”

Canada’s technique for inbound travel limitations has not been country specific however rather based on purpose of travel (whether it’s essential or not).

The General Public Health Firm of Canada said it is constantly examining travel risks for Canadians and will adjust and adapt its border measures based upon science and evidence.

” As public health pre-requisites are fulfilled, Canada will think about a gradual, targeted alleviating of border steps,” stated Jarbeau.

Nicholas Keung

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based press reporter covering migration for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung

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