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The H1N1 strain of the swine flu is back — here’s what you need to know

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In 2009 we were hit with the H1N1 strain of the swine flu. It triggered widespread vaccinations. More than 120 people died in Ontario. And now it’s back. Dr. Bryna Warshawsky, a medical director with Public Health Ontario, tells us what we need to know about this year’s strain. 8:31 

In 2009, Ontario was hit with a strain of swine flu called H1N1. It triggered widespread vaccinations. More than 120 people died in the province. Now it’s back and appears to be hitting children harder than the flu usually does.

Dr. Bryna Warshawsky, a medical director with Public Health Ontario, tells us what we need to know about this year’s strain. She spoke with the CBC’s Conrad Collaco about this year’s flu season and how H1N1 made a comeback. You can read an abridged and edited version of the interview or listen to the full audio interview by hitting the play button above. 

Dr. Bryna Warshawsky, Public Health Ontario 

Dr. Bryna Warshawksi is a medical director with Public Health Ontario. (Public Health Ontario) 

How does this year’s version compare to the one we were so worried about in 2009?

It’s fairly similar. The difference is that in 2009 that was the first time that strain had circulated. As a population we had very little immunity, therefore it affected a large number of people, especially younger people. Since then, that strain has circulated a number of times and we have been vaccinating every year against that strain. We have more immunity now, so fewer people are getting ill.  

What about those of us who never got vaccinated? Or who have never had a flu shot before?​

It’s definitely not too late to get the influenza vaccine. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to reach its maximum effectiveness. We know H1N1 will probably circulate for a number of weeks into the winter season. We often see an influenza B strain. That often happens later in the winter. Getting vaccinated now will help prevent that strain. For next year, the best time to be vaccinated is in late October/early November. 

We don’t really know why influenza does what it does …  Last year we saw influenza A and influenza B circulating at exactly the same times.– Dr.  Bryna   Warshawsky , Public Health Ontario 

Those are suggestions for prevention. What do you suggest for treatment?   

Most people with influenza will get better on their own. People should seek medical care if they are feeling particularly ill. However, for some people there is treatment. It can make us feel better and may prevent some of the complications like pneumonia. That medication is particularly important for people who are older or people who have underlying medical conditions, or for young people or for pregnant women. Those people should consult with their health care provider.  

How did the H1N1 strain of the swine flu make a come back?

H1N1 has circulated in a few years since the 2009 pandemic. Every year we tend to get one A strain followed by one B strain. There are two A strains that can cause problems. H1N1 is one and another one is called H3N2. In any given season one of them circulates. This year for some reason in Ontario we’re seeing a bit of both. We don’t really know why influenza does what it does. Generally we have one A strain followed by one B strain.   

What else do we know about this year’s flu in Ontario?

We started a bit later than the rest of the country. This year we seem to have been increasing over the past number of weeks. Luckily we don’t seem to have peaked over the holidays which can often be a problem for out health care system. We haven’t yet hit our peak for flu season.  

Are we seeing a rise in the number of children hit by the flu in Ontario?

We don’t have specific data for Ontario but we do know that H1N1 does cause illness predominantly in younger children and young adults. We can expect to see a similar profile as what is being seen in the rest of the country.

Flu can be unpredictable. Last year we saw influenza A and influenza B circulating at exactly the same times. It’s definitely not too late to get the influenza vaccine. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its effectiveness. There will probably be H1N1 circulating following that two weeks.   

The more people that are vaccinated reduces the chance of spreading influenza. When you are vaccinated you are less likely to pass infection to others, particularly to those who are at risk for the complications of influenza like the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, young children and pregnant women. For those people, it’s very important for them to be vaccinated and for the people around them. If you are a young, healthy person, by being vaccinated you can help prevent influenza from being spread to people more at risk of complications. 

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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