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Physician health survey, monkeypox on campus: In The News for Aug. 25

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 Aug. 25 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
A person rests on a lawn outside the Emergency Department entrance at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus in Ottawa is shown on Monday, May 16, 2022. A new survey suggests there is a significant decrease in the well-being of physicians across Canada as many doctors report their mental health is worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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 Aug. 25 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The well-being of physicians across Canada has significantly decreased with many doctors reporting poorer mental health than before the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey suggests.

The Canadian Medical Association's national physician health survey, released Thursday, indicates that 53 per cent of respondents reported symptoms of burnout, including emotional exhaustion.

The reported burnout rate among doctors was 1.7 times higher than it was in the association's previous survey in 2017. 

The survey suggests that one-quarter of respondents were experiencing severe or moderate anxiety and almost half of the respondents were struggling with depression.

Forty-nine per cent of physicians who participated in the survey also indicated they were likely to reduce or modify their clinical hours in the next two years. 

The association's president, Dr. Alika Lafontaine, said the participants' responses "reflect the current state of the health-care system," adding the COVID 19 pandemic exacerbated many challenges physicians have been facing for years.

The survey suggests 36 per cent of physicians have had thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, compared to 18 per cent of doctors saying they thought about suicide in 2017. 

Fifty-seven per cent of all respondents said they always or often feel fatigued at work, and only 36 per cent of respondents said they always or often get optimal sleep.

Lafontaine said provincial governments across Canada have had an "obsession with efficiency" over the last two decades, and health-care providers have not received the support they need to make sure their work environments are sustainable.


Also this ...

An expert is urging Canadian universities and colleges to be proactive about preventing monkeypox from spreading on campus.

University of Manitoba virologist Jason Kindrachuk says schools should be raising awareness about the risks of monkeypox as students prepare to come together this fall.

Kindrachuk notes that, so far, monkeypox cases in Canada have been concentrated among men who reported intimate sexual contact with other men, but the virus can spread to anyone through extended close contact.

He says students could face an elevated risk as back-to-school season brings crowded social events, cramped living quarters and high rates of sexual activity.

Kindrachuk says schools can help keep students safe and reduce stigma surrounding the virus by sharing information about signs of the illness and steps they can take to protect themselves.

Universities in Ontario and Quebec, where the majority of Canada's monkeypox cases have been detected, say they're taking steps to manage the risks of the disease as part of their public health strategies.

Toronto Metropolitan University says it's developing protocols to deal with potential infections on campus, particularly in residences.

In Montreal, Concordia University says it's looking to reconvene a group that addresses concerns about infectious diseases, with a focus on campus housing.


And this too ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hosting a second high-profile international visitor this week, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg arriving in Canada today.

They are scheduled to tour a military radar site in Cambridge Bay, Nvt., marking the first time any NATO chief has visited Canada's Arctic.

Senior Canadian and NATO officials say the visit is meant to highlight that the region is a security priority, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and issues related to climate change.

Rapidly accelerating melting in the Arctic means that the area is more accessible to allies, and to enemies. 

Stoltenberg's last visit to Canada was in 2019, but he and Trudeau met at the NATO summit in Madrid in late June.

Earlier in the week, the prime minister was in Toronto and Newfoundland with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose visit was meant to strengthen the green energy ties between the two countries. 

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

NASHVILLE, Tenn. _ Four more Republican-led states will ban almost all abortions this week as yet another slate of laws severely limiting the procedure takes effect following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

To date, 13 states have passed so-called trigger laws that were designed to outlaw most abortions if the high court threw out the constitutional right to end a pregnancy. The majority of those states began enforcing their bans soon after the June 24 decision, but Idaho, Tennessee and Texas had to wait 30 days beyond when the justices formally entered the judgment, which happened several weeks after the ruling was announced.

That deadline is up Thursday. Meanwhile, North Dakota's trigger law is scheduled to take effect Friday.

The change will not be dramatic. All of these states except North Dakota already had anti-abortion laws in place that largely blocked patients from accessing the procedure. And the majority of the clinics that provided abortions in those areas have either stopped offering those services or moved to other states where abortion remains legal.

Texas, the country's second-largest state, has banned most abortions once fetal cardiac activity has been detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. The ban has been in place for almost a year, since courts refused to stop the law last September.

A similar situation played out in Idaho, but there a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state's abortion ban violated federal law. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the state could not enforce its abortion ban in cases where the pregnant person was experiencing a medical emergency that seriously threatened their life or health. Idaho's abortion ban makes all abortions felonies, but allows physicians to defend themselves in court by arguing that the procedure was necessary to save the life of the mother or done in cases of rape or incest.

In all, more than 40 states limit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. Those state laws generally require a doctor to determine the gestational age before performing an abortion.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

HONG KONG _ Tropical Storm Ma-on made landfall in southern China's Guangdong province on Thursday after bringing rain and stiff winds to Hong Kong, where the stock market was closed for the morning session due to the storm.

Residents of coastal areas around the city of Maoming were urged to stay away from the shore Thursday morning as the typhoon arrived at 10:30 a.m.

The Guangdong Meteorological Public Service Center said Ma-on was packing sustained winds of 118 kilometres per hour and moving slowly northwest at about 25 kilometres per hour.

Ma-on is expected to weaken as it moves inland toward the Guangxi region, Yunnan province and northern Vietnam.

The Hong Kong government said that one person had been injured and reports of flooding and a fallen tree had been received. About 140 people had sought refuge in temporary shelters set up in the city, a government news release said. Schools were closed for at least the morning.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., the operator of the city's stock exchange, said in a statement that it delayed the trading of stocks and derivatives during the morning session. Trading will resume at 1 p.m.

In Guangdong, several cities suspended high-speed rail and ferry service and evacuated workers on offshore projects. The airport in Shenzhen, a Chinese tech centre that borders Hong Kong, cancelled all flights from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Authorities in the Philippines reported at least three deaths and four injured, mostly after being hit by falling trees, after the storm swept across the northern part of the country earlier this week.

More than 10,000 people were displaced, and public schools and government offices were closed for two days in Manila and several outlying provinces because of gusty wind and heavy rain.


On this day in 1943 ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to visit Ottawa. Roosevelt and prime ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King of Canada and Winston Churchill of Britain had earlier attended the Quebec Conference in Quebec City.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO _ "Eternal Spring,'' an animated documentary about religious persecution in China, will be Canada's contender for a nomination in the Best International Feature Film category at next year's Academy Awards.

Telefilm Canada announced Wednesday that it would submit Jason Loftus's film for consideration in the category formerly called Best Foreign Language Film, a move the filmmaker hopes will draw further attention to human rights abuses in China.

The movie tells the story of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, who were targeted by police raids after a faction of members hacked into a state TV signal in 2002 in an effort to correct the record about their practice.

The comic book illustrator Daxiong, a Falun Gong practitioner, was forced to flee to North America, and initially blamed the hijacking for worsening the group's violent repression. He changes his mind after meeting the only known surviving hacker to escape China.

The Mandarin-language film combines present-day footage and 3D animation inspired by Daxiong's art.

A pan-Canadian selection committee of 20 members from various government agencies and film industry associations chose the movie.

It's the first time Canada will submit an animated feature, a documentary and a Mandarin-language film for consideration, said Telefilm Canada CEO Christa Dickenson.

The Academy accepts only one submission in the category from each country for consideration. If selected, ``Eternal Spring'' would become the ninth Canadian movie to receive an Oscar nomination in the category. Only one _ Denys Arcand's "Les Invasions barbares'' _ has ever won, in 2004.


Did you see this?

A new survey suggests Quebecers are more likely to say a 16th-century French explorer discovered Canada, compared to the rest of the country, which says it was Indigenous people. 

The Association for Canadian Studies released survey findings from Leger, which polled around 17-hundred people online in early July. 

It asked them questions about the country's history. 

Association president Jack Jedwab suggests the results show a divide between Quebec and the rest of the country around the question of who discovered Canada.

The survey shows 46 per cent of respondents in Quebec picked Jacques Cartier, while only 11 per cent in the province named Indigenous people. 

That's compared to every other region in the country where at least 20 per cent of respondents said Indigenous people, while less than 10 per cent picked Cartier. 

Jedwab says it appears the rest of Canada is waking up to how the role of Indigenous people has been minimized in the country's history books.

But he says inside Quebec, residents tend to see Canada as a blend of two nations — English and French.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press