Global National: Feb. 16, 2021 | Concern shifts to COVID-19 variants as cases drop

The number of new COVID-19 cases is dropping right now, but there is growing evidence highly contagious new variants are picking-up steam. Public health experts warn not to be complacent and that it is too early to begin easing public health restrictions. We know the variants of concern are much more contagious and now there is new evidence from the U.K., the B.1.1.7. variant first identified there, has an increased risk of hospitalization and death. Heather Yourex-West reports.

Canada’s top doctor says the public health agency is still examining what impacts the variants might have on the vaccines. Canada’s sluggish vaccine rollout is supposed to pick up this week, though today there was another set-back because some bad weather in the U.S. is causing a delay of a Pfizer-BioNTech shipment by one day. Mike Le Couteur has more.

While the majority of Canadians are waiting to be vaccinated, there are new recommendations about who should be given priority in the second phase. Racialized communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are among them. Eric Sorensen explains why and what phase of the rollout you fall into.

Nine months after it was promised the federal government has laid out new gun control legislation. It includes a buyback program for banned assault-style weapons and allowing city’s and municipalities to ban handguns. But beyond those broad strokes there is very little detail. As Mercedes Stephenson reports, that includes how much it will all cost.

Much of the U.S. is enduring a brutal blast of winter from the Great Lakes all the way down to the Gulf Coast and the storm is putting lives at risk. Cities in the South and the Midwest have reached record low temperatures, but Texans are bearing the brunt of it. As Jackson Proskow reports, millions of Texas residents are in the dark.

Something is going on in India that is perplexing medical experts. Cases of COVID-19 are plummeting and no one exactly sure why. Vaccinations have been ruled out because they only began in January. Redmond Shannon looks at what is happening.

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