Copper-coated face masks could help slow transmission of COVID-19
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering are developing a new way to coat tiny particles of copper onto the inside of fabrics, including those used in face masks – a technology that could provide an extra layer of safety against COVID-19. The goal is to deposit very fine copper particles onto both woven and non-woven fabrics using twin-wire arc (TWA) spray technology. The fabric would then be used in one of the layers of a reusable fabric face mask. It’s anticipated the copper-embedded fabric will not affect filter or flow rate parameters and will be able to kill most viral and other pathogens within a few minutes. By embedding the copper into the fabric, the researchers say masks could provide a continuous and proactive fight against the transmission of current and evolving harmful pathogens without altering the physical barrier properties of the masks themselves. “If we can harness the anti-microbial properties of copper to improve the effectiveness of reusable face masks we can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and do a better job at protecting both our frontline workers and our community at large,” says Javad Mostaghimi (photo), a professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering.
A message to the Conestoga community from President John Tibbits
The following message was distributed to all Conestoga employees, Board of Governors members, and the broader college community on behalf of President John Tibbits on September 4. Welcome to the Fall 2020 semester and the traditional beginning of a new academic year. This will be a year like no other in the history of our college, as we continue to deliver most programs and services remotely and operate under strict physical distancing and infection prevention protocols for all essential on-campus activities. The social and economic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic continue to escalate, with more than 26 million cases now diagnosed worldwide, and almost 900,000 deaths directly attributed to the virus. India and Brazil, countries that account for a large percentage of Conestoga’s international students, are among the hardest hit, falling behind only the U.S. in terms of both cases and deaths. While conditions in Canada generally, and our region specifically, have improved, public health officials warn of the need to remain vigilant to prevent community spread and a resurgence of cases.
Waterloo Brewing Ltd. announced financial results for the second quarter ending July 26, 2020. Waterloo Brewing reported EBITDA growth of +61.5% to $5.8 million on net revenue of $24.6 million."The strength of our business strategy has been put to the test in these past few months, and it has been reassuringly successful," said George Croft, President, and CEO, Waterloo Brewing. "Our choice to embrace our Ontario roots reflects growing consumer interest in buying local. Our choice to provide reliably good value reflects the challenges of hardworking people's budgets. Our choice for a diverse portfolio of value, premium and craft beers, complemented by our Seagram family of ciders, coolers and future beverage alcohol innovation, is growing at +28% versus prior year. This is an exciting chapter of intensive growth and expansion for our Company." "This past quarter is a watershed moment for our business," continued Croft. "firmly establishing the foundation of healthy brands, superior quality standards, relentlessly efficient operations and the solid financials needed to become a formidable player in the national beverage alcohol market."
Cambridges exactEarth Ltd. announces the successful launch of the ESAIL microsatellite. Developed under ESA's ARTES Partnership Project for global ship tracking, the ESAIL satellite was launched September 3rd onboard the Arianespace Vega (VV16) flight, from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. "We are very excited to add this advanced technology satellite to the exactEarth constellation," said Peter Mabson exactEarth CEO. "ESAIL incorporates advanced antenna and receiver designs which, together with exactEarth's advanced decollision processing technology is expected to set a new standard for Satellite-AIS vessel detection. I would like to thank ESA, the CSA and the Luxspace-led European satellite manufacturing team for helping to achieve this important milestone. Onwards and upwards!"
What is our current understanding of how the virus spreads? The transmission of COVID-19 is predominantly spread through respiratory droplets from infected individuals and can be referred to as person-to-person transmission. This type of transmission is predominantly from direct contact with respiratory droplets from infected individuals during coughing, sneezing, talking, laughing or singing in close proximity others. There are concerns about aerosol transmission, but in most situations, this type of transmission has taken place in crowded settings. Originally, there were concerns that fomite transmission (contracting the virus from inanimate objects contaminated with the virus) was a potential way in which the virus was spreading in the community, but it appears that most cases of infection are from exposure to the respiratory droplets of infected individuals. What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and what fraction of people who have it do not show symptoms?
There were 686 residential homes sold through the Multiple Listing System of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors in August, the most ever recorded for the month. August’s home sales represented an increase of 48 per cent compared to the same month last year, and a decrease of 8 per cent compared to the previous month. The previous ten-year average number of residential sales for August is 470. “Waterloo Region has had an extremely hot market all summer,” said Colleen Koehler (photo), President of KWAR. ”Following a spring market where most people were observing physical distancing guidelines, sales in August continued to be very active with demand continuing to outstrip supply forcing buyers to act quickly.” Total residential sales in August included 433 detached homes (up 61.5 per cent from August 2019), and 79 condominium apartments (up 38.5 per cent). Sales also included 138 townhouses (up 40 per cent) and 39 semi-detached homes (no change).
According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, Kitchener/Cambridge area employers expect a conservative hiring climate for the fourth quarter of 2020. “Survey data reveals that 14% of employers plan to hire for the upcoming quarter while 9% of employers are anticipating cutbacks,” stated Charity Magowan (photo) of Manpower’s Kitchener office. “Another 74% of employers plan to maintain their current staffing levels in the upcoming quarter, while the remaining 3% of employers are unsure of their hiring intentions.” “With seasonal variations removed from the data, Kitchener/Cambridge’s fourth quarter Net Employment Outlook of +10% is an eight percentage point decrease compared to the previous quarterly Outlook,” said Magowan. “It is also a 19 percentage point decrease from the Outlook reported during the same time last year, indicating a mild hiring pace for the upcoming months.”
For her book Talking Stones: The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland , Elisabetta Viggiani mapped 157 publicly visible sites of Troubles commemoration in Belfast. Broken down, the city’s memorials alone offer a ratio of one wall plaque, garden, public tableau or statue for every 25 of the 4,000 or so people killed by the civil violence that wracked Northern Ireland’s six counties from 1969 to 1998. The numbers are a stark data point in Viggiani’s conclusion: the social imaginary in which we live our individual lives is a peaceful kingdom, but our collective selves have a vital need to mark the history of our side. Even as Canadians with our cherished myth of enduring peaceability, the dynamic deserves attention. For Canadians, the Troubles in Ireland might seem geographically distant and wrapped in historic fog. Yet in the fresh past, we’ve found ourselves in an escalating action-reaction pattern with regard to the histories we entrust to commemorative sites.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women, with women’s labour participation rate falling to its lowest in 30 years. Existing systemic inequalities pre-pandemic have been further exacerbated by recent shut-down measures, resulting in what some economists are calling a “she-cession,” as more women have lost their jobs and fewer women than men are re-gaining employment. As schools and child care centres begin to reopen, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce will release its latest report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario. This brief lays out a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by offering practical recommendations to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges.
Despite promising significant increases to already historically high spending, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently pledged there will be no new taxes. This rhetoric is simply false. To pay for today’s spending, the Liberal government must either tax today or defer tax increases to the future by borrowing (i.e. more debt). Trudeau isn’t saying no new taxes; he’s saying we should continue to spend today and pay for it with taxes tomorrow. According to the federal government’s recent fiscal “snapshot,” Ottawa will run a $343-billion budget deficit this year, which means it will spend $343 billion more than it collects in revenue – by far the largest amount in nominal terms in Canadian history.