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Biochemist Daniela Beatriz Ori manipulates swab samples to make a real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis for COVID-19 testing at the biochemistry lab of Central Navy Hospital Dr. Pedro Malloon April 28, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images)
Heavy snow falls as people wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a road in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, December 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
People walk past a "we're open, heated terrace dining" sign at Eli's Essentials on the Upper East Side on February 02, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Mother putting a face mask on her daughter. (August de Richelieu/ Pexels)

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Canada extends pandemic benefits through to Oct. 23

The federal government is tapping the brakes on its plans to phase out pandemic aid programs this summer, deciding instead to freeze benefits at current levels and extend help by an extra month beyond the previously planned end date.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not shown, participate in a virtual discussion from Ottawa on Monday, May 3, 2021, with residents from Shannex’s Losier Hall in Miramichi, New Brunswick. Also virtually in attendance is Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte and Member of Parliament for Miramichi-Grand Lake Pat Finnigan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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U.S. hits 70 per cent vaccination rate -- a month late, amid a surge

The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden's goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70 per cent of American adults -- a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country.