December was full of final exams and days after days of endless studying. Here are the headlines you might have missed while focusing on school.
Mask-wearing and the latest provincial COVID-19 restrictions
On Nov. 27, new provincial measures to combat the spread of the virus came into effect. One of these restrictions requires fitness classes of eight or less participants to wear a mask and maintain at least three metres of distance.
Weeks before this announcement, a university study was published on Nov. 3 on mask wearing which determined that masks have no negative effects on your performance while exercising. It was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer for consideration as gyms and similar facilities are a “hotspot for COVID-19 transmission,” according to Phil Chilibeck, co-author of the study.
“When you’re exercising, you’re breathing harder, so your respiratory droplets go a lot further than the two-metre distancing that they recommend people keep from each other during COVID,” Chilibeck said.
Chilibeck points to the Oct. 5 SPINCO outbreak in Hamilton, Ontario, where one case at a spin class spread to 74 other people in and out of the company. Despite SPINCO following all the precautions and health guidelines, COVID-19 transmission was possible because participants were not wearing masks while exercising, says Chilibeck
“It just shows it’s practical to wear a face mask during intense exercise and it’s something that can be done to prevent COVID-19 transmission,” Chilibeck said.
All public health measures announced since Nov. 27 will remain in place until Jan. 15.
Long-time legendary Huskies coach retires
On Dec. 7, Dave Adolph, head coach of the Huskies men’s hockey team, retires effective May 1, 2021. According to a news release from the Huskie Athletics, Adolph was only planning to coach for five years at the most when he started in the position, and then pursue the professional league. Instead, he stayed on for almost three decades.
“We started by missing the playoffs the first two years but then we qualified the next 25 seasons in a row, and during that time I just never had the desire to leave,” Adolph said. “I am ready now for the next opportunity and have just recently really opened my mind to the possibilities.”
Adolph led the team to seven Canada West titles, and two silver and four bronze national medals. He was also the Canada West Coach of the Year four times, most recently in 2018-19, and U SPORTS Coach of the Year in 2017.
His great contributions to the program will be missed by many.
Saskatoon’s vaccine moves forward with human clinical trial
On Dec. 22, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization got the green light for a human clinical trial from Health Canada. In a news release from the university, director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts says that this “is a milestone for VIDO.”
“This is the first of our two COVID-19 subunit vaccines in development and demonstrates the quality of our research, development and partnerships,” Gerdts said.
The Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax will recruit volunteers for Phase 1 of the trial, which is expected to begin this January. Gerdts says that if all goes as planned, the vaccine will be ready later in 2021.
Huskies athlete nominated for the shrine bowl
On Dec. 29, football player Nelson Lokombo became the seventh Huskie to be named for the 2021 East-West Shrine Bowl, which is America’s oldest college football all-star game. The all-star athletes were announced throughout December, and players will partake in virtual training sessions for the National Football League draft.
Head coach Scott Flory says this season would’ve been Lokombo’s opportunity to lead the team.
“Given the circumstances of losing our 2020 season … this is the best recognition that he could ask for,” Flory said.
“He is athletic, tough, durable and without a doubt one of the most talented players to ever put on a Huskie uniform.”
J.C. Balicanta Narag | Editor-in-Chief