Good evening. Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET, our education reporter, Caroline Alphonso, and Prachi Srivastava, an associate professor specializing in education and international development, will take your questions about the impact of the pandemic on education. Join us on Facebook. Now, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Air Canada announced further cuts to routes, schedules and staff citing the new COVID-19 testing requirements, which the airline says is to blame for a recent plunge in travel
- The husband of a Quebec doctor who took her own life this month is speaking out in hopes of raising awareness about the toll the pandemic has taken on front-line workers’ mental health
- Ontario is bracing for a perilous inflection point brought on by the spread of the new coronavirus variant
In the last seven days, 54,532 cases were reported, up 3 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 1,014 deaths announced, up 13 per cent over the same period. At least 4,698 people are being treated in hospitals and 584,651 others are considered recovered.
About 69 per cent of the 603,505 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 1.1 doses for every 100 people in Canada.
Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts • Lockdown rules and reopening • Canada’s vaccine distribution plan • Developing/approved vaccines • Pfizer’s vaccine, explained • Essential resources
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Coronavirus in Canada
- In Ontario, health officials say the new coronavirus variants threaten to rapidly increase case numbers and overwhelm emergency rooms in the province, just as the province promises that long-term care home residents and staff in Ontario will be vaccinated by the middle of next month. Also today, a teachers’ union is calling for a provincewide extension of online learning. Ontario reported 2,961 new COVID-19 cases.
- ‘It’s a historic time for us’: In Manitoba, the vaccine rollout has begun in First Nations communities.
- Saskatchewan reported 247 new COVID-19 cases. The province has the highest rate of active cases per 100,000 people in the country.
- Doctors in Alberta say the province’s backlog of surgeries – more than 4,300 scheduled elective operations postponed since November – is a “hidden pandemic.”
- The husband of a Quebec doctor who took her own life says she was a collateral victim of the pandemic, and is urging people to consider the mental health toll on front-line workers.
- In B.C., a long-term care home at which more than one-third of residents died from COVID-19 in the past six weeks is under investigation.
In Ottawa, the federal government announced $1.2-billion in new funding to help Indigenous communities during the pandemic, including:
- $380-million to support elders, address food insecurity, and limit the spread of COVID-19.
- $630-million to hire more staff, buy personal protective equipment and adapt existing facilities to deal with the pandemic.
- $186-million for more home-care services for elders and vulnerable people.
Mental health: The pandemic is resulting in worsening mental health for women more than men, according to a new poll.
COVID-19 vaccines: Canada can briefly delay the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine if supplies are low, an expert panel says.
Coronavirus around the world
- ‘We’ll be going to 24/7′: Britain is rolling out a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week COVID-19 vaccination program as soon as possible.
- During Italy’s darkest days of the pandemic, the country threw itself into a fresh political crisis.
Coronavirus and business
Air Canada cut another 1,700 employees, blaming new COVID-19 testing requirements for a recent plunge in demand for travel.
- Air Canada also slashed its seat capacity by 25 per cent. The company is running at about 20 per cent of its usual capacity.
- The company has laid off or furloughed about 20,000 people – almost half its work force – since the onset of the pandemic in March.
Also today: Johnson & Johnson is confident in its March rollout projection for its COVID-19 vaccine and still aims to produce one billion doses in 2021.
And: Downtown Toronto’s office vacancy rate jumped to 7.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, the highest level since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.
- Robyn Urback: Ontario’s new stay-at-home-order was enacted with a clownish level of incompetence for a government that is now facing the prospect of 100 COVID-19 deaths a day by the end of February (double the current rate).
- Rob Carrick: What the pandemic can teach us about retirement. You’ll need to find some activities that keep you occupied.
- Industry leaders believe the global economy can shake off the pandemic in 2021
- While offices went empty when the pandemic hit, one data specialist had a novel idea: track downtown density with heat maps
- When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available in Canada? How well do they work? Here’s what you need to know.
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating.
- Find answers to your coronavirus and employment questions.
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.
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