Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ontario Auditor-General condemns province’s ‘disorganized’ COVID-19 response
- Canada-wide survey of women’s shelters shows abuse more severe during pandemic
- Global infections approach 60 million and countries consider holiday restrictions
In Canada, there have been at least 347,465 cases reported. In the last week 36,369 new cases were announced, 9 per cent more than the previous week.
There have also been at least 277,232 recoveries and 11,710 deaths.
Worldwide, there have been at least 59,759,494 cases confirmed and 1,409,252 deaths reported.
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.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario’s COVID-19 response has been “disorganized and inconsistent” as the government left key public-health officials sidelined, the province’s Auditor-General reveals in a scathing new report. Meanwhile, a new small-scale study suggests overworked health care workers in the province say they feel abandoned in their increasingly desperate struggle to cope with COVID-19.
- Alberta announced today it is temporarily shutting down in-person classes for students in junior high and high school, limiting the operations of many businesses, and banning all indoor gatherings in response to a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections.
- Watch: Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, while saying he doesn’t want to quarterback other provinces, called Quebec’s Christmas gathering plan dangerous. Premier François Legault clarified the province’s plan to allow gatherings at Christmas amid the second wave of COVID-19, setting the limit at two gatherings over the four days.
A national survey by Women’s Shelters Canada says 52 per cent of 266 participating shelters reported seeing clients who were experiencing either somewhat or much more severe violence, as public-health measures aimed at fighting COVID-19 increase social isolation, while job losses fuel tension over financial insecurity in many households.
The survey also found 37 per cent of shelters reported changes in the type of violence clients faced, including increased physical attacks resulting in broken bones, strangulation and stabbings.
Also today: Ottawa unveils $32-million deal to buy antibody COVID-19 treatment
And: National child-care program could ‘pay for itself’ by getting parents back in the work force, report says
Coronavirus around the world
- With major COVID-19 vaccines showing high levels of protection, British officials are cautiously optimistic that life may start returning to normal by early April. Regulators have not yet approved a vaccine for use.
Globally, countries agonized over new coronavirus curbs ahead of Christmas and other holidays as global infections approached 60 million today and U.S. officials pleaded with Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.
Coronavirus and business
The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart today, with the currency staying within reach of an earlier two-week high as oil prices rose and investors rebalanced their portfolios.
- The loonie was trading at 1.2990 to the greenback, or 76.98 US cents, having touched its strongest intraday level since Nov. 10 at 1.2982. It has climbed 2.5 per cent since the start of the month.
- The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, rose to the highest level in more than eight months, as data showing a surprise drop in weekly U.S. crude inventories extended a rally driven by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will boost fuel demand.
Also today: Britain borrowing $526-billion to hit peacetime high as economy faces COVID-19 emergency
- How do you teach in a pandemic? Masks, face shields and patience, endless patience
- Cities crack down on businesses breaking COVID-19 rules in Ontario
- Gary Mason: “With the acute-care system in his province on the verge of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney finally decided to take tougher action Tuesday in a bid to halt the virus’s deadly march. Unfortunately, the response was certainly weeks too late.”
- André Picard: “Feckless. That’s the only way to describe Alberta’s ‘tough’ new measures.”
- 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. What to cook with rhubarb (aside from pie).
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; how the CRA might identify CERB fraud; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered. What to do if your employees don’t return to work because they want to collect CERB.
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.