Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ontario released new projections that illustrate the British variant of the coronavirus presents a “significant threat” to controlling the pandemic
- Tensions over the short supply of COVID-19 vaccines are escalating between Britain and the European Union
- U.S. President Joe Biden is working to launch an “early warning and trigger system” similar to the one that Canada scrapped less than one year before the pandemic hit
In the last 7 days, 34,650 cases were reported, down 19 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 1,044 deaths announced, down 4 per cent over the same period. At least 3,822 people are being treated in hospitals and 689,418 others are considered recovered.
About 82 per cent of the 1,122,450 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 2.4 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
- Ontario announced schools in four more public-health units in Southern Ontario will reopen for in-person learning Feb. 1. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are down across the province, but the British variant poses a “significant threat” to controlling the pandemic.
- Quebec researchers think they have found a coronavirus treatment that is cheap and widely available. Colchicine, a compound often used to treat gout, is being recommended by some, but other experts say more proof is needed before it is widely prescribed. Meanwhile, deaths in the province jumped 10 per cent in 2020 from the previous year – and while the number rises every year because of a growing and aging population, the recent surge was an “exception.”
- A B.C. couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to get the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to appear in court. Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan said jumping the COVID-19 vaccine line is ‘un-Canadian.’ And, a new report recommends against a basic income for all in British Columbia.
- Alberta won’t follow Manitoba’s stricter COVID-19 rules on interprovincial travellers, the province’s Health Minister says. The rules require all domestic travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the province.
A vaccine feud that is growing in intensity between the European Union and Britain has raised fears that vaccine nationalism could affect other countries.
- A shortage of AstraZeneca vaccines is at the root of the problem, and to compensate for the shortfall, EU officials ordered the drug maker to divert shipments destined for Britain.
- Canada has ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved by Health Canada, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the doses will not come from Europe.
COVID-19 infections: Health Canada data suggests a worrying increase in COVID-19 cases is directly connected to foreign arrivals over the holiday season.
Coronavirus around the world
- U.S. President Joe Biden has made it an urgent priority to create a pandemic early warning system similar to the one that was curtailed by Canada less than a year before COVID-19 hit.
- Outrage over Lebanon’s coronavirus lockdown played out in protests in the country’s capital.
- Africa is “beginning to make very good progress” after securing another 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
- A World Health Organization team emerged from quarantine in Wuhan, China to begin researching the origins of the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus and business
The latest sector to be uprooted by the pandemic is the stock market, in a very unlikely way. Individual investors (read: Redditors) have crowd-sourced a higher share price for GameStop, a brick-and-mortar videogame store that has been likened to Blockbuster Video and record store chains.
- The rally follows BlackBerry’s surge on the stock market earlier this week, despite the Canadian tech company reporting no actual innovations or advancements.
- Likewise, silver is the latest to experience incredible volatility after Reddit posts incited retail investors to bid up the prices.
Also today: The United States economy contracted 3.5 per in 2020 – the worst performance since 1946.
And: MasterCard’s business is on the rebound and it sees travel picking up as lockdowns ease and COVID-19 vaccination efforts improve.
- David Parkinson: A group of economists have made a compelling case for governments to foot the bill to build production capacity for vaccine makers. Given the fact that Canada has so far only gotten needles into arms of about 2 per cent of its population, we should listen to the economists on this one.
- Rob Carrick: What’s happening with GameStop is a form of social protest against the elite of the financial world, a.k.a. hedge funds.
- A Barrie, Ont. long-term care home struck by the British variant of COVID-19 has now infected more than 300 individuals, heightening fears of community spread.
- How some antique dealers have survived since COVID-19 cut them off from their customers.
- Snow sculpting is the latest pandemic pastime for Canadians.
- How well do vaccines 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.