Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Experts examining AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines advise Canadians to take what is offered
- New coronavirus cases in Canada are beginning to moderately increase, says Canada’s top doctor
- The coronavirus may have plateaued in terms of its ability to evolve, says the head of a British group that tracks genetic changes to the virus
In the last 7 days, 20,484 cases were reported, down 1 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 283 deaths announced, down 22 per cent over the same period. At least 2,048 people are being treated in hospitals and 820,455 others are considered recovered.
About 82 per cent of the 2,441,670 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 5.3 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 it will not give the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine to those over 65, consistent with recommendations of a national panel of experts. Meanwhile, Toronto has to use more of its vaccine supply for priority groups, and can’t yet inoculate the general population. The top doctor in York Region is not bothered about being a public-health outlier in the Greater Toronto Area. And, a second COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in a Northern Ontario region that’s already battling a deadly outbreak.
- All eligible adults in British Columbia will be able to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, the province predicts. Meanwhile, churches continue to challenge the province’s COVID-19 rules in court.
- Quebec has reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March, the Health Minister has said.
In Ottawa, Canada’s top doctor says there is a “moderate increase” in new COVID-19 cases nationally, following a month of decline.
- Theresa Tam said these figures are in line with models forecasting an increase in infections unless strict public-health measures remain in place.
- “The concern is that we will soon see an impact on hospitalization, critical care and mortality trends,” Tam said Tuesday.
And, a House of Commons committee is unanimously urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to promise he won’t call a federal election during the pandemic.
Coronavirus around the world
- COVID-19 may have hit “peak fitness” in its ability to spread and evade vaccines, says the head of a British program tracking variants.
- The Brazil variant has been found to reinfect people who previously recovered from the disease, scientists said.
- The COVAX initiative said it will deliver 237 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 142 poor and middle-income countries by the end of May.
- Israel has approved plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians with Israeli work permits.
Coronavirus and business
Canada’s real gross domestic product grew 2.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, Statistics Canada said today, beating expectations. Even with the fourth-quarter gains, the economy shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020, the worst annual reading of the postwar era.
Also today: Evan Siddall, the head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., acknowledged that “errors” were made last year when predicting a plunge in home prices and soaring mortgage arrears in 2020.
And: Household wealth has increased across all income brackets during the pandemic, new Statistics Canada data shows. It’s a trend that contrasts the deep losses felt by low-wage workers and young people in the labour market.
- Robyn Urback: Toronto’s crackdown on the man who built tiny shelters for the homeless is not as callous as it seems. Their injunction suggests the city is uninterested in the unconventional, and instead is focused on pursuing sustainable, long-term solutions.
- Mark Lautens: In the blink of an eye, Canada is back where it has historically been: playing catch-up. This country needs to match the U.S.’s support in applied science.
- Yesterday, Alberta announced it would delay changes to COVID-19 restrictions because of the increase in infections
- COVID-19 has changed everything about the Canadian high-school experience
- Hockey: Sidney Crosby out of action after being added to COVID-19 protocol list
- Staycation at these seven Canadian hotels opening this year
- Health experts said Ontarians need realistic pandemic guidelines following a winter of isolation
- 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.