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Top headlines:

  1. Could Canada be on the brink of a fourth wave? Dr. Theresa Tam says COVID-19 cases could surge, fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant if the country opens too fast before enough people have been vaccinated
  2. Ottawa will extend pandemic aid by an extra month, citing an uneven rebound
  3. Masks will stay on after Step 3 of Ontario’s reopening as capacity limits are dropped

In the past seven days, 4,203 cases were reported, up 34 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 48 deaths announced, down 13 per cent over the same period. At least 387 people are being treated in hospitals and 1,397,080 others are considered recovered.

Canada’s inoculation rate is 7th among countries with a population of one million or more people.

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 chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopening

Photo of the day

A woman costumed as Minnie Mouse wears a mask to prevent against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as the highly transmissible Delta variant has led to a surge in infections in New York City, July 30, 2021.EDUARDO MUNOZ/Reuters

Coronavirus in Canada

  • Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19 could have ripple effects across the country. “I firmly believe that quarantine and isolation can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the spread of the Delta variant,” Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, said Friday.
  • Ontario won’t lift its mask mandate in the next phase of reopening, the province announced Friday, even as it plans to drop most other public health measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
  • As word of the Prince Edward Island’s loosened restrictions spreads throughout Canada, hotel and resort operators in the province say they are looking forward to once again welcoming out-of-province guests.

In Ottawa, the federal government announced that federal pandemic aid programs have been extended to October due to uneven economic recovery.

  • The decision means that wage and rent subsidies for businesses will last until Oct. 23. Ottawa said it would also extend income support for unemployed workers, those who need to take time off to care for family and those who have to stay home sick.
  • Similarly, the three “recovery” benefits for workers will keep paying out at $300 per week, and four more weeks of eligibility will be added, to a maximum of 54 weeks.

The brink of a fourth wave: Long-term forecasts released Friday indicate that a hasty reopening across Canada could lead to a sharp resurgence of the virus by the end of summer.

Coronavirus around the world

  • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease. Plus, two U.S. travellers have been fined nearly $20,000 each for providing fake COVID-19 proof of vaccination documents and lying about pre-departure tests.
  • Japan has expanded its coronavirus state of emergency to four more areas following record spikes in infections as Tokyo hosts the Olympics. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared an emergency in Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, as well as in the western city of Osaka, effective until Aug. 31.
  • Millions of children in Nepal are now at greater risk of suffering from malnutrition as the socio-economic fallout brought about by COVID-19 disrupts essential health services and much-needed food supplies.
  • Leaders in Myanmar are “weaponizing” the COVID-19 pandemic to consolidate power and crush opposition, according to allegations from human rights activists.

Coronavirus and business

The Canadian economy appears to have bounced back after its worst two-month stretch since the start of the pandemic.

  • Statistics Canada said its estimate is that real gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 2.5 per cent between April and June.
  • Restrictions are rolling back in much of the country as vaccination rates rise. With early indications suggesting a boost in activity, the country should see a pretty strong rebound in the third quarter absent any hiccups, said Desjardins Group chief economist Jimmy Jean.

Also today: The federal government ran a $24-billion deficit in April and May, a sharp drop from one year earlier at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And: COVID-19 variants threaten to cool demand for oil, according to a Reuters poll.

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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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