Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Canada is on track to perform its millionth coronavirus test, but the Chief Public Health Officer says numbers could be higher
- Ottawa announces financial assistance for low-income seniors
- Quebec says working in daycares is now safe for people in their 60s
In Canada, 63,378 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 20 days ago. There have also been 27,813 recoveries and 4,223 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 1,013,361 tests.
Worldwide, 3,711,522 cases have been confirmed; with 1,225,907 recoveries and 259,829 deaths.
Sources: Canadian data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus explainers: Updates and essential resources • Coronavirus in maps and charts • Lockdown rules and reopening plans in each province
Photo of the day
Number of the day
Canada is on track to complete its one millionth COVID-19 test by Thursday.
- The provinces have capacity to administer 60,000 tests each day, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam has said.
- Tests for those who have mild symptoms, or are asymptomatic, is important for contact tracing, which is critical if provinces want to safely reopen schools and businesses.
- Ontario, the most populated province, falls short of its own testing goals. Fewer than 13,000 tests were completed yesterday, short of Premier Doug Ford’s target of 16,000 tests a day.
Also today: While Canada’s official death count has exceeded national projections, the epidemic appears to be slowing, Dr. Tam said.
Coronavirus in Canada
There are currently at least 3,064 cases in hospital, up 8 per cent in the past week. Of those, 481 are in intensive care.
- Ontario extended its emergency orders by two weeks, as the province reported 412 new cases. This weekend, garden centres and hardware stores may admit customers. Next week, non-essential retail stores may open for curbside pickup. Toronto will close or reduce at least 50 kilometres of roads, more than a month after advocates first called for more space for people on foot.
- Quebec is trying to reassure people between the ages of 60 and 69 that it is safe to go back to work at schools and daycares – a week after telling them to stay home.
- British Columbia has outlined its reopening plans. Starting mid-May, some health services, retail outlets, restaurants, salons and museums may resume operations. Organizations will be expected to follow provincial health guidelines.
- Health officials are concerned about an outbreak in a remote community of northern Saskatchewan, where at least 22 infections have been reported. Health officials are taking it "extremely seriously because these are more vulnerable situations,” Dr. Tam said.
- The top administrator at a Nova Scotia nursing home besieged by one of Canada’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks conceded the crisis that has infected 316 people and killed 35 residents is far from over.
- Prince Edward Island tourism, the second-biggest industry in the province, has been crushed by coronavirus lockdown measures.
In Ottawa, a limited number of MPs sat for weekly Question Period today. The government faced questions on the perceived deficiencies of various federal programs, including the newly announced agricultural relief programs, which the industry says falls short of what is needed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not in the Commons today; he attended a repatriation service for six Armed Forces members who died last week.
Also today: Senior government officials said relief is coming for seniors who are facing increased expenses – including higher food prices, and delivery costs incurred by the less mobile. The government also said relief for fisheries in the Atlantic provinces is coming soon. An announcement is “days away,” officials said.
Coronavirus around the world
- An Irish community has raised more than $2.6-million for Navajo and Hopi families affected by the coronavrus in the United States. Over 170 years ago, the American Choctaw Nation donated to help Irish people hit by the Great Famine.
- U.S. President Donald Trump said his coronavirus task force would shift to focusing on safely reopening the economy, a day after he said it would wind down.
- Watch: At a ceremony honouring nurses at the White House on Wednesday, Trump contradicted a New Orleans nurse who said the availability of personal protective equipment has been “sporadic.”
- Russian officials said the country will ease restrictions in three stages starting May 12.
- The Director-General of the United Nations said countries easing restrictions must proceed cautiously to prevent a wave of new cases.
Coronavirus and business
Some small businesses are receiving default letters and worried about evictions because the federal commercial rent program is confusing to landlords, even two weeks after the program was announced.
- Under the program, landlords must apply for relief and cover at least 25 per cent of rent for tenants whose revenues dipped significantly.
- Outdated and incorrect information about the program means some landlords are not applying on behalf of their tenants.
- Ontario’s website, as of late Wednesday afternoon, contains information that Ottawa has called outdated, but law firms and accountancies have been using it to develop advice for clients.
- A recent survey of 4,720 small businesses found three in 10 qualifying entrepreneurs are unsure their landlords will participate in the program.
Ottawa will not say whether it is considering revising the program to allow tenants to apply instead of landlords.
Question and answer
Question: Whom do face masks protect?
Answer: Perhaps the strongest benefit of wearing a mask in the community is when you’re infected but don’t have enough symptoms to be aware of it and stay home, says Lynora Saxinger, infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta.
A mask can reduce the spread of larger droplets from your nose and mouth, acting like a cover for coughs and sneezes, she says.
“So you’re not necessarily wearing it to protect you,” Dr. Saxinger says. “You’re kind of wearing it protect others. And if everyone does that, theoretically, there should be a community-based benefit to mask use.”
While the wearer may also get some protection, that’s not well studied, she says.
It’s important to note that wearing a mask could give people a false sense of security, she adds. For instance, with a mask, you may feel more confident and behave in ways that could put you at higher risk, such as getting closer to people than you otherwise would.
Get answers to your reopening questions: Join André Picard for a livestream Q&A, Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. What do we know about reopening? What will the “new normal” look like? E-mail us your questions: email@example.com.
An act of kindness
A small child celebrates his first birthday
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, release a video to mark their son’s first birthday. In the video, posted to the Instagram page of the Save the Children charity, Meghan reads Duck! Rabbit! to Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Have you witnessed or performed acts of kindness in your neighbourhood? Share your stories, photos and videos and they might be included in The Globe and Mail. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For the stay-at-home sports fan: Baseball but make it distant.
Dummies and cardboard cutouts replace fans during a game between the Rakuten Monkeys and the CTBC Brothers at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taiwan over the weekend.
Sports officials in Taiwan are adapting the game to the coronavirus age.
Locker rooms with bottles of sanitizer, and players and coaches are urged to keep a distance.
More Globe reporting and opinion
- Sylvain Charlebois: “When the Canadian Federation of Agriculture laid out a $2.6-billion ask last week to help farmers endure the COVID-19 pandemic, they were setting the bar very high. And so it is little wonder that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Tuesday announcement of a program worth barely $252-million sent the farming community reeling.”
- Dennis Matthews: “These days, no commercial break on television is complete unless multiple companies have reassured you that things are far from business-as-usual – as though that hasn’t become painfully obvious to all of us.”
- Rob Carrick: Stocks fell off a cliff as the pandemic took hold, then rallied furiously amid worse and worse economic news. Can you really trust them to get you where you need to go, financially? [For subscribers]
- “Canadians are increasingly looking to cars as a safe way to get around in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey that offers a glimmer of hope to the ailing auto industry.”
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered.
- How to minimize 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.
- How to get physical distancing right; measures condo buildings are taking to encourage physical distancing; and what you can do to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
- Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples; foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home.
- How to break a bad habit (like touching your face) and what to do if you think you have the virus.
Have questions about the coronavirus? Email email@example.com.