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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. 13% unemployment in Canada; 14.7% unemployment in the United States
  2. Canadian Labour Congress calls for end to private care homes
  3. Quebec launches testing strategy, but falls short of daily target

In Canada, 66,313 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 21 days ago. There have also been 29,955 recoveries and 4,567 deaths. Health officials have administered 1,078,281 tests.

Worldwide, 3,906,214 cases have been confirmed; with 1,305,892 recoveries and 272,508 deaths.

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: Updates and essential resourcesCoronavirus in maps and chartsLockdown rules and reopening plans in each province

Photo of the day

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A woman cries while holding the hand of a relative at the triage area of a hospital in Mexico City. Mexico has almost 30,000 confirmed cases, though officials have estimated the real number may be eight times higher. The country has seen almost 3,000 deaths. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Number of the day

13 per cent

Almost two million Canadians lost their jobs in April, Statistics Canada reported today. In March, almost one million joined the unemployment line.

  • The unemployment rate is 13 per cent, the second-highest level on record, up from 7.8 per cent in March, said Statistics Canada.
  • Over two months, 5.5 million people have either lost their jobs or seen their work hours significantly reduced.
  • Ontario, the most populous province, lost 689,000 jobs.

While historically bad, economists had estimated worse. Several economists forecast at least four million lost jobs in April, and and unemployment rate of 18 per cent.

Coronavirus in Canada

There are currently at least 3,042 hospitalized cases, up 4% per cent in the last week. Of those, 466 are in intensive care.

  • Quebec announced a “massive” testing strategy in Montreal, but the province has fallen short of its goal to administer 14,000 coronavirus tests daily, testing just 10,000 each day. The province said it does not have enough staff to track and trace all patients who test positive. Montreal’s transit authority advises passengers to wear masks.
  • In a remote community in northern Saskatchewan, there are 167 confirmed cases, including in vulnerable Indigenous communities.
  • New Brunswick entered a new phase of reopening. As long as they follow health guidelines, many businesses, libraries, museums and campgrounds can reopen immediately. Elective surgeries many resume, and gathering of up to 10 people are allowed outside, and inside for religious functions.
  • Prince Edward Island announced it has no active cases. All 27 cases are considered recovered.
  • How the government in British Columbia is moving to house hundreds of people who have been sleeping rough in encampments.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the wage subsidy program is extended until June 6. The program currently subsidizes 75 per cent of an employee’s wage, to a maximum $847 a week, for up to 12 weeks.

  • CERB, set to expire in October, was not extended.
  • A panel to advise on restarting the economy will also be created.

The government also signalled, again, that relief measures for the tourism, energy and aviation sectors, along with aid for seniors, is coming. The government did not provide a timeline or additional detail.

Also today: The Canadian Labour Congress called for an end to private long-term care homes in Canada.

  • Unlike hospitals or doctor visits, long-term care is currently not a core, publicly-insured service under the Canada Health Act, and is not subject to federal statute and regulations, the labour group said.
  • The organization called on the federal government to set national standards for care. Governments must ensure adequate staffing in care facilities, the labour group said.
  • The majority of coronavirus deaths – 81 per cent according to Dr. Theresa Tam – in Canada are tied to outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

“The bottom line is that these owners are not in it to provide care. They are in it to make money," said the labour group’s president.

And: Amateur sports will receive $72 million in relief funding from the federal government.

Coronavirus around the world

Question and answer

Question: Are cloth masks useful?

Answer: Canadians are growing more accustomed to wearing cloth face masks while going for walks or running errands during the pandemic. But if those masks aren’t being sanitized regularly, experts say they could be harmful.

Winnipeg emergency room physician Dr. Lisa Bryski says we should be treating our cloth masks just as we would our hands – thoroughly washing them whenever we come in from outside.

Cloth masks can be useful in keeping novel coronavirus droplets from travelling from a person’s nose or mouth into the air, where they can potentially infect others.

It’s best to think of both sides of a mask as a potential hazardous material, says Prof. Dasantila Golemi-Kotra, an expert in molecular biology at Toronto’s York University.

“Treat it as though it’s carrying virus particles,” said Golemi-Kotra, adding that washing hands after handling a used mask is also important.

The Globe’s health columnist André Picard answered reader questions on social distancing and many additional topics.

An act of kindness

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Illustration by Drew Shannon

How TikTok helped me bond with my tween in isolation

“TikTok provided my daughter an escape, yes, but even more than that, it offered her information, community, connection and a powerful outlet for dealing with daily stress. Miriam showed me TikToks that tackled COVID-19 with humour, compassion and irony. Young people were speaking to each other about how to “get through this.” Instructions for pranks, juice mixes, hair styles, crafts, room décor, dealing with parents and how to sew your own non-surgical masks endlessly proliferate on the platform. And then there are the dances. Each dance necessitates perfecting challenging moves, hitting the beat and knowing the lyrics to the songs. Miriam was a dancing queen in an oversized hoodie, PJ bottoms and a tie-dye scrunchy.

Our TikTok research opened an avenue for conversation during these stressful times about something my daughter really cares about. I took her love of this social-media app seriously. She seemed to appreciate that. And she happily answered my questions about how TikTok affected her life, especially now that she spends most of her time inside and physically distant from her BFFs.”

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. Email


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Courtesy of manufacturer

🌷For the maternal figure in your life: The perfect film or TV show to stream this Mother’s Day [For subscribers]

  • Brave: If you have cycled through the Frozen films to the point of near-insanity, try this tale of a headstrong Scottish archer and the mom she just doesn’t understand.
  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Pour a glass of white wine and stream underrated and rather bananas 2018 song-and-dance extravaganza
  • Wine Country: Pour another glass of white wine for this Netflix comedy, Amy Poehler’s directorial debut.

More Globe reporting and opinion

  • The number of people spending more than a week in Ontario’s cottage country recently has nearly doubled compared with 2019, even as politicians urge travellers to stay home
  • Stats Canada is investigating how today’s employment numbers were distributed before they were supposed to be public. [For subscribers]
  • Pitching in: Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers [For subscribers]
  • Dr. Jillian Horton: “So while we all look forward to what comes after COVID-19, I worry about what looms. I worry about the potential for post-traumatic stress disorder, for a flood of early retirements and even for a spate of deaths by suicide. I worry because I know how much we suffer even in normal times. Maybe this will split it all open and get it into the light.”
  • Margaret Atwood: “What parts of the pre-COVID world do we wish to return to when this plague is over? What parts do we want to enhance? The future will be fairer, we trust. Unless we want to cook to death, it will need to be greener. And surely birds will be in it.”
  • Gary Mason: “If nothing else, the pandemic has revealed that our country’s health care system has forgotten someone. It’s time we addressed that shortcoming.
  • Margaret MacMillan: “While we will have to keep washing our hands, let’s only do so in a literal sense. If we are to build a better future, we, leaders and publics both, must not be like Pontius Pilate and abdicate all responsibility.”
  • Andrew Coyne: “That the pace of change has accelerated rather makes the case against industrial strategy than for it: Governments are if anything less able to predict trends in the new world than they were in the old, and just as vulnerable to regulatory capture.”

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