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

Top headlines:

  1. Canada’s international pandemic alert is back in operation, more than 400 days after falling silent
  2. Critics warn paid, private learning pods are a luxury many families can’t afford
  3. Ontario school board says teachers must take unpaid leave, vacation time, resign or retire if they refuse work during the pandemic for medical reasons

In Canada, there have been at least 121,234 cases reported. In the last week 2,673 new cases were announced, 3 per cent fewer than the previous week. There have also been at least 107,551 recoveries and 9,015 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 4,931,240 tests.

Worldwide, there have been at least 20,620,847 cases confirmed and 749,358 deaths reported.

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 provinceGlobal rules on mask-wearing

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A sign reading "no mask, no service" is seen at a parking lot entrance in Los Angeles on August 13/MIKE BLAKE/Reuters

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4 in 10

In June, about 40 per cent of unemployed people in the European Union were on contracts. Furlough programs, widely credited with sparing more than 60 million people from layoffs, are not available to contract workers, leaving them to face a deep recession with fewer protections.

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, the agriculture minister announced details for the $50-million program that aims to redistribute 12 million kilograms of excess food from farmers to food banks and community groups. The government said it has signed eight agreements to keep foods such as milk, potatoes or fish from being wasted, as some food banks report an uptick in new clients.

COVID-19 and school: Some parents are planning to withdraw their children from classrooms this year and instead hire teachers to create private learning pods with other families. But many parents and education advocates fear the pods will exacerbate inequalities, with lasting consequences for children who are racialized or from less affluent communities.

And: Canada’s international pandemic alert system is back in operation, more than 400 days after falling silent

Coronavirus around the world

  • In the U.S., talks on emergency coronavirus aid reached a stalemate in the Senate, with the two sides failing to reach a compromise on further pandemic stimulus spending, including funding for the U.S. postal service.
  • A study of coronavirus anitibodies has begun in Africa, while evidence from a smaller study indicates that many more people have been infected than official numbers show, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Around the world: Politicians, policy makers and drug makers have offered contradictory outlooks as to when they believe a vaccine will be ready for use.

Coronavirus and business

The Parliamentary Budget Office said the federal wage subsidy program might cost $67.9-billion, down $14-billion from Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s previous estimate.

  • Under the program, which covers up to 75 per cent of of a worker’s wages, Ottawa has paid out $26.5-billion to date for more than 285,000 employers as of Aug. 9.
  • The PBO said the initial figure was prudent at the time because of economic uncertainty and continuing work to change the program’s rules.

Also today: Did you defer a mortgage payment during COVID-19? You should check your credit score

And: Is now a good time to start investing?

Globe opinion

  • Michael Bryant: “If Stay Away is to be the pandemic sequel to Come From Away, it will come at the cost of constitutional guarantees to mobility rights for all Canadians and permanent residents.”

More reporting


🏋️‍♀️ For the returning gym rat: If you are heading back to the gym, be sure to make a realistic strength training plan.

  • Empty the cup: It’s better to restart from, if not quite square one, then perhaps square two. Take it easy your first week back, then ramp things up slowly.
  • Small, sustainable steps: Sustained progress over a prolonged period of time is the key to achieving anything in the weight room. And the key to sustaining progress? Taking small steps.

And: What competitive eating can tell us about our capacity to stretch human limits

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