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

Top headlines:

  1. Ottawa taps companies such as Canada Goose and Arc’teryx to make medical gowns
  2. Business groups welcome wage-subsidy changes revealed in draft bill
  3. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected to remain in intensive care for several days

Coronavirus explainers: Updates and essential resourcesCoronavirus in maps and chartsThe rules in each province

Photo of the day

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A patient sits in consultation with healthcare workers at a community-run screen and testing facility in Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday.BARRY CHRISTIANSON/AFP/Getty Images

Number of the day

1 in 4

Alberta’s unemployment will likely surpass 25 per cent, Premier Jason Kenney said, even without factoring in the full impact of fallen oil demand and prices.

Coronavirus in Canada

17,840 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 7 days ago. There have also been 3,935 recoveries and 380 deaths. Health officials have administered 357,968 tests.

  • At the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Ontario, site of one of the worst outbreaks in Canada, another patient died, bringing the toll to 27 residents.
  • In British Columbia, Stanley Park, the most popular park in Vancouver, will close to cars to make space for effective social distancing.
  • Anyone in Alberta aged 65 and older with possible COVID-19 symptoms is eligible for testing. The province also banned more visits to long-term care homes. There have been at least 112 confirmed cases and 13 deaths at care homes in the province.
  • Modelling data released by the Quebec government predicts at minimum 1,263 deaths in the province by the end of the month.
  • Nova Scotia recorded its first COVID-19-related death. Also in the province, a manufacturer secured $28-million in contracts to make protective gowns for health workers.
  • Manitoba reported its third COVID-19-related death.

In Ottawa, the federal government is looking to 20 Canadian industrial companies to produce critically needed medical supplies such as gowns and ventilators.

  • The firms are being tapped to produce as many as 30,000 ventilators which should be available “in the coming weeks and months,” Justin Trudeau said.
  • Any machines that are not needed will be sent to other countries.

“We need a sustainable, stable supply of these products and that means making them at home,” the Prime Minister said.

Also today: The government plans to make it easier for businesses to access the proposed wage-subsidy program.

  • The current proposal limits eligibility to companies with a 30 per cent decline in monthly revenue this year compared to the same month in 2019.
  • The draft gives the option of using January and February as reference periods instead, under certain conditions.

The program aims to keep people on payroll, even if a company’s revenue drops. The government will cover 75 per cent of a wage, up to a maximum benefit of $847 a week.

Coronavirus around the world

1,407,917 cases confirmed around the world; with 298,078 recoveries and 80,795 deaths reported.

  • Canada’s official advice to those with mild symptoms is to ‘isolate yourself at home,’ in a separate room. But Chinese researchers point to centralized quarantine as a key reason Wuhan was able to limit the virus’s spread
  • The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon explored the usually busy streets around St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is waging his own battle with COVID-19. Johnson is expected expected to remain in intensive care for several days.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has removed the inspector-general tasked with overseeing the government’s coronavirus response, including $2.3-trillion in economic relief.
  • New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus rose past 3,200 Tuesday, eclipsing the number killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
  • India’s 21-day lockdown is set to end next week but several state leaders have called for an extension or only a partial lifting of restrictions, saying is the only way to avoid a coronavirus epidemic that will be difficult to tackle.
  • An army of community health workers in Ethiopamany of them women who in the 2000s helped reduce maternal mortality – are now trying to stop coronavirus spreading in the east African country.

Coronavirus and business

The supply chains for food distributors and retailers are made up of different companies with separate warehouses, inventories, work forces and fleets. But now, overwhelmed retailers are turning to idled food distributors for help getting goods into their stores.

  • Food-services distributors have seen their sales decline by as much as 70 per cent.
  • Retailers are facing unprecedented demand and are struggling to keep up.

This kind of supply chain integration is happening all across North America.

Reader question

Question: Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam issued new guidance on the wearing of masks in public yesterday. What did she say?

Answer: Citing new evidence on presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the new coronavirus, Dr. Tam said it is “reasonable” to wear a non-medical mask in public settings when physical distancing can be hard to maintain.

However, there are several caveats:

  • There’s no evidence that a non-medical face covering protects the person wearing it
  • This homemade option should be considered an additional measure to reduce the likelihood of spreading one’s own droplets to others.
  • A non-medical mask can complement other measures including physical and social distancing, proper sneezing and coughing etiquette, and good hand hygiene.

Medical masks such as N95 respirators are in short supply and need to be reserved for health-care settings.

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

An act of kindness

“An unprecedented, breathtaking rally in Canadians supporting charities

At the online-giving portal, charitable donations are up.

  • The number of donors in March was up 62 per cent over the same month last year, while the number of donations was up 65 per cent and overall donation dollars surged 92 per cent.
  • There was also a 58-per-cent increase in people committing to monthly donation plans, which are a big win for charities because they help smooth the donation flow over the course of a year.

The increase is an encouraging sign for a sector that has been hurt by the cancellation of spring fundraising events.

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


🎧For the music lover:

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Bruuuuuuce!Courtesy of manufacturer

Bruce Springsteen has always managed to conjure feelings of both escape and togetherness, the paradoxical twin cravings of quarantine. These songs are taken, one each, from his first 16 studio albums and a movie soundtrack. This playlist, for dreaming of escape in a time of isolation, includes:

Eric Andrew-Gee’s full playlist here.

More Globe reporting and opinion

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