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

Top headlines:

  1. With strong control measures, models show the epidemic could last until the fall and infect between 1 and 10 per cent of the population in Canada
  2. Job losses top one million in March as coronavirus slams Canadian economy
  3. MPs to meet on Easter weekend to pass emergency wage-subsidy bill

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

Photo of the day

Nurses hold newborn babies wearing protective face shields at the Praram 9 hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/Reuters

Number of the day

One million

More than one million people lost their jobs in March, easily surpassing a record one-month decline set in January, 2009.

  • The unemployment rate climbed to 7.8 per cent, the biggest one-month increase in the country’s jobless rate. In February, the unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent.

“These increases in absences from work can be attributed to COVID-19 and bring the total number of Canadians who were affected by either job loss or reduced hours to 3.1 million,” Statscan said.

Coronavirus in Canada

20,696 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 8 days ago. There have also been 5,206 recoveries and 503 deaths. Health officials have administered 385,496 tests.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Conservative Party is delaying passage of the wage subsidy package by demanding there be an agreement to allow for regular sittings of the House of Commons with some MPs.

  • The Liberals are prepared to sit over Easter weekend to pass the legislation, the Prime Minister said. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he believes in-person sittings are required for proper transparency and accountability.

Also today: The federal pandemic models show the country could see 22,580 to 31,850 cases by April 16, resulting in between 500 and 700 deaths.

The models outline three scenarios.

  • If strong control measures remain: The models show between 11,000 and 22,000 Canadians could die in the next year, based on an overall infection rate of between 2.5 and 5 per cent. The models show the epidemic could last until the fall. Officials say that is Canada’s best-case scenario.
  • A middle-of-the-road approach: Weaker controls would delay and reduce the peak, could lead to between 25 and 50 per cent of Canadians becoming infected. More than 100,000 people could die. The first wave of the pandemic could last until spring, 2021.
  • With no controls: The models show between 70 and 80 per cent of people could become infected and more than 300,000 people could die.

Coronavirus around the world

1,512,659 cases confirmed around the world, with 329,713 recoveries and 88,434 deaths reported.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care at a London hospital and his condition has been improving.
  • Coronavirus infections are spiking in Japan and creating hot spots in India’s congested cities just as the U.S. and some of the hardest-hit European countries are considering when to start easing restrictions that have helped curb their outbreaks of the disease.
  • African officials objected to the global jostling to obtain medical equipment to combat the coronavirus, warning that if COVID-19 is left to spread on the continent the world will remain at risk.
  • New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia.
  • Australian police said they have taken the “black box” of a cruise ship which disembarked hundreds of passengers infected with the coronavirus in Sydney, as part of a homicide investigation into the country’s deadliest infection source.
  • The WHO director-general has dismissed suggestions that his agency was too close to China after criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump.

More world videos: The coronavirus has forced Jewish families to limit the celebratory Passover meals known as seders and embrace digital connections with physically distant family and friends.

And: Cats can become infected with the new coronavirus but dogs appear not to be vulnerable, according to a study published on Wednesday, prompting the WHO to say it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets.

Coronavirus and business

Parliament’s spending watchdog released a report showing the federal deficit could reach $184.2-billion this year based on the measures announced to date in response to COVID-19. That’s 8.5 per cent of GDP.

  • The report says the debt-to-GDP ratio could climb to 41.4 per cent in 2020-21.
  • The government’s December fiscal update said the federal debt-to-GDP ratio was 31 per cent.

The report cautions that this is an illustrative scenario and is not a forecast of the most likely outcome.

Question and answer

Question: How do you make a mask at home?

Answer: N95 medical masks must be reserved for health-care workers and others who need them. Canada’s public health officers have said wearing masks in public, when social distancing measures are not possible such as at the grocery store, could help stop the spread of the virus.

A very simple homemade mask can be made as follows.

  1. Cut two 25-centimetre-by-15-centimetre rectangles of cotton fabric and stack them on top of each other. (Use quilting fabric, sheets or even a T-shirt if needed).
  2. Fold the longer sides over at least 0.5 cm and hem.
  3. Fold the shorter sides over about 1 cm and hem.
  4. Feed the elastic through your 1-cm hems on the short sides of the mask using a bobby pin or a needle. These are your ear loops. A longer piece of string can also be used if you wish to tie your mask at the back of your head rather than behind your ears with elastic.
  5. Try on your mask. Adjust the elastic so it fits your face. The mask should be snug enough that it does not gape at the sides.

Homemade masks are not a replacement for PPE, but they may still reduce the spread of the virus. - The Canadian Press

And: The pros, cons and step-by-step instructions to make three masks at home.

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

An act of kindness

Finding community, even in quarantine

Not a community to miss a chance to share joy in times of hardship, queer people are still gathering to dance amid the coronavirus pandemic. But before you brandish a judging finger – the party is online and it’s called club quarantine. It was started by Andres Sierra, Brad Allen, Casey MQ and Mingus New, who all live in Toronto.

Last Friday, I downloaded Zoom just in time to catch performer Bonbon Bontemps dancing on the platform’s spotlight function. She was blessed with a highlighter yellow bob, and at one point, brandished a small Yorkshire Terrier, who was also dressed to impress in a pink frill.

“She’s a sickening pixel,” commented one club-goer, in admiration, referring to the slight lag in the Internet connection.

After an intermission, DJ Alex Chapman took over the full-screen, wearing a green tank top and accompanied by a large, plush alligator. A version of Everytime We Touch promptly started playing.

The 436 or so Zoomers – including ‘Carole Baskin Fed Her Husband to Tigers’ and ‘House of Quarantini’ – did not turn up in pajamas, with outfits featuring lightsabers, a fake bloody hand, along with your standard mesh and leather. One attendee’s virtual background was set to a large, sliced mango. A little after 11 p.m., smiling, I left the chat. –Marsha McLeod, Toronto

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 sports fan.

In place of on-field baseball action postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Globe and Mail brings you a computer-simulated tournament involving four of the greatest Canadian teams, using the statistics-based software of the sports-game company Strat-O-Matic.

Two first-round series eliminated the 1981 Montreal Expos and the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays, leaving the 1993 Jays and the ’94 Expos to compete for the mythical Macdonald-Cartier Cup.

This matchup is Game No. 2 of the final series: 1993 Blue Jays trash 1994 Expos 11-4 to even the series.

More Globe reporting and opinion

  • A “calm ship in rough waters”: James Maskalyk, an emergency medicine physician in Toronto, leads a daily guided meditation practice for thousands online
  • A 2006 report co-written by Theresa Tam predicted our current situation, and the steps needed to get out of it, with eerie accuracy. But the actual response has been very different. What went wrong?
  • To avoid the fate of places like New York, where mass graves on public land are being considered to accommodate the deceased, Canada’s funeral industry is making worst case scenario plans.
  • Andrew Coyne: “Given how signally we have failed to predict the virus’s impact as far as a few weeks ahead, first dismissing the threat even as it was bearing down on us, only to hit the collective panic button as it started to subside, a little humility would seem to be in order when it comes to the eternal.”
  • John Ibbitson: A “crisis basic income” instead of the CERB would see Ottawa send a direct deposit or cheque to everyone who filed a tax return for immediate relief.

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