Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- How the pandemic is shaping main streets in five Canadian cities
- Goggles or face shields not needed for most people to prevent COVID-19, experts say
- Britain to drop COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers
In the past seven days, 134,187 cases were reported, down 35 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 1,059 deaths announced, up 30 per cent over the same period. At least 10,491 people are being treated in hospitals.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 15th among countries with a population of one million or more people.
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.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario home-care providers are facing a staffing crisis because of the high number of staff absences as workers are exposed to or infected with the Omicron variant. And, as the province moved to reopen schools for in-person learning last week, new data show many of its schools were hit by high rates of absences. The province logged 3,861 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 on Monday, including 615 patients in intensive care.
- Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is now required to access big-box and other large-scale retail stores across Quebec. The province reported 3,299 hospitalizations related to COVID-19, including 263 intensive care cases.
- British Columbia reported 4,997 new infections of COVID-19 over a three-day period starting Friday. Of the active cases, 987 people are in hospital and 129 in intensive care. The province reported 24 deaths for a total of 2,553 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
- In Saskatchewan, the provincial government is avoiding adding more measures to try to contain the spread of COVID-19, despite acute care hospitalizations nearing record levels. Premier Scott Moe says society needs to learn to live with COVID-19 as it does with other diseases.
- In New Brunswick, officials reported three more deaths linked to COVID-19, and 131 patients in hospital with the disease, including 12 intensive care cases.
- Newfoundland and Labrador hit a new high of 21 people hospitalized with COVID-19. The province reported 349 new cases on Monday, and the province’s 31st COVID-19 death.
In cities across Canada, the bustle is largely gone and many storefronts sit empty, but life and businesses still survive and are often thriving in surprising ways after nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Globe and Mail took a look at how the pandemic, and the latest wave driven by the Omicron variant, has affected life along five high streets across Canada.
Sewage study: Scientists and engineers who test waste water in an effort to track the spread of COVID-19 say they have proved the value of this nascent science. But now they need governments to step in to continue sifting through the samples in order to get a head start on confronting subsequent waves of the novel coronavirus or even future pandemics.
Goggles, eye protection: As Omicron spreads, at least one doctor is recommending extra protection for the eyes, but others say COVID-19 infection through eyes is rare.
Life expectancy: According to Statistics Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to an average seven-month decline in national life expectancy, the largest decrease recorded since 1921 when the registration system was introduced. Preliminary data released Monday shows national life expectancy was 81.7 years for those born in 2020 – down from 82.3 the year before.
Migrants entering Canada: A renewed stream of migrants seeking refuge in Canada has begun since the government decided to end a 20-month ban on asylum requests, designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus around the world
- For travellers heading to Britain, there will no longer be a need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival, as England is returning to test-free travel for the first time since the autumn of 2020. Meanwhile, a junior government minister resigned on Monday in protest at what he said were “woeful” efforts to stop the fraudulent abuse of coronavirus support schemes.
- “Globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge,” the head of the World Health Organization warned, saying it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of COVID-19′s acutest phase.
- Chinese authorities have lifted a month-long pandemic lockdown on the northern city of Xi’an and its 13 million residents. Meanwhile, the Beijing Winter Olympics has adjusted its COVID-19 countermeasures, including the threshold for being classed as positive for COVID-19 being eased.
Coronavirus and business
Pandemic restrictions have taken a financial and emotional toll on funeral homes as Canadians are forced to hold simpler memorial ceremonies for loved ones.
- For funeral homes, the decline in income over the past two years owed partly to rising interest in cremation, which costs less than burial.
- The losses accelerated as large viewings were cancelled, reducing the need for expensive caskets, said Scott MacCoubrey, a funeral-home owner and president of the Ontario Funeral Service Association.
Also today: With the Omicron variant sweeping across Europe, governments have been encouraging citizens to stay home and avoid socializing, dampening the euro zone’s economic recovery.
And: Trucker convoy raises millions in funds as vaccine-hesitant supporters flock to cause
- André Picard: ‘I’m done with COVID’ is easier said than done
- Michael Wolfson: Privacy outrage over the use of cellphone data by public-health officials is unwarranted
- Major-General Dany Fortin, the senior military officer once tasked with overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, is opting to have his sexual assault case tried by a Quebec judge without a jury present.
- Djokovic could play in French Open under France’s latest vaccine rules
- How advisers are helping pandemic-era entrepreneurs navigate their new financial realities
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Where do I book a COVID-19 booster or a vaccine appointment for my kids? Latest rules by province
- What is and isn't 'paid sick leave' in Canada? A short primer
- Got a vaccine 'hangover'? Here's why
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.