Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- Justin Trudeau accuses Erin O’Toole of irresponsible leadership, says Canadians ‘disgusted’ by protesters’ actions
- Britain to scrap compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers
- The pandemic kick-started benefit programs such as paid sick days and COVID leave. Why are so many essential workers still falling through the cracks?
In the past seven days, 109,369 cases were reported, down 24 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 1,089 deaths announced, down 2 per cent over the same period. At least 9,713 people are being treated in hospitals.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 13th 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.
Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts • Tracking vaccine doses • Lockdown rules and reopening
Photo of the day
Coronavirus in Canada
- Restaurants, gyms and theatres in Ontario welcomed patrons back as restrictions from the latest pandemic-related shutdown eased today. And some surgeries that were paused to preserve health system capacity during the rush of Omicron patients were also allowed to restart as of Monday. The province reported 2,983 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 583 people in ICU.
- Indoor dining has also resumed in Quebec, with certain limits. The second phase of the province’s reopening plan scheduled for Feb. 7 is set to allow places of worship, entertainment and sports venues to reopen with capacity restrictions. Meanwhile, Quebec reported 33 additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Monday. The Health Department said 2,888 people were hospitalized with the disease, a drop of seven patients from the previous day, and 223 people were in intensive care, a decline of 10.
- In Alberta, cabinet minister Doug Schweitzer says he wants answers from fellow caucus member Grant Hunter, who attended a truckers protest that is snarling traffic at the U.S. border.
- Care-home providers in British Columbia are calling on the province for better guidance about when to declare a COVID-19 outbreak, saying Omicron’s impact has prompted confusion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the actions of some trucker convoy protesters in Ottawa during a press conference today.
- “If we choose to put up with and tacitly support conspiracy theorists and folks peddling disinformation, that’s a reflection on what we choose to do as politicians and who we are as leaders,” the Prime Minister said. He says his government won’t be intimidated by protesters who refuse to leave Ottawa.
- Here’s a visual guide showing where in downtown Ottawa the trucker convoy is based, and where the disruptions have spread
Critics denounce ‘peaceful’ protests: Activists and academics on social media have taken issue with characterizing the trucker convoy as “peaceful,” saying it undermines the fear, damage and disruption the protests have wrought.
Justin Trudeau tests positive: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tested positive for COVID-19, and will work remotely this week. Last week, Trudeau said he was isolating after one of his children tested positive.
Spotify and COVID-19 misinformation: Following the lead of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, other Canadian musicians have vowed to pull their music from Spotify in protest of COVID-19 misinformation being spread on the platform, particularly through the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
Hospital stays: People with disabilities have longer COVID-19 hospital stays and high readmission rates, according to a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It found that adult COVID-19 patients with disabilities had 36 per cent longer hospital stays and a 77 per cent increased risk of readmission within 30 days.
Coronavirus around the world
- Britain’s Health Secretary announced on Monday that the government will scrap compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing renewed political pressure after a preliminary report regarding allegations his staff repeatedly violated COVID-19 restrictions found “failures of leadership and judgment” at Downing Street.
- A Danish study has found that the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is more transmissible than the BA.1 variant and is more able to infect vaccinated people. Worldwide, the “original” BA.1 subvariant accounts for more than 98 per cent of Omicron cases, but BA.2 has quickly become the dominant strain in Denmark.
- China has detected 119 COVID-19 cases among athletes and personnel involved in the Beijing Winter Olympics in the past four days, with authorities imposing a “closed loop” bubble to keep participants, staff and media separated from the public.
Coronavirus and business
Economists, business lobby groups and labour advocates are divided over whether it’s feasible for the federal government to continue offering pandemic-relief programs. But there is also a debate over a more fundamental question: Are these programs actually helping people who stay home while ill?
- Some economists believe benefits programs have been too generous. But labour advocates argue federal benefits programs, even if they retroactively pay people who can’t work because of illness, are inadequate because the payments are too small and too complicated to access.
Also today: The European economy slowed noticeably at the end of 2021 as surging COVID-19 cases, driven by the Omicron variant, piled on top of supply shortages and rising energy prices.
And: Neil Young’s dispute with Spotify over Joe Rogan increases pressure on streamer to monitor content
- Cathal Kelly: A midnight hustle: What it was like arriving in Beijing ahead of the Olympics
- André Picard: Vaccines matter – and not just for COVID-19
- Blake Murdoch: It’s a delusion to think mass spread of Omicron will end the pandemic
- Hilary Brown, Yona Lunsky, Sandi Bell, Fahad Razak and Amol Verma: Our pandemic response must stop overlooking people with disabilities
- Cascades issues second profit warning in six weeks because of ‘rapid escalation’ of Omicron
- Formula One to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for 2022 season
- Spotify shares rebound 12% after Joe Rogan apology, Citigroup upgrade
- 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.
What are we missing? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.