Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- The federal Liberals are proposing new emergency benefits that represent a big step toward a national guaranteed basic income
- India records more than 78,000 new cases in one day – the largest daily increase in the world since the pandemic began
- Most U.S. states reject CDC’s new COVID-19 testing guidance for asymptomatic people
In Canada, there have been at least 127,751 cases reported. In the past week, 2,930 new cases were announced, 10 per cent more than the previous week. There have also been at least 113,500 recoveries and 9,113 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 5,760,940 tests.
Worldwide, there have been at least 24,734,448 cases confirmed and 837,124 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.
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Number of the day
India registered 78,761 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the biggest single-day spike in the world since the pandemic began.
The increase, which drove the county’s tally to more than 3.5 million, came as the government began easing restrictions to help boost the economy. A contributing factor is more aggressive testing: India now conducts more than 1 million tests a day, up from 200,000 two months ago.
India now has the fastest-growing daily coronavirus caseload of any country in the world, reporting more than 75,000 new cases for four straight days.
COVID-19 fatalities continue to mount and soon India will have the third-largest death toll, after the United States and Brazil. However, it has had far fewer deaths than those two countries.
Coronavirus in Canada
- The government of Newfoundland and Labrador said it would allow parents to accompany their children to kindergarten on the first day, despite the pandemic. To date, Newfoundland and Labrador has reported 269 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths since the pandemic began.
- Manitoba is rethinking a costly ad campaign on reopening their economy, after several recent outbreaks in Brandon, Winnipeg and a few Hutterie colonies.
In Ottawa, the federal Liberals are proposing new emergency benefits that represent a big step toward a national guaranteed basic income, a sweeping social program that has been discussed for decades in Canada but never attempted on a large scale.
- According to the tenets of a guaranteed basic income program, all adults are eligible for government benefits that establish a floor for income, but those payments decline as earnings from wages rise. That gradual reduction, or clawback, means that the basic income benefit is eliminated entirely for higher earners.
- The Liberals aren’t going quite that far with their plan to spend $22-billion over 12 months on the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), as well as sickness and caregiver benefits. The CRB will replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which expires at the end of September.
- The new program will pay $400 a week – $100 less than the CERB – to those who have lost some or all of their income due to the pandemic and don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. But the CRB allows recipients to earn much more income than either the CERB or EI before benefits are reduced.
Those and other elements of the CRB resemble the features of a guaranteed basic income – particularly in the way it would allow some poorer Canadians to boost their earnings significantly.
Some experts warn that the government may find it difficult to wind up those benefits, even if their original rationale dissipates. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough did not rule this out last week, saying “it’s too early to tell” if the changes, which still need to be approved by Parliament, will be temporary or permanent.
Coronavirus around the world
- Four of China’s five largest state-owned banks said they have increased their provisions against bad debt to brace for future losses owing to the impact of the global pandemic.
- Thirty-three U.S. states have rejected the Trump administration’s new testing guidance, spurning direction published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.
Coronavirus and business
The tug of war over a beleaguered Calgary-based oilfield services company has Wilks Brothers LLC of Texas coming out with all guns blazing in a plan to secure majority ownership of Calfrac Well Services Ltd.
Calfrac, meanwhile, has labelled Wilks a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” accusing it of using “hyper-aggressive” tactics in an attempt to take over the company during a punishing industry slump without giving shareholders fair value.
Calfrac is one of the best-known names in the Canadian oil-service sector. But like many companies in the patch, its finances and share price have been devastated – first by the 2014-15 collapse in oil prices, then by COVID-19.
The legal battle over recapitalizing Calfrac is the latest chapter in a years-long struggle between the two industry mainstays. At its heart is control over large portions of the oilfield services sector in Canada and the United States, where Wilks-owned ProFrac Services is Calfrac’s direct competitor.
Also today: As industries across the world are forced to pivot away from in-person work, augmented and virtual reality startups are busy replicating real-life in a suddenly explosive market.
And: How are co-working companies adjusting to running shared workspaces in a pandemic?
- Editorial: “It is … a fact that the return to classrooms is being justified on the basis of COVID-19 research that is preliminary and still evolving. We know more than ever about the virus, its effects and its process of transmission. But, as the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children said in its recent Guidance for School Reopening, there is still a “knowledge gap.”
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune-system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating. What to cook with rhubarb (aside from pie).
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI and other financial benefits; how the CRA might identify CERB fraud; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered. What to do if your employees don’t return to work because they want to collect CERB.