Good evening. Next week, The Globe’s science reporter Ivan Semeniuk and health reporter Kelly Grant will answer reader questions on COVID-19 vaccines during a Facebook live. Join them on Tues., Dec. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
- Ontario will move Windsor and York into lockdown on Monday
- U.S. to keep border closed with Canada and Mexico
- Ottawa seeking technology to manage COVID-19 vaccine distribution and tracking
In Canada, there have been at least 448,841 cases reported. In the last week 46,272 new cases were announced, 6 per cent more than the previous week. There have also been at least 362,300 recoveries and 13,251 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 14,131,796 tests.
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 • Lockdown rules and reopening • Canada’s vaccine distribution plan • Developing/approved vaccines • Pfizer’s vaccine, explained • Essential resources
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario announced Windsor-Essex and York Region will move to lockdown starting Monday. Officials also imposed new restrictions on five other regional health units: Middlesex-London, Simcoe Muskoka, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. The province reported 1,848 new cases today, and 45 new deaths due to COVID-19.
- Nova Scotia announced it will close schools for an extra week over the holidays out of “an abundance of caution.” Meanwhile, the Halifax airport asked its creditors for leniency in meeting its debt obligations in the face of the airline industry’s financial troubles. The province reported nine new coronavirus cases, bringing the active total to 65.
- In Alberta, “discrepancies” with the reporting COVID-19 testing data has artificially inflated the national test positivity rate, Canada’s health agency says. Also today, the province debuted new ads starring ‘Mr. Covidhead’ showing how quickly coronavirus can spread.
In Ottawa, the federal government is on the hunt for “mission critical” technology to manage its COVID-19 vaccine distribution beginning in January.
- The government is looking for a platform that will allow provinces to place orders, track adverse effects from the vaccinations, and ensure hundreds of thousands of doses can be distributed before they expire. The Pfizer vaccine, the first to be approved for use in Canada, needs to be stored at -70°C.
Also today: Updated federal modelling indicates that Canada remains on a “rapid growth trajectory,” with daily cases expected to cross the 10,000 mark later this month. The projections indicate that the total number of deaths related to the outbreak could reach between 14,410 to 14,920 by Christmas Day.
COVID-19 and education: Teachers warn students’ grades are dropping across all grades but especially at the high school level, raising concerns about the impact of a hybrid remote and in-class learning approach.
Coronavirus around the world
- The United States’ land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed until at least Jan. 21, 2021.
- Also in America: A senior CDC manager told congressional investigators she was ordered to delete an email suggesting attempted political interference by the Trump administration in coronavirus reports to the public. Dr. Charlotte Kent testified that she believed CDC Director Robert Redfield ordered the deletion of the email.
Coronavirus and business
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline delayed their COVID-19 vaccine until 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.
- Many governments have pre-bought doses from Sanofi, including Canada, which has purchased 72 million doses.
- The news came on the same day that Australia axed a domestic vaccine project.
Also today: Canadian mining companies Agnico Eagle Mines and Lundin Mining have offered to help with distributing COVID-19 vaccines in Canada’s Far North and in South America, using their in-house medical facilities, logistics experience and proximity to remote communities.
And: U.S. businesses are studying vaccine incentives for immunization, such as cash bonuses, and likewise considering the possibility of reassigning or letting go of employees who don’t get the shot.
- Gary Mason: He wanted to be Santa with British Columbia’s pandemic relief benefit. Now, John Horgan looks more like Scrooge.
- Christine Sismondo: Restaurants actually pay slightly more for their alcohol inventory than consumers do. Give these licensees a discount – especially now, during a painful pandemic. It’s the very least they can do in return for bars and restaurants’ contributions.
- David N. Fisman and Ashleigh R. Tuite: As we wait for vaccines to become available, it is clear: Out of an abundance of caution, we should try to keep Canadian numbers low to protect pregnant women.
- Editorial Board: For a mass-inoculation campaign to succeed, or happen at all, Canadians must have confidence that getting the shots is the right thing to do.
- No allergic reactions occurred during Pfizer vaccine trial, the company says. A late-stage trial testing the potential vaccine excluded participants who had a prior history of severe allergic reactions to any vaccine.
- Masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes: Globally, 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves are used each month – posing new challenges for governments trying fix their plastic problems.
- Freezers that until recently held tuna in Prince Edward Island is will now store coronavirus vaccine.
- Demand worries due to new coronavirus-related restrictions on business in New York pushed oil prices low on Friday.
- When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available in Canada? How well do they work? Here’s what you need to know.
- 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.
- Find answers to your coronavirus and employment questions.
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.