Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Canada lost 62,600 jobs in December: StatsCan
- Ontario lockdown may continue if cases keep climbing, Doug Ford says
- Vaccine hesitancy poses challenge for public health advocates
In the last seven days, 55,906 cases were reported, up 14 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 1,033 deaths announced, up 22 per cent over the same period. At least 4,480 people are being treated in hospitals and 545,140 others are considered recovered.
About 58 per cent of the 436,830 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 0.7 doses for every 100 people in Canada.
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
- In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford says more “extreme” lockdown measures may be needed if case numbers continue to rise. And, paramedics report that measures to protect residents in a Toronto care home where 156 residents tested positive for COVID-19 were “minimal to non-existent.”
- Manitoba extended restrictions on gatherings and store openings for another two weeks as the province sees a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to the holiday events. Meanwhile, the province approved NHL play in Winnipeg.
- In Quebec, the government defended its decision to keep schools open despite soaring case counts, saying classrooms are not the primary driver of infection. Meanwhile, experts are unclear how much the province’s curfew will help combat COVID-19 spread.
- Nova Scotia tightened restrictions at its border after New Brunswick reported a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Starting tomorrow, people entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick will be required to isolate for two weeks.
In Ottawa, all but five member of the 93 members of the Senate say they did not travel internationally over the holiday break. Two senators, including Conservative Senate leader Don Plett, admitted to travelling internationally. Three other senators did not respond to repeated inquiries.
Vaccine hesitancy: Many long-term care workers are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, raising concerns about how well vulnerable seniors will be protected. Public-health advocates are looking for ways to persuade staff to accept that the vaccines are effective.
COVID-19 vaccines: Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada overseeing vaccine approvals, says there have been no rare side-effects seen at all during Canada’s immunization campaign so far. The mild and moderate side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, such as fevers, headache and fatigue, were in line, both in severity and frequency, as what was seen during the clinical trials.
Coronavirus around the world
- In Britain, the mayor of London declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus patients in hospital soars 27-per-cent in the week ending on Jan. 6. A “major incident” is defined as one in which there is a risk to life and welfare. The declaration will let London ask for help from other areas.
- The United Nations fears “massive community transmission” of COVID-19 among the 6 million people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, fueled by displacement and the collapse of health services.
Coronavirus and business
Canada shed 62,600 jobs (net) in December, the first monthly decline since April, as new restrictions led to a fresh round of layoffs.
- The unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 per cent from November’s 8.5 per cent, according to Statistics Canada data released today.
- With December’s job loss, about 636,000 fewer people in Canada are employed than in February, pre-pandemic.
- Economists say Canada’s near-term outlook is rough, with a senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets saying December’s report captures only “the tip of the iceberg in terms of the contraction in the economy.”
Also today: WestJet announced today that it will lay off 1,000 people and slash its flight schedule. The news follows the federal government’s announcement on Dec. 31 requiring travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to Canada.
And: A Globe and Mail analysis shows that many companies with deep pockets tapped Canada’s emergency wage subsidy program.
- John Ibbitson: All eyes on Ottawa for COVID-19 vaccine rollout that could trigger a 2021 federal election
- Harriet Alida Lye: I spent eight months in the hospital as a teenager. Here’s how it prepared me for the pandemic.
- David Sax: Dropping my kids off at school has become the heart of my social life. I can’t wait until I can do it again.
- The European Union says it reached a deal to secure 300-million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
- Ontario is stepping up genomic surveillance in areas where coronavirus infections are trending upward faster than average — out of concern that new variants could be accelerating the spread of COVID-19, the province’s head microbiologist says.
- Military members are helping Fort Albany First Nation, in northeastern Ontario, until at least Monday as the area deals with a COVID-19 outbreak.
- NHL: The Dallas Stars season opener was delayed after six players and two staff test positive for COVID-19.
- NBA: Philadelphia 76ers are quarantining after Seth Curry tests positive for COVID-19: source
- Global COVID-19 lockdowns delay fuel demand recovery.
- 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.