Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- The remaining school boards in Ontario that have been in virtual classrooms will be returning to in-class learning
- Canada is the only G7 country to draw on a supply of COVID-19 vaccines meant primarily for developing countries, known as the COVAX program
- A criminal group selling fake COVID-19 vaccines has been busted in China
In the last 7 days, 28,425 cases were reported, down 20 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 822 deaths announced, down 23 per cent over the same period. At least 3,286 people are being treated in hospitals and 721,078 others are considered recovered.
About 86 per cent of the 1,157,381 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 2.6 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
- Quebec has rejected calls for police checkpoints to limit travel within the province. And, yesterday, the province announced it would loosen some pandemic restrictions.
- Elementary and secondary schools in most of Ontario will reopen next Monday, the province announced. Students in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region will return to in-class learning the following week, on Feb. 16. The province reported 1,172 new COVID-19 cases today. And, Premier Doug Ford is denying any involvement in the decision to fire a Brampton doctor who was an outspoken critic of the government’s coronavirus response.
- Alberta will extend quarantine for those who live with people with new COVID-19 variants to 24 days. Meanwhile, the province’s Auditor-General is set to review the province’s COVID-19 response in continuing care.
- The downward trend of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia will help the province respond to the uncertainties of new coronavirus variants. And, five long-term-care homes in the Lower Mainland will received support from the Red Cross. Also in the province, drivers will soon receive vehicle insurance rebate cheques.
- New Brunswick confirmed three cases of the British variant of COVID-19 in the province.
In Ottawa, Canada is the only G7 country to draw on a supply of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the program that aims to secure doses for 92 low- and middle-income countries, according to new data released Wednesday.
- Canada has been told by COVAX to expect between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Health justice advocates say Canada’s decision to take COVAX vaccines shows “how rich countries are hedging their bets” and demonstrates the fund is not a “sustainable solution” for lower- and middle-income countries.
Poverty: People experiencing homelessness should be given COVID-19 priority, advocates say.
Coronavirus around the world
- Moderna’s failure to provide its vaccine to poorer countries is an example of the “vaccine apartheid,” as the South African government has described it.
- A single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine provides a high level of protection, according to a study backed by officials in Britain.
- World Health Organization representatives visited China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, the site that has been the subject of speculation about the origins of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus and business
Millions of online shoppers have started to use buy now, pay later services – or BNPLs for short – as a way to manage the purchase of goods as online shopping proliferates during the pandemic.
- Companies such as Sezzle, Afterpay, Uplift, PayBright, Affirm, Klarna, Flexiti and QuadPay are good for purchases as small as an eyeliner from Sephora, or an aromatherapy candle from Anthropologie. And the bonus? You get it right away.
Also today: An airline industry group says its recovery is threatened by the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and travel restrictions.
And: Spotify says the coronavirus crisis has caused the company to miss Wall Street estimates this quarter.
- Robyn Urback: The federal government has been extraordinarily secretive about many of the details of how and when vaccines will make their way to the country. Canadians would of course be justified in feeling anxious about our vaccine efforts.
- Zain Chagla, Sumon Chakrabarti and Kwadwo Kyeremanteng: Without easily accessible and rapid paid sick leave support, workers are disincentivized from reporting symptoms for fear of economic instability.
- Rita Trichur: The federal benefit provides up to $500 a week for two weeks for people who are sick or have to self-isolate. That is more than pitiful.
- Akshaya Kumar: Ignoring the vaccine needs of the world’s poor wouldn’t just be a public-health failure, it’s also the type of inequity that we should deem intolerable.
- Nicole Rhodes: “I have a standing date on Thursday afternoon these days, rain or shine. My spouse is not invited. It involves my dad and me.”
- The Editorial Board: The announcement that Canada has signed a deal with U.S. pharma company Novavax to start producing vaccines comes so late in the game – it is essentially a plan to deliver vaccines after the game is supposed to be over.
- Tokyo Olympic organizers have unveiled COVID-19 protocols
- American Airlines is telling about 13,000 employees that they are at risk of furlough
- How well do vaccines 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.