Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ontario schools allowed to stagger first week of classes
- Scientists probe the mysteries of COVID-19 immunity
- Russia produces the first batch of a new COVID-19 vaccine
In Canada, there have been at least 121,568 cases reported. In the last week 2,583 new cases were announced, 3% fewer than the previous week. There have also been at least 107,909 recoveries and 9,020 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 4,986,121 tests.
Worldwide, there have been at least 20,907,020 cases confirmed and 755,589 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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- In South Africa, COVID-19 rates dropped to an average of 5,000 a day, from a peak of 12,000 a day. Despite imposing one of the world’s toughest lockdowns, South Africa saw a surge in coronavirus infections that left it with the fifth highest number of cases in the world — currently around 579,000, of whom around 11,500 have died.
Coronavirus in Canada
- Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Friday that Ontario will allow boards to stagger the first week of classes, such as having different grades start on different days. Schools are already staggering start times, bus times and recess to allow for physical distancing.
- In Montreal, asylum seekers who work on COVID-19 frontlines rallied in front of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s constituency office to demand permanent residency status for all. On Friday, the federal government announced a new program to fast track the path of permanent residency for asylum seekers working in specific healthcare roles. But some said this plan excludes thousands of asylum seekers despite them also working on the frontlines, such as in the roles of security guards, janitorial staff, factory workers, and farm labourers.
- Calgary’s two main school boards are imposing the strictest mask rules in the country: kids in kindergarten-Grade 12 must wear masks in class, during lessons. These regulations differ from provincial guidelines, which only require children in Grades 4-12 to wear masks.
- Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced that school reopening will be delayed for a few days to allow teachers and school staff more time to prepare COVID-19 safety measures. The province is also investing an additional $40 million to help with the effort.
In Ottawa, a virologist wants to study 500 individuals whose jobs put them at a higher risk of catching COVID-19. He hopes to unlock two related and urgent mysteries surrounding the pandemic: To what degree are people who have had COVID-19 immune from reinfection, and for how long?
Coronavirus around the world
- Some scientists fear that Moscow’s COVID-19 vaccine approval, the first in the world, is putting national prestige before safety. Despite their worries, Russia produced the first batch of their new vaccine Saturday, hours after the ministry reported the start of manufacturing. Russia claims the vaccine will be ready by the end of the month.
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday that the country reached its peak of COVID-19 cases and plans to remove lockdown regulations. He said the government will end the ban on alcohol and tobacco, allow restaurants and taverns to return to normal business, subject to strict hygiene regulations, and remove the ban on travel between provinces.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a lockdown in Auckland, the country’s biggest city, for another 12 days. Ardern said genomic testing has shown the latest outbreak is a different strain to the original outbreak in New Zealand earlier in the year, suggesting it was new to the country.
- André Picard: “Let’s dispense with the question of whether school will resume and focus on the when and the how. It’s pretty clear what’s needed: small classes to enable physical distancing; bubbles or cohorts of students and teachers to limit interactions; classrooms with decent ventilation; sanitary measures such as handwashing and mask-wearing.”
- Lori Fox: “More importantly, this pandemic has kicked open the factory doors of our culture and allowed us to see how the sausage is made: on the backs of the people whose labour, time and bodies we deem to be worth at or around minimum wage, but without which we absolutely could not – cannot – make it through this crisis.”
The most popular outing of pandemic summer 2020: Getting a COVID-19 test
Globe feature writer Ian Brown explores the process of getting a COVID-19 test, which has now become a rite of passage for millions of Canadians and the most popular outing of this pandemic summer.
“It begins with planning: How long will I have to wait in line for a test? Then physical worry: How much does it hurt? A longer but milder stretch of nervousness then ensues, while you wait for the results: Do I have it? Where will I quarantine if I do? Could I be a goner nine days from now?” — Ian Brown
- 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.