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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Initial rating of COVID-19 as low-risk wasn’t wrong: Tam
  2. New study raises doubts on time between vaccine shots
  3. Modelling shows potential holiday spike in COVID-19 cases

In the last 7 days, 29,584 cases were reported, up 24 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 209 deaths announced, down 2 per cent over the same period. At least 2,189 people are being treated in hospitals and 893,471 others are considered recovered.

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About 78 per cent of the 6,182,208 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 12.6 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 chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopeningVaccine distribution planFour vaccines approved in CanadaEssential resources

Photo of the day

Jose Luis Gonzalez sits in a waiting area after getting his second shot of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, March 25, 2021. In Washington state, seasonal workers who are beginning to arrive to join year-round employees to work on hops farms and in cherry and apple orchards became eligible for the vaccine earlier in the month.

Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press

Coronavirus in Canada

  • In Ontario, the country’s biggest school board issued a report pointing to potential learning gaps caused by the pandemic. The Toronto District School Board report shows fewer students are meeting reading expectations compared to 2018 data. Also today, the province announced that some restrictions on salons and outdoor gyms would be eased. And in Toronto, residents over 70 can book vaccine spots starting Saturday.
  • In Quebec, experts are urging caution after data show COVID-19 variants will represent the majority of cases in the province by April. Meanwhile, a Montreal COVID-19 vaccine pilot project will target parents of school-aged kids in a bid to stop the spread of variants.
  • British Columbia is relaxing its rules for the more than 30,000 people who live long-term care in the province. Starting April 1, the current policy of limiting residents of retirement and nursing homes to a single designated visitor will be replaced with a new system allowing up to two adults and one child at a time to book visits with elders while masked.
  • Nova Scotia issued a warning against non-essential travel to northwestern New Brunswick due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

In Ottawa, Canada’s top doctor said the country is in a “very tight race” between variants and vaccinations as modelling shows upcoming holiday gatherings could make COVID-19 spread harder to contain.

  • Also today, Dr. Theresa Tam said her agency wasn’t wrong when it rated the risk of COVID-19 to the country as low in early 2020 – saying the assessment was intended to show a moment in time rather than the potential risk the coronavirus posed to Canadians.
  • However, she said her agency is now more focused on its forward-looking risk assessments, rather than only capturing the immediate risk posed by the disease.
  • Yesterday, the federal Auditor-General released a scathing report outlining the multiple ways in which the Public Health Agency of Canada was unprepared for COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines: Elderly people mount a weaker immune response than do younger adults after receiving a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a new study being released as the country’s immunization experts re-evaluate their backing of an interval as long as four months between doses for everyone.

COVID-19 cases: COVID-19 cases are surging as modelling suggests holiday gatherings could spell more trouble.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

Also today: WestJet is adding 11 routes across Western Canada in anticipation of a jump in summer travel demand.

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And: How Ontario and Quebec set the stage for Ottawa’s first pandemic-era budget.

Globe opinion

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Information centre

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.

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