Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Initial rating of COVID-19 as low-risk wasn’t wrong: Tam
- New study raises doubts on time between vaccine shots
- 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.
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.
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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
- The European Union has approved two factories for COVID-19 vaccine production as it seeks to boost its inoculation campaign.
- The medicine regulator in Britain has approved a 20-second COVID-19 test, the product’s distributor said today.
Coronavirus and business
Also today: WestJet is adding 11 routes across Western Canada in anticipation of a jump in summer travel demand.
And: How Ontario and Quebec set the stage for Ottawa’s first pandemic-era budget.
- Kumar Murty: Mathematical models aren’t perfect, but they’re a key tool in fighting the pandemic.
- Ottawa ran a deficit of $268.2-billion through 10 months of the fiscal year as the treasury pumped out more pandemic aid.
- A group representing Ontario’s English public school boards calls for teachers to get vaccinated over spring break.
- Basketball: The Toronto Raptors are missing Paul Watson Jr. and DeAndre’ Bembry against the Phoenix Suns due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
- The federal Liberals urge opposition leaders to speed up a bill aimed at ensuring a Canadian election could be held safely during the pandemic.
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP says the party’s election scrutineer is concerned about an “unprecedented” number of spoiled ballots.
- 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.