Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Canada’s housing agency is sounding the alarm over rapidly rising mortgage debt as the work-from-home trend fuels a surge in housing prices
- Alberta’s revenues — gutted by the pandemic and a crash in oil prices — leave an $18.2-billion deficit for 2021-22, according to the provincial budget presented today
- Seven in 10 small businesses have taken on pandemic debt, averaging almost $170,000 each, according to a new report from a small-business lobby group
In the last 7 days, 20,717 cases were reported, up 2 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 367 deaths announced, down 10 per cent over the same period. At least 2,072 people are being treated in hospitals and 806,022 others are considered recovered.
About 84 per cent of the 2,043,599 doses of vaccine distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 4.5 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
- New modelling from Ontario showed more infectious variants of COVID-19 will likely make up 40 per cent of cases by the second week of March. Meanwhile in Toronto, advocates for people experiencing homelessness warn a potential crisis looms as the city’s shelter system faces an outbreak of a new, more contagious COVID-19 variant. Neskantaga First Nation has declared a state of emergency following a COVID-19 outbreak. And, the province is testing its online COVID-19 vaccine portal to avoid a crash when it opens.
- The Alberta government is expecting to recover to pre-pandemic economic activity by 2022, the United Conservative Party’s third budget projected today.
- In Newfoundland and Labrador, the incumbent Premier said he believes the province’s election is legitimate, after all in-person voting was cancelled and the mail-in deadline was extended following a surge in coronavirus cases in the region.
- B.C. isn’t at a point where restrictions can be lifted due to concerns about the potential for rapid spread of COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
- In Quebec, elementary students in the hardest-hit “red zone” regions will be required to wear masks in class after the March Break.
- New Brunswick is racing to administer the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to thousands of nursing-home residents this week.
New documents show how the alerts issued by Canada’s early pandemic warning system declined rapidly from 2009 to 2019, when key parts of the operation were curtailed.
- According to an e-mail between PMO staff on Oct. 8, alerts issued by the Global Public Health Intelligence Network, or GPHIN, shows 1,598 alerts were issued between 2009 and 2019.
- In 2009, GPHIN issued 877 alerts. By 2013, 198 alerts were issued.
- By 2018, that number was just 21 – a drop of 97 per cent from 2009 levels.
Adverse reactions: A Canadian study aims to look at adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.
Assault allegations: The Public Health Agency of Canada is looking into allegations that two returning travellers were allegedly sexually assaulted during their mandatory quarantine periods.
Coronavirus around the world
- European Union leaders are discussing new ways of stepping up inoculations and salvaging businesses as the bloc races against the emergence of new variants.
- The Israeli Prime Minister’s decision to share small quantities of surplus Israeli vaccines with allied nations is now paused due to a legal challenge.
- Debilitating ‘post-COVID syndrome’ may have severe health and social impacts, European health experts said.
Coronavirus and business
About seven in 10 small businesses have taken on new debt because of the pandemic, with an average debt of almost $170,000 each, a new Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey says.
- Businesses such as restaurants and gyms have taken on much more debt compared to companies whose work is more remote-friendly.
- In hospitality and recreation, about nine in 10 businesses have taken on debt – with an average amount of more than $200,000.
- CFIB’s survey showed those in the professional services and real estate sectors were likely to take on debt, and reported lower debt loads.
Also today: As pandemic restrictions continue, consumers are looking for one-stop shopping trips at larger-format conventional supermarkets.
And: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says household mortgage debt is growing at its fastest pace since the country emerged from the Great Recession.
- The Editorial Board: Canada’s vaccine rollout has been a humiliation for the Trudeau government, not to mention a serious setback for efforts to roll back the virus, save lives and return the Canadian economy to health.
- Konrad Yakabuski: When probed on vaccine delays, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau only repeated his line about Pfizer’s commitment to delivering four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March. But that will still leave Canada well behind several peer countries in inoculating its citizens.
- The pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada’s oil patch, a new report suggests.
- The move to a hybrid Parliament – made necessary by COVID-19 – could save about $6.2-million a year, the federal budget watchdog said.
- She was adamantly against getting the COVID-19 vaccine: How one Toronto outreach worker changed her mind.
- How can I protect myself from the new types of coronavirus?
- 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.