Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- South African scientists have detected a new heavily mutated COVID-19 variant amid spike in cases
- In genetic arms race with COVID-19 variants, Canada’s labs fight for better ways to share findings with each other and the world
- Job vacancies in Canada soared to more than one million, the latest sign that employers are struggling to fill positions in an increasingly tight labour market as pandemic restrictions have lifted
In the past seven days, 18,259 cases were reported, up 4 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 138 deaths announced, down 30 per cent over the same period. At least 1,527 people are being treated in hospitals.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 16th among countries with a population of one million or more people.
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
- Vaccine clinics for kids aged five to 11 are now running in Ontario at schools, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and at city-run clinics. The province is reporting 748 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths from the virus today.
- In Quebec, 163,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments have been made today for kids aged five to 11 – representing about one-quarter of eligible children. And, an explosive report on the provincial government’s handling of long-term care during spring 2020 has been at the heart of testy exchanges this week at the legislature. The province is reporting 902 new cases of COVID-19 today, the highest number of new daily infections since mid-September.
- Manitoba started immunizing kids against COVID-19 today and nearly 25,000 appointments have been booked.
- Saskatchewan has extended its current COVID-19 measures, which include mandatory masks in indoor public spaces and the province’s vaccine passport system, to limit transmission over the holiday season.
In the first year of the pandemic, older Canadians who were lonely were twice as likely to experience symptoms of depression after the first lockdown, according to a study.
- Having a lower socioeconomic status and more pandemic-related stressors put people at higher risk of depression, the study found. Women experienced higher rates of depression than men. Canadians between 50 and 65 fared more poorly than older seniors.
COVID-19 variants: Researchers across Canada are staying vigilant for new forms of the novel coronavirus, but barriers to data-sharing remain between researchers and provincial and federal agencies.
Violence against women: The number of women who were victims of homicide has risen in Canada over the past two years, according to preliminary data that researchers say reflect an increase in lethal domestic violence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transit: Canadian cities are asking for some kind of a funding commitment from the federal government for local transit systems, as ridership levels have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Coronavirus around the world
- Scientists in South Africa have detected a new heavily mutated variant that they believe is a concern. Currently identified as B.1.1.529, the variant has a high number of mutations and is rapidly spreading among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.
- A surge in coronavirus infections has left an uneasy feeling looming as Christmas markets across Europe open. New restrictions are taking effect in Germany, Austria and other countries as COVID-19 infections hit record highs. Today, the EU’s drug regulator approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11. And, a new proposal from the European Commission suggests that EU residents get a booster shot for travel next summer within the bloc.
Coronavirus and business
The average home price across the country is 30 per cent higher than before the pandemic, with smaller cities and semi-rural areas experiencing record price increases.
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is concerned about speculative investing in residential real estate, saying it’s pushing home prices higher.
- The CMHC has already warned that the country’s housing market is overvalued and vulnerable to a price correction.
Also today: Job vacancies in Canada soared to more than one million, according to Statistics Canada. Nearly a fifth of all vacancies were in hospitality, which includes restaurants and hotels. That industry’s job vacancy rate was 14.4 per cent in September, the highest of any sector. The national vacancy rate was 6 per cent.
And: The boycott against Chapman’s ice cream over its COVID-19 vaccine policy backfired, instead driving renewed interest in the brand.
- Adrian Levy: A full investigation into Canada’s COVID-19 response is needed now
- Gary Mason: Jason Kenney is far from a dead Premier walking
- CFL says it expects 95 per cent of players will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1
- According to new consumer surveys, Canadians are expected to spend big and return to shopping malls this holiday season
- Halifax boutique Slowly Slowly was born out of the pandemic’s creative reset
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Waiting for a second dose? We answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions
- What is and isn’t ‘paid sick leave’ in Canada? A short primer
- Got a vaccine ‘hangover’? Here’s why
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.