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

Top headlines:

  1. Increased sanitization processes have been in full force since the beginning of the pandemic. But we know the risk of surface transmission is relatively low, so why do we carry on with “hygiene theatre”?
  2. The pandemic sent Cirque du Soleil’s operations into a free fall. Report on Business magazine has been given access to the company’s top leaders as they fight to keep the company alive
  3. British Columbia started its four-step reopening plan today, with a return to normal pegged for September

In the last 7 days, 27,375 cases were reported, down 29 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 305 deaths announced, flat at zero over the same period. At least 2,776 people are being treated in hospitals and 1,290,248 others are considered recovered.

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Canada’s inoculation rate is 13th 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.


Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopeningVaccine distribution planFour vaccines approved in CanadaEssential resources


Photo of the day

People wait today during a COVID-19 vaccination day as part of a campaign in Mexico City at Pepsi Center WTC.

Eloisa Sanchez de Alba/Getty Images


Coronavirus in Canada

  • Manitoba will receive health workers, medical equipment and military help from the federal government, as COVID-19 overwhelms its hospitals. The province has the highest infection rate in North America, with some patients already transferred to hospitals in Ontario and 1,200 new cases confirmed over the weekend.
  • In Quebec, Premier François Legault said he expects the entire province to exit the highest COVID-19 alert level by June 7.
  • Ontario residents who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in mid-March will be able to book their second shot this week as the province seeks to use up its stockpile before it expires. And, the province reported its first death associated with a rare blood clotting disorder linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Meanwhile, what made Brampton uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19?
  • As COVID-19 infections decline in British Columbia, Premier John Horgan has announced a plan to lift health restrictions and return to normal by September.
  • Students in Alberta returned to school today, despite skepticism from public-health experts and the province’s teachers’ union, who question whether it is safe to move students back into classrooms after only two weeks off, even as the province still faces high hospitalization rates and ICU admissions.

Should you sanitize your groceries? Experts say it’s time to move past “hygiene theatre” – cleaning behaviours that give people a sense of security, but are actually unlikely to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

  • Research has repeatedly shown that the risk of surface transmission is relatively low and can be addressed through conventional cleaning, the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said.
  • The environmental impact of disposable wipes, the cost of disinfecting supplies, and the burden on restaurant and retail employees are further reasons to start being pragmatic about hygiene practices.
  • Some argue that surface disinfection takes away from more important measures, such as ensuring ventilation in places with high risk of transmission.

High-rise buildings: A number of COVID-19 outbreaks in high-rises have been reported. Experts are still trying to figure out how the virus spreads in apartment buildings.


Coronavirus around the world


Coronavirus and business

The show must go on: Inside Cirque du Soleil’s contortion act to save the entertainment behemoth during a tumultuous year, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • On a sunny afternoon in March, 2020, Cirque du Soleil launched a mini-preview in Orlando of its new show, Drawn to Life, a hugely ambitious production, the result of more than two years of collaboration with Disney’s animation team and its Imagineering R&D division.
  • Within days, Cirque’s world would completely collapse.

Also today: Some young people are faced with the prospect of having to provide financial support for their parents during the pandemic, which disrupted the labour market and sent housing prices upward.

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And: Despite the uncertainty spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market across the country is booming. Here’s one success story.


Globe opinion


More reporting


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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