Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Toronto announces free quarantine hotel for low-income people
- Dr. Fauci counters President Trump’s claim the United States has “rounded the corner” on coronavirus
- Canadians' debt burden fell considerably despite economic downturn
In Canada, at least 134,904 cases have been reported. In the last week 4,411 new cases were announced, 18 per cent more than the previous week. At least 118,990 recoveries and 9,163 deaths have been reported. Health officials have administered more than 6,419,911 tests.
Worldwide, there have been at least 27,863,733 cases confirmed and 903,686 deaths reported.
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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The Toronto Transit Commission said it expects ridership to return to half its prepandemic level as early as October. Ridership on the TTC – the most heavily used transit agency in the country – is currently around 37 per cent of normal.
Coronavirus in Canada
- The government of Ontario launched a website containing data on outbreaks in the province’s schools and child-care centres. Meanwhile, in Toronto, health officials announced the federal government will fund a cost-free quarantine hotel. The hotel will enable people in low-income households – who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 – to safely self-isolate, if they test positive. Officials in Toronto first called for a quarantine hotel in June.
- Schools in Alberta have scaled back their special-needs educational supports during the pandemic as a result of budget cuts. Homeless shelters won’t have enough space to keep everyone safe in the winter, a Calgary doctor warned.
- Starting Monday in Quebec, students can resume sports and other extracurricular activities if they live in regions classified as green and yellow under the province’s new alert system.
- The majority of the funds spent on the pandemic response in British Columbia went to individuals and households, a new report from the Auditor General says.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government began pandemic preparations on New Year’s Eve, as soon as they received the first alert about a cluster of pneumonia cases in China.
- Trudeau defended the government in response to accusations Ottawa didn’t respond quickly enough.
- Dr. Theresa Tam said work done in January and February included getting labs ready to test for COVID-19.
Still in Ottawa, the Prime Minister agreed to a virtual first ministers meeting to discuss federal health care transfers to the provinces and territories.
COVID-19 vaccines: Health and policy experts in Canada say the government has signed agreements with Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Moderna, and Pfizer to purchase vaccine does amount to “vaccine nationalism.”
- The more than 100 health and policy experts are also critical that the government has not committed financial support to COVAX, the international fund to help ensure less wealthy countries have access to an eventual vaccine.
- A spokesperson for the government said Canada is planning a contribution to COVAX by the program’s Sept. 18 deadline.
And: The government said Canada’s largest airlines agreed to a new set of rules to help contact-tracing efforts if a passenger tests positive for COVID-19. In August, some provinces raised concerns about the quality of data being shared by airlines.
Coronavirus around the world
- In the United States, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s assessment the country has “rounded the corner” on the pandemic. Meanwhile, some tributes to mark the nineteenth anniversary of 9/11 were cancelled due to the pandemic while others went ahead.
- The United Kingdom’s economy expanded by 6.6 per cent in July, a slowdown from the growth rate in June. The economy, which shrank 20 per cent in the second quarter, remains 12 per cent smaller than February, the last full prepandemic month.
- India reported 96,551 new cases in the last day, moving the country’s total tally to over 4.56-million. The country issued retesting order for those who whose first results were from the less reliable rapid antigen tests.
Coronavirus and business
Canada’s debt burden declined sharply in the second quarter, Statistics Canada said. Canadians households now owe $1.58 for every dollar of after-tax income, down from $175.40.
- The debt burden is a metric that can signal financial distress. In the last decade, Canadians' steadily increasing debt burden has been cause for concern for many economists.
- Pandemic-induced economic distress and significantly lower borrowing rates have been offset by added income supports and less borrowing.
- However, the debt burden decline could be temporary. The Bank of Canada said this week it will hold its key interest rate at 0.25, which could fuel a debt binge, particularly in home buying, which is heating back up, even as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said it expects mortgage delinquencies to rise this year as deferrals come due.
- On the upside, Canadians have saved a record $127-billion in 2020.
Also today: Workers who were at a disadvantage prepandemic – the lower-paid, women and racialized workers, particularly the self-employed – have been most negatively affected by the economic downturn. Yesterday, the Bank of Canada Governor said rising inequality in jobs and incomes poses a threat to the broader economy.
- Lawrence Martin: “Though the big news from the Woodward book is old news, it will carry more weight. The legendary journalist has eighteen taped interviews with Mr. Trump. He lets the President’s own words do the talking. And the slaying.”
- Rob Carrick: Millennial investors: time to look beyond hot tech stocks
- Julia O’Sullivan: There is a reading crisis in Canada. The pandemic will make it worse
Globe critics are reviewing some of the 50 titles premiering this year. Reviews so far:
- Spike Lee’s delightful David Byrne doc American Utopia opens a surreal film festival [For subscribers]
- Apples, honey, and death – Jewish-family satire Shiva Baby arrives just in time for Rosh Hashanah
- Charles Officer and Saul Williams take a long day’s journey into Toronto’s night with Akilla’s Escape
- Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin goes from one Upside Down to another in Concrete Cowboy
- Breakout talent Michelle Latimer has two films – Inconvenient Indian and Trickster – premiering this year.
And: Our complete guide to making the most of the festival from the comfort of your house.
- 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. What to cook with rhubarb (aside from pie).
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; how the CRA might identify CERB fraud; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered. What to do if your employees don’t return to work because they want to collect CERB.