Good evening – here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Trudeau urges Canada’s banks to lower interest rates on credit cards
- G20 pledges US$5-trillion in global stimulus funding
- The United States now has the most coronavirus cases
Number of the day
Global stimulus funding amid pandemic crisis
More program details:
G20 countries are pledging US$5-trillion in economic stimulus measures to fight the COVID-19 crisis, along with a focus on supporting vulnerable countries that might lack adequate health-care systems and resources.
Coronavirus in Canada
3,890: cases in Canada reported; with 197 recoveries and 37 deaths.
- The regulatory body for respiratory therapists in Ontario is fast-tracking the certification of final-year students as experts warn of a looming shortage of ventilator operators. The province reported 170 new cases today, the largest single-day spike in cases by far.
- In British Columbia, the government will take “unprecedented steps” to protect supply chains for goods and services. The resale of food and medical supplies has been banned.
- Manitoba will delay a promised cut to the provincial sales tax and will drain hundreds of millions of dollars from its rainy-day fund within three months. The province has 36 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Legislators in Newfoundland and Labrador sat for an emergency session to pass COVID-19 response legislation.
And: The federal Department of Global Affairs is facing criticism after it shipped 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China to help Beijing fight the coronavirus last month. The government says the shipment was an effort to collaborate with China in the fight against COVID-19.
Coronavirus around the world
488,134: cases confirmed around the world; with 117,763 recoveries and 22,032 deaths reported.
- As the deaths passed 1,000 people in the United States, hospitals and government authorities in New York, New Orleans and other hot spots grappled with a surge in cases and a dire shortage of supplies, staff and sick beds. The country now has the most coronavirus cases in the world.
- Spain extended its coronavirus lockdown and said it was fighting a “real war” over medical supplies to contain the world’s second-highest virus death toll, turning to China for many critical products.
- Watch: People queuing outside hospitals and health centres in one Chinese city expressed confusion and frustration as they tried to get a test the government has said people need before they can travel out of Hubei province.
- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expected the chamber to pass an estimated US$2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill when it meets on Friday, after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the unprecedented economic rescue legislation on Wednesday evening.
- Indians suddenly thrown out of work by a nationwide stay-at-home order began receiving aid, as both public and private groups worked to blunt the impact of efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus and business:
What happened today?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government has urged banks to lower credit-card interest rates.
- “I can assure you that the Finance Minister has had conversations directly with the banks about credit card interest rates. We recognize that they are a significant challenge for many Canadians at this point. That is why we are encouraging them to take action to alleviate the burden for Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said.
However the comments caught Canada’s large banks off guard. The request for credit-card interest-rate cuts had not featured prominently in the discussions between the Department of Finance and the Big Six banks, sources told The Globe.
- Also: Canada’s largest banks have completed, or are still processing, more than 213,000 requests for mortgage deferrals.
Elsewhere: Canadian business groups are joining counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico in asking for a delay in the implementation of the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement, saying it’s unfair to ask companies to adjust to new rules during the pandemic.
- “All new regulatory processes that are not critical need to be paused. The government needs to be talking to businesses about what a grace period or phase-in approach might look like," said one director of a business lobby.
What happened in the markets?
- Bay Street: Canada’s main stock market rallied for a third straight day. The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 1.77 per cent. The loonie rose to a nine-day high. The price of oil fell more than 7 per cent.
- Wall Street: The Dow closed up 6.38 per cent. The S&P 500 rose 6.24 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite finished the day up 5.6 per cent.
And: The “most photographed trader on Wall Street” said on Instagram that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Question: Can you contract coronavirus in Antarctica?
Answer: Coronavirus needs a human host, so it can spread person-to-person anywhere in the world. However, Antarctica has no permanent settlements; the only residents are in scientific bases so there is little opportunity for large gatherings.
Also implied in the question is whether coronavirus can spread where it’s cold. It can, in fact. Respiratory viruses spread more easily in winter conditions because people tend to huddle outdoors. But, so far, Antarctica is the only continent where there are no COVID-19 cases.
The Globe’s health columnist André Picard answered additional reader questions.
Need more answers? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
More Globe reporting and opinion:
- What can financially secure people do to help out right now?
- How do you stop a bad habit like touching your face or emptying the fridge of your emergency food?
- "A lot of people who aren’t able to pay their rent on April 1”: Residential tenants anxious about what comes next after eviction bans end
- Gary Mason: “President Donald Trump’s vow to begin relaxing social distancing requirements by Easter Sunday could have profound health implications for the U.S. – and, in turn, for us in Canada.”
- Robyn Urback: “From the perspective of those outside the party, pretending that the world hasn’t changed looks absolutely ridiculous. Those inside the party might want to take heed.”
- Lauralee Morris: “Epidemics shake the foundations of society. They cleave families and communities and leave the sick and vulnerable to fend for themselves. They uncover the ugly disparities between the haves and have-nots of this world.”
- Benjamin Ries: “Underhousing and homelessness cost all of us money. Evictions feed a costly shelter system and create added costs in our schools, hospitals and jails.”
An act of kindness
Have you witnessed or performed acts of kindness in your neighbourhood? Share your stories, photos and videos and they might be included in The Globe and Mail. E-mail email@example.com.
Dozens of people who live around Thomas’s house posted birthday messages for the boy in their front windows Tuesday afternoon, as he drove around in the wet snow with his mother. They decorated their homes with dinosaurs and candles, dragons and knights, turning their community into a drive-by street party.
At a time when play dates, parties and visits to playgrounds are out of the question because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the arm’s-length street party was the best way to show a little kid that his neighbourhood cares about him. And that it’s still okay to have a little fun, even if people can’t be together.
Here are some recommendations for what to read, watch and activities to do.
For the sports and fitness fans:
- For baseball fans: Classic Jays and Expos to face off in computer-simulated playoff to determine Canada’s best-ever baseball team. Roberto Alomar leads 1993 Blue Jays in comeback win over the Jays of 1985 in simulated showdown.
- Here’s how to take up jogging – safely
- How to develop an at-home workout routine including yoga poses you can do at home
- How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada? The latest maps and charts.
- Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for EI and other financial benefits; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered.
- How to minimize damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to consider if you’re considering shopping online.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety; and protecting your mental health.
- How to get social distancing right; measures condo buildings are taking to encourage social distancing; and what you can you help slow the spread of coronavirus.
- Here are the essentials to stock up on; the best pantry staples; and the foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet.
- What to do if you think you have the virus.
What are we missing? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.