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Good evening. Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET, join The Globe and Mail’s education reporter Caroline Alphonso and deputy national editor Nicole MacIntyre for a Facebook Live Q&A on navigating the stress and uncertainty of back to school during COVID-19.

Top headlines:

  1. WestJet slashing most flights to Eastern Canada, laying off 100 employees
  2. France imposes night curfews to rein in social gatherings as European countries battle surge in COVID-19 cases
  3. White House embraces declaration by group of scientists that relies on ‘herd immunity,’ but other experts aren’t convinced

In Canada, there have been at least 189,385 cases reported. In the last week 15,326 new cases were announced, 10 per cent more than the previous week.

There have also been at least 159,351 recoveries and 9,663 deaths. Today, seven deaths were reported, compared to 19 yesterday.

The Globe and Mail

Worldwide, there have been at least 38,129,806 cases confirmed and 1,086,141 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.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts Lockdown rules and reopening Mask-wearing rules Back to school guide Essential resources

Photo of the day

Marine One pilots look on as U.S. President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday. Mr. Trump was headed to Iowa for a rally.CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

Coronavirus in Canada

  • Ontario reported 721 new cases, with a majority in Toronto and the regions of Peel and York. Most cases were in people under 60. Elsewhere, officials from Six Nations of the Grand River in Southwestern Ontario said their community is “in crisis” after reporting 14 active and 33 probable cases. And, a spin studio in Hamilton has been linked to 69 cases.
  • In Manitoba, Indigenous leaders said they are concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases in First Nations populations.

In Ottawa, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo said collecting data on race and ethnicity for health purposes can help address some of the inequalities that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed.

  • Having more granular data during the second wave helps enable more targeted approaches in different areas of the country, added Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.
  • Dr. Tam acknowledged the challenge of pandemic fatigue, and said there is a need for balance between low coronavirus transmission and minimizing the social and economic effects of the pandemic.

Yesterday in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put significant blame on cuts under Stephen Harper’s government for the current problems facing the Public Health Agency of Canada.

COVID-19 and loneliness: A new report on the mental health of Canadian workers shows months of isolation is taking a toll.

Coronavirus around the world

  • France announced night curfews for four weeks from Saturday for Paris and other major cities as cases climbed rapidly there and throughout Europe. President Emmanuel Macron said the measures are meant to rein in large social gatherings.
  • Russia announced it had approved a second vaccine, as the country recorded a record daily increase in cases and switched to online classes for secondary school in the capital. Neither vaccine is in regular circulation. Russia has given official approval to its vaccines without waiting for the results of large-scale trials.
  • The Spanish National Toxicological and Forensic Institute said the number of children treated in the country for poisoning after ingesting hand-sanitizing gels has rocketed during the pandemic.
  • The U.S. government has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable – an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine. Many experts say herd immunity is still very far off.
  • A Japanese supercomputer showed that humidity can have a large effect on the dispersion of virus particles, pointing to heightened coronavirus contagion risks in dry, indoor conditions during the winter months.

Coronavirus and business

WestJet says it will suspend most flights to Atlantic Canada and Quebec City starting Nov. 2, as the pandemic and travel restrictions make it “increasingly unviable to serve these markets.”

  • The Calgary-based airliner said it will cut 100 jobs as it slashes more than 100 weekly flights, or 80 per cent of seat capacity, to Atlantic Canada.
  • Air Canada is now the only major airliner to serve Atlantic Canada.

Also today: The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada says the effect of COVID-19 on how people shop means central banks must speed up work on creating their own digital currencies.

And: Financial leaders from the G20 say in order to support the global economic recovery, COVID-19 cases must be brought under control. [For subscribers]

Globe opinion

Erminia (Ernie) Johannson: “We ... see, time and time again, that common challenges for all small businesses hit women-led businesses particularly hard. The burden of child and elder care is a case in point, one which is magnified by the pandemic and driving too many women to put their professional lives on hold.”

Rob Carrick: The changes people are making in where they live in the pandemic are driven mostly by emotional factors, which makes a lot of sense because the pandemic’s main impact on a lot of us has been psychological. We’re stressed, angry – having our own space seems an antidote. Don’t jump into life farther afield before pricing it out.”

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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