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

Top headlines:

  1. War, pestilence, famine and death in Yemen: How COVID-19 has made a humanitarian crisis worse
  2. Are mask exemption cards facilitating erroneous claims from those who simply don’t wish to comply?
  3. Opinion: The second wave of the virus could spark a homelessness crisis

In Canada, there have been at least 125,644 cases reported. In the last week 2,851 new cases were announced, 7 per cent more than the previous week. There have also been at least 111,690 recoveries and 9,082 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 5,505,148 tests.

Worldwide, there have been at least 23,420,418 cases confirmed and 808,676 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: Updates and essential resourcesCoronavirus in maps and chartsLockdown rules and reopening plans in each provinceGlobal rules on mask-wearingBack to school

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Prospective students take the entrance exam for Mexico's National Autonomous University outside in the stands of University Olympic Stadium. More than 2,000 hopefuls are registered to take the exam at the stadium.The Associated Press

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Zoom reported at least 15,000 partial outages this morning as thousands of students in the United States return to the virtual classroom this week.

Coronavirus in Canada

  • In Quebec, three people in Montreal tested positive after participating in one of several Latin dance events in the city after July 21, and public health is asking anyone who attended the event to get tested.
  • The Ontario Nishnawbe Aski Nation said the federal government has “ignored urgent requests” for supplies and funding for its nearly 9,000 elementary and secondary school students. Meanwhile, the association for registered nurses in the province is calling on the government to cut class sizes to no more than 15 students.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, masks became mandatory in most indoor public spaces today. The province joined Quebec and Nova Scotia as the only provinces to issue provincewide mandates.
  • Manitoba announced another $52-million in funds for schools to purchase masks, put toward enhanced cleaning or hiring extra staff.

Like Edmonton, jurisdictions across Canada that have imposed mask requirements have also carved out exemptions, including for people with medical reasons or reduced mobility that make it difficult to wear face coverings.

  • Public-health experts have warned that exemption cards could hurt compliance and encourage people to erroneously claim medical exemptions.
  • Exemption rules do not require proof to make a claim, which experts say could lead to people erroneously claiming medical exemptions.
  • In Edmonton, almost 6,000 exemption cards were distributed before the program was shut down, with the city’s mayor saying, “Some individuals abused the privilege.”

Amy Tan, a physician at the University of Calgary, says there are “very few” legitimate medical reasons exemptions, and that because valid exemptions are so rare, “You don’t need thousands of cards.”

Governments and businesses who demand that people wear masks must also ensure those rules respect human-rights laws, which prevent discrimination and denial of service based on disability or health reasons.

Coronavirus around the world

  • For Yemen, the country declared by the United Nations to have “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” COVID-19 is just the latest threat to civilian survival.
  • Gaza reported its first cases in the general population today, as authorities confirmed four infections at a refugee camp. Security forces declared a full lockdown for 48 hours.
  • Watch: Some 172 countries are engaging with the COVAX facility designed to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization said, but more funding is needed and countries need to make binding commitments.
  • Three participants of a United Nations-mediated talk involving the Syrian government, opposition and civil society envoys tested positive just hours after the meetings started in Geneva.

Coronavirus and business

The Conference Board of Canada suggests that the economic recovery will take longer than originally expected, but that British Columbia is among the provinces that is best positioned to rebound.

  • The think tank predicts Canada’s real GDP will fall by 8.2 per cent this year and that it will take until the end of next year to return to prepandemic output.
  • However, in B.C., real GDP will drop by just 5.5 per cent this year and grow by 6.7 per cent in 2021, the board projected. The province, unlike Alberta or Newfoundland, was not hit by low oil prices and also benefited from construction and major energy projects.

Also today: Air Canada is second only to United Airlines of any airline in complaints about refunds to the U.S. Department of Transportation in May.

And: Early estimates suggest manufacturing sales growth slowed to 8.7 per cent in July.

Globe opinion

  • André Picard: “Mr. Trump is in a hurry. His administration has launched Operation Warp Speed to get treatments and vaccines to market as rapidly as possible. That process, however, has become so politicized that it is a menace.”
  • Dana Granofsky, Kira Heineck and Steve Lurie: “In Canada’s first wave of COVID-19, more than 80 per cent of deaths were elderly people in long-term care. In the next wave, homelessness and housing will be the locus.”

More reporting


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🥧 For the dessert enthusiast: Late summer blueberries, two ways.

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