Good evening, let’s start with today’s top coronavirus stories:
An intense third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is a possibility this spring based on current health measures across Canada, the country’s Chief Public Health Officer warned Friday.
New federal modelling says the status quo won’t be enough to contain faster-spreading variants of the disease, Dr. Theresa Tam said at a media briefing in Ottawa.
“Current community-based public health measures will be insufficient to control rapid growth and resurgence,” Dr. Tam said.
The projections released Friday by the Public Health Agency of Canada show that provinces and territories are gaining the upper hand on the current second wave of COVID-19, but those efforts may soon be undone as the more contagious variants take hold in communities.
Projections with the new variants show that if the current restrictions remain in place then Canada could see 10,000 cases per day by the end of March. If public health measures are lifted, the modelling shows a near vertical climb in case counts and Canada could be on track for more than 20,000 daily new cases by mid-March.
The warning comes after Ontario eased measures in most areas outside of the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba have lifted restrictions and reopened many businesses.
- Toronto, Peel Region, North Bay to remain under Ontario’s stay-at-home orders
- G7 countries hike funding for COVID-19 vaccines in poorer countries, stop short of immediate redistribution of supplies
- Kenney says all residents in Alberta long-term care, supportive living facilities fully vaccinated against COVID-19
- The pandemic has reversed our momentum on closing gaps for marginalized Canadians
- Threatening Big Pharma with compulsory licensing is a credible strategy for vaccine-starved countries
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Queen confirms Prince Harry and Meghan will not return to royal duties
Prince Harry and Meghan have told the Queen that they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family, and the Duke of Sussex will give up his military honours.
“Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday.
Under an agreement struck last March with the Queen, the Duke and Duchess stepped away from royal duties and vacated their office at Buckingham Palace. They also lost their government funding and no longer used their HRH titles. The arrangement was to be reviewed within a year, leaving the possibility of Prince Harry returning to some military duties.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Thirty-five U.S. Capitol Police officers under investigation for actions during Jan. 6 riot: Investigators have been looking into the response by the Capitol Police and whether any of the officers may have aided the rioters, according to congressional aides and some lawmakers. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the violence when throngs of former president Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol, overpowering security forces. Two law enforcement officers later died by suicide.
Quebec has underestimated the size of its debt by $12-billion, Auditor-General says: Guylaine Leclerc told a legislative committee on Friday she plans to table a report on the situation in March. She says her report will clearly explain to Quebeckers why she feels the province’s debt is being underestimated by the government. Quebec’s Finance Department estimates the province’s gross debt will be $220.8-billion by March 31, or 50.5 per cent of GDP.
Tech startup Ruckify delays public listing after discovering misappropriation of funds: It was merely a month ago that Ruckify Inc., an Ottawa-based tech startup co-founded by serial entrepreneur Bruce Linton, announced plans to go public. The startup, an online rental marketplace that helps users temporarily rent everything from paddle boards to patio furniture, was seemingly on an upward trajectory. But in mid-February, the company’s small group of private shareholders was informed by Linton that there had been a “misappropriation of funds” incident, resulting in a special investigation and review by auditing firm Deloitte.
Magna International and pot stocks helped Canada’s main stock index to bounce back from two days of losses, while the loonie reached it highest level in four weeks.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 110.20 points at 18,384.27.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up almost one point to 31,494.32. The S&P 500 index was down 7.26 points at 3,906.71, while the Nasdaq composite was up 9.1 points at 13,874.46.
Doug Ford’s opposition to paid sick days is about his image, not evidence
“Ideally, political considerations and image management would be tangential to more important matters, such as preventing massive outbreaks at industrial bakeries and not risking a third wave as we emerge from the second.” - Robyn Urback
Indigenous communities are denied the most important medicine people can receive: Kindness
“The root of these erosive attitudes ... comes from the colonial belief that nature is a pyramid, with humans at the top, animals below, bugs near the bottom. This type of hierarchical thinking continues within each stratum, with some members of the human family certain they occupy a superior, or as worryingly, a less deserving position.” - James Maskalyk and Dave Courchene
More than most, Canada knows the importance of a new Iran nuclear deal
“More importantly, the deal offers a potent model for how to use multilateral diplomacy to coerce better behaviour from dangerous countries. Something like it should be applied to Saudi Arabia’s extremism – and even, if enough countries could be brought on board, to China.” - Doug Saunders
Make your rental space feel more personal
Alexandra Gater’s 900-square-foot Toronto apartment didn’t have room for a home office. So she sacrificed a closet for a mini work area, all tucked behind an unassuming bifold door that can conceal the nook when she isn’t at her desk.
Gater, like an increasing number of Canadians, is a renter. In 2011, 31 per cent of us rented our homes. By 2016, the number had grown to over 32 per cent – the first such increase since the early 1970s.
Examples such as Gater prove that renters can also partake in another trend these days: re-decorating.
TODAY’S LONG READ
This Italian doctor found Europe’s Patient One and became a national hero
One year ago, Annalisa Malara’s unconventional decision about how to treat an ICU patient alerted authorities that COVID-19 was in their midst – and it may have saved hundreds or thousands more lives.
On Feb. 18, a Tuesday, Mattia Maestri wasn’t feeling well, and stumbled into the emergency ward of the Codogno hospital, where he was given antibiotics, but insisted on going home to his pregnant wife. The 38-year-old wasn’t particularly worried: He was 38, strong and athletic – an ardent runner. It was influenza season, and it seemed everyone in his town, Codogno, 60 kilometres southwest of Milan, had the bug. It would pass.
It didn’t. By Thursday morning, Mr. Maestri was in dire shape – his blood oxygen level had plummeted. The doctor in charge of the ICU that day, Annalisa Malara, an intensivist and anesthesiologist from the nearby town of Lodi, was called in. Dr. Malara swung into action. The patient was wheeled into the ICU and intubated.
Dr. Malara then discovered that Mr. Maestri had dined two weeks earlier with a colleague who had recently returned from China. Dr. Malara immediately suspected COVID-19 and ordered a test. The test broke protocol. At the time, only Italians and foreigners who had been to China were to be tested. At 9 p.m., the swab came back positive – and the pandemic was suddenly on. Dr. Malara had officially confirmed the first Italian – the first European, for that matter – COVID-19 infection. Mr. Maestri would become known as Paziente Uno – Patient One.
Read Eric Reguly’s full story here.