Just as the virus has pushed Canada’s health-care system to the brink, the country’s bereavement sector is also feeling the strain and preparing for the worst-case scenarios. In urban centres across the country, crematoriums are preparing to operate 24/7 if needed, cemeteries are taking stock of available land, funeral homes are renting out refrigerated vehicles and officials are drawing up worst-case scenario plans to use arenas as temporary morgues if necessary. Even regular funeral services are more complicated now, trying to keep staff and mourners safe.
Have you had to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus? We want to hear your story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa’s pandemic playbook: Long before COVID-19 emerged, top health authorities from across Canada put together a playbook to prepare for a situation strikingly similar to the one the country now finds itself in. One of the co-authors of that report was Dr. Theresa Tam, now Canada’s chief public health officer in charge of the fight against the novel coronavirus. But the actual response has been very different.
Modelling: In Alberta, infections are expected to peak in the middle of next month, with between 400 and 3,100 people potentially dying of the disease if physical-distancing measures are successful. Saskatchewan reports that between 3,000 and 8,300 people could die, and projections say there could be between 153,000 and 408,000 cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Models projecting in Newfoundland and Labrador looked at the possibility that 32 per cent of the population would be infected over two years.
Telecom: Bell Canada has been adding capacity to its wireless and landline networks because of surging traffic caused by a huge shift to home working. Bell says that voice traffic on its networks has risen by 200 per cent. Meanwhile in Alberta, a privacy expert says Alberta’s plan to use smartphone technology to enforce quarantines should come with more detail. Premier Jason Kenney wants to get COVID-19 under control so that economic activity can resume.
- The latest on the coronavirus: Ottawa to reveal grim jobless rate, projections for deaths from COVID-19
- How to end the COVID-19 lockdowns? Slowly and carefully, it appears
- Seafarers in Canadian ports unable to return home – or come to shore – during pandemic
- Jean Truchon, MAID advocate, receives assisted death early because of coronavirus fears
- ‘The unsealing of Wuhan’ brings cheers and new surveillance as city reopens travel connections
In Business news
It’s a long road to economic recovery, Canadian bank CEOs warn
The sharp rebound many have hoped for is looking increasingly unlikely, according to Royal Bank of Canada CEO Dave McKay. The economy that emerges on the other side of the crisis may look markedly different from the one before COVID-19. “We’re going to need to support businesses and consumers a little bit longer than we might have planned even a month ago," he said.
- Airlines to tap wage-subsidy program to rehire workers who have been laid off amid COVID-19
- Teck Resources facing calls to shut down coal mines in British Columbia over COVID-19 fears
- Higher financing costs for Suncor Energy prompt concerns about borrowing for smaller oil companies
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Saudi officials announce Yemen cease-fire amid pandemic: The ceasefire could be extended to pave the way for the parties “to discuss proposals, steps, and mechanisms for sustainable ceasefire in Yemen,” a Saudi military spokesman said.
Outcry over racial data grows as coronavirus kills black Americans at disproportionate rate: Of the victims whose demographic data was publicly shared by officials – nearly 3,300 of the nation’s 13,000 deaths thus far – about 42 per cent were black, according to an Associated Press analysis.
Canadian Armed Forces says 20 service members died by suicide in 2019: Not only was that an increase of five military suicides over the previous year, it was the largest number of suicides among those in uniform since 23 service members took their own lives in 2014.
British Royal Albert Memorial Museum agrees to return Indigenous relics to Alberta: After quiet political pressure from Alberta late last year, first reported by The Globe and Mail, Exeter City Council voted Tuesday to return the items to the Siksika First Nation.
Global stocks gain on hopes pandemic is reaching peak: Global shares rose on Thursday on hopes the COVID-19 pandemic was nearing a peak and that governments would roll out more stimulus to support their economies, while expectations of a deal to cut oil production bolstered crude prices. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE was up 0.39 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.65 per cent. France’s CAC 40 was just below break even. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 1.38 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.04 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 71.16 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
History will repeat itself if First Nations remain underfunded in the fight against COVID-19
Cindy Blackstock and Isadore Day: “If Canada only does one – or both, inadequately – more people will die because the federal government did not do better when it knew better.” Blackstock is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Day, a member of Serpent River First Nation, is the former chair of the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs Committee on Health.
Coronavirus has created a high-stakes moment for companies and their reputations
Dennis Matthews: “And there will be long memories for how companies behaved and treated people during this crisis. Those who understand that will make it through stronger than ever.” Matthews is a conservative strategist and commentator who is a vice-president at the national communications firm Enterprise Canada.
What if Canada’s emergency response benefit amid pandemic is a mistake?
John Ibbitson: “As a result of this crisis, the debate over a guaranteed basic income could become a major issue in the next election, with Conservatives opposed, the NDP in support and Liberals firmly committed to further study.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
The science behind why everyone is suddenly baking bread
Self-isolation had created an influx of sourdough starters on Instagram stories, and Google Trend searches for “bread” have hit all-time highs. The hashtag #breadmaking has garnered nearly half a million posts on social media and grocery stores are facing flour shortages. On the surface, it’s easy to attribute the rise of timelapsed loaves to boredom, but it turns out there’s a scientific reason why everyone’s hopping on the bread-baking bandwagon.
MOMENT IN TIME
Charles and Camilla marry
April 9, 2005: Royal nuptials are normally the stuff of fairy tales: pomp, circumstance and a parade of fascinators. The marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was certainly not that. Their wedding was a grown-up fairy tale that made formal a three decade-long affair. They first met at a polo match in 1970 and dated, but Camilla was not deemed a suitable bride, having the modern gall to have ex-boyfriends. Camilla married in 1973, while Charles wed Diana Spencer in a wedding broadcast to millions in 1981. Both marriages were marked by infidelity. Both ended in divorce – but not before salacious details of Camilla and Charles’s affair were leaked to the press. His expressed desire to "live inside” Camilla’s trousers was tabloid catnip. Rehabilitation of their public image took time. After the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales, two years passed before the pair were spotted in public, and it was another year before Camilla officially met the Queen. The civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall was followed by a church blessing at St. George’s Chapel: an adult union for two people who, after many mistakes and missteps, were able to commit to each other fully. Jessie Willms