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Ontario physicians have been urged to ration one of only two drugs known to reduce mortality in critically ill COVID-19 patients, a harbinger of what lies ahead for other provinces if the third wave keeps rising and Canada cannot secure more of the medication.

A shortage of the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab is just one of the challenges Canadian hospitals face as faster-spreading and more dangerous variants overtake older versions of the coronavirus.

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Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table revised its clinical guidance this week to say that, “in light of ongoing drug shortages,” the IV medication should be doled out in smaller amounts and that no patient should receive a second dose.

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Vaccine panel stands by decision to delay doses up to four months

A national panel of experts is continuing to recommend that second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations can wait up to four months, a position that places Canada among countries with the longest delays between shots.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization provided the guidance yesterday, saying current evidence shows that a single dose offers good protection and will “allow faster population-level protection” that would thwart the spread of the virus. At the same time, the committee’s report said it anticipates that most people will not have to wait that long as supplies ramp up.

Read more:

Ontario issues stay-at-home order, expands vaccines for essential workers and teachers in Peel and Toronto

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‘Strong association’ between AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and rare blood clots, regulator says

B.C. to limit screening for COVID-19 variants of concern

Editorial: Canada has a vaccine gap. Here’s how to close it

Doctor Meera Jayarajan and nurse Kevin Sagun from Humber River Hospital administer the Moderna coronavirus vaccine to residents at a Toronto Community Housing seniors building in the northwest end of Toronto, March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

BMO CEO urges regulators to help cool hot housing market: Darryl White, the chief executive of Bank of Montreal, says policy makers and regulators should “plan urgently” in case they need to step in to help cool overheating housing markets – but adds that they should wait and see what happens in the coming weeks.

More: Bank regulator restarts consultations on overhauling mortgage stress test after pandemic interruption

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New trial ordered for former Quebec judge convicted of killing his wife: Jacques Delisle, a former Quebec judge who was found guilty in 2012 of killing his wife, could get a new trial after a review of his case concluded a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

Election readiness tops Liberal convention agenda: As Liberal Party members gather virtually today for the start of a major convention, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted that he does not want an election, but his party organizers have been nominating candidates and laying the groundwork for one.

More: Erin O’Toole says Conservatives’ plan to address climate change will surpass commitments under Andrew Scheer

Vancouver Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak grows: The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season.


MORNING MARKETS

Fed lifts world stocks: Stocks in Europe reached record highs on Thursday, buoyed by optimism in Britain over easing lockdown restrictions, while a benign outlook for U.S. interest rates was set to push Wall Street to new heights. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.13 per cent. France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.40 per cent. German’s DAX slipped 0.06 per cent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.16 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.07 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.28 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

John Ibbitson: “By all means, let’s hold governments and politicians at every level to account. But let’s also remember that they’re human, that they and their advisers have been working around the clock for a year, and that most of them, most of the time, are using their best judgment, for better or worse.”

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David Parkinson: “... it’s evident that as a tool to reduce poverty and income inequality, and provide an effective defence for the economy as a whole, a guaranteed basic income has a lot of merit. There’s a reason we keep talking about this. It’s actually a pretty sensible idea.”

Lawrence Martin: “[Joe] Biden’s spending bonanza is not over yet. On the way is another trillion-dollar-plus outlay via his American family plan focusing on child care, education and health care. To no one’s surprise, some of the measures will have a Canadian ring to them. Joe Biden is a fan – and from the Canadian perspective, that’s a good president to have.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Embarking on a reno? Design it online first

Exploring the possibilities of decor once meant depending on a professional or compiling online inspiration galleries. Today, a bevy of accessible digital tools are available to help homeowners visually communicate their ideas, whether to their architects and interior designers or directly to contractors and tradespeople.


MOMENT IN TIME: APRIL 8, 1919

A portrait of Frank W. Woolworth.

CPL Archives / Everett Collection via CP

Frank Woolworth dies

American entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth was a retail pioneer. Born in Rodman, N.Y., Woolworth was known for his “5 and 10 cent” stores, or five-and-dimes. Woolworth and his brother, Charles, allowed customers to browse items on a sales floor and introduced customer-service techniques that are now central facets of the modern retail model. (Before sales floors were introduced, customers were presented with items they had specifically requested to purchase.) With a $300 loan, Woolworth built stores across the United States, and the F.W. Woolworth Co. was incorporated in 1911. This new model meant big profits: By 1913, company headquarters moved into the Woolworth Building, an early skyscraper bankrolled by the retail magnate. It was the tallest building in New York for 17 years. Days before his death, Woolworth had planned for a grand opening of his 1,000th store and large celebrations for the 40th birthday of the company. He left the office on Friday and died the next Tuesday at the age of 66. Rival and competitor Sebastian Kresge, who also owned a chain of five-and-dimes, closed all his stores on the day of Woolworth’s funeral. The neo-Gothic Woolworth building remains one of Manhattan’s most famous structures. Aaliyah Dasoo

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