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“It is really a Wild West"

The race to obtain the necessary protective gear for Canada’s front-line workers has become intensely competitive as government officials at all levels try to secure critical supplies.

“It is really a Wild West when it comes to buying medical supplies right now," Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday. "This is a global pandemic and every country in the world is doing its best in a truly fierce competition to get medical equipment.”

Canadian political leaders have shown a united front as they try to source the masks, gowns, gloves and face shields, and the federal government assures Canadians that it will have the necessary supplies. But behind the scenes, the shipments are slow to arrive as federal and provincial governments get short-changed on orders and deliveries are delayed or disappear.

Huawei sending medical gear to Canada

Huawei is quietly flying millions of masks to Canada. The Chinese telecom giant has already delivered more than a million masks to Canada, along with 30,000 goggles and 50,000 pairs of gloves. And Huawei continues to send more. It has plans to give six million masks to Canada. A relatively small percentage – fewer than 200,000 – will be the N95 masks that are used by front-line medical workers, but in short supply. Huawei is not sending ventilators.

Federal aid packages

On opening day, more than 794,725 people applied for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB). The program, which provides qualifying individuals with up to $500 a week, will now be expanded to include more people and situations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his Monday news conference.

The program is currently limited to people who suddenly have zero income, thus excluding contractors or shift workers whose earnings have been reduced during the pandemic.

The government is working on the final details of an even larger program called the Canada emergency wage subsidy. The CEWS would give employers funds to cover 75 per cent of a wage up to a maximum benefit of $847 a week. The government has said it may be another six weeks before the program is open to applications.

Shelter from the storm

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Monday that the city is aggressively pursuing new modular-housing projects, using prefabricated units to quickly build supportive housing on city land for people who are underhoused.

“I’m anxious to show that we can do these modular housing projects quickly,” he said, “and show that we can provide supportive housing in a timely way. There may be lessons there for us that we can apply on a larger scale."

So far, the City of Toronto has been moving people who are homeless out of shelters and respite centres, where crowded and unsanitary conditions make it difficult to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Boris Johnson moved to ICU

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s medical condition has worsened and officials said he has been moved into intensive care in a London hospital.

Mr. Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. Officials at 10 Downing St. said at the time that he’d been admitted because he continued to have a high temperature as well as other symptoms.

They also said that he had been moved to the ICU at around 7 p.m. local time as a precaution “should he require ventilation to aid his recovery.”

Mr. Johnson, 55, deputized Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to take over his duties.

Trying to get a fix on the curve

Given the variables in testing for COVID-19 in each province, infectious disease experts say they are looking to rates of hospitalization and admission into intensive-care units as a more reliable indicator of where the curve is headed.

As of Monday, B.C. had 140 patients in hospital, with 72 of them in ICU. By comparison, one week ago, there were 106 patients in hospital in the province with COVID-19 and of those, 60 were in ICU. In Alberta, 40 patients were in hospital with COVID-19 as of Monday, with 16 of those in ICU. A week earlier, there were 28 people in hospital, with 11 in ICU.

The rates of increase are much higher in Ontario and Quebec.

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MORNING MARKETS

Coronavirus hopes propel world stocks, euro higher: World stock markets enjoyed a second day of sharp gains on Tuesday as signs of progress against the coronavirus in both Europe and the United States and more liberal helpings of stimulus kept investors charging back in. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 2.40 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 3.77 per cent. France’s CAC 40 rose 3.07 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 2.01 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 2.12 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 71.26 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

When Donald Trump goes low, Canada should go high

Editorial: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly been asked how he will hit back at Mr. Trump. He has repeatedly rejected the idea. That is wise. Eye-for-an-eye retaliation would have us all go blind.”

Despite the biggest deficit since the Second World War, Canada can afford this crisis

John Ibbitson: “The difficult but essential task will be to sustain the economy as it recovers after the pandemic, while also bringing public-sector spending under control.”

Advice on masks is changing as coronavirus knowledge evolves

André Picard: “The reason officials are still so reluctant to say ‘wear a mask’ in as many words is that there are many nuances and a real fear of unintended consequences.”

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

By Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

A gym rat’s guide for staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

Whether your normal fitness regimen involves strength training, martial arts or gymnastics, or if it’s exercises for your mobility or meditation that you need help with, a fitness expert shares some of the best online resources that he’s come across.

Struggling to keep children occupied all day? Here’s a different kind of ‘bucket list’ for organizing your days

Are you at home each and every day with your kids? How do you take care of them while also trying to work from home? Think of it in terms of “buckets.” A bucket is a category of activity and each day we should do at least one thing that falls into each bucket. Which buckets to include takes a little thinking and planning on your part.

MOMENT IN TIME

Bruce Cockburn, undated portrait, c. 1970s. HandoutHandout

The turn of the sixties into the seventies was a time of thoughtfulness and patchouli-scented spirituality, reflected by charting hits that included, in the spring of 1970, Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and the Beatles’ Let it Be. “Speaking words of wisdom,” then, was something of a genre unto itself. It was in this era that on April 7, 1970, the young Ottawan Bruce Cockburn released a spare, acoustic and introspective self-titled debut album that was at turns gentle and jaunty, marked by flowery lyricism and the lucid, seeking outlook of a self-aware artist on the cusp of something yet unclear. “It’s my turn, but where’s the guide?” the nascent troubadour wondered on Man of a Thousand Faces. The political activism of 1984′s If I Had a Rocket Launcher would come later, as would 13 Juno Awards. In 1970, though, with songs such as Thoughts on a Rainy Afternoon, the gifted musician sought connections behind the things he observed. As for what lay ahead, he was characteristically clear-eyed, singing “Jesus, don’t let tomorrow take my love away.” Cockburn would win that fight. – Brad Wheeler

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