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Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk of having a severe case of the disease than women in the same age range who are not pregnant, prompting calls for prioritized access to vaccines for those who are expecting.

At Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, six of 20 intensive care beds are currently occupied by pregnant women who have COVID-19, said Wendy Whittle, medical director of labour and delivery and a team lead for the COVID-19 and pregnancy response at the hospital. A total of 11 pregnant women infected with the coronavirus required admission to the intensive care unit in the past two weeks, compared with five across the first and second waves of the pandemic.

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A pregnant woman wearing a face mask as a precautionary measure walks past a street mural in Hong Kong, on March 23, 2020.

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

This is the daily Morning Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Morning Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters on our newsletter signup page.

How Bondfield scrambled to kill a story that threatened to derail the company

John Aquino, the former chief executive officer of Bondfield Construction Co. Ltd., was a domineering boss who was used to getting his way. But on Sept. 15, 2015, he was up against an ancient and immovable force: the Jewish high holidays.

That morning, The Globe and Mail had published the first of a series of stories about Aquino’s friend, Vas Georgiou, the second-in-command at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

The story, which detailed how Georgiou had been implicated in a fraud at a public university, was damning, and would soon spell the end of Georgiou’s time at the hospital. But Aquino knew Bondfield’s computer servers held evidence of something worse.

The only problem that September day was that Bondfield’s go-to IT official, Benny Weinstock, was off for Rosh Hashanah and was prohibited, religiously, from working until the two-day celebration ended at sundown. That didn’t stop Aquino. “I need you at office immediately,” Aquino wrote to Weinstock at 1:05 p.m.

Read more:

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The secret Bondfield files: Records outline alleged kickbacks between former executives over St. Michael’s Hospital bid

Bank of Canada hikes growth forecast, could raise rates in second half of next year

The Bank of Canada took a significant step toward unwinding its emergency stimulus yesterday, becoming the first major central bank to adjust its monetary policy in light of the vaccination rollout and mounting evidence that the economy is weathering the pandemic better than expected.

This puts the Bank of Canada ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and other central banks, in unwinding the massive amount of monetary stimulus announced in the early months of the pandemic. It comes alongside a dramatic adjustment to the bank’s economic outlook for the Canadian economy.

Read more:

Canadian dollar extends rally on Bank of Canada outlook, shrugs off big-spending federal budget

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David Parkinson: With new projections, Bank of Canada signals it’s willing to be flexible on inflation target in pursuit of full recovery

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Scientists seek a full accounting of nature’s assets: In marshes and on mountain slopes, on farms and fishing boats, a network of researchers led by Dr. Elena Bennett and her colleagues is developing the science of eco-accounting. Together, they are trying to calculate how much Canada’s nature is really worth to Canadians.

Ottawa targets credit-card fees as shopping habits change: The federal government is taking aim at credit-card transaction fees as shifting shopping habits resulting from pandemic lockdowns have substantially driven up costs for many small merchants.

Cirque du Soleil plans to reopen four shows starting this summer: Cirque du Soleil is planning to reopen four shows beginning in late June as it tries to piece back together a business crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. The famed circus troupe began selling tickets yesterday for the first show to reopen in Las Vegas.

CFL delays start of season; women’s world hockey championship cancelled: The CFL is pushing back the start of its 2021 season to Aug. 5 and reducing the number of games played because of COVID-19. Also, the women’s world hockey championship, set to take place in Nova Scotia from May 6-16, has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.

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MORNING MARKETS

Global stocks edge higher: Global stocks ground higher while oil ebbed on Thursday as markets haggled over whether to bet on economic recovery in the United States and other developed markets or worry about a surge in COVID-19 cases in countries including India. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.23 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.51 per cent and 0.84 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.38 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.47 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading around 80 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

André Picard: “So tear down those “no photos” posters and bring on the selfies! Fill up Instagram and Twitter feeds with close-ups of the needle. Post the selfies on Facebook for the grandchildren to see. Pull out your phone and boast about the bandage. Every vaccine we administer should be a smiling celebration of hope, widely shared.”

Lawrence Martin: “Mr. Floyd’s death and the subsequent conviction of his asphyxiator mark another national reckoning on racial injustice. It’s a step forward. But the hope that it’s a leap is belied by precedent.”

Editorial Board: “The economic argument is that cheaper child care means more women working, which means a bigger economy and more taxes to the treasury. The Liberal budget asserted the evidence from Quebec is “incontrovertible” and that this program ‘pays for itself.’ The evidence is indeed promising, though not incontrovertible.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Welcome spring with these herb- and vegetable-focused recipes

The first vegetables of spring take us away from starchy winter roots and slow-cooked food into lighter, brighter tastes and a different approach to cooking – the quick sauté, the briefly roasted chop, plates of steamed vegetables, lots of crisp, lively flavours. Here are some spring vegetables and herbs to look forward to and some recipes to spark your palate.

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YOUR DAILY HOROSCOPE

IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Make alliances with people who have more experience than you. You may be pretty good at getting things done on your own but your birthday chart urges you to find ways to blend your talents with other people’s skills. Together you’ll be unbeatable.

Read today's horoscopes. Enjoy today's puzzles.


MOMENT IN TIME: APRIL 22, 2001

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, STS-100 mission specialist representing the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), stands on one Canadian-built robot arm to work with another one.

NASA

Chris Hadfield is first Canadian to walk in space

When Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off in the afternoon of April 19, 2001, Canadian Chris Hadfield was strapped in as mission specialist 1 on International Space Station (ISS) assembly Flight 6A. Awaiting the veteran astronaut and pilot at the ISS was the newly built Canadarm2, which was set to be affixed to the U.S. research lab Destiny. While deploying Canadarm2 – the pride of the Canadian Space Agency – Hadfield would also have the honour of becoming the first Canadian to float freely above the Earth during what are known as extravehicular activities (EVAs). These are considered among the most hazardous tasks for astronauts aboard the ISS. Hadfield’s first step into the vacuum of space occurred on April 22, when he and American Scott Parazynski spent 7 hours and 10 minutes outside the ISS, attaching an antenna and one arm of the Canadarm2 to Destiny, the primary objective of the 11-day mission. Two days later, the same pair returned to the void for another 7 hours and 40 minutes, completing their work on Destiny. “It was the most magnificent experience of my life. … I highly recommend it.” In 2006, Steve MacLean become the second Canadian to walk in space, followed by Dave Williams in 2007, and David Saint-Jacques in 2019. Rob Gilroy

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