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Canada reports 540 new coronavirus cases as global infections top 15 million –



The number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada surpassed 112,200 on Wednesday, as the number of worldwide infections topped 15 million.

According to provincial and territorial health officials, 540 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded across Canada on Wednesday.

Eight more people have also died of the virus.

Read more:
‘We’re going to run out of time’: Health experts sound alarm as Canada’s coronavirus cases rise

Health officials in Ontario recorded 165 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and said two more people had died.

So far, the province has tested 1,934,099 people for COVID-19, and 207 more people have recovered from infections since Tuesday.

In Quebec — the province hit hardest by the pandemic — 142 new cases of the respiratory illness were reported.

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Health officials said four more people had died, bringing the province’s death toll to 5,662.

To date, 50,373 people have recovered from COVID-19 infections in Quebec.

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Coronavirus: Trump says he’s ‘comfortable’ having son, grandchildren back at schools

Meanwhile in Manitoba, eight new cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed.

However, provincial health authorities said no one else had died as a result of the virus.

So far, the province has conducted 78,283 COVID-19 tests.

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Saskatchewan reported its highest total number of new coronavirus cases in a single day on Wednesday with 60 new infections.

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But provincial health authorities said no more deaths related to the virus had been reported.

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So far, 825 people in Saskatchewan have recovered from COVID-19 infections, and 84,915 tests have been conducted.

Alberta saw 133 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday and health officials said another two people had died, bringing the province’s death toll to 174.

Health officials said 606,465 tests have been administered and 8,436 people have recovered from COVID-19 infections.

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Coronavirus: Toronto residents seeking more rural, suburban life amid pandemic

In British Columbia, health authorities said 34 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed on Wednesday.

Three of those cases are considered “epidemiologically linked,” meaning they have not been confirmed by laboratory tests.

A total of 2,888 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province.

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Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not record any new cases of the virus or deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

In Prince Edward Island, 17,830 tests have been conducted and 34 people have recovered from coronavirus infections.

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New Brunswick health authorities said 49,718 tests have been administered, and 165 people have recovered from the virus.

Nova Scotia officials said 1,003 people have recovered from infections in the province and 61,769 have been tested for the virus.

Meanwhile, health officials in Newfoundland reported one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but said no one else had died of the virus.

So far, 22,710 people have been tested for the virus in the province and 259 have recovered from infections.

Coronavirus: Video shows large crowds and long lines in Niagara Falls

Coronavirus: Video shows large crowds and long lines in Niagara Falls

Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories each reported zero new cases of the novel coronavirus and said no deaths associated with the virus had occurred.

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Yukon health officials have tested 1,450 people for the virus and said 11 people have recovered from the virus.

In the Northwest Territories, five people have recovered after having COVID-19

So far, 3,033 people have been tested for the virus.

Nunavut has yet to see a confirmed case of the respiratory illness. The territory confirmed Wednesday that two presumptive cases reported last week turned out to be negative.

Global cases top 15 million

The coronavirus pandemic reached another grim milestone on Wednesday, with the number of infections worldwide having now surpassed 15 million.

According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, as of 8 pm. ET on Wednesday, 15,077,182 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed across the globe.

Read more:
Global coronavirus cases went from 10 million to 15 million in less than a month

The United States remained the epicentre of the virus on Wednesday, with 3,955,860 infections.

So far, the virus has claimed 620,257 lives worldwide.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada sending up to $5M in humanitarian aid to Lebanon after Beirut explosion –



Canada will provide up to $5 million in humanitarian assistance to help Lebanon and its people recover from the devastating explosion in Beirut’s port.

An initial $1.5 million of that funding will go to the Lebanese Red Cross to provide emergency medical services, shelter and food for those affected.

In an interview with CBC News, International Development Minister Karina Gould said the money represents Canada’s initial commitment and that it could grow in the coming days and weeks as the scale of the disaster becomes more clear.

“This is about saving lives in the next 48 hours and then making sure that people have access to emergency shelter, food, health care and medicine,” Gould said.

The explosion happened Tuesday when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, which had been stored for years at the port, ignited, sending shock waves across the Lebanese capital. 

Around 135 people died, about 5,000 were injured and another 300,000 people have been left without a place to live. Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the injured.

Beirut Gov. Marwan Abboud told Al Hadath TV that collective economic losses due to the blast might reach $13 billion to $20 billion, saying the estimate included both direct and indirect losses related to business.

Other countries have also mobilized to provide help. Germany has dispatched dozens of search and rescue specialists to help find survivors trapped beneath rubble while Russia sent a plane carrying relief teams, doctors and medical equipment.

France is sending two planes with aid and 55 workers, including disaster response experts, emergency nurses, doctors and firefighters.

Gould said it’s possible Canada may provide support in other forms other than humanitarian funding, but wouldn’t say whether Canada’s disaster response team, DART, will be mobilized.

“Nothing is off the table right now in terms of Canada’s response,” she said. “We want to make sure that what we’re sending is indeed what is needed.”

Lebanese government under fire

Experts say the need for rapid assistance and the complexities of Lebanon’s political system — which is characterized by widespread corruption, sectarianism and a weak state — mean that non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross are best placed to provide immediate help.

“There are a lot of local organizations — some small, some really large — who have the capacity to implement significant humanitarian assistance programs and who have the capacity to really help the population with no political manoeuvring, with no political consequences,” said Ruby Dagher, an international development professor at the University of Ottawa who immigrated to Canada from Lebanon.

“We should look at those first for the humanitarian assistance before we turn our attention to working through the government.”

Public anger against the Lebanese government was already at historic highs after months of sustained protests amid a long-running financial crisis intensified by the coronavirus pandemic. That anger has only grown since it emerged that the highly explosive fertilizer that caused Tuesday’s explosion had been stored at Beirut’s port for six years while port officials did nothing about it.

Lama Mourad, a professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, said any aid provided through the Lebanese government will help legitimize a ruling class that has lost the trust of its people.

“[The government of Canada would] be effectively supporting a government that has no legitimacy in the eyes of citizens,” Mourad said. “Giving money to this government or any of the ruling elite… will only serve to support and strengthen their power, rather than necessarily go to the people who need it most.”

Rex Brynen, a political scientist at McGill University, said after the immediate humanitarian crisis is over, Canada could play a role in strengthening the capacity of the Lebanese government. 

He cited the possible negligence at the Beirut port as a sign that the Lebanese state has a regulatory management problem at the port.

“That’s an issue which in the longer term needs to be addressed in Lebanon and outside partners can play a role in trying to strengthen government capacity,” Brynen said.

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4 Canadians with terminal cancer win the right to try magic mushrooms –



On Tuesday, Laurie Brooks received the news she’s waited more than 100 days to hear — she now has the legal right to use magic mushrooms.

“I was pretty emotional. I was surprised,” the 53-year-old Abbotsford, B.C. mother of four told CBC. 

“Just to have that recognition … that what I was fighting for was worthwhile, it meant a lot to me.”

Brooks has had two bouts with colon cancer and has struggled with psychological distress as she reckons with the possibility of imminent death.

She’s one of four Canadians with terminal cancer who received approval this week from the federal government for an exemption from drug laws that have made psilocybin — the active ingredient in magic mushrooms — illegal since 1974. 

Psilocybin has shown promise in relieving end-of-life distress for palliative cancer patients, but it’s still undergoing clinical trials that are necessary before it can be made widely available to the public.

The four patients applied for their exemptions with help from the advocacy group TheraPsil, which argues that terminally ill patients deserve compassionate access to something that might help with their anguish when other treatments have failed.

The group’s founder, Victoria psychotherapist Bruce Tobin, applauded the federal government for allowing the patients access to psilocybin.

“Although it has taken a long time we are impressed with their willingness to listen to patients who have not been heard and to shift focus and policy to accommodate their interests and protect their needs,” Tobin said in a press release.

‘Our lives were turned upside down’

Brooks said she could never have imagined becoming an advocate for magic mushrooms — until very recently, she’d hadn’t ever tried an illegal drug.

But things changed a year ago, when she learned her cancer had returned. Her doctor gave her six months to a year to live if she didn’t undergo another punishing round of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

“It was pretty distressing,” Brooks said. “The idea of not being around and all the plans that my husband and I had for our life, now that the kids are grown — everything we wanted to do went out the window and our lives were turned upside down and backwards again.” 

She was angry and anxious and couldn’t sleep at night, and she dreaded the physical ordeal she knew lay ahead during another round of treatment.

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is undergoing clinical trials in Canada for use in treating psychological disorders. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)

When Brooks’s therapist mentioned the research on psilocybin, she says she was on board almost immediately. She decided to try it in a guided session conducted under her therapist’s supervision.

“I did my psilocybin trip last October and immediately afterwards I was able to see my cancer in a box beside me on the floor instead of this black cloud hanging over me all the time,” Brooks said.

She cautions that it took a lot of preparation to be ready for the experience, and it wasn’t all pleasant. The six-hour trip began with huge waves of grief, and she was forced to confront a flood of bad emotions before finding some clarity.

Psilocybin can also cause “bad trips” that include frightening hallucinations and extreme paranoia.

Lasting effects after 1 trip

But to Brooks’s surprise, she says her cancer has stayed in that metaphorical box through the last 10 months of treatment. In fact, that one psychedelic trip made such a difference that she’s not sure whether it’s even necessary to take psilocybin again.

But Brooks says this isn’t just about her.

“Hopefully this allows other people to get that exemption faster, and hopefully it’s the start of something really great where therapists can use it with their clients,” she said.

Meanwhile, she underwent her final surgery last week, and says her doctors believe the cancer is gone — at least for now.

“I’m kind of in a wait and see mode, and just living life as best I can and enjoying the time I have,” Brooks said. 

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Ford won't commit to lower class sizes, while Ontario sees fewer than 100 new COVID-19 cases –



Ontario Premier Doug Ford faced a string of questions about his government’s plan to reopen schools in September, with many asking why, despite a recent report by SickKids emphasizing the importance of small class sizes.

At a news conference Wednesday, Ford was asked about the possibility of capping class sizes as students return to the classroom.

Ford would not commit to doing that, saying the province has some of the lowest student to instructor ratios in the country, especially up to Grade 3. In kindergarten for example though, that still means potentially 30 children in a single class, Ford acknowledged. 

“Is it going to be perfect? No,” Ford said.

Parents who aren’t comfortable sending their children to school have the option of keeping them at home in September, Ford added.

“I personally feel we have the best plan in the entire country,” Ford said. “We have two options here. We bring the kids to school, which I’m hearing the vast majority of parents want to get back to normal … or keep your kids at home and you do online courses.

NDP slams Ford’s decision to ‘dig in his heels’

“I get it, not all parents are going to be 100 per cent comfortable. I wish I had the magical wand to say everyone is going to be perfectly fine. Let’s see. We’re relying on the best health minds in the country.”

NDP Opposition leader Andrea Horwath said in a statement following the news conference she was “horrified today to hear Doug Ford dig in his heels and refuse to reconsider his plan.”

“Thirty or more kids crammed into one small classroom wasn’t okay before the pandemic when Mr. Ford was cutting teachers and education workers and hiking class sizes. Now, it’s downright dangerous,” Horwath said. 

The premier also told reporters he expects 38 per cent of any vaccines procured in Canada to be allocated to Ontario. On Wednesday, the federal government announced it has entered two agreements to secure millions of doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Also on Wednesday, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa Macleod was asked why certain attractions, such as Canada’s Wonderland, have not yet been allowed to reopen.

Water parks, theme parks still pose risks, province says

Macleod responded that the province’s command table, including Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, has advised that theme parks and waterparks still pose a threat amid COVID-19 and that the province is continuing to assess the situation.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Canada’s Wonderland said the theme park is “disappointed” it still hasn’t received approval, saying it has submitted plans to the province that include physical distancing, capacity control and hygiene protocols that meet or exceed Ontario’s requirements for reopening.

“We will continue to work with the Ontario government and hope to welcome guests back soon to a fun and safe environment,” said spokesperson Grace Peacock.

Ontario reported 86 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, marking the third consecutive day with fewer than 100 newly-confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus in the province.

Toronto, Ottawa, Peel, York and Chatham-Kent were the only public health units with 10 or more new cases. Twenty-two of the province’s 34 health units reported no new cases at all.

All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health’s daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid the lag times in the provincial system.

No additional deaths reported today

Ontario has now seen a total of 39,714 confirmed instances of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Provincial public health officials consider a full 90 per cent of those cases resolved.

Another 146 were marked resolved in today’s update, meaning there are now fewer than 1,200 active infections of the novel coronavirus provincewide. 

Meanwhile, the number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness fell to 66 from 78. That figure has fallen more than 90 per cent from its peak in May. Thirty patients are being treated in intensive care units, while 15 are on ventilators.

The Ministry of Health’s official COVID-19 death toll stayed steady at 2,782, with no additional deaths reported today. A CBC News count based on more timely data from public health units puts the real toll at 2,818 as of yesterday evening.

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