- WHO emergency expert says lockdown not enough to defeat virus.
- Italy reports 800 COVID-19 deaths in one day.
- Canada has 1,331 cases, with 19 deaths and 16 recovered cases.
- Border no longer open for routine, casual traffic between Canada and U.S.
- Flight bringing Canadians home from Morocco lands in Montreal.
- Global athletes group calls for postponement of Olympics.
- Impact on health-care system ‘could be total collapse,’ warns ICU doctor
Countries can’t simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said on Sunday, adding that there need to be public health measures to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on.
“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“The danger right now with the lockdowns … if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.”
Worldwide, more than 307,000 people have now contracted the novel coronavirus and at least 12,944 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. But it can cause more severe illness in others, especially older adults and people with existing health conditions. Some 92,000 people have recovered, mostly in China, where the virus first struck late last year.
Italy on Sunday reported nearly 800 deaths in one day. The country has more than 50,000 cases and 4,825 deaths.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people not to mark Mother’s Day with home visits to elderly parents. The government says Britain will be facing a crisis on the scale of Italy’s in two weeks if people do not heed instructions to stay home and avoid contact with others.
WATCH | A Canadian doctor urges a mandatory lockdown from coast to coast:
A worldwide group representing Olympic hopefuls is calling on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
“As the world unites to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, the IOC … must do the same,” Global Athlete said in a news release Sunday. The Games are scheduled to run from July 24 to Aug.9. The IOC is in consultation with the World Health Organization and has stuck to the position that it’s too early for drastic decisions.
Athletes want to be part of a solution to ensure the Games are a success,” the Global Athlete statement said. “But under the current global restrictions that are limiting public gatherings as well as closing training facilities and borders, athletes do not have the ability to appropriately prepare for these Games, and their health and safety must come first.”
IOC President Thomas Bach has insisted the Games will go ahead as planned, telling told Germany’s SWR broadcaster on Saturday, they “cannot be moved like a football game.” He also ruled out cancelling the Games.
“A cancellation of the Games would be the least fair solution. A cancellation would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes of 206 Olympic committees,” he said.
As countries around the globe scramble to stop the spread of the virus, slamming shut borders and cutting off international travel, Canadians woke up Saturday to a new reality: the world’s longest undefended border is no longer open for routine, casual traffic between Canada and the United States.
Snowbirds urged to come home
The ban on non-essential cross-border travel went into effect at midnight ET and will stay in place for at least 30 days as both countries scramble to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19. Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne says Canadian snowbirds living in the U.S. should come home now and the border will remain open for them.
Champagne said additional flights are in the works to bring Canadians home from Peru and Spain. Negotiations are also underway with governments in India, the Philippines, and Ecuador, Champagne said.
WATCH | Will Canada’s $82-billion COVID-19 aid package be enough?
In Ottawa, Parliament will reconvene on Tuesday with just a few MPs from each party, just enough to form a quorum. The recall is to adopt the government’s proposed multi-billion-dollar emergency economic measures announced last week. The aid package is to soften the blow of the pandemic on businesses and individuals. The Senate will be called back Wednesday to pass the bill. Royal Assent is expected the same day.
Canada has ramped up testing for COVID-19 dramatically in the last week, with more than 83,000 tests now completed, more than 80 per cent of them since March 14. That includes more than 20,000 tests conducted on Thursday and Friday.
WATCH | ‘We want to go home,’ says Canadian stranded in Peru
Schools are now closed in most of the country, restaurants and bars mostly open only for take-out service, and movie theatres, concert halls and other public gathering spaces locked up.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Saturday Canadians who have so drastically changed their daily lives to try and do their part to stop COVID-19, deserve a big thanks, but he warned people not to let up any time soon.
In Canada, there are now more than 1,200 confirmed cases, and at least 19 deaths, including four deaths announced at the same Quebec care home.
According to airline tracking data, an Air Canada flight has landed in Montreal, bringing 444 Canadians home from Morocco as borders shut down around the world.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and other areas of the world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
B.C. says it has freed up thousands of acute care hospital beds. The government said the beds were made available after it ordered the cancellations of non-urgent elective surgeries. B.C. also ordered all restaurants and bars to stop dine-in services; nightclubs, playgrounds and libraries to close; and banned gatherings of more than 50 people. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
Ontario says it’s launching a website to help businesses retool and shift their focus to producing much-needed medical equipment. Meanwhile, Toronto’s University Health Network says it will no longer allow visitors with exceptions for compassionate grounds and for special safety needs. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
Quebec’s provincial police have begun a “special operation” to assist the Health Ministry in enforcing the Public Health Act. “As of now, it’s clear we’re going to constrain the people who do not respect the guidelines,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director. On Friday a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was arrested in Quebec City for defying quarantine orders. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
Nurses at three Edmonton clinics have refused to swab patients for COVID-19 because they say aren’t being provided with N95 face masks by Alberta Health Services. Roughly 30 nurses say “they need N95 to properly protect themselves,” according to their union, but AHS says they’re not required in order to perform the tests. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan says only essential health-care workers are exempt from self-isolation restrictions. Premier Scott Moe said on Friday he was concerned some individuals who recently travelled outside of Canada were not respecting self-isolation requirements. As a result, those who violate the rules could be subject to a $2,000 fine. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Winnipeg opened its first drive-thru community screening site, marking the third such drive-thru location in Manitoba. There are 11 testing locations in total in the province. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Retired physicians in New Brunswick have offered their services should they be required. The offer comes as Premier Blaine Higgs says health officials believe the peak of viral infections could still be up to five weeks away. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Dentists in Nova Scotia can no longer practise in their offices unless they deem it to be an emergency. The province ordered the restriction on Saturday under the Health Protection Act. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland and Labrador opened test centres with Western and Eastern Health on Saturday. The province’s health authority says the clinics will operate seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with nurses collecting samples while individuals remain in their vehicles. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
P.E.I. is asking people to self-isolate if they’ve travelled off-island within Canada. The province will also be implementing enhanced screening measures at the Confederation Bridge, the Charlottetown airport and the ferry in Souris. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
In the Northwest Territories, the chief public health officer confirmed the territory’s first case on Saturday. The person had travelled to British Columbia and Alberta, according a statement, and then returned home to Yellowknife.
Here’s a look at the number of cases — including deaths and recoveries — by province:
- British Columbia: 424 confirmed cases, including six recovered and 10 deaths.
- Ontario: 377 confirmed cases, including six recovered and three deaths.
- Alberta: 226 confirmed cases, including three recovered and one death.
- Quebec: 181 confirmed cases, including one recovered and five deaths.
- Saskatchewan: 44 confirmed and presumptive cases.
- Manitoba: 19 confirmed and presumptive cases.
- New Brunswick: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases.
- Nova Scotia: 21 confirmed and presumptive cases.
- Prince Edward Island: Two cases the province lists as positive.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Six confirmed and presumptive cases.
- Northwest Territories: one confirmed case.
- Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed cases.
Presumptive cases are individuals who have tested positive, but still await confirmation with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. Not all provinces are listing figures on those who have recovered. The recent COVID-19 related death in Japan is not currently included in the province-by-province tally of cases.
Here’s what’s happening in the U.S.
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 8:45 p.m. ET
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife tested negative for the virus, his spokesperson said Saturday night, after a member of his staff tested positive.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Saturday mandating that all non-essential retail businesses close stores and almost all state residents stay home. The order follows similar moves by Illinois, New York and California.
The sweeping state-by-state public health restrictions, unprecedented in breadth and scope, added to the distance being experienced among ordinary Americans even as the pandemic seemed to close in on the highest levels of power in the nation’s capital.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that starting Sunday, all workers in non-essential businesses must stay home as much as possible and all gatherings of any size will be banned in the state of more than 19 million people, which has seen more than 11,000 cases and 56 deaths. He acted after California all but confined its 40 million residents to their homes.
WATCH | New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is worried about the lack of hospital ventilators:
Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Saturday scrambled to complete a deal on a $1 trillion-plus bill aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout for workers, industries and small businesses.
But after a second day of marathon closed-door negotiations, there was no sign of an overarching deal between negotiators
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid coronavirus diagnostic test, with a detection time of about 45 minutes. The test’s developer, California-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, said on Saturday it had received an emergency use authorization from the FDA for the test, which will be used primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms. The company plans to begin shipping it to hospitals next week, it said.
The total number of known U.S. coronavirus cases has risen exponentially in recent days, climbing past 19,500 in a surge that health officials attributed in large part to an increase in diagnostic testing.
Here’s what’s happening in Europe
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 7:00 a.m. ET
Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus epidemic increasedto 1,720 on Sunday from 1,326 the day before, according to multiple media outlets citing the latest health data. The number of registered cases in the country rose to 28,572 on Sunday from 24,926 in the previous tally announced on Saturday, the reports added. As the second worst-hit country in Europe, Spain will be extending its 15-day state of emergency and lockdown order announced last week for another 15 days.
In Cyprus, a police spokesperson says authorities have turned away a boat carrying around 100 migrants, citing government directives banning the entry of foreign nationals.
France reported 78 new deaths on Friday, taking the total to 450, an increase of 21 per cent. The Alsace region has been struggling with a surge of infections overwhelming hospitals, prompting the neighbouring southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg to offer to take in some of its patients.
In Germany, the number of confirmed cases rose above 20,000, with 70 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Germany’s official Robert Koch Institute listed 16,662 case and 47 deaths, but officials have acknowledged that their count lags behind figures provided by regional health authorities.
Some German states, such as Bavaria, have stepped up measures to contain the outbreak by further restricting the reasons people can leave their homes. That’s prompted some criticism about stricter curfew measures.
Britain still lags behind Italy, Spain and France in the spread of the virus, but the country’s overstretched health system is creaking.
The state-funded National Health Service has about 4,000 critical-care beds and some 5,000 ventilators, and officials say that’s far fewer than will be needed as the number of cases spikes in the coming weeks. Britain, which has recorded more than 5,000 confirmed cases and 233 deaths, has already asked 65,000 retired nurses and doctors to return to work.
Here’s what’s happening in Asia
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 6:00 a.m. ET
Vietnam will bar entry for all foreigners starting Sunday, except for those on “diplomatic and special purposes,” the government said on Saturday, as the country’s cases rose to 94 with no deaths. Those allowed to enter will be subject to quarantine and will need approval from the ministries of police, health and foreign affairs.
Thailand partially closed all shopping malls in the capital Bangkok and nearby provinces on Sunday as the country reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections. The city’s malls, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, are closed for 22 days beginning March 22. The measures come as Thailand reported 188 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its tally to 599, with the majority of cases in Bangkok.
Japan has recorded 1,055 cases of domestically transmitted cases of coronavirus as of Sunday, up 40 from the previous day, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number passed the 1,000 milestone on Saturday as the nation battles to avoid a health crisis ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
WATCH | China sees imported cases rise:
In India, the typically boisterous streets of the capital New Delhi fell silent on Sunday as the country observed a 14-hour “people’s curfew” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for in a national address to stem the rising coronavirus caseload. No commercial airplanes from abroad are allowed to land in India for a week starting Sunday, and four states sealed their borders to public and tourist buses. Most businesses were expected to be closed except for essential services like hospitals.
India currently has more than 300 confirmed cases and four deaths from COVID-19.
Indonesia on Sunday confirmed 64 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 514.
The Chinese health authority said Sunday it received reports of 46 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Chinese mainland, of which 45 were imported from abroad. The overall confirmed cases on the mainland, where the epidemic erupted in December, had reached 81,054 by the end of Saturday. That number includes 5,549 patients who were still being treated, 72,244 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,261 people who died of the disease.
Though the epidemic erupted in China in December, and South Korea at one stage had the second-most infections, both subsequently succeeded in stifling domestic transmission of the virus.
South Korea reported 147 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new cases bring the country’s total to 8,799. The country’s election commission says all voters will be required to wear masks and use disposable gloves at ballot booths during the April 15 parliamentary elections.
Here’s a look at some other developments around COVID-19
- Canadian consumers are still snapping up supplies, leaving some store shelves empty, despite efforts to restock. Some grocery stores have implemented limits on essential items while others have not. The Retail Council of Canada, an industry group that represents big chains like Loblaw, Sobeys and Walmart, says it doesn’t plan to advocate for any rationing or limits per person.
El Salvador declared a 30-day curfews in response to the virus.
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
Africa’s cases of the coronavirus rose above 1,000 on Saturday. Angola and Uganda announced their first cases; Congo and Ghana reported their first deaths; and Burkina Faso reported two new ones — that country now has the most COVID-19 deaths of any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Many African countries have already shut their borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings.
Brazil is the hardest-hit country in Latin America, with the health ministry saying on Saturday 18 people have now died and over 1,100 are infected. The state of Sao Paulo alone has recorded 15 deaths, six of them reported on Saturday. That led Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria to announce a two-week, statewide partial shutdown — a first in Brazil. Bars, restaurants and non-essential shops may not open, but people will be allowed to go outside.
Australia has ratcheted up its social distancing regulations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, demanding indoor venues provide at least four square metres of space per person. The space constraint announced Friday follows a ban on Wednesday of non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, including weddings and restaurants. Gatherings considered essential include schools, supermarkets and workplaces, which are exempt. Australia has also tightened regulations on travel to and from remote Indigenous communities in a bid to spare them COVID-19 outbreaks.
Netflix is launching a $100M US relief fund for workers in the creative community as the film and television industry suffers. The fund will be distributed to “third parties and nonprofits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base,” according to a statement. That includes $1 million to be shared between the AFC, formerly known as the Actors Fund of Canada, and Fondation des Artistes in Canada.
Turkey announced 12 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 21. Ankara took its strictest measures so far Saturday, banning people over 65 and those with chronic health problems from leaving their homes. The interior ministry ordered all restaurants shut to customers except for deliveries and pickups. Earlier, the ministry banned picnics and barbecues as Turkish citizens ignored warnings to remain at home.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says he’s ‘proud’ of Canada’s COVID-19 response as U.S. cases soar – Global News
As U.S. President Donald Trump slowly comes to grips with his country’s grim prognosis for the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded Monday he’s taking a measure of comfort from early signs that the caseload in Canada is on a different trajectory than the United States.
Trudeau said he’s proud that Canadians appear to be taking seriously the importance of staying home and keeping their distance from others — the one measure public health officials say is paramount to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
And while the success or failure of those efforts won’t become clear for at least another week, Trudeau said, there’s little doubt that Canada is doing better than its southern neighbour at limiting the scope of the illness.
“I think I would say we’re not necessarily on the same trajectory,” Trudeau said in French during the daily fresh-air briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence. “We were quicker to get the screening done, and I think we have had more success in getting people to self-isolate.”
The U.S., however, has hardly set a high bar.
There were more than 156,000 cases by midday, nearly 13,000 more than the day before, and the number of deaths was hurtling towards 3,000. A shortage of beds, ventilators and masks had hospitals in hard-hit New York City operating well past the breaking point, using refrigerator trucks as makeshift morgues. The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, docked at Manhattan’s Pier 90 to help with the overflow.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says business, charities, non-profits eligible for COVID-19 wage subsidy
Alarming spikes in the caseloads in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania and Louisiana had officials in those states bracing for the worst, well aware they might be ill-equipped to handle it. In New Orleans, home to America’s worst per-capita COVID-19 death rate, the mayor said she’d have cancelled Mardi Gras last month if only the federal government had warned her.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead voice of medical reason on the White House coronavirus task force, has warned the U.S. death toll could land between 100,000 and 200,000 — and that’s after Trump abandoned his “aspirational” target of April 12 for reopening parts of the country, extending stay-at-home measures until the end of the month instead.
“By very vigorously following these guidelines, we could save one million American lives,” Trump said Monday during a Rose Garden news conference as he spelled out the need to keep the country shuttered for another month.
“This is our shared patriotic duty; challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days. We’re sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days.”
Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada
To the horror of public health experts, Trump had been musing about a celebratory Easter long weekend marked by packed churches, open shops and an accelerated return to American normalcy, insisting he didn’t want the “cure” to be worse than the “problem.” But early indications from Washington state, which reported the first known U.S. case, suggest the social-distancing strategy is having an impact.
A joint online survey released Monday by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggested, among other things, a difference in attitudes between the two countries when it comes to modifying behaviour to curb the spread of the virus.
Only 86 per cent of 1,004 U.S. respondents said they were keeping the requisite two-metre distance between themselves and others, compared with 95 per cent of the 1,590 Canadians surveyed, while 85 per cent of the American survey group said they had stopped going out for necessities — nine percentage points less than their northern neighbours.
Coronavirus outbreak: Canadians’ actions today will determine where we are a month from now
And while 86 per cent of the Canadians polled said they had asked friends and family to keep their social distance, only 72 per cent of the U.S. respondents could say the same.
“Everything depends on the choices that people have made and continue to make,” Trudeau said.
“I’m very proud of the way that Canadians have rallied and continue to abide by the guidelines. I think they understand that we all have an opportunity to have a direct impact on Canada’s ability to come out of this.”
When confronted with the failings of the American response, Trump frequently claims that things would have been far worse had the U.S. not slammed the door back in late January on travellers from China, where the outbreak originated. Most major airlines by that point had already suspended flights to China.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau tells Canadians ‘it’s raining’ metaphorically-speaking
Canada, however, didn’t take significant steps to restrict international travellers until mid-March. On Monday, Trudeau — asked whether that should have happened earlier — seemed to acknowledge that with the benefit of hindsight, more could have been done.
“We’re obviously not, in an unprecedented situation, always going to get things perfectly right,” he said.
“We’re going to continue to be committed to doing the right things as best as we can and figuring out what works, what doesn’t work, and moving forward in a way that is both nimble and focused on helping Canadians, insomuch as a government can be nimble and agile.”
Canada and the U.S. agreed to close their shared border to non-essential travel two weeks ago while still allowing two-way trade, supply lines and commercial interests to continue, including workers who live in one country but commute to the other. The U.S. has also banned foreign nationals from China, Iran and parts of Europe.
Given U.S. social-distancing restrictions will remain in place through April, those existing travel bans would likely be extended as well, Trump said — “maybe even toughened up a little bit.”
© 2020 The Canadian Press
This week ‘critical’ for Canada’s fight against coronavirus, officials say. Here’s why – Global News
As Canada continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, officials say this week will be “critical” in the country’s fight against the outbreak.
“This is a really critical week in our fight against the coronavirus,” Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, said at a press conference on Monday, urging Canadians to continue physical distancing.
“I know that it is hard, but we all must stay strong and stay at home unless we are doing essential work like stocking the shelves in our grocery stores, like working on the frontlines of our health-care system.”
Freeland’s remarks echoed those from Canada’s chief public health officer, who on Sunday said this week would be “very, very important” to understand trends in the pandemic and to determine whether physical distancing has been effective.
Dr. Theresa Tam said she would be keeping an eye on what’s happening in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta — where there has been community transmission of COVID-19 — to see if there has been a drop in new cases, like what has been reported in B.C.
Across the country, federal and provincial health officials have banned large gatherings, closed non-essential businesses and advised Canadians to practise physical distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.
On Friday, health officials in B.C. released modelling that showed the province’s rate of increase in cases had dropped from about 24 per cent to 12 per cent.
B.C.’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said the results left her feeling “cautiously optimistic” about the future.
Tam noted, though, that Canada is a “big country” and different regions are experiencing different timing of the pandemic, with different periods of acceleration and deceleration.
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Dr. Suzanne Sicchia, an associate professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said this week and next are important because they will give health officials a “better sense of whether the measures we’ve taken to flatten the curve have been effective and to what degree.”
“To these ends, the experts will be watching to see if there is a decrease in the rate of new, confirmed cases,” Sicchia wrote in an email to Global News.
She said health officials will “no doubt” use this evidence to inform the ongoing public health and health-care responses to the virus.
Dr. Jeff Kwong, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, told Global News that based on mathematical models and what we know about the virus’s incubation period, this would be the week many may begin having symptoms.
“It’s going to be this week or the next week that we’re going to see a wave of people who are really sick,“ Kwong said.
Kwong said this has already begun, with hospitals across the country already treating patients infected with COVID-19.
But he said what we have seen so far is just the “tip of the iceberg.”
Coronavirus reality check: physical distancing one week after new measures introduced
“We know there’s lots cases out there — most are mild — but how many of all these cases are going to be severe?” he said. “That’s what we’re going to start to see this week.”
On Monday, Tam said 6,671 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Canada.
Of those cases, Tam said approximately seven per cent require hospitalization, three per cent are critically ill and one per cent of cases have been fatal.
Tam cautioned, though, that these rates could fluctuate as more cases are reported.
According to Kwong, this week will also provide important insight into whether Canada needs to implement more stringent physical distancing measures.
He said if Canada sees fewer cases of COVID-19 than modelling has predicted, it will show that Canadians have done a good job.
Coronavirus outbreak: Is Canada considering using phone tracking to enforce social distancing?
If there is a dramatic spike in cases this week, Kwong said more stringent measures may be justified in order to prevent the health system from “collapsing in another three to four weeks.”
“I hope it does doesn’t come to pass, but, you know, it’s hard to say,” he said. “I mean, who knows what’s going to happen?”
Asked about the data from B.C., Sicchia said it is “promising,” but that we need to be “very cautious in making any definitive claims and even more so when it comes to generalizing these findings to other provinces.”
She said, though, that if the trend continues in B.C., we will know that we have been effective in flattening the curve in that province, and “that bodes well for us all.”
But Kwong said regardless of whether the rest of Canada sees encouraging results, the country “can’t afford to let up on physical distancing.”
He said it is likely the measures will need to stay in place “for months.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
In Canada and abroad, COVID-19 super-spreaders could be anywhere – CTV News
You may have heard of “patient 31” in South Korea, a woman who was thought to be the source of thousands of COVID-19 infections in that country. Or more recently, a man in India who had returned from Europe and reportedly infected people in more than a dozen villages. They are known as “super-spreaders” – individuals who can infect a large number of people easily.
The World Health Organization estimates someone with COVID-19 can infect between 2 and 2.5 individuals, but super-spreaders infect a large number of people, often in a crowded and busy environment like a church or a conference.
“In a weird way, that seems to be the pattern for this disease. It’s not just that it spreads universally across the landscape,” said CTV News’ science and technology specialist Dan Riskin.
“You get these hot spots where a whole bunch of people get infected at once, and when that happens you can call that person a super-spreader.”
In Canada, while no specific individual has yet been identified as super-spreader, there have been clusters, or hot spots, from coast-to-coast involving a significant number of people.
More than 60 cases of the 135 cases identified in Newfoundland and Labrador are tied to two wakes held at a funeral home on March 15. The funeral home has since been closed as the investigation continues.
“Many of our numbers right now are related to this one cluster, either directly or indirectly, and that will have an influence on what we see,” Dr. Janice Fitzerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health told reporters over the weekend, when asked when she might expect to see cases peak in the province.
On the other side of the country, up to 32 people infected with the virus could be tied directly or indirectly to the Pacific Dental Conference held in Vancouver earlier this month, according to the province’s medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. One of those attendees has since died.
Some of the factors that can make a patient a super spreader may be related to biology – if they produce more of a virus, for example, or if they take longer to recover from an infection and spread the virus over a longer period, according to experts.
Historic research showed that Mary Mallon, a cook in New York City infamously known as “Typhoid Mary”, was the source of a typhoid fever outbreak in the early 1900s that infected thousands, despite never having any symptoms herself. Scientists are researching how much of a role silent carriers of COVID-19 – those who exhibit no symptoms – play in unknowingly spreading the disease.
This is why self-isolation is important, Riskin said.
“It’s a reminder that for Canadians, we all have to take this seriously, because you don’t know if you’re that one person who unknowingly could infect thousands.”
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