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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • Health Canada issues recall for disposable masks with graphene.
  • Alberta chief medical officer of health describes P1 variant outbreak as ‘significant.’
  • Researcher says coronavirus variants could require annual vaccinations, like the flu.
  • Daughter of COVID-19 victim pleads for stricter restrictions as cases surge in southern Alberta.
  • Situation in Ontario ICUs like a never-ending ‘fire’ amid COVID-19 3rd wave, says nurse.
  • Essential but forgotten? Youth working in grocery stores, cafés feel the strain.
  • Have a question about the COVID-19 pandemic? Send your questions to COVID@cbc.ca

Canada’s confirmed count of COVID-19 cases passed the one-million mark on Saturday — 14 months after the country’s first known case was recorded — while the number of vaccine shots administered surpassed six million.

The federal government’s goal was to have six million doses arrive in Canada by the end of the first quarter of the year — a target it met last week.

“We’re expecting millions and millions more doses over the next weeks and months,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand told CBC News on Friday. She reiterated that 44 million vaccine doses are expected to arrive by the end of June.

When asked about the official number of cases, an infectious diseases specialist with Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., said, “It’s actually probably more than a million.”

“It’s anywhere from five to 10 times more than that, because a lot of the time, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, we weren’t actually catching a lot of the cases that were happening,” Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti told CBC News on Sunday.

“Many cases are mild and are not getting tested,” he said. “The point is, this is a respiratory virus … and their job is essentially to infect people, and they do so very very efficiently.”

The two milestones are emblematic of where the nation stands with COVID-19, ramping up its vaccination drive as more contagious variants of the virus fuel the pandemic’s third wave in several parts of Canada.

Alberta, for instance, is investigating what the province’s chief medical officer of health described as a “significant” outbreak of the P1 variant of concern, which is now the dominant strain in Brazil.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a tweet that the outbreak can be traced back to a returning traveller.

“Health officials are working hard to limit future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure,” she said. “AHS (Alberta Health Services) will ensure that anyone at risk is isolated, offered testing twice and connected with supports if needed.”

WATCH | Should vaccines be redirected to Canada’s COVID-19 hot spots?

Dr. Amit Arya, a palliative care physician, says Ontario’s new shutdown doesn’t get to the root of the problem. He says we need to focus our attention on vaccinating people at warehouses and at homes in hotspots rather than vaccinating by age groups. 7:16

Hinshaw said officials will provide an update on the investigation on Monday.

That province logged an estimated 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, roughly half of which are variants of concern.

Hinshaw said 35 per cent of the province’s active COVID-19 cases are due to those variants, which are more contagious and can cause more serious illness.

WATCH | Doctors bring COVID-19 vaccines to homebound seniors:

Ontario’s Covid-19 science table is pushing for more mobile vaccine units to vaccinate seniors in their homes after new data reveals that 25 per cent of Ontario seniors 75 and older have still not received their first shot because they’re either unwilling or unable to leave home for medical reasons. A look at two doctors leading the charge. 2:03

Meanwhile, the United States had administered 161,688,422 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 207,866,645 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines, the agency said.

The CDC said 104,213,478 people had received at least one dose while 59,858,146 people are fully vaccinated as of Saturday.


What’s happening across Canada

Health officials in British Columbia on Saturday announced 2,090 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two days, but did not provide information about deaths, variants of concern or the number of active cases.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix again urged people to stay within their local health authority region to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness.

A total of 856,801 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. to date, including 87,455 second doses.

WATCH | 2 doctors on how to deal with Canada’s coronavirus 3rd wave:

Infectious disease specialists Dr. Lynora Saxinger and Dr. Zain Chagla discuss the latest restrictions in several provinces and how they’re feeling about where we are in the third wave. 7:54

In Saskatchewandrive-thru vaccination sites have opened in Prince Albert and North Battleford, and re-opened in Regina Saturday.

More drive-thru sites are anticipated to open this week across the province.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority website said the Lloydminster site is expected to open on Sunday, the Saskatoon drive-thru site is anticipated to open on Monday and the Yorkton and Weyburn sites are anticipated to open Tuesday. 

Manitoba logged 181 new cases and one additional death over the past two days.

Meanwhile, the province has now administered more than 200,000 vaccine doses.

Ontario logged 3,009 new cases as a new provincewide “shutdown” took effect to try to curb soaring infection rates.

The restrictions force gyms and personal care services to close, but allow essential and non-essential retailers to remain open, with their capacities limited to 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

WATCH | ICU doctor says Ontario’s ’emergency brake’ is not enough:

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, says the current restrictions are not enough to protect people who are getting sick in the third wave of the pandemic. Warner says the provincial framework won’t stop young people from getting sick and ending up in intensive care units. With permission, Dr. Warner spoke of one patient in particular who was very ill. She has since died. 5:23

Quebec confirmed 1,282 new cases and three new deaths.

A group of physicians, infectious disease specialists and other health experts say the Quebec government needs to shut down the Montreal region, before the spread of coronavirus variants spirals out of control.

New Brunswick registered nine new cases, of which seven are in the hard-hit Edmundston region. Hundreds of residents of the region are scheduled to be vaccinated at community clinics over the weekend.

Nova Scotia saw four new infections, bringing the province’s active case total to 32.

In the Northwest Territories, an outbreak has been declared at the Diavik Diamond Mine about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife after a second worker tested positive for the virus within a week. 


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 130.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.84 million.

In Europe, Pope Francis said Easter Sunday mass under pandemic precautions. Only 200 or so faithful were allowed inside St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate mass and hear the Urbi et Orbi blessing.

Italian State Police vehicle is seen in an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)

Normally, thousands would gather outside in St. Peter’s Square, with more than 100,000 sometimes assembling to receive the Pope’s special Easter blessing after the mass.

But this year, like last year, crowds are banned from gathering in Italy, and at the Vatican. So Francis scheduled his noon Easter address on world affairs to be delivered from inside the basilica.

In South Asia, India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 12,485,509 by Sunday evening local time as 93,249 new cases were reported from across the country over the past 24 hours, according to figures released by the federal health ministry.

In addition, 513 new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 164,623.

The latest number of new daily confirmed cases marks a record high since late September of last year.

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Canadian Business During the Pandemic

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In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.

 

The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures

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By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO

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By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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