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Crisis, what crisis? If Canada is in a 2nd COVID wave, N.L. is watching it from afar –



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on April 27. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

On Wednesday, Canadians tuned in to hear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau make a national address on COVID-19. Trudeau got right to the point.

“The second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Trudeau said. “The numbers are clear.”

Given that Trudeau just moments later said, “We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” I was expecting him to then lay down the framework for another lockdown.

That didn’t happen. Instead, Trudeau appealed to Canadians to do their part to smash a curve that has been on rapid ascent in some provinces, especially British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Are things that bad? Here’s a comparison from the address that ought to have caught attention. “Back on March 13, when we went into lockdown, there were 47 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday alone, we had well over a thousand.”

There was no sense of panic after Trudeau’s remarks — not across the country, but especially not here. What reaction I did notice locally on social media might be boiled down to “meh.” That is, life is going on, and since Trudeau’s address made for prime-time viewing in our time zone, it felt like a bit of a letdown.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a rare address to the nation following a throne speech like no other in Canadian history. The address and the speech were both focused on COVID-19. The Liberals also promised job creation and child-care investment. 9:01

Part of this reason surely must be that there are distinct COVID-19 situations in the country, and Newfoundland and Labrador — perhaps accustomed to watching national dramas from both geographic and psychological sidelines all along — is far away from a mounting crisis elsewhere in Canada.

Wildly different experiences in the pandemic

Consider this. In Ontario on Thursday — the day after Trudeau’s address to the nation — 409 cases were reported. A month earlier, on Aug. 24, the number was 105. Quebec reported 582 cases on Thursday; on Aug. 24, that number was just 68.

The national tally has indeed been spiking in recent days. On Thursday, Canada logged 1,341 news cases of COVID-19 — or about 55 an hour. That’s almost one a minute.

Or, to look at it another way, there are on average five new cases surfacing every five or six minutes.

To count the last five cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, you need to go back to Aug. 10. To count the last 10, we go back to July 22.

Passenger traffic at St. John’s International Airport is gradually climbing, but remains a small fraction of normal volumes. (Gary Locke/CBC)

In other words, the pandemic situation here — like all of the other Atlantic provinces and the territories — is entirely different from provinces where cases are spiking. (Manitoba is dealing with double digits, while Saskatchewan’s caseload has been comparatively modest.)

So … have we become complacent?

There’s always that concern everywhere, and we should be no different.

But it’s worth noting that a focal point of Wednesday’s weekly briefing was whether Halloween could go ahead this year. (A provisional yes, said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, so long as rates do not increase.)

Not only did we not see anxious faces that have been handling briefings in bigger provinces, we learned on Wednesday that the provincial government has stopped sending daily news releases on COVID-19. They’ll resume when there is, well, news — presumably, a new case. Otherwise, data will be updated every afternoon on the dashboard of the province’s COVID-19 website.

Crushing the curve

Newfoundland and Labrador, which had a scary spike in the early spring with a cluster that involved attendance at the Caul’s funeral home in St. John’s, not only planked the curve, but kind of crushed it.

Still, despite a gradual loosening of restrictions brought in through a public health emergency order, we continue to move through the impacts of living with a pandemic. We may be able to shop and move around more easily, but many facets of daily life are quite affected. In the weeks to come, there will be no fall fairs at local churches, no Christmas sales at the Glacier, no big concerts at Mile One. Live performances are resuming, but many chairs (every other row at the Arts & Culture Centre) will be vacant for safety.

The tone of COVID-19 briefings locally has been notably less grim than in some other provinces. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the chief medical officer of health, reactions to a question at Wednesday’s briefing on whether she has plans to travel abroad. After chuckling, she said no. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)

There will be no conventions, either. Indeed, there has not been that much travel. There was five times the amount of passenger traffic at St. John’s International Airport in August than in April, but that’s only because there was practically no traffic at all in those early weeks of the pandemic.

Consider this chart:

MonthPassengersDecrease from 2019
April 20205,424-95.4%
May 20206,780-94.9%
June 202010,831-92.2%
July 202021,791-87.1%
August 202028,569-84.1%

Source: St. John’s International Airport

Newfoundland and Labrador’s so-called travel ban — which prohibits entry to the province to non-residents (now outside the Maritimes) who do not have previously approved exemptions — continues to be divisive, but I see many people applaud it. Last week, Justice Donald Burrage upheld the ban, even though he also found that the order clearly violates charter rights of movement. Lawyers who argued the case say they are considering an appeal.

Legends of the fall

As I was making a cup of coffee early Friday morning, I noticed something that used to be common (like clockwork, really) in the air over the east end: the distinctive noise of a jet taking off at the airport.

It has occurred to me that the “new normal” of COVID-19 that we’ve all been talking about really means “the normal we are in right now, and it may change quickly.”

We are connected to the rest of the country, and the rest of the planet, and things are fluid.

Trudeau, who used his address to call on people to behave responsively, said the outcome of the second wave is not predetermined.

“What we can change,” he said, “is where we are in October and into the winter. It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

At this end of the country, it would be an understatement to say people want the infection rate to stay as low this fall as it’s been this summer.

It’s also reasonable to think many people are looking forward to a “new normal” that moves closer and closer to the old one.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Canada reports 2,668 new cases of COVID-19, setting new daily record – Global News



Canada added 2,668 new cases of the novel coroanvirus on Wednesday, setting a new record for highest single-day increase.

Health officials also reported 35 new fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll to 9,829.

The new infections come as health officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19, while Canada battles the second wave of the pandemic.

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In Ontario, 790 new cases of the respiratory illness were reported, and health officials said nine more people have died.

The new numbers bring the province’s total case count to 66,686 and push its death toll to 3,062.

However, 57,325 people have recovered after contracting the virus, while 4,746,972 people have been tested.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, 1,072 new cases of the coronavirus were reported, and health officials said 19 more people have died, bringing the total number of fatalities in the province to 6,074.

Since the pandemic began, 81,267 people have recovered after falling ill, while 2,861,156 tests for the virus have been administered. 

Manitoba added 135 new cases on Wednesday, and one more death.

The province, which has now reported 3,626 cases of the virus has conducted a total of 230,641 tests.

So far, 1,809 people have recovered in Manitoba.

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Fifty-seven new cases were detected in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of infections in the province to 2,496. 

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However, the death toll remained at 25 on Tuesday.

To date, 2,002 people have recovered from COVID-19 infections, while 238,013 people have been tested.

Health authorities in New Brunswick announced six new cases of the virus have been detected, for a total of 319 infections.

One more person has also died in the province, bringing the death toll to four.

Thus far, 223 people have recovered from COVID-19 in New Brunswick, while a total of 94,322 tests have been administered. 

No new cases or deaths were reported in Nova Scotia, meaning the province’s case load and death toll remained at 1,097 and 65 respectively.

Since the pandemic began, 1,027 people have recovered from the virus, and 106,979 tests have been completed.

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Prince Edward Island did not report any new coronavirus data on Wednesday, but the latest numbers released on Tuesday said a total of 64 cases have been confirmed in the province.

Of those infections, 61 are considered to be recovered.

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As of Tuesday, 42,377 tests had been administered on the Island. 

Newfoundland did not report any new cases or deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The province has seen 287 cases and four deaths so far.

Of those cases, 274 are considered resolved.

More than 49,500 tests have been conducted to date.

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Two hundred new infections were detected in British Columbia on Wednesday, setting a new provincial record for highest single-day increase.

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Health officials also said two more people had died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The province has now seen a total of 11,841 cases, and 256 fatalities.

Provincial health authorities also reported three epidemiologically linked cases, which means they have not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.

Since the pandemic began, 9,993 people have recovered from the virus in B.C., while 736,637 people have been tested.

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Alberta adds 406 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, 3 additional deaths

In Alberta, 406 new cases were identified, and health authorities said three more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 296.

Wednesday’s numbers mark a new daily high for the province, which has now seen 23,402 cases to date.

To date, 1,668,265 people have been tested for the respiratory illness.

Two new cases in the territories

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in the Northwest Territories, bringing the region’s total case load to eight.

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Five of those infections are considered to be resolved. To date, 6,000 people have been tested.

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Meanwhile, health authorities in the Yukon did not report any new cases of COVID-19.

Fifteen of the territory’s 17 cases are considered recovered and a total of 3,814 tests have been administered. 

Nunavut has not yet seen a confirmed case of the virus.

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Global cases top 41 million

The novel coronavirus pandemic hit another grave milestone on Wednesday, with the number of infections worldwide topping 41 million.

As of 8 p.m. ET, there were a total of 41,088,902 number of cases around the world, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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The virus, first detected in Wuhan, China late last year has claimed 1,128,701 lives to date.

The United States has been the hardest-hit by the pandemic, having reported more than 8.3 million cases.

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Over 221,000 people have died in the U.S. after testing positive for COVID-19.

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India has seen the second highest number of infections with 7,651,107 confirmed cases.

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

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$20 hamburgers and $2 bananas: The cost of food insecurity in Canada's North – CTV News



Remote Indigenous communities face a problem as the changing climate makes it more difficult to access traditional sources of food.

That issue, which is detailed in a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch, is exacerbated by the fact that many communities have a lack of alternatives that are both affordable and nutritious.

“It’s difficult for our people to access healthy foods,” Vern Cheechoo said Wednesday at a press conference that coincided with the report’s release.

Cheechoo works for the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents eight Cree First Nations in northern Ontario. None of the eight are connected to the province’s road network. As is the case in many northern Indigenous communities, supplies can only be brought in by ice road when the waterways are frozen over, by boat when they aren’t, or by airplane anytime.

All of these options involve significant costs, meaning retail prices in fly-in reserves rarely resemble anything seen in southern, road-connected communities.

Lorraine Netro of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation – based in Old Crow, Yukon, the only fly-in settlement in the territory – told the press conference that she recently paid $20 for one hamburger patty and $7 for three bananas.

“When we want to purchase basic staples like flour and sugar and tea, those costs are extremely high,” she said.

Most fly-in communities face high rates of poverty and low rates of employment, making the high grocery prices even less affordable. Although there are programs designed to bring food to children, seniors and others most at need, they do not necessarily provide enough food for a full, healthy diet.

“Some of these students go to school and that’s the only time they have a meal to eat,” Cheechoo said, noting that even this has not been possible this year in communities where schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Northern grocery items are not subject to any special price regulations, but they are partially subsidized through the federal government’s Nutrition North Canada (NNC) initiative. Introduced in 2011, NNC was a replacement for a previous program known as “Food Mail,” covering fewer foods in an attempt to encourage healthier eating.

Meat, milk, eggs, bread, fruit and frozen vegetables are among the basic products subsidized under NNC. Rice, canned vegetables and soup, unsweetened juice and tea are some of the items that were covered by Food Mail but not NNC.

The program has achieved some success in keeping northern food prices from rising even higher. The federal government told Human Rights Watch that the price of a “nutritious diet” in NNC-eligible communities fell by 1.03 per cent between 2011 and 2019, while the consumer cost of similar items in the rest of Canada increased by 10.5 per cent.

Still, the program is largely disliked in the North. A search for “Nutrition North” on Twitter brings up a steady diet of criticism, interspersed with images of groceries being sold at prices that would shock many Canadians. More than 4,000 accounts retweeted one tweet from September that showed a 383-gram vegetable tray retailing for $70.

In 2016, a government report found that NNC was “not having a big enough effect on the price of food.” Modifications were made to the program in 2019, including high subsidy rates for milk, baby food and formula, and frozen fruits and vegetables.

In its report, Human Rights Watch noted another concern about NNC: that retailers essentially face “no repercussions” if they abuse the program. Although retailers are required to convert the NNC money they receive into savings for their customers, the only punishment the government has at its disposal is to kick companies out of the program for repeated misbehavior. Since most NNC participants are the only grocery stores in their communities, this would leave residents of those communities with no access at all to subsidized groceries.

“The federal government has few means of ensuring retailer compliance and lacks effective grievance mechanisms for communities,” the report states.

According to Human Rights Watch, NNC cost the federal government approximately $80 million in 2018-19. A one-time increase of $25 million was announced in April as part of the government’s COVID-19 relief package for northern communities.

However, there are a lot of steps between the government announcing funding and shoppers seeing savings at the supermarket – and many northerners feel far more is needed to steer their communities back toward healthy eating.

“[NNC] is attempting to provide funding, but it’s just a drop in the bucket,” Cheechoo said.

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Coronavirus victims: Remembering the Canadians who have died – CTV News



The first person in Canada contracted COVID-19 in January, but it wasn’t until March that the first Canadian died from the disease.

The numbers have grown in Canada and around the world since then, each death an anonymous statistic announced in a growing daily tally.

While the loss is real for those who have lost loved ones to the disease, it is harder to fathom for Canadians not directly touched by the tragedy.

However, each statistic represents a Canadian with their own story.

These are some of the victims’ stories, as told to CTV News by family members and loved ones.

Did one of your loved ones die of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus? Help us share your memories of them, along with a favourite photo of them, to paint a fuller picture of some of the Canadian lives lost as a result of the pandemic.

Please email us the name, age, hometown, and date of death of your loved one at, along with your name, location and contact information.

Can’t see the interactive below? Click here

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