COVID-19 continued its record-setting rise across parts of Canada on Wednesday as Ontario reached another new high for daily infections and Manitoba recorded its deadliest day since the pandemic began.
Health officials reported nine more deaths and 431 new infections in Manitoba – a province that counted only a handful of active cases throughout much of the summer.
The deaths were concentrated in the Winnipeg area, and more than half were linked to outbreaks in hospitals and care homes.
Both Quebec and Ontario reported about 1,400 new cases, including a new record of 1,426 in Ontario.
Canada has diagnosed an average of more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths a day over the past week, according to Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.
In a statement, Dr. Tam said the country’s test positivity rate had recently hit 5.8 per cent, and she urged Canadians to continue to follow safety measures such as handwashing, physical distancing and staying away from crowded, poorly-ventilated spaces.
“Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, with several regions experiencing accelerated growth, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19,” she said.
“This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.”
Ontario’s numbers included at least three cases in London, Ont., and five at the University of Windsor that health authorities are linking to large Halloween parties.
Another 17 cases were linked to two weddings in Vaughan, Ont., York Region public-health officials said.
Quebec, meanwhile, reported a 39-person spike in hospitalizations, due to what Health Minister Christian Dube said was a rise in infections in several regions of the province. The province reported 1,378 new cases and another 22 deaths on Wednesday.
Even as deaths continued to be added to Quebec’s total, the province’s public-health institute published a study indicating that the novel coronavirus was less lethal over the summer than in the spring.
The study, which measured the proportion of deaths among people with COVID-19, showed that lethality peaked at 14 per cent between April 5 and May 2. It then gradually decreased and stabilized at around 1 per cent between July and September.
Most provinces opted not to hold COVID-19 briefings as scaled down Remembrance Day ceremonies were held across the country. The Royal Canadian Legion explicitly asked Canadians not to attend the ceremonies in person this year out of concern over spread of the virus.
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Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com
SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares paused to assess a record-busting month on Monday as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and yet more free money from central banks eclipsed immediate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Helping sentiment was a survey showing factory activity in China handily beat forecasts in November, and the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans. That left blue chips up 1.3% on the day and 7.4% for the month.
The rush to risk has also benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining the safe-haven dollar and gold.
“November looks set to be an awesome month for equity investors with Europe leading the charge at a country/regional level,” said NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.
Many European bourses are boasting their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up 13% for November so far, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks.
Early Monday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4%, to be up almost 11% for the month in its best performance since late 2011.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.4%, but was still 15.4% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4%, and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.6%.
“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.
“However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.”
Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.
The surge in stocks has put some competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks.
Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.
DOLLAR IN DECLINE
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on Tuesday amid speculation of further policy action at its next meeting in mid-December.
As a result U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.
The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky.
“The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018.
The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month so far to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.
The dollar has even declined against the Japanese yen, a safe-haven of its own, losing 0.7% in November to reach 103.89 yen, though it remains well above key support at 103.16.
Sterling stood at $1.3334, having climbed steadily this month to its highest since September, as investors wagered a Brexit deal would be brokered even as the deadline for talks loomed ever larger.
One major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% so far in November.
Oil, in contrast, has benefited from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. [O/R]
Some profit-taking set in early Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while U.S. crude eased 60 cents to $44.93 a barrel.
Editing by Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore
Alberta reports 1,608 new cases of COVID-19, second highest number during pandemic – CBC.ca
Alberta reported 1,608 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday.
The total number of active cases in Alberta grew to 15,692, according to the province. There are 435 people in the hospital and 95 in intensive care.
According to the province there is a “brief delay in a death being reported to Alberta Health or in a death being confirmed post-mortem as having COVID-19 as a contributing cause”.
The nine deaths brings the provincial total to 533. Five of which are linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in Edmonton. They include a man and woman, both in their 80s who died on Nov. 25. They had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. A man in his 70s who died on Nov. 26 who also had underlying conditions. Another man and woman in their 90s who died on Nov. 27 also had one or more additional conditions.
The remaining deaths include a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North Zone. The province did not confirm if he had underlying conditions. Another man in his 90s in south zone who died on Nov. 28 also with underlying conditions.
Another man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in Edmonton Zone who died on Nov. 28, and a man in his 80s who died on Nov. 29 due to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary Zone. The province could not confirm underlying conditions for either.
A regional breakdown of cases as of Saturday shows the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of the province:
Calgary zone: 5,756 active cases
South zone: 642 active cases
Edmonton zone: 7,230 active cases
North zone: 857 active cases
Central zone: 1,101 active cases
Unknown: 106 active cases
The majority of people in the hospital and ICU are from the Edmonton zone. There are 222 people hospitalized in Edmonton and 50 in intensive care. In comparison, Calgary has 138 people in hospital and 33 in intensive care. The remaining zones’ hospitalizations are in double digits.
ICU admissions near 100 in Alberta, 1,608 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald
Article content continued
The current outbreak at Clifton Manor, in southeast Calgary, has had 41 positive cases, 39 of which are active, with one recovery and one death. This is the second outbreak at Clifton Manor. The first resulted in seven deaths and 38 recoveries.
Hundreds of anti-maskers rally in Calgary
Saturday’s anti-mask protest of approximately 1,000 people in front of city hall was led by a group called Walk for Freedom, which said on social media it was rallying to “protect our Charter rights.”
On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called anti-mask rallies “illegal” due to provincial limits on outdoor gatherings.
New provincial rules introduced Tuesday restrict outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and many municipalities, including Calgary, have bylaws making the use of face coverings mandatory in many settings, though they aren’t required outdoors.
“Of course, police will always use their discretion in cases like this. They don’t want the enforcement to cause more danger for people,” Nenshi said. “Whether you agree or disagree, it is your right to assemble peacefully, however right now the law says you can only assemble in a group of 10.”
The same day, Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said the province expected enforcement of COVID-19 public-health orders to ramp up, granting 700 additional peace officers across the province the powers to issue fines starting at $1,000 for egregious violations.
“As minister of justice, my expectation is that those who are in violation of the measures that we have put in place would have to be held accountable,” Madu said.
Shawn Rupchan with the Calgary Police Service said there wasn’t enforcement at the rally itself but there could be something on followup.
— With files from Jason Herring
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue – Chemainus Valley Courier
Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com
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