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These were's stories that dominated the headlines in 2020 – and it's not just COVID-19 – CTV News



What a year it has been! Even though 2020 has made its mark in the history books, plenty of people will be trying to forget about it.

At the end of each year, crunches the numbers to see which stories our readers clicked on the most. While the COVID-19 pandemic dominated many of our headlines, many other topics caught the eye of our readers.


Tragedy struck on Jan. 8 when 57 Canadians, as well as approximately 80 others travelling to Canada, were killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport. In a later statement, the cause of the crash was “human error,” as the commercial flight was mistaken for a “hostile plane”

A nuclear alert was erroneously sent out to all Ontario residents on Jan. 12during a training exercise at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

On Jan. 26, the sporting world was dealt a blow when basketball legend Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, died in a helicopter crash in California.

Our most-read story in January involved Hussien Mehaidli, from B.C. who said he was fired from a job because he complained on Twitter about receiving a $6 bottle of barbecue sauce as a holiday gift – the story had an incredible reaction online, attracting more than 10,000 interactions on Facebook.

National pipeline protests started across the country on Jan, 7 through March, prompted after RCMP enforced an injunction against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who were blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada export project. The blockades across the country caused Via Rail to cancel all services on CN tracks in Canada.

A couple from Victoria, B.C., who were out for a New Year’s Day picnic and a hike were treated to the surprise of a lifetime when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle helped them take a photograph.

It may feel like a long time ago but Jan. 25 was the date Canada’s first ‘presumptive positive’ case of COVID-19 was found in Ontario – a Toronto man who had recently travelled to Wuhan, China.


It has undoubtedly been a tough year for retail, among many of other sectors, but our updated list of some of the major chains in Canada closing all their doors, shuttering their locations or that have been hit by bankruptcy in the past two years, has been one of the most-read articles of 2020.

Meanwhile, in health news, Health Canada expanded a national recall for certain types of diabetes medications due to concerns that an impurity in the prescription drugs could be linked to cancer. There were also dengue fever concerns in the Caribbean after this 26-year-old Canadian died. A story we published on Feb. 13 speaking to survivors of the disease said travellers are not being warned.

In good news, it was a month to remember for a 22-year-old Quebec grocery store worker Gregory Mathieu, who won an incredible $70-million Lotto Max jackpot. The story was shared 6,500 times on Facebook and received 23,000 likes.

Finally, the first reports that new Ontario licence plates are unreadable at night became known. More than 400,000 people read that story and, three months later, the province decided to not move forward with the blue licence plate design.


As COVID-19 started to spread through Canada and infected hundreds of people, the widow of a 51-year-old Ontario man who died of the disease urged Canadians to listen to health officials. This heart-wrenching story struck a chord with readers.

The editorial team at launched a daily live blog for the latest updates on the global coronavirus outbreak. You can still follow all the latest COVID-19 news here. We also launched our daily tracker so readers could track every case of COVID-19 in Canada – this interactive graphic has become a staple piece of content for Canadians in 2020.  

COVID-19 tracker in Canada on Dec. 28

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to announce international flight restrictions and introduce a U.S.-Canada border closure was huge news in March, as was the news that Canadian scientists had made a COVID-19 research breakthrough, isolating virus.

Stories of people cashing in during the pandemic came to light, including this Vancouver couple who resold $100K of cleaning products purchased at Costco.

As some people figured out how they could make money during the early stages of the pandemic, many more were concerned about how they could pay bills amid widespread lay-offs. Our article explaining the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and how you could apply.


On the night of April 18, killer Gabriel Wortman, dressed as a Mountie and driving a vehicle made to look like an RCMP cruiser, set fire to several homes and murdered 13 people in Portapique, N.S. in what became Canada’s worst mass shooting in history.

Nova Scotia mass shooting

News from one of the prime minister’s daily briefings outside Rideau Cottage was April’s most-read story. It was his announcement that part-time and seasonal workers were eligible to claim the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

PEE acquisition and mask wars began as manufacturing giant 3M says the White House requested it cease exports of U.S.-made N95 face masks to Canada.

Questions around COVID-19 lockdown rules began to surface with this query – Can I go for a drive during a global pandemic? – among the most-read in April. In other COVID news, pediatricians warned about ‘COVID toes’ in children infected with the virus.


Protests across Canada begin in solidarity with Americans protesting the death of George Floyd on May 25, and against police issues and systemic racism in Canada.

Walk for Justice

Just when you thought 2020 could not get any worse, we then had giant hornets with freakish eyes and a venomous sting to add to the year’s list of worries. Dubbed ‘murder hornets,’ they were first spotted in the U.S. and then later found in parts of B.C.

In a bid to boost morale during the pandemic, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds team performed a cross-country tour. However, it ended in tragedy on May 17 when one member of the team, later named as Capt. Jennifer Casey, died, after a plane crashed in Kamloops, B.C.

Capt. Jennifer Casey

After spending 17 years underground, millions of cicadas were also said to be emergingin parts of the United States and Canada.


A story suggesting Canadians who work from home permanentlyshould expect salary changes got readers talking.

A mother and her three young daughters killed in a horrific crashin Brampton, Ont. The trial of 20-year-old Brady Robertson, who is charged with four counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and four counts of impaired driving, is set to be heard in July 2021.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 21 seconds of silence to a question about U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to racial unrest made the headlines on June 2 and was one of our most-read Don Martin columns of the year.



There were reports from police that two Americans had been fined for breaking Canada’s COVID-19 quarantine rules after being spotted multiple times in an Ontario town, as Canadians push back as U.S. Congress pressures Canada to reopen shared border

The ruthlessness of COVID was laid bare in a story from Florida after a father was hospitalized with COVID-19 after his son met friends against family’s wishes.

As the warmer weather hit, stories of people gathering in large numbers at beaches in B.C. and Ontario came to light, including this one from Canada Day at Wasaga Beach where ‘human behaviour was at its worst’.

Across the border, COVID-19 cases continued to soar as the U.S. experienced much less restrictions, highlighted by the Niagara Falls tour boats, which became a symbol of COVID-19 contrast.

Maid of the Mist and Hornblower


U.S. President Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, a businessman known for an even keel that seemed almost incompatible with the family name, died after being hospitalized in New York. He was 71.

As the 2020 U.S. presidential continues to take shape, American historian Allan Lichtman made an early prediction. He has correctly predicted every U.S. presidential election winner since 1984, and this year he forecasted Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be the next president – which we now know to be true.

In other news, popular pasta sauce brand Ragu announced it was no longer selling products in Canada and NASA scientists said a magnetic anomaly above our planet is going to split in half.          


As the pandemic continued to radically alter how Canadians spent their money, experts said a second wave of COVID-19 would likely see consumers plagued by shortages — but this time stemming from “lifestyle changes” rather than panic buying such as stationary bicycles and patio heaters.

The distraught mother of a two-year-old girl who died in her sleep three days after being told by doctors her daughter only had the flu says she feels the health-care system failed her.

The news which got Canadians talking what U.S. President Donald Trump saying that Canada wants to see the Canada-U.S. border reopened on Sept. 18, despite the Canadian federal government saying it would make the decision based on public health advice.

In an exclusive interview with CTV National News’ Lisa LaFlamme on Sept. 9, WE Charity announced it was selling off its assets, eliminating staff and winding down operations in Canada months after becoming embroiled in a political scandal that has triggered investigations by the federal ethics watchdog.

Craig and Marc Kielburger


As the COVID-19 restrictions continued, and people looked for answers and solutions, this story, which suggested more than 80 per cent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had vitamin D deficiency grabbed the headlines.

In hyperlocal news, a story about two Ontario homebuyers who got a shock after the hot tub was removed before closing was shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

Trudeau’s minority government survived a confidence vote 180 to 146, in the House of Commons to defeat a motion to create a new committee to probe alleged Liberal corruption involving the government’s COVID-19 spending, allegations of conflicts of interest, and the WE Charity controversy. 

Netflix Canada increased prices for its monthly standard, premium plans and, as fall arrived, Canadians were urged to ‘leave the leaves’ alone, as experts say it’s good for the environment. Canada also announced it was banning single-use plastic bags, straws, cutlery and other items by the end of 2021. 

A lawsuit from a B.C. man who thought Canada Dry ginger ale had medicinal properties settled for $200K.


The month was dominated by the U.S. presidential election, as produced round-the-clock coverage with reporters based in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles capturing every twist and turn. Our live blog was the most-read piece of content, followed by Donald Trump’s statement following the election result.

When Trump’s team confused its press conference location at ‘Four Seasons’ with a similarly-named landscaping business nearby, it prompted a huge reaction online.


The Canadian dollar hit its strongest level in more than two years and a first-of-its-kind intersection in P.E.I. was built – but it required 11 instructional videos for drivers.


Many in Ontario ended the year how they’d spent most of it – living under COVID-19 restrictions – as health officials announced a province-wide lockdown from December 26.

Some Canadians who applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) were being asked to repay the entire sum by Dec. 31 because of a tweak in the self-employed income wording to “net” self-employment income that was never mentioned in the original application.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines started, one question many have is: ‘What will I feel like after I take a vaccine?’ Canada first approved thePfizer-BioNTech shot and then approved the Moderna vaccine.


Scientists around the world reacted to news of a mutant strain of COVID-19. First identified in the U.K., and then many other countries, flights were suspended between Britain and Canada while work to understand its threat took place. Canada’s first cases of the new variant were a couple in Durham, Ontario, identified on December 26. More cases in Ottawa and Vancouver Island were also identified.

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more



The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.


Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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Vaccines donated by the United States and China



Both the United States and China have pledged large donations of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. Washington has promised 80 million doses, three-quarters of which will be delivered via the international vaccine initiative COVAX, in what has been seen as an effort to counter China’s widening vaccine diplomacy. It began deliveries last week.

China had shipped vaccines to 66 countries in the form of aid, according to state news agency Xinhua. Beijing has not disclosed an overall figure for its donations but Reuters calculations based on publicly available data show at least 16.57 million doses have been delivered. China has also pledged to supply 10 million doses to COVAX.

VACCINES DONATED BY U.S. (plan for the first 25 mln):

Regional partners and priority recipients


Including Canada, Mexico, 1 mln to S.Korea in June

South Korea, West Bank and

Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo,

Haiti, Georgia, Egypt,

Jordan, India, Iraq, Yemen,

United Nations

TOTAL 6 mln 1 mln

Allocations through COVAX

South and Central America


Brazil, Argentina, Colombia,

Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador,

Paraguay, Bolivia,

Guatemala, El Salvador,

Honduras, Panama, Haiti,

Dominican Republic and other

Caribbean Community

(CARICOM) countries

TOTAL 6 mln



India, Nepal, Bangladesh,

Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

Afghanistan, Maldives,

Malaysia, Philippines,

Vietnam, Indonesia,

Thailand, Laos, Papua New

Guinea, Taiwan, and the

Pacific Islands

TOTAL 7 mln



To be selected in

coordination with the

African Union

TOTAL 5 mln

VACCINES DONATED BY CHINA (source – Reuters calculations and official data):

Asia Pacific


Afghanistan 400,000

Bangladesh Second batch of First batch of 500,000 delivered

600,000 on May 12

Brunei 52,000 in Feb

Cambodia 1.7 mln as of April 28

Kyrgyzstan 150,000 in March

Laos 300,000 in Feb

800,000 in late March

300,000 in late April

Maldives 200,000 in early March

Mongolia 300,000 in late February

Myanmar 500,000 in early May

Nepal 800,000 in late March

1 mln in early June

Pakistan 500,000 in early Feb

250,000 in Feb

500,000 in March

Philippines 600,000 in late Feb

400,000 in late March

Sri Lanka 600,000 at end March

500,000 in late May

Thailand 500,000 in May

500,000 in June

Timor-Leste 100,000 100,000 in early June

TOTAL 11.052 million



Angola 200,000 in late March

Algeria 200,000 200,000 in Feb

Botswana 200,000 in April

Cameroon 200,000 in April

Congo 100,000 100,000 in March

Egypt 600,000 in March

Ethiopia 300,000 in late March

Equatorial Guinea 100,000 in Feb

Guinea 200,000 in early March

Mozambique 200,000 in late Feb

Namibia 100,000 by early April

Niger 400,000 in late March

Sierra Leone 240,000 by late May

Togo 200,000 in April

Uganda 300,000

Zimbabwe 200,000 in Feb

200,000 in March

100,000 in May

TOTAL 3.74 million

South America


Bolivia 100,000 in late Feb

100,000 in late March

Venezuela 500,000 in early March

TOTAL 700,000

Europe & Middle East


Belarus 100,000 in Feb

300,000 in May

Georgia 100,000 at end April

Iran 250,000 at end February

Iraq 50,000 in early March

Montenegro 30,000 in early March

North Macedonia 100,000 in May

Syria 150,000 in late April

TOTAL 1.08 million


(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Cooper Inveen in Dakar; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Coronavirus Worldwide right now



Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus now:

Australia’s Melbourne to exit lockdown

Australia’s second largest city Melbourne will exit a hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, Victoria state authorities said, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings would likely remain for another week.

After two weeks in a strict lockdown that forced people to remain at home except for essential business, Melbourne’s five million residents will get more freedom to step outside from 11:59 p.m. local time (1359 GMT) on Thursday.

However, people must stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes, officials said, in an effort to stop transmission during an upcoming long weekend. There will also be a total ban on house gatherings and masks will be mandatory indoors.

Deliveries of Thai-made AstraZeneca vaccines delayed

Malaysia and Taiwan are expecting deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Thailand to be delayed, officials said, the latest countries to report a holdup with orders from the Thai plant.

The delay comes amid concerns over AstraZeneca’s distribution plans in Southeast Asia, which depends on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand’s king that is making vaccines for the first time.

Any questions about Siam Bioscience meeting production targets are sensitive because King Maha Vajiralongkorn is its sole owner. Insulting Thailand’s monarchy is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Indonesia aims to speed up vaccinations

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday he hoped Indonesia’s vaccination rollout will hit one million shots a day by July, as authorities opened up inoculations to anyone aged over 18 in Jakarta to contain increased transmission in the capital.

Health officials in the world’s fourth most populous country, which aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people by next year, are trying to speed up the rollout after facing some supply issues.

The president said he wanted vaccinations to hit a targeted 700,000 doses a day this month and then rise again.

Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among variants

Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness.

There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Singapore reported its 34th death due to COVID-19, taking its toll from the pandemic beyond the 33 casualties recorded during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.

U.S. forming expert groups on lifting travel restrictions

The Biden administration is forming expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to safely restart travel after 15 months of pandemic restrictions, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Another U.S. official said the administration will not move quickly to lift orders that bar people from much of the world from entering the United States because of the time it will take for the groups to do their work.

The groups will be led by the White House COVID Response Team and the National Security Council and include the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. agencies.


(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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