Connect with us

News

Today’s coronavirus news: Brazil emerges as key player in race for vaccine breakthrough; Canada’s ventilator supply increases ahead of potential surge – Toronto Star

Published

on


The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:30 p.m.: After an increase in COVID-19 cases in B.C. this past week, Vancouver-born actor and comedian Seth Rogen tweeted Saturday that the “people of British Columbia” should forego parties, barbecues and other gatherings in favour of more low-key activities.

“It’s more fun to hang out alone and smoke weed and watch movies and TV shows anyway!” he wrote. “Do that instead!”

B.C. reported 85, 78 and 84 new cases on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

7 p.m.: Toronto’s public school board is reeling after learning its plan to shrink elementary class sizes to 15 or 20 students has been rejected by the province and — like other large, urban boards including Ottawa-Carleton — it must now also overhaul its schedule for high schools, too.

Trustees say officials had given the go-ahead for the half-day, every-other-day schedule for secondary schools, but that was nixed late last week because the ministry expects teens to be in class, in person, 50 per cent of the time. Boards had opted for the every-other-day model to limit the number of contacts for secondary students.

Now, just three weeks before classes are expected to resume, the country’s largest school board must overhaul its back-to-school plans for all grades, from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Read the full story by the Star’s Kristin Rushowy here

6:30 p.m.: Rolls-Royce will close its aircraft parts factory in central Virginia by the middle of next year, throwing 280 people out of work. The closing is the result of the decline in global travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, and follows layoffs to 120 workers in June.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a historic collapse in civil aviation which will take several years to recover,” Rolls-Royce North America spokesperson Don Campbell said in a statement. The British-based company has its North American headquarters in northern Virginia.

5:25 p.m.: Ontarians prefer a combination of in-school and at-home learning for students and want kids to start wearing masks in class starting in Grade 1, a new poll for the Star has found.

Some 37 per cent of those surveyed last week by Campaign Research say they are very or somewhat confident in a safe return to school if kids attend full-time, with 57 per cent somewhat unconfident or not at all.

And when it comes to masks — which the province has mandated for students in Grades 4 and up — more than a third of those surveyed felt children should don them starting in Grade 1, or when they are six years old.

Read the full story by the Star’s Kristin Rushowy here

5 p.m.: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has announced his government is delaying the date students will return to classes by a few days, and that an extra $40 million will be spent on keeping students and school staff safe from COVID-19.

Moe says students will begin classes on Sept. 8, the Tuesday after Labour Day, in order to give teachers and school staff a bit more time to prepare their classrooms and common areas for a safe return.

Read the full story here

3 p.m.: Brazil, where 105,000 people have died from COVID-19, has emerged as a vital player in global efforts to end the pandemic. Three of the most promising and advanced vaccine studies in the world are relying on scientists and volunteers in Brazil, according to a World Health Organization report.

The Butantan Institute is partnering with China’s Sinovac on one vaccine that has reached the third stage of research, during which potential vaccines are tested on 9,000 people. Some 5,000 Brazilians have also been recruited to support a trial by AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company in partnership with Oxford University. An additional 1,000 volunteers in Brazil were recruited to test a vaccine developed by New York-based Pfizer.

Researchers need countries with large enough outbreaks to assess whether a vaccine will work. Some volunteers are given the potential vaccine while others are given a placebo, but they have to be in a place where enough of the virus is circulating to test its efficacy.

2:30 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 80 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. The number of hospitalizations dropped by two to 149. Of those, the number in intensive care remained unchanged at 25.

1:01 p.m.: Health authorities in New Brunswick are reporting four new cases of COVID-19 in the province.

The province’s health department says two cases involve people in their 40s in the Moncton area and are related to international travel.

The other two cases are in the Fredericton area and involve children under the age of 10, contacts of a previously announced infection.

12:12 p.m.: Anyone can get a coronavirus test at the CentroMed clinic in San Antonio, but on a recent day, the drive-thru was empty. Finally two masked people in a maroon SUV pulled straight on through with no wait.

With hundreds of deaths reported each day, students returning to class and football teams charging ahead with plans to play, Texas leaders who grappled with testing shortages for much of the pandemic are now facing the opposite problem: not enough takers.

“We’re not having enough people step forward,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said.

The number of coronavirus tests being done each day in Texas has dropped by the thousands in August, mirroring nationwide trends that has seen daily testing averages in the U.S. fall nearly 9% since the end of July, according to The COVID Tracking Project. The problem is dwindling demand: Testing centres like CentroMed are no longer inundated by long lines that stretch for blocks, or closing hours early because tests run out.

12:11 p.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting two additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to three.

The province said Saturday that the two new cases were identified on Friday and are in the northern zone of the province.

They are in addition to another case in the same region announced one day earlier.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

10:56 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 106 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death related to the virus.

The total number of cases now stands at 40,565, which includes 2,789 deaths and 36,783 cases marked as resolved.

The number of new cases narrowly outpaced the number of cases newly marked as resolved in Saturday’s report.

7 a.m.: Cases of COVID-19 in reopened schools are inevitable, say Toronto public health officials, who are cautioning parents not to expect a shutdown of the entire school whenever a student or staff member tests positive.

“We expect to get cases related to schools,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, the city’s associate medical officer of health, adding Toronto Public Health will take a “conservative” approach in how it handles cases in schools to ensure the risk of transmission is limited.

While TPH and school officials will be tasked with preventing the spread of COVID-19 when hundreds of thousands of children return to school in September, how those efforts will be communicated to the wider school community and the broader public is not yet clear.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro here.

6:23 a.m.: Thousands of British tourists beat a hasty retreat from France, packing out planes, trains and ferries to return to the U.K. by the early hours of Saturday morning to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine at home.

On Friday, many British travellers in the country opted to cut short their vacations to meet the 4 a.m. Saturday deadline that had only been announced the night before. Anyone arriving back from France from Saturday must stay at home for two weeks to make sure they cannot spread the coronavirus beyond their households if they have become infected.

The exodus was prompted late Thursday when the British government took France off a list of nations exempt from traveller quarantine requirements because of a sharp rise in new coronavirus infections there.

6:16 a.m.: Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have been delivered, but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.

The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical care beds and ventilators.

“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.

5:52 a.m.: South Korea on Saturday announced stronger social distancing restrictions for its greater capital area where a surge in COVID-19 cases has threatened to erase the hard-won gains against the virus.

The two-week measures starting Sunday will allow authorities in Seoul and towns in neighbouring Gyeonggi Province to shut down high-risk facilities such as nightclubs, karaoke rooms, movie theatres and buffet restaurants if they fail to properly enforce preventive measures, including distancing, temperatures checks, keeping customer lists and requiring masks.

5:52 a.m.: India’s confirmed coronavirus cases have crossed 2.5 million with another biggest single-day spike of 65,002 in the past 24 hours. India is behind the United States and Brazil in the number of cases.

The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported another 996 deaths for a total of 49,036. The average daily reported cases jumped from around 15,000 in the first week of July to more than 50,000 at the beginning of August. The Health Ministry said the rise shows the extent of testing with 800,000 carried out in a single day. But experts say India needs to pursue testing more vigorously.

India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions. Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.

5:52 a.m.: China’s government reported 22 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday. Eight were acquired locally, including seven in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, the National Health Commission reported. The rest were found in travellers who arrived from abroad.

The raised the number of confirmed cases on China’s mainland, where the pandemic began in December, to 84,808, with 4,634 deaths.

4:01 a.m.: Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Click here to read what the various provinces have said about getting kids back to classes.

10:33 p.m. Friday: The Canadian Armed Forces says minor problems remain in some Ontario long-term care homes they were deployed to earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But critics say this does not mean the homes have a clean bill of health.

The military’s concerns outlined in a report dated Aug. 4 and released Friday include worker skills and standards of practice in the seven nursing homes.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canadians are still flocking to parks and businesses as country braces for second wave – CTV News

Published

on


TORONTO —
Even though the back-to-school season has coincided with a steady rise in Canada’s active COVID-19 case count and fears that a second wave may soon be upon us, Canadians do not seem to be meaningfully adjusting their behaviour when it comes to leaving the house.

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said Sunday that a lot of Canadians seem to be taking a “we can do whatever we want” approach to their life in recent weeks.

“It feels to me like a lot of people just threw up their hands and said ‘I’m tired of this. I’m hugging, I’m going out, I’m seeing friends,'” he told Sunday on CTV News Channel.

That feeling is backed up by data compiled by Google and Apple, which shows that Canadians are spending more time in parks and at businesses than they were even in the first half of the summer, when the country first emerged from its various pandemic-imposed lockdowns.

Google bases its public mobility reports on information gleaned from users of its services who allow the company to keep track of the destinations they visit.

According to its most recent report for Canada, dated Sept. 11, Canadians are spending 151 per cent more time in parks than they were before the pandemic began.

This can be partially explained by the calendar; of course a park will be busier in September than it was in February. More telling, though, is that based on Google’s data, park usage has steadily increased over the past few months – from 80 per cent above the baseline level in early June to 140 per cent in mid-July to 150 per cent on Sept. 11.

SPENDING LESS TIME AT HOME

Also increasing has been Canadians’ activity in retail and recreation settings – what Google terms “places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.”

At the height of the lockdown, in early April, activity at these establishments was as much as 80 per cent below Google’s pre-pandemic baseline. That number has slowly crept back up ever since, even surpassing it on Labour Day weekend before settling in for a longer stay just below the baseline.

Labour Day weekend also represents a peak in Apple’s mass-collected mobility trends report for Canada. Apple found that requests made for driving directions were 88 per cent higher on Sept. 4 than they were on Jan. 13 (their pre-pandemic baseline), while requests for walking directions were up by 80 per cent. Both numbers were at their highest points in 2020. (Requests for public transit directions were about two-thirds of their pre-pandemic levels, or about four times what they were at the height of the pandemic.)

Time spent in grocery stores and pharmacies has been slightly above Google’s baseline for the past month, suggesting Canadians may be doing more supermarket shopping to make up for the decreasing number of meals eaten out.

The amount of time spent at home, meanwhile, has fallen from 20 per cent in early May to 10 per cent in mid-July to eight per cent on Sept. 11.

Taken together, all of this implies Canadians feel safer leaving their homes now than they did not only early on in the pandemic, but also for most of the summer.

That would certainly make sense if the novel coronavirus was still slowing its spread across Canada – but aside from Atlantic Canada and the territories, that’s hardly been the case.

Canada’s active case count has been rising since early August and is more than double what it was one month ago, according to a CTV News tally. Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have all begun to re-enact some of the restrictions lifted earlier in the summer. All four provinces show similar patterns in the Google data, with their residents spending less time at home and more time out in public than they were even a month or two ago.

“We know what to do; we just aren’t necessarily doing it as well as we could,” Dr. Brian Conway, president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said Sunday on CTV News Channel.

“Certain individuals are making decisions … not to follow all of the public health recommendations, and this leads to an increase in cases.”

IS IT QUARANTINE FATIGUE?

Because of the increasing COVID-19 diagnosis numbers and rolling back of reopenings, there is a rising belief that Canada is on the precipice of a second wave of the pandemic.

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that she believes “some form of a second wave” is already underway in Ontario and Quebec.

“We don’t know yet if it’s going to be a big wave or one of those smaller waves that we can control. That really, really depends on how people manage themselves,” she said.

Dr. Theresa Tam said this week that “the time to act is now,” noting that the daily new case numbers more accurately reflect how society was responding to the virus two weeks ago than how it is responding today.

Of course, the rising numbers do not come as a surprise to Canada’s chief public health officer. She warned in July that Canada could see a “backslide” if too many Canadians continued to ignore public health advice, and cautioned in August that the fall would be a “period of challenge” due to cooling weather and the back-to-school period.

On the surface, something doesn’t add up. The warnings from authorities have been constant and consistent, and are starting to come true – and yet Canadians are still spending more time in public, where contact with the virus is more likely.

One possible explanation is that quarantine fatigue has set in.

Also known as pandemic fatigue, response fatigue and many other terms, quarantine fatigue is essentially the idea that citizens are tired of the pandemic and no longer take the necessary precautions to stop it.

This is why “we can’t let our guard down” is such a common refrain from political and medical leaders – both in Europe, where the World Health Organization is now warning about quarantine fatigue as cases skyrocket, and in Canada, where authorities hope to avoid the same scenario.

Barrett said that Canadians “really need to take to heart” the advice from public health leaders, spending less time outside the home and keeping their social circles to a small number.

“If people are able to do the things that have already been suggested, we may be able to keep a handle on things,” she said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canada adds more than 800 new coronavirus cases, 6 deaths – Global News

Published

on


The number of Canadians who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus grew by 865 on Saturday, while the national death toll rose by six.

There have been 142,654 cases since COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Canada in late January and 9,211 deaths overall.

Across the country more than 7.7 million tests have been conducted throughout the pandemic, and 87 per cent of all cases are resolved.

The number of new cases being reported daily has increased by more than 60 per cent in the last two weeks, and demand for testing has increased sharply as well.

Read more:
Quebec Premier François Legault and his wife test negative for COVID-19, to remain in isolation

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on average about 849 cases were reported per day in the last week.

Story continues below advertisement

“I urge all Canadians to take action now to slow the spread of the virus. In addition to strict adherence with personal protective measures (e.g. physical distancing, handwashing and wearing non-medical masks where appropriate), we must all reduce our number of contacts to a minimum,” she said in a statement.

“Most importantly, stay home and isolate yourself from others if you are experiencing any symptoms, even if mild.”

The vast majority of the new cases occurred in Ontario and Quebec, though Saturday’s numbers are incomplete because the territories, Alberta, B.C. and P.E.I. do not release daily statistics on the weekend.






1:49
More for health care dollars, fiscal stabilization program changes tops Jason Kenney’s wish list for throne speech


More for health care dollars, fiscal stabilization program changes tops Jason Kenney’s wish list for throne speech

Quebec announced 427 new infections, bringing its total to 67,080. Five deaths were recorded, three of which occurred earlier this month, officials said.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Premier François Legault said Saturday he has tested negative for COVID-19 but would remain in isolation until Sept. 28.

Story continues below advertisement

Legault and his wife were tested after meeting with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole — who has since tested positive.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced the province would be extending restrictions on private events to all areas of the province.

Read more:
New COVID-19 gathering restrictions expanded to all of Ontario

Earlier in the week, new limits on the number of people allowed to gather were announced for virus hotspots such as Toronto and Ottawa.

“Over the past several days, we have seen alarming growth in the number of COVID cases in Ontario,” Ford said.

“The alarm bells are ringing. And too much of it has been tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s OK to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”






3:43
New study examines COVID-19 antibodies in pregnant women


New study examines COVID-19 antibodies in pregnant women

Ontario added 407 new cases on Saturday and one new death was announced. The province has seen a cumulative total of 46,848 infections.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials in Saskatchewan said they hit a record high in testing on Friday, with 2,873 samples taken. There were 11 cases discovered. Overall, the province has seen 1,787 cases and 24 fatalities.

Read more:
Saskatchewan reports 11 new cases of COVID-19, hits single-day testing record

In Manitoba, 18 new cases were reported Saturday. The province has the lowest cumulative case total in Western Canada at 1,558, including some cases considered presumptive.

Nunavut reported its first two confirmed cases Saturday. The two people diagnosed are workers at the Hope Bay Mine, located southwest of Cambridge Bay, officials said. They are believed to have been exposed to the virus in their home province.

“Hope Bay Mine is an isolated location, and no Nunavut residents currently work there. The risk of COVID-19 spreading in our communities because of these cases remains very low,” Health Minister George Hickes said in a statement.

There are currently no other active cases in Canada’s North. The infections previously announced in Yukon and Northwest Territories — 20 in total — have long been resolved.

Three out of four provinces in Atlantic Canada provided updates on the pandemic Saturday but no new cases were announced. There are only a handful of active cases remaining in the region.

Story continues below advertisement

On Friday, British Columbia added 179 new cases, though 40 of them dated back to early August, and Alberta reported 107 new positive tests.






0:54
Coronavirus: Yaffe says Ontario is in a wave, but unclear if province has entered the ‘big second wave’


Coronavirus: Yaffe says Ontario is in a wave, but unclear if province has entered the ‘big second wave’

Read more:
Manitoba sees 18 new COVID-19 cases, one new infection at Gordon Bell High School

On Saturday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll was poised to reach 200,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Around the world, more than 30 million people have been diagnosed with the illness, and nearly 954,000 people have lost their lives.

—With files from The Canadian Press, Mickey Djuric, Ryan Rocca and David Lao, Global News

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

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canada's green agenda not hijacked by COVID-19: environment minister – CTV News

Published

on


OTTAWA —
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the pandemic hasn’t hijacked the government’s “big green agenda,” and warned that if left unaddressed climate change will have more of an impact on Canadians than COVID-19.

Wilkinson admitted that the government’s priority is dealing with the pandemic, but said they will be thinking about the investments they must make “in the context of the looming crisis that is climate change.”

“At the end of the day, if we do not address the climate issue, the impacts that we will feel from that will be significantly greater than what we’re feeling from COVID-19,” Wilkinson told Evan Solomon during an online exclusive interview with CTV Question Period.

Speaking to reporters as he announced his intention to prorogue parliament in August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the throne speech will give the government an opportunity to build a recovery plan that allows Canada to “build back better.”

“This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better,” Trudeau said at the time.

However, insiders have told The Canadian Press that the throne speech will have three main priorities: measures to protect Canadians’ health and to prevent another lockdown; economic supports through the pandemic; and eventual rebuilding measures.

With the focus on the pandemic apparent, questions are circulating about the level of green investment that will actually be borne out of the looming throne speech. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is among these skeptical onlookers.

Speaking to Solomon on Wednesday during an episode of CTV Power Play, May said she’s made it clear to the prime minister that if he plans to leave real climate action out of the throne speech, he won’t be getting her party’s support.

“I made it very clear to the prime minister: without a commitment that we live up to the requirements of the Paris Agreement…we can’t vote confidence,” May said.

“When Joe Biden calls Donald Trump a climate arsonist, I don’t want to be calling Justin Trudeau a climate arsonist. He’s got a little bit of time left.”

Further raising the concern that the pandemic might be putting green initiatives on the back burner, the Liberals have also failed to plant a single one of the two billion trees they pledged to get in the ground over the next 10 years.

When pressed on the delay, Wilkinson admitted the pandemic has been a factor in slowing the tree planting efforts.

“The two billion trees commitment remains, it will be something that we will be looking at doing going forward. As you well know, we didn’t have a budget this year because of the pandemic and we’ve been living with this pandemic for six months,” said Wilkinson.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News’ Rachel Aiello

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending