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Today’s coronavirus news: Study suggests Canadians will face potentially explosive increase in mental illness for years after pandemic ends; Canadian company urging human trials after vaccine results – Toronto Star




  • 8:46 a.m. President Donald Trump says more Americans will be lost to COVID-19.

  • 4:10 a.m. Nearly half of Canadians would support an election being called if the federal watchdog finds Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act again

  • 4 a.m. A Canadian company is urging human trials after COVID-19 vaccine results in mice

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

8:52 a.m. The Netherlands’ two most populous cities began ordering people to wear face masks in busy streets Wednesday amid rising coronavirus infection rates, but many people in the Dutch capital’s famous red-light district still did not wear them.

Police in Rotterdam said a number of people opposed to the mask order staged a protest in the downtown area where masks became obligatory.

Amsterdam ordered masks to be worn in the red-light district and busy shopping streets and markets. Many visitors to the narrow lanes and canal-side roads of the historic neighbourhood ignored the instructions, despite signs informing people of the new measure.

Municipality workers stood at the entrance to one downtown Amsterdam shopping street wearing signs saying in Dutch and English that masks were required and handing them out to people who didn’t have one.

The Dutch capital’s local health authority said around 5% of people who got a test over the last week were positive, more than double the 2% from the previous week.

Among clusters being tracked in the city was one at a strip club in the red-light district where at least one customer and 10 staff have tested positive, according to a statement from the health authority. The owner voluntarily closed the club.

8:46 a.m. Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in the Scottish city of Aberdeen after a coronavirus “cluster” was reported.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says all hospitality venues in the city need to be closed by end of business Wednesday. Those living in the area should not travel more than five miles unless for work or essential trips. People are asked not to go into other houses.

Sturgeon says the cluster of 54 cases have been traced to a bar but more than 20 other pubs and restaurants are involved. The rise in cases has contributed to a greater concern there was a significant outbreak in the city.

The restrictions will be reviewed next Wednesday and may be extended, if necessary.

8:46 a.m. New Zealand’s unemployment rate showed a surprising improvement to 4% during the midst of the nation’s virus lockdown, although the headline number doesn’t tell the full story and joblessness is likely to increase in the months ahead.

Still, the figure was far better than most people expected and came as welcome news to the government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of a general election next month.

The figures from Statistics New Zealand showed the unemployment rate in the quarter ending June fell from 4.2% in the previous quarter. But the number of hours worked also fell a record 10% and the number of people not in the labour force rose.

Because people who aren’t actively seeking work are not counted as unemployed, the figures didn’t reflect many job losses because most people couldn’t search for jobs during the lockdown. And many workers have been protected by a government-funded wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic which is due to expire next month.

8:46 a.m. A governor in Japan is drawing skeptical criticism after he touted a gargling product as effective against the coronavirus, an assertion that, despite its dubiousness, emptied some store shelves of the medicine.

Shares of Shionogi & Co. and Meiji Holdings Co., which make Isojin, soared in Tokyo Tuesday trading after Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura made the comments.

Yoshimura referred to a study carried out by the Osaka regional government on a sample of just 41 people. Experts said such a study is inconclusive.

Shionogi and Meiji shares were already coming down Wednesday, as subsequent Japanese media reports debunked Yoshimura’s claim.

Daily confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been shooting up in Japan, to more than 1,000 people.

8:46 a.m. Mexico posted a near-record one-day total of 857 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, bringing the country’s confirmed death toll to 48,869, the third-highest number in the world.

The Health Department reported that just over 1 million coronavirus tests have been performed, with almost 450,000 people testing positive to date.

Mexico’s has had a positive rate of about 45% to 50% since the early weeks of the pandemic, largely because most people were tested only after exhibiting considerable symptoms.

8:46 a.m. Hong Hong has reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths, while new cases in mainland China fell to just 27.

Hong Kong saw cases spike in a new wave of infections, but new daily cases have now fallen back into the double digits.

Authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese city have ordered masks be worn in all public places, slapped restrictions on indoor dining, banned many activities and increased testing for coronavirus. Hong Kong has recorded a total of 3,669 cases and 42 deaths from COVID-19.

Of mainland China’s cases, 22 were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose capital and largest city Urumqi has been the centre of China’s latest outbreak. China has reported 4,634 deaths among 84,491 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

China said Tuesday it was working with the World Health Organization on an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, but gave no word on when that would get underway.

8:46 a.m. Nevada health officials say 95% of the 980 new coronavirus cases reported statewide during the last day were in the Las Vegas area.

State coronavirus response officials said Tuesday that Clark County residents accounted for 931 of the positive COVID-19 tests reported. Confirmed cases statewide topped 52,000, and 15 more deaths brought Nevada’s total to at least 862.

Separately, the governor’s office issued a report tallying $16.7 billion in federal coronavirus funding to Nevada since Congress approved a $2.2 trillion emergency aid bill in March.

The report says nearly $2.2 billion went toward $600-per-week payments to idled workers statewide.

8:46 a.m. President Donald Trump says more Americans will be lost to COVID-19.

Trump was interviewed on a Fox Business Network on Tuesday. Trump said the relationship has been “very badly hurt” by the spread of the coronavirus and he repeated his belief China should have contained it.

The president noted the American death toll, saying somewhat prematurely that 160,000 had died from the disease caused by the virus. He told host Lou Dobbs: “We’re going to lose more.”

Trump added that millions would have been lost had he not intervened and “just let it ride.’

The U.S. death told from COVID-19 stood at more than 156,000 on Tuesday evening.

8:46 a.m. A technical problem has caused a lag in California’s tally of coronavirus test results, casting doubt on the accuracy of recent data showing improvements in the infection rate and hindering efforts to track the spread.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday that in recent days California has not been receiving a full count through electronic lab reports because of the unresolved issue.

The state’s data page now carries a disclaimer saying the numbers represent an underreporting of actual positive cases per day.

The latest daily tally posted Tuesday showed 4,526 new confirmed positives, the lowest in more than six weeks.

7:18 a.m. A cruise ship carrying more than 200 people docked in a Norwegian harbour Wednesday and ordered to keep everyone on board after a passenger from a previous trip tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning home to Denmark.

Bodoe Mayor Ida Pinneroed told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the SeaDream 1’s 85 crew members would all be tested for the virus and that authorities were in contact with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health on whether the 123 passengers should be as well.

“We take the situation very seriously,” the mayor said.

The Norway-based company that owns the ship, SeaDream Yacht Club, said the former passenger had no symptoms of COVID-19 during the earlier voyage and had travelled home from Tromsoe on Aug. 2. The person underwent a routine virus test upon arrival in Denmark and it came back positive on Tuesday.

All the other passengers from the infected individual’s trip must self-isolate for 10 days, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said.

7:13 a.m. The World Health Organization is sending dozens of senior experts to South Africa to help the nation deal with the world’s fifth-highest number of coronavirus infections.

South Africa has more than half-a-million confirmed COVID-19 cases and expects the first wave of infections to peak around the end of August, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told reporters. The WHO is responding to a request for help by sending 43 specialists, with several arriving Wednesday, he said.

While South Africa has had reduced hospital admissions in recent weeks and its official virus death toll of 8,884 people is relatively low, medical researchers have found a discrepancy between the country’s confirmed COVID-19 fatalities and the number of excess natural deaths.

6:57 a.m. Australia’s hot spot Victoria state announced a record 725 COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths on Wednesday, while businesses in Melbourne city prepared to draw down their shutters as new pandemic restrictions are enforced.

The 24-hour record was marginally higher than the 723 cases and 13 deaths reported last Thursday.

From late Wednesday, many non-essential businesses including most detail retailers, hair-dressers and gyms in Australia’s second-largest city will be closed for six weeks. People employed in essential jobs will have to carry passes under Australia’s toughest-ever lockdown restrictions.

Like Melbourne hospitals, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced that non-emergency surgeries will be restricted in hospitals in regional Victoria, where infections rates are lower.

“It will be very challenging, but it is necessary to drive these numbers down,” Andrews said of the new restrictions.

He added that the “notion of more than 700 cases is not sustainable.”

A Victoria state government website crashed on Wednesday when it was overwhelmed by employees in essential services applying for permits that would allow them to leave home for work from Thursday.

6:57 a.m. India has reported more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for an eighth straight day, taking the country’s number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began past 1.9 million. The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported a spike of 52,509 new cases and 857 new deaths in the past 24 hours. The ministry said India’s recovery rate among COVID-19 patients has touched 66.31%. It also said a record 661,892 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative testing to more than 2 million. It also said that 50% of deaths have happened in the age group of 60 years and above, 37% deaths in 45-60 age group while 11% in 26-44 years age group. In the gender distribution, 68% of people who died were men and 32% women.

6:47 a.m. Novavax Inc. shares saw huge swings in extended trading as investors took a critical eye to early data on its experimental vaccine for COVID-19 following a 3,800-percent rally in the stock this year.

The shares briefly fell as much as 34 per cent postmarket on Tuesday, before paring the decline. In trading before regular hours Wednesday, they were up 21 per cent.

The two-injection regimen when administered concurrently with Novavax’s immune-boosting technology generated antibody responses that were four times higher than those seen in people who had recovered from the disease. Some of the healthy adults in the study experienced side effects including fever, headache and fatigue.

Confusion over the vaccine’s safety data arose after a media report incorrectly said trial participants were hospitalized with severe reactions. The vaccine appeared safe in the more than 100 patients who received it, according to the company. Reactions to the shots were generally mild, lasting two days or less. One patient getting the vaccine had a mild skin infection that was determined not to be related to the shot.

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6:03 a.m. Poland reported 18 new coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the most in a day since June 30, taking the total to 1,756 as an outbreak in the country’s industrial heartland worsens.

The pace of new cases slowed from Tuesday’s record 680, rising by 640 to 48,789, mostly in the southern coal mining region of Silesia and at a poultry processing company in the western district of Wielkopolska.

The government expects about 600 new cases per day in the next period, Wojciech Andrusiewicz, a spokesman for the health ministry told reporters on Wednesday. Authorities will soon announce new restrictions, including on restaurants and weddings, to fight the epidemic in 20 particularly affected counties, he said.

4 a.m. A supreme court judge in Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to rule Wednesday on the involvement of a civil rights group in a case challenging the province’s COVID-19 travel ban.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a claim with Halifax resident Kim Taylor in May that alleges the restrictions violate the charter and fall outside the province’s jurisdiction.

A special measures order from the Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health in May banned anyone but permanent residents and asymptomatic essential workers from entering the province.

Justice Donald Burrage heard arguments Tuesday on whether The Canadian Civil Liberties Association should have standing to make legal arguments about the ban itself and its enforcement measures.

Changes to the province’s Public Health Protection and Promotion Act, also adopted in May, allow police to detain and transport people to exit points in the province and expand search powers.

A lawyer for the province argued there is no evidence related to the police powers because they have not been applied, but association’s lawyer said the measures are unconstitutional on their face.

4:10 a.m. Nearly half of Canadians would support an election being called if the federal watchdog finds Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act again over the WE charity affair, a new poll suggests.

The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies also suggests the WE controversy has taken a bite out of Trudeau’s popularity, as well as that of the federal Liberal party, putting the Conservatives within striking distance of victory.

“To me these are numbers that will certainly worry or concern the Liberals at this moment because even though it’s in the summer, this is raising a lot of eyebrows,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

The online poll of 1,531 adult Canadians took place July 31 to Aug. 2, in the days following Trudeau’s appearance before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the deal with WE. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random.

The survey results come as federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion is investigating both Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau over whether they broke conflict-of-interest rules in relation to the government’s decision to give the WE organization a sole-sourced contract to run a $912-million student-volunteer program.

4 a.m. A Canadian company is telling the government Wednesday that its trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on animals completely blocked the virus, but it must conduct human trials to know whether it has found a possible cure for the pandemic.

And a leading health-care expert says the findings are promising even though they haven’t been peer-reviewed.

Providence Therapeutics says it needs federal funding to move forward, but it has not heard back from the Trudeau government since May, the month after submitting a $35-million proposal to conduct first-stage human trials.

Providence has told the government it could deliver five million doses of its new vaccine by mid-2021 for use in Canada if it were able to successfully complete human testing, but it has heard nothing.

Eric Marcusson, the San Francisco-based co-founder of Providence and its chief science officer, says the company has concluded testing on mice that showed its vaccine was able to block the entry of the novel coronavirus into their cells.

4 a.m. Wednesday A new study suggests Canadians, especially women, will face a potentially explosive increase in mental illness for years after the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over.

Over the long term, the Deloitte study estimates that visits to emergency rooms for stress and anxiety-related disorders will increase one to three per cent from pre-pandemic rates.

Moreover, the study estimates that 6.3 million to 10.7 million Canadians will visit a doctor for mental health issues — a whopping 54 to 163 per cent increase over pre-pandemic levels.

The consulting firm says governments should be funding mental health services, providers should be getting ready for the demand and insurance companies should look at revising coverage options.

The estimates are based on an analysis of what transpired in the years following the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016, which forced the evacuation of 88,000 people and destroyed more than 2,400 homes in Alberta.

It’s also based on an analysis of the long-term impact on Canadians of the “great recession” of 2008-09, a global economic crash that was nowhere near as deep or as long-lasting as the expected impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Wednesday 12:05 a.m. The Walt Disney Company lost nearly $5 billion (U.S.) in April, May and June, while its theme parks were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a presentation Disney executives made Tuesday.

It cost the company $3.5 billion (U.S.) just to close the parks during the third quarter, on top of the $1 billion (U.S.) it cost to shut them down the second half of March.

In all, the company posted a loss of nearly $5 billion (U.S.) for the third quarter, including a $2 billion (U.S.) loss in its parks, experiences and products segment.

Disney’s domestic parks — Disney World and Disneyland, as well as Disneyland Paris, resorts and cruise operations were closed for the entirety of the quarter and the final two weeks of the previous quarter.

“This is obviously a very uncertain time,” CEO Bob Chapek said during an earnings webcast Tuesday. “We should be in good shape once consumer confidence returns.”

7:30 p.m.: British Columbia health minister is urging residents not to attend private parties and gatherings after recent increases in the number of COVID-19 cases across the province.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says many of the latest cases stem from such events and the numbers serve as a reminder that people must adhere to public health rules this summer.

B.C.’s top doctor Bonnie Henry says transmission remains low and residents must ensure it stays that way.

She says common factors in many of the latest cases include talking, laughing and sharing drinks and food, especially in indoor settings, as well as spending time in crowded areas.

During a briefing on Tuesday, Henry reported that 146 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected since Friday and there have been no additional deaths.

Active cases have climbed to 319, while 3,273 people have recovered from the illness.

5:45 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 41,682 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,820 deaths, up 125 new infections in 24 hours.

The provincewide case growth included a spike in Chatham-Kent, which on Tuesday reported 40 new cases for the three days of the Civic Holiday long weekend.

Along with neighbouring Southwestern Public Health, Chatham-Kent is one of two Ontario health units that is currently seeing its highest rate of case growth since the start of the pandemic.

Elsewhere, cases continue to fall, and the province is overall at its lowest rate of new infections since well before the pandemic first peaked in Ontario in the spring.

Ontario has averaged 98 cases per day over the last seven days, down from a peak of nearly 600 daily, seen in mid-April.

Meanwhile, three more fatal cases were reported, two in Toronto and one in Simcoe-Muskoka.

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

The province cautions its separate data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

Read Tuesday’s rolling file

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Canadian family begs government for help to return as adopted daughter needs medical care –



When Derek and Emilie Muth left Calgary to adopt their daughter Zoe in Nigeria last October, they had no idea that nearly a year later — after a terrifying medical ordeal and the onset of a global pandemic — they’d still be stuck abroad with no word on when they can come home.

That’s because despite their 2½-year-old daughter’s adoption being completed, her citizenship is not yet finalized. Canadian immigration staff have been repatriated from the only government office in West Africa that can finish processing their paperwork.

The family has gone months with government officials seemingly not even opening their documents, according to an access-to-information request, and, until CBC News reached out, no reply from the immigration minister to their urgent requests.

They still have no update on their application.

We definitely feel forgotten and left behind.– Emilie Muth

“This family has done every single thing that every authority and every expert has recommended to them in order to comply with the federal, the domestic, the international laws, and they are just stuck,” said Alicia Backman-Beharry, a lawyer who is representing the family pro bono. 

“If there’s anything that can be done to have their file reviewed in a timely fashion, it is going to make a difference in a toddler’s life. She’s not getting the medical care that she requires right now.”

A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said Zoe’s application has been identified as a priority and officers continue to assess applications, but the Canadian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, is currently limited in its processing capacity. 

“The adoption is complete. It’s legal. It’s done. We’re just waiting on a visa to come home. It’s been 10 months, and we haven’t been able to work. We’ve been away from our family. The pandemic has been really scary, navigating that abroad. She has a lot of medical difficulties,” Emilie Muth said. “We definitely feel forgotten and left behind.”

Derek Muth said they started their adoption journey in 2017. 

His wife is a nurse who has worked with children with blood disorders, so when they heard of a child with sickle cell anemia in government care in Nigeria, it seemed like it was meant to be. 

“It just felt natural,” Emilie Muth said.

Life-threatening infection, malaria

The couple finalized Zoe’s adoption in Nigeria on Oct. 28, 2019, and shortly after submitted the second part of her application to the office in Accra, which would grant her Canadian citizenship and the ability to enter Canada.

The same week as the second and final part of their application was submitted, Zoe contracted a life-threatening infection, leading to sepsis, and severe anemia requiring a blood transfusion.

The quality of health care in Nigeria was poor, and while Derek Muth was able to donate blood to Zoe — saving her life — both father and daughter contracted malaria. 

A doctor at the hospital recommended the family leave the country for Barbados, as it’s one of the few countries that allows Canadian and Nigerian visitors to stay for months without visas, so they could receive better medical care for Zoe.  

The family arrived in Barbados in mid-December, after receiving permission to travel from Nigerian adoption authorities. Zoe’s condition improved somewhat, and the family continued to communicate with the office in Accra, waiting for their daughter’s citizenship to be finalized.

Then the pandemic hit.

We’ve really taken a beating as a family. We need help.– Derek Muth

In February, the Muths asked the Canadian High Commission in Barbados for help to get home, given Zoe’s medical concerns that put her at additional risk if she catches COVID-19. 

Barbados gave residents and visitors just 24 hours’ notice before the country went into full lockdown. The family couldn’t leave their apartment or access groceries — they spent weeks eating just the canned food they had in their cupboards. 

Alberta Children’s Services requested an expedited review of the family’s case from the Accra office, but no action was taken.

By May, no flights home were available. The family was told that they had just two days to make it onto a repatriation flight. They quickly filed a visitor visa request but were denied. 

Their requests for a compassionate grant of a temporary resident permit or visa have been denied. They haven’t heard from the office in Accra since April. Two other families who were also in West Africa have received completed applications and have been able to return home.

“We’ve really taken a beating as a family,” said Muth. “We need help.”

Family spent nearly $70K while in limbo

Not including their initial costs to travel to Nigeria and complete the adoption, they’ve spent nearly $70,000 waiting to return home. That figure includes Zoe’s health-care costs, which have been entirely out of pocket. 

The family may not be able to stay in Barbados much longer.

They’ve been granted a second visa extension until the end of November. After that, they’ll likely be forced to return to Nigeria, a country that Canada warns against travelling to due to the risk of terrorism or kidnapping, and where they may not be able to access proper medical care for Zoe. 

If they can stay in Barbados, the situation isn’t much better — every day abroad costs the family more, and access to medication on the island is uncertain given the pandemic. There have been times the island has run out of Zoe’s medications since the lockdown. 

Soon, Muth will likely need to return to Canada for work, leaving his wife to navigate Zoe’s care alone.

“I feel emotional talking about that because we worked so hard at building trust with her and attachment … so leaving her, one of us having to leave her, it feels really hard,” Emilie Muth said through tears.

No updates to their application

In mid-September, after CBC News reached out, the Muths finally received a reply from the immigration minister’s office after months of sending letters.

“Due to the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IRCC is unable to provide processing times for applications at this time. Please rest assured that you will be contacted when there are updates to this application,” the letter read, acknowledging that the response was likely not what the family “had anticipated.”

“Understandably, adoptive parents are anxious to complete the adoption process as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for IRCC told CBC News but added that time frames can vary widely from case to case.

The IRCC spokesperson also said that the government is obligated under international conventions to ensure children are not trafficked or removed from their biological families without legal consent, and the process is a complex one. 

‘Health of child is in jeopardy’

An access-to-information request filed by the Muths for the notes from IRCC’s centralized Global Case Management System shows the second part of their application (filed in November) seemingly hasn’t been started, and documents that show the adoption is complete do not even appear to have been opened, as there are no substantive updates to their file.

None of the letters the family sent between March and August requesting updates, nor multiple letters of support sent from an MP, Alberta Children’s Services and International Adoption Services, are recorded, either. 

There’s a comment on the file that states “email sent to visa office as health of child is in jeopardy because of lack of access to medication” — but no response from the office in Accra. 

“If Canada truly valued the best interest of the vulnerable, they would prioritize this adoption. Otherwise, we’re just paying humanitarian lip service in this country,” Derek Muth said. 

Mike Long, director of communications for Alberta Children’s Services, said in an emailed statement that staff have been working with the Muth family and have advocated on their behalf to the immigration department.

“It is now up to the federal government to work with the family to get the necessary documentation to return to Canada,” he said.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday –



The latest:

  • Rising COVID-19 cases sparks debate over what appropriate response to second wave should be. 
  • B.C. chief provincial health officer says she’s received death threats during pandemic.
  • One in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks, Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board says.
  • Pandemic slashes worldwide income from work by a tenth, International Labour Organization finds.
  • U.K. government defends strategy for combatting a second wave from criticism that restrictions don’t go far enough.

The recent surge in COVID-19 is sparking debate around what the appropriate response is to a coronavirus second wave and how to keep the economy open while reducing community spread of the virus.  

With Ontario reporting its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since early May on Tuesday, there are mounting calls for the government to take more actions to slow the spread of the virus now, in an effort to avoid a full-scale lockdown later.

The province is facing rapid growth in coronavirus infections. The average number of new cases reported daily over the past week was 383, double what it was just nine days earlier. The daily case count has exceeded 400 on four of the past five days.

On Wednesday, the province reported 335 new COVID-19 cases, marking a considerable drop from the previous two days. 

“The premier and I are both very concerned about the rapid increase in numbers, as I know the people of Ontario are, but we do have a plan,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday. 

But Elliott and Premier Doug Ford did not announce any new public health measures yesterday to try to rein in those numbers. 

WATCH | New lockdowns possible if Canada’s COVID-19 surge continues, say health officials:

Canada’s health officials presented new projections for the COVID-19 pandemic if no measures are taken to control the virus’s spread and warned new lockdowns could happen if the public doesn’t take matters into their own hands. 2:02

They did unveil one element of Ontario’s promised COVID-19 fall preparedness plan — the province’s upcoming flu vaccination campaign. The government intends to roll out the rest of its fall plan piece-by-piece over the coming days. The ostensible reason for the gradual reveal is that the plan is so big that the public wouldn’t be able to absorb it all at once.

Meanwhile, Toronto city councillors say they are committed to avoiding tax hikes or service cuts in the face of a bleak new report on the city’s financial health, though averting those measures will require major funding from the provincial and federal governments.

A new city report that analyzed the first half of 2020 projects a shortfall of $1.34 billion by the end of the year. The figure is largely attributed to a combination of lost revenue and increased spending to combat the novel coronavirus during the spring and summer.

The report and measures to lift the city out of its dire financial situation are expected to be discussed Wednesday at Mayor John Tory’s executive committee.

WATCH | Jump in COVID-19 cases ‘very alarming,’ says respirologist:

‘We are in trouble,’ warns Dr. Samir Gupta, associate professor at the University of Toronto, and says Canada’s leaders need to ‘jolt’ Canadians into action against the coronavirus now. 5:24

“I think we are going to get through it, but it is going to be a very long, hard road ahead,” said Coun. James Pasternak, who sits on the executive committee.

And in Quebec, a similar problem is presenting itself as the province sees large spikes in cases: that is, how to keep things open while stopping the virus’s spread in the community? 

On Tuesday, the province recorded 489 new cases today, and the number of hospitalizations increased by 20.

In response to the rising numbers, more regions in Quebec will be facing stricter restrictions as new cases and hospitalizations rise in the province. 

WATCH | Why Outaouais is now an orange zone in Quebec’s COVID-19 rating system:

Christian Dubé, Quebec’s minister of health and social services, says community transmission in the Outaouais is concerning because of its potential impact on health-care workers. 0:45

Quebec’s Laval and Outaouais regions will be under “moderate alert,” or the orange alert level, said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé at a news conference Tuesday. The Centre-Quebec region will move from green alert to yellow alert, he said. 

“Primarily, the situations responsible for outbreaks are private gatherings, like parties, family dinners or weddings. These gatherings are closely linked to outbreaks that affect many communities in Laval and undermine the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Jean-Pierre Trépanier, regional director of Laval public health.

Dr. Karl Weiss — who heads the infectious diseases department at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital where there has been a recent surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 — said the second wave will “really be something different.”

“What we will have is outbreaks everywhere. We will have outbreaks in schools. We will have outbreaks in bars, associated with private parties, religious gatherings.”

As a result, Weiss said, the challenge will be in ensuring these outbreaks are quickly controlled.

What’s happening in the rest of Canada

As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 147,469 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 127,162 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,274.

About one in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks, according to the Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board (HWDSB).

The Hamilton Wentworth-District School Board says about one in 10 students in Hamilton public schools aren’t wearing masks. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

HWDSB spokesperson Shawn McKillop said that roughly 3,800 students are exempt from wearing masks or face coverings. With some 39,848 students in the public board registered for in-person learning, that means just under 10 per cent of students aren’t wearing masks or face coverings.

The Catholic school board said it didn’t have numbers on mask exemptions yet.

Mask wearing has been a contentious issue for the unions and the school board. The number of exemptions also comes as local schools are starting to see their first cases of COVID-19.

The exemption is for children with medical issues that would prevent them from using a face covering or mask or have difficulty breathing in one.

The chief provincial health officer in British Columbia says she’s received death threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says she has also received abusive letters and her staff has been harassed, all of which has caused concern for her personal safety. 

“There are many people who don’t like what I do or don’t like the way I say it or don’t like my shoes and feel quite able to send me nasty notes, to leave phone calls, to harass my office staff,” she said during a panel presentation at the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

“I’ve had to have security in my house. I’ve had death threats. How do we deal with that?”

Henry says she believes the attacks are partly because she is a woman in a high-profile position, and people feel comfortable targeting her in ways they would not necessarily target a male leader. 

WATCH | Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about death threats and added security:

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer talks about concerns over her safety as she handles the COVID-19 pandemic. 1:31

Two patients have died, and 14 other patients and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as outbreaks continue to spread at Foothills hospital in Calgary.

A total of 88 staff members are now in isolation, Alberta Health Services said Tuesday. But the hospital remains fully staffed as it uses overtime and reassignments to cover shifts as needed.

Alberta Health said the outbreak is currently the largest in the province.

Two cardiac units and the hospital’s general unit are affected. The first case in one of the hospital’s cardiac units was detected Friday, and a case in the general unit was detected the next day.

What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 31.6 million. More than 971,400 people have died, while over 21.7 million have recovered.

Income earned from work worldwide dropped by an estimated 10.7 per cent, or $3.5 trillion US, in the first nine months of 2020, compared to the same period a year ago, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The figure, which does not include income support provided by governments to compensate for workplace closures during the pandemic, is equal to 5.5 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) for the first three quarters of 2019, it said.

“Workplace closures continue to disrupt labour markets around the world, leading to working hour losses that are higher than previously estimated,” the ILO said in its sixth report on the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.

Workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal employment, had been affected to a much greater extent than in past crises, the United Nations agency said. It added that a decline in employment numbers had generally been greater for women than men.

The United Kingdom government is defending its strategy for combatting a second wave of coronavirus infections from criticism that new restrictions didn’t go far enough to stop the exponential spread of the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a slate of new rules on Tuesday to stem the renewed outbreak, including a 10 p.m. local time curfew on bars and restaurants, increased use of face masks and again encouraging people to work from home.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Wednesday that the government’s approach was “focused, balanced and proportionate.” He says that if everyone complies with the measures, they will be enough to prevent a second national lockdown “with all the impact on society and families but also the damage it would do to businesses.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a slate of new rules on Tuesday to stem a renewed outbreak of COVID-19. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

India added 83,347 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, showing some decline after a record 97,000 a week ago.

The past six days have shown some drop in the new cases. Wednesday’s increase reported by the Health Ministry raised the nation’s total to more than 5.6 million, which is on pace to pass the U.S. total within weeks.

The ministry said 1,085 more people died in the past 24 hours for a total of 90,020.

Confirmed daily coronavirus cases in the Netherlands hit a record high on Wednesday, with 2,357 confirmed over the previous 24 hours, according to data published by health authorities.

The country has had 100,597 confirmed cases since it began registering them in late February, according to data made available by the National Institute for Health (RIVM).

Cases have risen rapidly since late August amid a broader European second wave, leaving the country short of tests and prompting Prime Minister Mark Rutte to urge citizens to recover a sense of “urgency” about social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

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Canada sees 1,241 new coronavirus cases as worries of a second wave grow – Global News



Canada added 1,241 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, marking the fourth straight day the country has seen a daily increase above 1,000.

The new infections bring Canada’s total case count to 146,527.

Provincial health authorities also said six more people have died after contracting COVID-19. The country’s death toll now stands at 9,234.

Read more:
Coronavirus numbers are surging in Canada. But who’s getting sick and why?

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The new infections come amid growing concern that Canada may be experiencing a second wave of the virus.

At a press conference earlier on Tuesday Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, called the new cases in Canada “concerning.”

She said the situation will continue to escalate unless both public health and personal preventive measures are strengthened.

Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says

Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says

“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.

Tam’s comments come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to address the nation about the pandemic.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau is scheduled to “address Canadians directly on the urgency of fighting COVID-19 as we face down the prospect of a second wave of the virus.”

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He is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Read more:
Trudeau to address the nation over coronavirus pandemic after Wednesday’s throne speech

Ontario reported 478 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and health officials said three more people in the province had died.

Since the pandemic began, 41,342 people have recovered after falling ill, and 3,614,544 tests have been administered in Ontario.

Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean

Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean

In Quebec, 489 new novel coronavirus infections were reported, bringing the province’s total case count to 68,617.

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Health officials also said one more person had died, pushing the total death toll in Quebec to 5,805.

So far, 59,450 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province, and 2,115,208 people have been tested for the virus.

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In Manitoba, 24 new cases of COVID-19 were detected on Tuesday, but provincial health authorities said the death toll remained at 18.

The province has tested 167,203 people for the virus and 1,234 have recovered after contracting COVID-19.

Saskatchewan saw 10 new COVID-19 infections Sept. 22, but no new deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,654 people have recovered from the virus in Saskatchewan and more than 175,400 tests have been conducted.

Further west in Alberta, 150 new cases were reported, and health officials said two more people had died.

The new fatalities bring the province’s death toll to 258.

However, 15,066 have recovered from the virus. So far 1,229,939 tests have been administered in Alberta.

Coronavirus: Trudeau says $19 billion for restarting economy to begin flowing to provinces

Coronavirus: Trudeau says $19 billion for restarting economy to begin flowing to provinces

British Columbia saw 89 new lab-confirmed cases of the virus, but health officials confirmed no one else had died.

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Provincial health authorities also reported seven new epidemiologically-linked cases, meaning they have not yet been confirmed by a lab.

To date, 6,589 people have recovered from COVID-19 in British Columbia and 479,574 tests have been administered.

New Brunswick did not see any new cases or deaths relating to COVID-19 on Tuesday.

To date, the province has seen 196 cases of the virus and two deaths.

Thus far, 191 people have recovered from COVID-19 in New Brunswick, and 70,844 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus.

Nova Scotia reported one new case of the virus on Tuesday, but health officials said the death toll remained at 65.

A total of 1,021 people have recovered from the virus in Nova Scotia, and 89,546 tests have been conducted.

Read more:
‘Canada is at a crossroads’: Federal health officials warn coronavirus habits must change

No new cases or deaths were detected in Prince Edward Island, health officials confirmed.

The island has seen a total of 57 cases of the virus, 56 of which are considered to be recovered.

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Coronavirus: Trudeau says handling pandemic ‘job one,’ throne speech has several elements

Coronavirus: Trudeau says handling pandemic ‘job one,’ throne speech has several elements

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

The province, which has seen 272 cases, has not recorded a new infection since Thursday.

A total of 3,8527 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Newfoundland, and 268 have recovered after contracting the virus.

No new cases in the territories

None of Canada’s territories reported a new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus to date, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.

The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.

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All five of the confirmed cases of the virus in the Northwest Territories are considered resolved.

Health officials in the territory have tested 4,801 people for the virus.

Similarly, in Yukon, all 15 confirmed cases of the virus are resolved.

A total of 3,185 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Yukon territory.

Read more:
Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

U.S. deaths top 200,000, global cases inch towards 32 million

The novel coronavirus pandemic passed another grim milestone on Tuesday, with the death toll in the United States surpassing 200,000.

As of 7:30 p.m. ET, 200,641 had died of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said the death toll was a “shame,” but defended his administration’s response to the pandemic.

“Well I think it’s a shame,” he said. “I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have two and a half million deaths.”

The country, which remains the global epicentre of the virus, has seen more than 6.8 million cases.

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Coronavirus: Mike Pence recognizes grim milestone of 200,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus: Mike Pence recognizes grim milestone of 200,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths

Worldwide, more than 31,444,163 cases of the virus have been confirmed.

Globally, the pandemic has claimed 967,197 lives.

–With a file from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield

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

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