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Today's coronavirus news: Toronto council to vote on making masks mandatory in public indoor spaces; Fauci said cases could grow to 100000 a day in U.S. – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 2:25 p.m.: Fauci said cases could grow to 100,000 a day in U.S.

  • 9:05 a.m.: Toronto council to vote on whether to make face coverings mandatory in all public indoor spaces.

  • 8:45 a.m.: Statistics Canada says the economy saw its largest monthly drop on record in April.

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

2:25 p.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci said coronavirus cases could grow to 100,000 a day in the U.S. if Americans don’t start following public health recommendations.

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert made the remark at a Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces.

Asked to forecast the outcome of recent surges in some states, Fauci said he can’t make an accurate prediction but believes it will be “very disturbing.”

“We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” said Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.

Fauci said areas seeing recent outbreaks are putting the entire nation at risk, including areas that have made progress in reducing COVID-19 cases. He cited recent video footage of people socializing in crowds, often without masks, and otherwise ignoring safety guidelines.

1:55 p.m.: The B.C. Fruit Growers Association says the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its industry has been devastating.

The association says a survey of its members shows more than 67 per cent of farmers have reduced fruit production because of uncertainties linked to the pandemic.

A statement from the association says there is a “real threat” to food security as producers cut crops to survive.

The survey shows 81 per cent of farmers are concerned about paying additional costs linked to public health guidelines in response to the pandemic.

It also finds 87 per cent of farmers worry they won’t have enough hired labour to bring in their crops.

1:30 p.m.: Crown attorneys in Ontario want to delay returning to courthouses next week over fears related to COVID-19, the lawyers’ union said in court documents.

The Ontario Crown Attorneys Association is seeking an injunction to delay the province’s plans to reopen 44 courthouses starting next week.

The association alleges the province’s attorney general, and the management board of cabinet that represents Crowns in labour relations, have not taken every precaution to protect workers in courthouses during the pandemic.

“These precautions include the mandatory wearing of masks and other administrative measures to protect the employees and other persons against contracting the virus,” said a notice of application filed in the Superior Court of Justice on Friday.

1:15 p.m.: Ontario Culture and Sport Minister Lisa MacLeod says she is in talks with the pro sports leagues about Toronto being a host for games.

“These conversations are ongoing, but we will not put the health and safety of Ontarians at risk,” MacLeod said.

11:40 a.m.: The COVID-19 pandemic kept the office of Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube busy with complaints about people unable to reach government offices, unhappy with home schooling and unable to claim lottery prizes.

Dube launched an investigation June 1 into the provincial government’s oversight of nursing homes, where more than 1,809 residents have died from the highly contagious virus. He released his annual report on Tuesday.

“If there is one lesson we can draw from this pandemic, it is how much citizens rely on their public services,” he said, citing more than 800 complaints related to COVID-19.

“Given the scale of this pandemic and the speed with which it spread, there were bound to be gaps.”

Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson.

11:15 a.m.: The 2020 CP Women’s Open has been cancelled.

The Canadian women’s professional golf championship was scheduled for the first week of September at Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club.

Organizers had hoped that the tournament would be able to go ahead as planned, but travel and border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible.

Shaughnessy and the city of Vancouver will instead host the event in 2021.

Golf Canada had already cancelled all of its national championships.

The RBC Canadian Open, Canada’s men’s professional championship, was cancelled in mid-April.

11:10 a.m.: The number of people in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19 dropped to 213 on Tuesday from 232 the day before, the province reports.

The numbers of people in intensive care and using ventilators also dropped.

Ontario’s health minister Christine Elliott says the province completed more than 23,700 tests for the novel coronavirus over the previous 24 hours.

Elliott says 27 of Ontario’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer new cases.

11 a.m.: Toronto police will return to regular enforcement of on-street parking regulations Thursday, after rules were relaxed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Regular enforcement will be phased-in over upcoming weeks, police said in a news release Tuesday.

9:05 a.m. (updated): Mayor John Tory says he’ll support a motion that will be voted at city council later today to make face coverings mandatory in all Toronto public indoor spaces starting July 7.

Council will be voting on a bylaw that requires mask wearing or face covering in enclosed public spaces, like when you go to pick up a coffee or at the grocery store.

Peel Region plans to make the same move.

“This proposed measure makes sense from a health perspective and it makes sense from a business perspective,” Tory said.

Tory clarified later that the policy is not meant to apply to a social gathering. It’s meant to apply to public spaces and businesses

Tory said he know it’s a “hassle” but believes Torontonians will understand and comply to keep everyone safe when distancing isn’t possible.

Toronto medical officer of health Dr. Eileen De Villa said they’ve seen evidence that places that require use of a face mask or covering have seen higher compliance and that’s why she’s recommending citywide, bylaw today. Won’t apply to children under two years old or those who can’t wear mask for medical reasons.

“I wear my cloth mask to protect you and you wear one to protect me,” de Villa said.

In order to be most effective, city needs as many people as possible to follow these rules, she said. Risk of virus spread is higher indoors.

Businesses will have the right to refuse service to those people who don’t wear a mask.

The Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro has the full story.

8:45 a.m.: Statistics Canada says the economy saw its largest monthly drop on record in April as it came to a near standstill due to the pandemic, but early indications point to a rebound in May as businesses began to reopen.

The agency says gross domestic product fell 11.6 per cent in April with non-essential businesses shut for the full month following a 7.5 per cent decline in March.

However, Statistics Canada says its initial flash estimate for May points to growth of 3.0 per cent.

Economists on average expect a drop of 13 per cent for April, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

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8:30 a.m.: Mayor John Tory is expected to make an announcement regarding the use of face masks/coverings in Toronto at 9 a.m.

Mayors from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area have been urging Premier Doug Ford and provincial health officials to make wearing masks mandatory to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The mayors and chairs unanimously agree to request to the government of Ontario to implement a mandatory face covering measure for large municipalities,” said a statement Monday on their behalf from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

“Every person wearing a face covering properly is protecting those around them from the risk of virus spread,” said the mayors’ statement, which was shared on Twitter by Toronto Mayor John Tory.

“We are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. We may do everything we can to avoid flare-ups of the virus in our communities.”

Ford, who recommends wearing a mask indoors in a public space or outside when a safe physical distancing of two metres apart cannot be maintained, said municipalities already have the power to mandate face coverings. Enforcement is also up to civic governments.

But the premier said it would be difficult to force all Ontarians to wear masks.

Read the full story on the letter from the Star’s Rob Ferguson and Robert Benzie.

6:01 a.m.: Donors from around 60 countries and international agencies are meeting Tuesday to drum up financial aid for Syria as the coronavirus and economic chaos wreak even more havoc in a country shattered by a conflict now in its 10th year.

The war has killed more than 400,000 people and sparked a refugee exodus that has destabilized Syria’s neighbours and impacted Europe. Around 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and some 9 million don’t have enough to eat. More than half of the population have no jobs.

The coronavirus has sparked “a multitude of new and complex challenges including the restriction of movement and goods, the delay of certain field activities, the closure of borders and a critical insufficiency of protective equipment for staff and volunteers,” International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies President Francesco Rocca said Tuesday.

5:21 a.m.: China confirmed 19 new cases as those infected in the capital Beijing’s June outbreak started being released from hospital. Of the new cases, seven were reported in Beijing and one in the eastern financial centre of Shanghai, while 11 others were brought by Chinese travellers from outside the country, according to the National Health Commission.

5:15 a.m.: India on Tuesday reported more than 18,000 new virus cases and 400 deaths after an Indian company said it would start clinical trials of a potential vaccine.

Bharat Biotech said it had received government permission to go ahead with the first two phases of clinical trials after initial studies demonstrated safety. Multiple vaccine trials are in a preclinical stage in India, and several other candidates are being tested around the world.

The new infections confirmed in the past 24 hours raised India’s cases to 566,840, the fourth-highest in the world. The addition of 418 deaths raised its fatalities to more 16,000, according to India’s health ministry. Experts say the true toll of the disease around the world is much higher.

5:05 a.m.: South Korea’s professional baseball league says it will require fans to wear masks and to sit at least a seat apart as it prepares to bring back spectators in the coming weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Korea Baseball Organization on Tuesday said fans will also not be allowed to eat food in the stands. Teams will be initially allowed to sell only 30 per cent of the seats for each game, a figure that could be expanded to as much as 50 per cent depending on the progress in the country’s anti-virus efforts, according to the league’s plans.

Fans will also be screened for fevers and discouraged from excessive shouting, singing and cheering during the game to prevent contact or dispersion of droplets, the KBO said. And perhaps as a means of discouraging any boisterous behaviour, beer will also be banned and fans will only be allowed to drink water or non-alcoholic beverages.

4:32 a.m.: Scandinavian Airlines said Tuesday it is getting an aid package worth 14.25 billion kronor ($1.5 billion) after an agreement with its main shareholders, securing the carrier’s survival amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The governments of Sweden and Denmark, which own shares in the airline, were partly financing the recapitalization plan, SAS said in a statement.

The aid package was also financially supported by its third main owner, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, a Swedish public and private foundation.

4:15 a.m.: COVID-19 means the true north is not entirely free this Canada Day, but a new survey suggests that’s not going to change how many people mark the holiday.

Leger Marketing and Association for Canadian Studies surveyed Canadians asking whether, given all that’s gone on in the last three months with the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll be more or less likely to find a way to celebrate this year.

For 42 per cent of those polled, this Canada Day will be no different than any other.

Sixteen per cent overall of those surveyed are feeling that true patriot love — they say they’re more likely this year to find a way to celebrate, even if it’s just a small gathering.

The feeling is strongest in B.C., the province widely seen as weathering the COVID-19 storm better than others. There, 22 per cent say they’re more likely to party.

Monday 5:52 p.m.: Ontario’s public health units reported the most new COVID-19 infections in more than three weeks Monday, according to the Star’s latest count.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the health units were reporting a total of 36,963 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,716 deaths, up a total of 232 new cases since Sunday evening.

However, that tally also included an administrative drop after Toronto Public Health removed several duplicate cases from its records. The health unit said the city saw another 62 new infections Monday, but after adjusting for the duplicates the city’s running total fell by 10.

Accounting for these cases, the province saw a total of 304 COVID-19 cases reported since the same time Sunday, the most since June 8.

That high one-day count included another 88 new cases in the Windsor-Essex health unit, which again reported dozens of infections among migrant farm workers.

Meanwhile, 10 more fatal cases were reported Monday. The daily rate of deaths has fallen sharply in the province since peaking in early May, when the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier, the province reported that 232 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 46 in intensive care, of whom 35 are on a ventilator. All three totals are near the lowest the province has reported in data that goes back to early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,665 — 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.”

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.

Click here to read more of Monday’s coverage.

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We're #25! Industrials power modest Q3 gain for the TSX – BNN

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The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 3.91 per cent in the third quarter, with gains moderating after a blowout Q2 as equity markets digested the shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic, prospects for continued economic shutdowns and the impact of lower-for-longer interest rates.

Those gains have the Toronto benchmark ranked 25th out of 92 global peers, sandwiched between Romania’s Bucharest BET Index and Germany’s DAX Index, and comfortably lagging the performance of the U.S. broad-market S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.

In all, nine of the 11 TSX subgroups were in positive territory for the quarter, indicating a degree of breadth to the gains.

Below, BNN Bloomberg takes a look at the TSX leaders and laggards for the quarter that was.

Sector leaders:

Industrials: +13.22 per cent

Utilities: +9.88 per cent

Materials: +8.76 per cent

Industrials led the way for the TSX, as investors looked to parse the impact on Canada’s economic reopening on the nation’s transport, construction and equipment makers. Utilities, which typically perform well in a low-rate environment due to their need to borrow capital to fund expansions and have a habit of paying steady dividends, took second spot with a nearly 10 per cent gain. The materials subgroup took third sport with a nearly nine per cent gain, with gold prices holding near a multi-year high due to global economic uncertainty. But it wasn’t just the precious metal that helped the subgroup, with some strength in copper lifting base metals producers amid speculation Chinese industrial activity was beginning to recover from the pandemic-induced demand destruction.

Lead gainers:

Trillium Therapeutics Inc.: +72.45 per cent

Pretium Resources: +50.00 per cent

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers: +42.88 per cent

Trillium Therapeutics:

Trillium hasn’t just been a standout performer in the third quarter, it’s been the top performer on the TSX Composite Index so far this year, rising more than 1,000 per cent. The company, which develops cancer treatments for conditions including lymphoma, has seen encouraging results for some of it’s treatments, buoying investor enthusiasm. Trillium’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by some of the heavy hitters in the pharma industry, with Pfizer Inc. taking a US$25 million equity stake in the firm during the quarter. Trillium also raised $150 million in Q3 through a share offering.

Pretium Resources:

The rising price of gold lifted all boats, but none more than single-mine operator Pretium. The company, which operates its Brucejack mine in north-west British Columbia, surged past analyst expectations in its most recent quarter. The rising price of bullion prompted Pretium to raise its full-year free cash flow expectations, based on an average gold price of US$1,800 per ounce. However, Pretium also warned that COVID-19 measures would raise costs as it looks to protect its workers and operations from the ravages of the virus. Pretium’s Brucejack mine is a sprawling claim with difficult geological hurdles and is seen as a potential acquisition target, with Barrick Gold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow having been reluctant to say the mining giant wouldn’t take a look at a potential tie-up.

Ritchie Bros Auctioneers:

Canada’s preeminent dealer of used industrial, farming and construction equipment has thus far weathered the pandemic-induced slowdown. Net income decreased a paltry two per cent in the company’s most recent quarter, even in the face of lockdowns and a drop in overall economic activity. There is, however, a degree of counter-cyclicality to Ritchie Bros results. As a middleman for the sale of second-hand equipment, the firm often benefits from customers seeking out deals on the second-hand market rather than shelling out for brand new equipment.

Sector laggards:

Health care: -14.44 per cent

Energy: -9.39 per cent

Communications services: +0.79 per cent

Trillium’s outsized gains weren’t enough to spare the health care sector from posting the weakest performance of the composite’s 11 subgroups in the quarter. Health care was hammered by some noticeable weakness in the cannabis sector as pot stocks continue to be punished for rocky performances. Energy’s rough ride continued, albeit with a disconnect from underlying energy prices. While individual stocks have been under pressure, crude oil prices have largely been in a holding pattern, with North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate hovering around US$40 per barrel as investors assess how the pandemic and subsequent economic reopenings impact the demand picture. Communications services has seen a bit of a mixed bag through the quarter, as Canada’s Big Three telcos spar with new entrants over wholesale network access rates and Cogeco battles a takeover offer from Altice USA and Roger Communications, which muddies the picture when it comes to overall performance.

Lead laggards:

Aurora Cannabis Inc: -63.07 per cent

Vermilion Energy Inc: -48.51 per cent

Enerplus Corp: -36.13 per cent

Aurora Cannabis:

Aurora’s stock has been demolished amid persistent cannabis oversupply concerns. Shares in the company plunged more than 25 per cent in one trading session alone after the company disappointed investors with its fourth-quarter results as growing pains persist in the cannabis market. The firm was also chastised by MKM Partners, with their analyst calling on Aurora to stop growing so much cannabis as the market remains out of balance with consumer demand. The company says it expects to reach positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) by the second quarter of 2021, about 18 months later than earlier projected.

Vermilion Energy:

The geographically-diversified energy company, which operates not only in North American but also off the coast of Ireland and France, has seen its share price swing with the vagaries of international energy markets. Fund flows from operations, a key metric in the energy sector, plunged 52 per cent in the company’s most recent quarter as concerns over global energy demand mounted. Vermilion has also been hampered by price impacts from internal squabbling over production quotas for OPEC members and suspended its dividend in April.

Enerplus:

The energy price pressures also took a toll on Enerplus in the third quarter. The company, which operates in Western Canada, North Dakota, Montana and Pennsylvania, posted a 13 per cent decline year-over-year in its most recent quarter, reflecting a troubled picture for overall consumer demand. Enerplus also booked significant impairment charges in the quarter, further hampering results.
 

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New COVID-19 outbreak at Vancouver care home where 13 died – Global News

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Ten people have contracted COVID-19 at a long-term care home in downtown Vancouver that was the site of one of B.C.’s worst outbreaks of the disease last spring.

Vancouver Coastal Health declared a new outbreak in the special care unit of Haro Park Centre on Tuesday.

Read more:
B.C. election: NDP vows to end shared rooms in long-term care, bring in for-profit home rules

On Wednesday, the care home said one person who tested positive was in hospital, while nine others were being isolated on site.

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Haro Park Centre CEO Robert Gillis said early indications are that an asymptomatic family member of a resident brought the virus into the facility.

Gillis said the home was notified about the case on Sept. 27 and isolated the resident, but that it had already been several days since the visit.

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Nine of the 10 new cases were asymptomatic, he said.

Read more:
11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. and no new deaths, Haro Park Centre outbreak declared over

During the facility’s first outbreak, 89 people contracted COVID-19 and 13 patients died.

That outbreak was declared over on May 30.

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

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American Airlines to start furloughing 19,000 workers – Jamaica Observer

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) – American Airlines will begin furloughing 19,000 workers from Thursday, the company announced, as US officials have failed to reach a deal on fresh aid to the pandemic-hit air travel sector.

US carriers that received billions in aid from Congress had promised to refrain from laying off workers until the end of September, setting the stage for potentially thousands of job cuts in October.

“Our elected officials have not been able to reach agreement on a Covid-19 relief package… As a result, tomorrow, we will begin the difficult process of furloughing 19,000 of our hardworking and dedicated colleagues,” CEO Doug Parker said in a letter Wednesday.

However, he sounded a note of hope saying that if lawmakers are able to hammer out a deal for new assistance, the furloughs would be cancelled and the affected teams recalled.

Since the coronavirus intensified in March, US airlines have been grounding planes and delaying jet deliveries to limit their cash-burn as air travel remains at about only one-third of its level a year ago.

Carriers have struck agreements with unions to spread out work among employees. Tens of thousands of employees have also accepted unpaid leave or early retirement packages to avert the need for involuntary terminations.

Still, the decisions will not be enough to avert all job cuts. Airlines have said they do not expect a full recovery until a vaccine is widely available, which company executives have said may not be until late 2021.

Unions have said 100,000 people or more could be laid off without additional federal aid, but analysts expect a smaller number than that as airlines and unions seek ways to avoid layoffs.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login

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