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‘We’re in big trouble’: Doctors worry Canada’s 4th wave of COVID-19 could be biggest yet – Global News



With case numbers shooting up in Ontario, Alberta and B.C., health experts worry that Canada could be going into its worst wave of COVID-19 yet, unless governments act now to stop it.

“We’re in big trouble,” said Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency physician in Calgary and co-founder of Masks4Canada.

His calculations show that Alberta’s case numbers are doubling roughly every 11 days. So, if that trend continues, he said, Alberta could see 1,200 new cases per day in early September, and 2,400 daily cases by the middle of the month.

Click to play video: 'Why climbing COVID-19 cases impact you — whether you’re vaccinated or not'

Why climbing COVID-19 cases impact you — whether you’re vaccinated or not

Why climbing COVID-19 cases impact you — whether you’re vaccinated or not

“There’s definitely been a noticeable increase in the number of COVID-19 patients that are coming into hospital over the last two weeks or so,” said Dr. Shazma Mithani, an emergency doctor in Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital.

“Opening schools again in September is going to certainly fuel the fire in a significant way. And I’m worried about what that means for our children who cannot be vaccinated right now. And I’m worried about what that means for the hospitals.”

Read more:
What will Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave look like? Here’s what the experts, data say

Alberta reported 744 new cases on Aug. 19, according to the government website. The highest number of cases ever reported in a single day was 2,389 on April 30, 2021.

It’s not the only province where cases are expected to increase.

Projections released Aug. 18 by the BC COVID-19 Modelling Group suggest that case numbers there are doubling every nine days, and predicts that without intervention, “cases will soon exceed record levels.”

The province could see 10,000 cases per day, said Dan Coombs, a mathematics professor at the University of British Columbia and member of the modelling group, but he believes that public health authorities would enact measures to curb the spread before things got that bad.

Read more:
B.C. becomes second province to require proof of vaccination, starting Sept. 13

With children not yet able to be vaccinated, the BC Modelling Group expects that many cases would be in young children.

In Ontario, if nothing changes, there could be 7,000 cases per day by mid-October, according to Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease physician in the Sinai Health System in Toronto. This is well above the approximately 4,700 peak in early April.

The combination of the more transmissible Delta variant and looser restrictions means that the virus is experiencing exponential growth, she said.

“So if we don’t do something about it, our upward trajectory will increase in speed and we will inevitably move to a lot more cases and more hospitalizations and more ICU patients,” McGeer said.

Click to play video: 'The latest on COVID-19 and a looming fourth wave'

The latest on COVID-19 and a looming fourth wave

The latest on COVID-19 and a looming fourth wave

To stop this, we need to do more than just vaccinate people, Vipond said. “Unfortunately, we were told that the pandemic could end with vaccines. It has not and it will not.”

“We know what we need to do. We need to shut down mass gatherings and we need to close indoor dining for a period of time. These are the things that need to take place,” he said.

“It’s nice that we had a little bit of a break in the summer, that we were able to see people and we were able to do things. But we are going to have to roll that back. Not to nothing, not to lockdown, but back from where we are now,” McGeer said.

Read more:
Fourth wave of COVID-19 now underway in Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam says

This could be continuing to have people work from home when possible, she said, and refocusing again on masking and keeping social distancing.

Having limits on the size of social gatherings would help too, says Mithani, as would vaccine passports. “I do think it’s the people that are making the right decisions, like getting vaccinated, that should enjoy the freedoms of being able to be around other people,” she said.

She also says that provinces need to ensure that everyone has easy access to vaccines.

Click to play video: 'Why many Canadians may be going through compassion fatigue'

Why many Canadians may be going through compassion fatigue

Why many Canadians may be going through compassion fatigue

While McGeer knows that Canadians are frustrated at this point in the pandemic and just want to go back to normal, it unfortunately doesn’t matter, she said.

“It’s a virus and the virus does not care what you and I think. It does not care how tired we are of dealing with this. It does not care about anything except going on its merry way infecting people,” McGeer said.

“So I understand how miserable the choices are, but it doesn’t alter the fact that if we don’t do something about the increasing number of cases, we’re going to push our health care system over the limit again. And many people are going to die.”

— with files from Jamie Mauracher, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Taiwan blasts China for Pacific trade pact threats



China is an “arch-criminal” intent on bullying Taiwan and has no right to oppose or comment on its bid to join a pan-Pacific trade pact, Taiwan’s government said in an escalating war of words over Taipei and Beijing’s decision to apply.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan said on Wednesday it had formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), less than a week after China submitted its application.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it opposed Taiwan “entering into any official treaty or organization”, and on Thursday Taiwan said China sent 24 military aircraft into the island’s air defence zone, part of what Taipei says is an almost daily pattern of harassment.

In a statement late on Thursday, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said China had “no right to speak” about Taiwan’s bid.

“The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and is the arch-criminal in increased hostility across the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

China is not a member of the CPTPP and its trade system has been widely questioned globally for not meeting the high standards of the bloc, the ministry added.

China sent its air force to menace Taiwan shortly after the application announcement, it said.

“This pattern of behaviour could only come from China,” it said.

In a statement also issued late Thursday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said China’s entry into the CPTPP would benefit the post-pandemic global economic recovery.

China opposes Taiwan using trade to push its “international space” or engage in independent activities, it added.

“We hope relevant countries appropriately handle Taiwan-related matters and not give convenience or provide a platform for Taiwan independence activities,” it said.

The original 12-member agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s growing influence.

But the TPP was thrown into limbo in early 2017 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States.

The grouping, which was renamed the CPTPP, links Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.


(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Canada's costly election: Could $600M have been spent elsewhere? – CTV News



With an estimated record-setting price tag of $610 million, the 2021 election is the most expensive in Canadian history — at a cost of about $100 million more than the 2019 election.

After all of that spending resulted in little change politically, many are asking whether it was worth the money and where else those hundreds of millions of dollars could have been directed.

Indigenous organizations have criticized the election as being “unnecessary,” suggesting the money could have been better spent on clean drinking water initiatives, reconciliation projects, and mental health initiatives.

Child-care advocates have similarly suggested that the funds could have been used to propel the Liberals’ $10-a-day child-care promise. And many Canadians have spoken out, wishing the money had instead been spent on pandemic recovery.

Experts say that it’s not quite that clear-cut, as governments don’t have a set amount of money in their pot each year – and some say you can’t put a price on democracy, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Ian Lee, associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says it’s important to first understand that government budgets don’t operate like your run-of-the-mill household budget.

“Governments don’t have a ‘fixed, rigidly financed, precise’ amount of money in their pot each year. They roughly know revenues come in and expenditures go out. Sometimes they’re a little short and they just have a deficit, and then they print the money because that’s what governments do,” Lee told by phone Thursday.

“Budgeting, unlike for the average consumer, is not a zero-sum game – consumers, if they don’t have the money for something, you’re just out of luck. You don’t buy it. Governments don’t face that dilemma, especially the federal government.”

In other words, just because a certain amount of money million was spent on the election, that doesn’t mean there is the same amount less to spend on something else.

But as for the principle of calling a pricey election during the fourth wave of a pandemic, experts are split.

“For me – it is true that anytime the government spends money it could be spent elsewhere and the point of elections is to judge the government on how they spent money and the decisions they made,” Michael Johns, visiting professor in the Department of Politics at York University, told by email Thursday.

“There are far too many examples of things that could be funded and are not and other things that are spent that are problems.”

But Johns says he is uncomfortable with the idea that spending money on an election should be considered an issue, suggesting that those upset with the timing of the election should have reflected such in their ballot.

“There would have been an election a year ago if the opposition had been successful in voting out the government on a matter of confidence; there would have been one in probably a year if it had not been triggered now due to the nature of minority governments,” he explained

“Either way the act of voting and having our preferences registered matters and costs money. People could judge the government on its timing and vote accordingly but we should be very careful when we start making decisions about holding elections based on their cost.”

Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, a non-profit citizen group advocating democratic reform, has a different view, saying the money spent on the election could have been spent on “anything else.”

“The prime minister decided to hold an election even though 327 MPs voted against holding the election at the end of May,” Conacher told by phone Thursday.

“And he knew in calling an election that Elections Canada would have a right to spend any money it needed to run it, which ended up being more than usual because of the costs of, for example, buying one pencil for everybody.”

As for what that money could have been spent on instead, Conacher says the government should make those decisions based on what the large majority of the country needs – like health-care solutions during a pandemic.

“In terms of where the $600 million could be spent, there’s many areas where the health of Canadians is at risk or where Canadians want money spent – pharmacare, child care – the polls show the large majority want those in place,” he said.

Lee disagrees that it has to be one or the other, saying that “you cannot make the argument that because they spend $600 million on the election, that therefore some other spending item will be cut by $600 million.”

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Billionaire countries: Canada jumps up the list – CTV News



Canada added seven billionaires in 2020, increasing its total to 53, tied for 12th-most in the world, up from 14th the previous year, according to a new global report.

The combined wealth of Canadian billionaires also tops US$100 billion, an increase of 4.5 per cent from last year.

In its latest billionaire census, Wealth-X, an ultra-high net worth (UHNW) data company, stated the number of billionaires in the world surpassed 3,000 (up to 3,204) for the first time in 2020, after an additional 670 individuals entered the billionaire class. The combined wealth of this group is now approximately US$10 trillion.

The share of wealth held by billionaires among the UHNW class, which is defined as those with a net worth of US$30 million or more, has also increased to 28 per cent, despite billionaires making up just one per cent of the UHNW population.

Seven of the top 15 billionaires in the world made their fortunes in the technology sector.

These are the top five billionaires by net worth as listed by Wealth-X:

  1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon, US$201.2 billion
  2. Elon Musk, Tesla, US$181.1 billion
  3. Bernard Arnault, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, US$154.4 billion
  4. Bill Gates, Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, US$142.4 billion
  5. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, US$137.4 billion, Facebook

Here’s a breakdown of the top 15 countries ranked by billionaire population and their combined wealth.

  1. U.S., 927, US$3.709 trillion
  2. China, 410, US$1.303 trillion
  3. Germany, 174, US$515 billion
  4. Russia, 120, US$397 billion
  5. U.K., 119, US$225 billion
  6. Hong Kong, 111, US$282 billion
  7. Switzerland, 107, US$318 billion
  8. India, 104, US$316 billion
  9. Saudia Arabia, 64, US$144 billion
  10.  France, 64, US$238 billion
  11.  Italy, 60, US$169 billion
  12.  Brazil, 53, US$151 billion
  13.  Canada 53, US$100 billion
  14.  United Arab Emirates, 50, US$151 billion
  15.  Singapore, 50, US$86 billion 

Wealth-X lists Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous, special administrative region of China.

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