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Will COVID-19 kill Christmas? – CBC.ca

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Roger Wiebe of Edmonton and his wife are cancelling Christmas this year because they can’t afford it. 

Weibe said he lost his job at a medical supply warehouse in June due to a COVID-19-related work slowdown. His wife, a legal assistant, lost her job in February.  

Neither has been able to land another job as the pandemic drags on, and they’re struggling.  

“We can’t afford presents or anything like that,” said Wiebe. “I don’t even think we’re going to be in the mood to even put up a tree or anything this year. … Christmas is going to be another day.”

Many other Canadians won’t go as far as cancelling Christmas, but will have pared-down celebrations this year as fears of the virus, physical gathering restrictions and a weakened economy put a damper on holiday plans.

Roger Wiebe lost his job in June and says Christmas is on hold this year because he can’t afford it. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

According to Deloitte Canada’s annual holiday retail spending survey, which polled 1,000 Canadians in September, respondents said they expected to spend an average of $1,405 during the holidays — down 18 per cent from the previous year.

“It’s a pretty big drop,” said Marty Weintraub, national retail leader at Deloitte Canada, an accounting firm. He said concerns over the economy and waning consumer confidence are inspiring Canadians to curtail their spending. 

Canada’s economy was on its way to recovery in the summer when provinces eased their lockdowns and businesses reopened. But then the second wave hit as COVID-19 infections spiked once again, forcing some provinces to reintroduce lockdown measures. 

“With wave two and uncertainty, we’re now back into serious headwinds ahead,” said Weintraub. “It’s a bit of a roller coaster right now.” 

Less partying this Christmas

Weintraub said another reason why Canadians plan to spend less this Christmas is simply because there will be fewer reasons to part with their cash — thanks to social gathering limits and Canada’s advisory not to travel abroad.

Deloitte’s holiday survey found that travel, dining out, and alcohol purchased for entertaining will be where the biggest spending cuts are made.

“No one’s traveling anywhere. No one’s having big gatherings,” said Weintraub.

The majority of respondents (51 per cent) said they have no plans to entertain guests at home over the holidays. 

Rashida Malcolm of Toronto said she hopes to have a few close family members over for Christmas. However, large get-togethers — such as her family’s annual holiday party with up to 100 guests — won’t happen this year. 

Rashida Malcolm, her husband and daughters at the annual Toronto Christmas Market in 2019. This year, the market has been cancelled due to social gathering restrictions. (submitted by Rashida Malcolm)

Malcolm said she’s disappointed, but is prepared to make the sacrifice to help curb Ontario’s recent surge of COVID-19 infections

“I think we’re all willing — I hope we’re all willing — to do whatever is necessary. So I’m sad not to see everyone, but we’ll send out Christmas cards and call.”

Another downer for Malcolm is that holiday festivities her family normally attends — such as the Toronto Christmas Market held in the Distillery District — have been cancelled this year due to restrictions on public gatherings. 

WATCH | ‘Big parties are off’ this Christmas, says Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam spoke to reporters during a pandemic briefing in Ottawa on Friday. 2:38

And due to concerns over crowded malls, Malcolm said visiting Santa at the mall is off — news she has yet to share with her two young daughters.

“I’m going to hope that they just don’t ask.”

Holiday celebration alternatives

Adults aren’t the only ones facing a pared-down Christmas. Children will likely take it hard when they learn that Christmas traditions, such as visiting Santa, have been nixed.

But all is not lost as Santa and his helpers scramble for solutions. 

At Toronto’s Eaton Centre and Southcentre Mall in Calgary, Santa is planning COVID-19 friendly appearances. Everyone must wear masks and, instead of sitting in Santa’s lap, children will have to keep their distance. 

“There will be no direct contact with Santa,” said Southcentre Mall in a statement. It also warns that everyone — including Santa — will undergo temperature checks. 

At Toronto’s Eaton Centre this year, Santa will wear a mask and sit two meters apart from visiting children. At another mall, Santa will appear on a video screen turned into a ‘magic mirror.’ (Cadillac Fairview/Facebook)

At Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto, Santa will appear virtually via a large screen so kids can get their picture taken without any physical contact. 

“We want to keep everyone safe, including Santa, so we’re going to have Santa there through his magic mirror,” said Will Correia, Scarborough Town Centre’s general manager.

Santa Claus parades have been cancelled in cities across Canada, but some are trying to keep spirits afloat with COVID-19-safe alternatives. 

Several cities including London, Maple Ridge, B.C. and Yorkton, Sask. are planning a “reverse” parade where the floats stay parked. Spectators drive by and enjoy the sights from the safety of their cars.

“The children of London … will not be disappointed!” promises an ad for London’s upcoming parade which will be parked at the city’s airport. 

Santa Claus waves from the final float in the Guelph Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. This year, some parades may be held without spectators lining the streets, while others will be stationary so people can drive by in cars. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Toronto also plans to continue its Santa Claus parade this year. However, it will take a new route that’s closed to the public who can instead view the parade on TV

It may not be the same as seeing Santa in person, but this is the year that Canadians will have to revise their holiday traditions, while still trying to keep up the Christmas spirit. 

“It’s sort of what you make of it,” said Malcolm. “It’s still a great time to be thankful. … Lucky for us, our household is healthy and, things like that, I keep reminding myself when things seem a little bleak.”

The Deloitte survey polled 1,000 Canadians online from Sept. 8 to 14. The margin of error for a comparable sample like this would be +/-3 per cent, with a 95 per cent confidence level.

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Canada surpasses 400000 total COVID-19 cases – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada has now recorded more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Today’s bleak marker came after Saskatchewan reported 283 new cases of the virus today, bringing the national tally to 400,030.

The speed at which Canada reached the 400,000 mark is the latest sign of the accelerating pace of the pandemic across the country.

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 18 days ago on Nov. 16.

It took six months for Canada to record its first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, four months to reach the 200,000 threshold and less than a month to arrive at 300,000.

Canada’s national death toll from the virus currently stands at 12,470.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Richmond News

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

2:43 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 283 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

Health officials say the person who died was in their 80s and the province’s death toll from the pandemic sits at 55.

There are more than 4,000 active cases of the virus in the province, many of the infections concentrated in and around Regina and Saskatoon.

Hospitals are treating 126 COVID-19 patients, with 25 of them in intensive care.

The province’s seven-day average of daily cases is 262.

Premier Scott Moe hopes to see a dip in transmission of the virus so more visitation can be allowed in long-term care homes over the holidays.

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is announcing nine more deaths from COVID-19 and 320 new infections Friday as health officials released new modelling showing the impact of the pandemic on the province.

It shows that three people end up in hospital and one person dies for every 48 cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, says if no public health measures had been put in place, there would have been up to 1,055 new infections a day by this Sunday.

Daily cases have been tracking between 300 and 500 recently.

1:29 p.m.

Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in Nunavut. 

Patterson also announced today fewer than five Nunavut residents with COVID-19 were flown to a Winnipeg hospital this week and are in stable condition.

Patterson would not comment on exactly how many people were in hospital or what communities they come from.

1:22 p.m.

Ottawa is increasing its order of prospective COVID-19 vaccines.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is exercising its option to obtain another 20 million doses of Moderna’s two-dose candidate, bringing its total order to 40 million in 2021.

That’s expected to be enough to vaccinate almost 20 million people.

Moderna is one of several manufacturers Ottawa has struck deals with for prospective COVID-19 vaccines, which will be delivered in batches.

In early 2021, Canada expects a combined total of six million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized for distribution.

1:07 p.m.

The group instructing provinces and territories about who should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines has updated its advice.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says the first doses of authorized vaccines should go to residents and staff of congregate living settings for seniors.

They should also go to older adults starting with people aged 80 and older, then decreasing the age limit to 70 as supply becomes available.

Health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences are also on the list.

12:45

Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19. 

There are now 27 active cases in the province, for a total of 343 cases since the pandemic began. 

Premier Andrew Fury says he will announce the province’s position on the Atlantic travel bubble Monday.

Newfoundland and Labrador withdrew from the arrangement on looser travel restrictions within the region last month.

12:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say 11 cases are in the Halifax area, including a case at Citadel High School in Halifax reported late Thursday.

Three cases in the northern health zone are close contacts of other cases, and one case in the western zone is related to travel. 

A case has also been identified at Park West School, a primary to Grade 9 school in the health zone that includes Halifax.

11:38 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

The territory says all the new infections are in Arviat.

The community on the western edge of Hudson Bay now has 44 active cases.

Nunavut mostly lifted a two-week lockdown earlier this week but restrictions remain in Arviat where numbers are highest.

11:18 a.m.

Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

There is one new case in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Fredericton area and four in the Edmunston region.

All the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick is 528 with 111 currently active. 

11:10 a.m.

There are 1,780 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 152 in York Region. 

She says that the spread of COVID-19 has “hit a critical point.”

The minister is asking Ontarians to wear masks and remain physically distant from each other.

11:08 a.m.

The Quebec government is reporting 1,345 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The Health Department says of the five of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

The number of hospitalizations has increased by 24 for a total of 761 with 97 people in intensive care.

The province has reported a total of 147,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,183 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Friday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • First COVID-19 vaccine doses expected to be given in January, federal officials say.
  • Alberta announces record high number of daily cases and positive-test rate.
  • Quebec cancels plans to allow holiday gatherings.
  • U.S. sets single-day records for new infections, deaths; new stay-at-home orders coming to California.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca

As Canada approaches 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, federal officials are making preparations for the first vaccine doses to be administered in January.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, a former NATO commander in Iraq who is leading vaccination logistics at a new national operations centre in the Public Health Agency of Canada, laid out the rollout plan at a press conference Thursday.

The initial supply of the doses will be limited — just three million Canadians are expected to get shots in the first three months of 2021. Millions more doses are expected to arrive as the supply chain stabilizes.

WATCH | How Canada is preparing for vaccine distribution:

Federal officials provided a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed across Canada, saying the first doses are expected to be administered In January. 2:12

One of the principal challenges facing the immunization effort is the distribution of vaccines that must be kept at very low temperatures. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which are expected to be the first approved for use in the country, need to be kept at approximately -80 C and -20 C, respectively, to remain stable.

Eventually, there will be 205 “points of issue” locations across the country where health-care professionals can administer the vaccine, Fortin said. It will be up to the provinces and territories to specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.

In British Columbia, the province’s top doctor said the first shots should be available in B.C. early in the new year, with the first priority likely being to immunize the most vulnerable populations, including residents of long-term care homes, as well as health-care workers.

“We’re going to make sure we are absolutely ready by then,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “We are planning to be able to put vaccine into arms in the first week of January.”

If everything goes according to plan, everyone in the province who wants the COVID-19 vaccine will be immunized by next September, Henry said. She said a more detailed plan for vaccine rollout will be available early next week.

WATCH | An inside look at the scramble to mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine:

A major vaccine manufacturer in India scrambling to mass produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine so it can get into the arms of billions opened its doors to CBC News. 3:01

Ontario Premier Doug Ford echoed Henry’s assertion that the province will be ready when the first supply of vaccines is approved and available in early 2021, but said he still has many questions — specifically which vaccines will be coming to Ontario, how many, and when they will land.

Provincial Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams was also asked Thursday if the province would make vaccination mandatory.

“We can’t force someone to take a vaccine. That’s clear,” Williams said. But what the province can do, he noted, is make proof of a vaccine mandatory to access certain settings, such as long-term care facilities.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey told reporters he had spoken with federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc about distribution.

Furey said N.L.’s challenges differ from those seen in other jurisdictions, and the province has accepted military advice and expertise on distribution.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 9 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 396,271, with 69,246 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,407.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick officials expressed hope that the Moncton and Frederiction regions could soon return to the yellow phase of recovery from the more restrictive orange phase, as the province reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

“We are seeing some progress, people are following public health advice and measures,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health. However, the Saint John region, which is currently also in the orange phase, is a bit further behind, Russell said.

WATCH | N.B. officials on how residents can have a yellow Christmas:

Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell explain what New Brunswickers can do to get a yellow Christmas. 3:30

Nova Scotia reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Two of the cases had been confirmed in Sipekne’katik First Nation the previous evening by Chief Mike Sack and marked the first time the virus has been detected on a First Nation in Atlantic Canada.

Prince Edward Island announced one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, as Premier Dennis King said P.E.I. will not rejoin the Atlantic bubble until at least Dec. 21.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases on Thursday. It was the first day the province had gone without a new case in more than two weeks.

In Quebec, starting Friday, inspectors and police will be more visible in malls and shops to make sure businesses are complying with public health measures including a maximum capacity of customers and signs about distancing rules.

The province has cancelled plans to allow gatherings over the December holidays in light of a rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

WATCH | Quebec premier says no gatherings allowed over holiday season:

Saying there is not enough time before Christmas to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec, Premier François Legault backtracked on a previous commitment. He now says gatherings in the province’s red zones will not be allowed over the holiday season. 2:10

Premier François Legault made the announcement Thursday as the province reported 1,470 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 more deaths. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have climbed above 700.

“When we look at the situation, we are forced to realize that it is not realistic to think that we are going to succeed in reducing the progression of the virus in a satisfactory way by Christmas,” Legault said.

Ontario has reached a key threshold when it comes to the number of patients in intensive care earlier than modelling had predicted. As of Thursday, 203 patients with the illness were being treated in intensive care, according to a report by Critical Care Services Ontario.

“It is concerning that we are ahead of schedule,” said Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto.

The province reported 1,824 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new deaths on Thursday. However, the number of new cases was slightly inflated due to a processing error, the provincial health ministry said.

In Manitoba, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 climbed to a record 357, with 52 of those people in intensive care, matching a previous single-day record for patients in critical care.

“We know that [this] is putting too much strain on our capacity in the health-care system. The numbers are too high,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.

The province also reported 368 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths on Thursday.

In Saskatchewan, an updated surge plan projected as many as 560 new cases of COVID-19 a day in the province — a doubling of current levels — by Dec. 15.

The province reported 259 new cases and one additional death on Thursday.

Alberta again broke records on Thursday with 1,854 new cases and a positive-test rate of 9.5 per cent. The province also reported 14 new deaths.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said she is particularly concerned about the spread of COVID-19 into rural areas. Among the 15 geographic areas with the highest active case rates in the province, one-third of them are outside Calgary and Edmonton.

British Columbia reported 694 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new deaths on Thursday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said adult sports and fitness activities have become a major source of infection in recent weeks, accounting for something between 10 and 15 per cent of new cases.

All indoor and outdoor adult team sports are now prohibited in the province, and children’s programs have returned to earlier, more restrictive guidelines.

People wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a hair salon in Vancouver on Thursday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

In the North, Nunavut has seen its total number of active cases go down over the past week, leading up to the lifting of a two-week territory-wide lockdown on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, it reported five new COVID-19 cases, all in Arviat, which remains under restrictions. The community now has 68 of the territory’s 75 active cases.

Yukon confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, while the Northwest Territories did not report any new cases.


What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

As of early Friday morning, there were more than 65.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 41.9 million of those listed as recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.5 million.

In the Americas, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday he would publicly take a vaccine to demonstrate its safety to the public and pledged to retain the nation’s top adviser on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, when he takes office next month.

“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,” Biden told CNN in an interview that aired on Thursday.

Three former presidents — Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — have also indicated they’d publicly take a coronavirus vaccine, once one becomes available, to encourage all Americans to get inoculated.

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks past a sign advising that COVID-19 vaccines are not available yet at a Walgreen’s pharmacy store in San Francisco on Wednesday. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, met with Biden’s advisers on the pandemic earlier in the day.

The United States set single-day records for new infections and deaths on Thursday as California’s governor said he would impose some of the nation’s strictest stay-at-home orders in the coming days, when intensive care units are expected to reach capacity.

In Europe, Norway’s Health Minister Bent Hoeie said some 1.2 million people, chiefly those in high-risk groups and health workers, will get the vaccine when it becomes available. The remainder of Norway’s population of 5.4 million are expected to get the vaccine in the spring.

In Spain, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government hopes to vaccinate between 15 and 20 million people by next May or June, with more to follow. It hopes to begin vaccinating next month and receive more than 140 million vaccine doses in all.

Croatia has ordered 5.6 million dozes of coronavirus vaccines and will start giving shots to people as soon as the vaccines are authorized for use in the European Union, health officials said.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has launched a coronavirus testing program for the country’s teachers as students gradually return to school. The program that started Friday and continues to Dec. 18 is designed to test up to 170,000 teachers. The free program is voluntary and uses rapid antigen tests.

The Czech government also plans to make COVID-19 tests available to all citizens, possibly starting Dec 18. In November, the country started testing residents of all nursing and retirement homes.

A woman chooses a Christmas gift in a shop in Prague on Thursday. Shops, restaurants, museums and galleries across the country were allowed to reopen again following several weeks of decreasing new COVID-19 daily cases. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea has recorded 629 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally in about nine months.

After successfully suppressing two previous outbreaks this year, South Korea has been grappling with a fresh spike in infections since it relaxed stringent physical distancing rules in October. Last week, it toughened distancing restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.

In Africa, South Africa on Thursday tightened some COVID-19 rules in the Eastern Cape province where infections are rising the most, curbing movement and gatherings, but decided against reinstating a nationwide lockdown.

Volunteer Thabisle Khlatshwayo receives her second shot at a COVID-19 vaccine trial facility at Soweto’s Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg on Monday. Over 2,000 South African volunteers are part of AstraZeneca’s experimental coronavirus vaccine trial. (Jerome Delay/The Associated Press)

South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on the African continent, with more than 760,000 confirmed cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

In the Middle East, a partial lockdown will begin this weekend in the Gaza Strip after infections spiked in the densely populated territory.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would get vaccinated against the coronavirus to set an example for his country’s citizens and that the government plans to buy multiple vaccines.

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