Ontario health officials say the community spread of COVID-19 in Ontario “appears to have peaked” earlier than originally expected, a result they attribute to restrictions such as physical distancing.
The total number of cases for the span of this wave of the outbreak is “now likely less than 20,000” — if the distancing and other emergency measures remain in place, documents provided by the province’s dedicated COVID-19 task force say.
That figure is “substantially lower” than the worst-case scenario of 300,000 and expected-case scenario of 80,000 included in Ontario’s previous modelling update on April 3.
Experts initially anticipated a peak of community spread to occur at some point in May.
Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto’s public health department, said a peak can go on for several days. He also had a less positive note about transmission in long-term care homes.
“We’re at peak in the community, but still in that accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care,” he told reporters at a briefing Monday.
WATCH | Brown explains how infection peaks can work:
Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in 127 long-term care facilities, according to the province’s task force. Long-term care homes have also been especially hard hit in Quebec.
NEW: The curve that has *not* been flattened: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> cases and death in Ontario long-term care homes. <br>”We’re at peak in the community but we are still at the accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care homes,” says Adalsteinn Brown, dean of <a href=”https://twitter.com/UofT_dlsph?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UofT_dlsph</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Us5NuCJ9qo”>pic.twitter.com/Us5NuCJ9qo</a>
Military members with medical training are now helping at Quebec care facilities struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks after the province asked Ottawa for help.
Quebec is the hardest-hit province in Canada, and its long-term care facilities have seen devastating and deadly outbreaks. Premier François Legault’s government asked for the military assistance — and has also asked retired nurses, orderlies and specialist doctors to help at residential facilities struggling to keep up with staffing.
The province is also delaying all non-urgent activities in hospitals for the next two weeks to allow more medical professionals to work full time in long-term care homes.
Medical workers from the Quebec City area are also helping at facilities in Montreal and surrounding areas.
As of 2 p.m. ET on Monday, provinces and territories had reported 36,670 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. The regions that provide public data on recoveries listed 12,502 cases as recovered or resolved.
A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths, based on provincial and regional health data, as well as CBC’s reporting, listed 1,709 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada. There have been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad.
Quebec accounts for 19,319 of the cases and 939 deaths, with many of the recorded deaths linked to the long-term care system.
Public health officials in Canada have noted that recorded numbers don’t include people who have not been tested or cases that are still under investigation, and have urged people to behave as though coronavirus is in their community even if there are no known cases.
The novel coronavirus, which was first reported in China in late 2019, causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. The virus, which is formally known as SARS-CoV-2, causes an illness known as COVID-19. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been providing regular briefings on the pandemic and the government’s response, on Monday focused his remarks on the aftermath of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
Trudeau offered condolences to people whose loved ones were killed in the “senseless violence” and said the entire country is grieving with Nova Scotians.
“Violence of any kind has no place in Canada.”
WATCH | ‘We stand with you and we grieve with you’: Trudeau:
The prime minister said there will be a virtual vigil on Friday night for all of Canada to support the community.
Trudeau also said his government is looking at moving ahead with stricter gun control measures, as Parliament returns for some regular sittings during the pandemic.
“I can say we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across the country. It was interrupted when the pandemic caused Parliament to be suspended. We have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when Parliament returns,” he said.
WATCH | Trudeau talks about his government’s plans for stricter gun laws:
A small number of Members of Parliament are debating how often they will sit during the coronavirus outbreak. The Conservatives want more in-person sittings than the Liberal government has offered.
Non-medical masks required for air travellers
Governments in Canada have introduced a range of measures, including rules around gatherings, a call for physical distancing and mandatory self-isolation for people returning from abroad.
A new rule requiring people flying within the country to have a non-medical mask with them kicked in at noon ET on Monday. According to a news release issued by Transport Canada last week, the new rule requires people to cover their nose and mouth in the following situations:
- When they are at airport screening checkpoints and the screeners can’t keep two metres between themselves and the traveller.
- When they can’t maintain physical distancing from other people or when asked to by an airline employee.
- When directed to by a public health official or order.
According to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 2.4 million known coronavirus cases around the world, with more than 165,000 deaths.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia’s public safety minister said Sunday that police and enforcement officers can issue $2,000 fines for price gouging and reselling essential medical supplies during the state of emergency. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
In Saskatchewan, the mayor of La Loche is offering praise to those who offered support after the community reported the first coronavirus case in long-term care in the province. “We have people who are willing to help and support in any way they can. However small, however big, people will come forward,” Robert St. Pierre said. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba’s health officials reported no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The province said one more coronavirus patient was in an intensive care unit, bringing the number of people in ICU to five. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario is shutting down a correctional institution in Brampton after at least 60 inmates and eight workers there tested positive for COVID-19. The transfer of more than one hundred inmates from the Ontario Correctional Institute to the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is already underway. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
New Brunswick reported no news cases on Sunday and said recoveries are rising — but the province’s top doctor urged people to “continue to do all that we can to slow the spread of COVID-19.” Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia’s premier unveiled a plan to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak at a Halifax long-term care facility that has left five people dead. The province reported 46 more coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing its total to 721. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia, which has been left reeling after a devastating mass killing over the weekend.
Prince Edward Island reported no new cases on Sunday. The province has to date reported 26 cases of COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
WATCH | How to handle physical distancing in tricky situations:
In the Northwest Territories, the government is providing information on its enforcement task force, which was put in place to support coronavirus-related public health rules. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S
From The Associated Press, updated at 11 a.m. ET
The top infectious disease expert in the United States has a message for protesters who are ignoring their governors’ stay-at-home orders and calling for him to be fired over his guidelines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the message is “this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics, from the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus.”
He added on ABC’s Good Morning America that “unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically” is not going to happen.
“So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re [going to] set yourself yourself back.”
The Trump administration and Congress expected an agreement Monday on an aid package of up to $450 billion US to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.
As talks continued, President Donald Trump said there’s a “good chance” of reaching a bipartisan agreement with Democrats.
“We are very close to a deal,” Trump said Sunday at the White House.
Along with the small business boost, Trump said the negotiators were looking at “helping our hospitals,” particularly hard-hit rural health-care providers.
The Senate is scheduled for a pro forma session Monday, but no vote has been set.
The House announced it could meet as soon as Wednesday for a vote on the pending package, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat.
The Trump administration also announced new guidelines requiring nursing homes nationwide to report to patients, their families and the federal government when they have cases of coronavirus.
Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said during a Sunday evening White House media briefing that the new rules will mandate that nursing homes report cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said the moves are aimed at increasing transparency about the spread of the virus at facilities where populations can be especially vulnerable to its effects.
The coronavirus outbreak, and the measures to fight it, have put huge strain on governments. Thousands of Los Angeles city workers must take 26 furlough days — the equivalent of a 10 per cent pay cut — over the course of the next fiscal year as the country’s second-largest city deals with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.
Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement Sunday in his emotional State of the City address as he warned of an economic blow far worse than the 2008 recession, when city leaders laid off hundreds of workers and eliminated thousands of jobs.
“Our city is under attack. Our daily life is unrecognizable,” Garcetti said.
“We are bowed, and we are worn down. We are grieving our dead,” the mayor continued as he fought back tears. “But we are not broken, nor will we ever be.”
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8:30 a.m. ET
Spain has surpassed the 200,000 mark of coronavirus infections while recording the lowest number of new deaths in four weeks. Health ministry data showed Monday that 399 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,852. Spain had counted more than 400 daily deaths since March 22.
The outbreak’s spread has continued at a slower pace than in previous weeks, with 4,266 new infections, which brings the country’s total to 200,210. The Spanish government is starting to relax its confinement measures, trying to re-activate the economy after a two-week freeze and allowing children under 12 to venture out to the streets for brief periods from next week.
Some shops are reopening in much of Germany as Europe’s biggest economy takes its first tentative step toward restarting public life after a four-week shutdown. Shops with a surface area of up to 800 square metres are being allowed to reopen on Monday, along with auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops of any size, under an agreement reached last week between the federal and state governments.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told n-tv television that big shops “draw large numbers of people into the city centre, they have high customer numbers and that isn’t possible in the first step.” State governments are responsible for imposing and loosening shutdown measures, and there are regional variations. Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the first steps to restart public life. She warns that a return to a full shutdown would be “inevitable” if coronavirus infections take off again.
The German economy is in a severe recession and recovery is unlikely to be quick, as many coronavirus-related restrictions could stay in place for an extended period, the Bundesbank said in a regular monthly economic report on Monday.
Denmark will now test every person with symptoms of the new coronavirus. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the country has control of the epidemic, but he said if a person has a dry cough, fever or respiratory problems, they should call the doctor to be tested. The country took another small step toward reopening society when hair salons, dentists, physiotherapists, tattoo parlours and driving schools, among others, were allowed to reopen Monday.
Britain needs to be sure that any lifting or easing of physical distancing measures does not lead to a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
“The big concern is a second peak, that is what ultimately will do the most damage to health and the most damage to the economy,” the spokesperson told reporters.
“If you move too quickly then the virus could begin to spread exponentially again. What we need to be certain of is that if we move to lift some of the social distancing measures, it isn’t going to lead to the virus starting to spread exponentially again.”
Russia reported 4,268 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, fewer than the 6,060 on the previous day, which took the total number of cases to 47,121. Forty-four Russian coronavirus patients died in the last 24 hours, the Russian coronavirus crisis response centre said.
Singapore is reporting a record 1,426 new coronavirus cases, mostly among foreign workers, pushing its total number of confirmed infections above 8,000. The tiny city-state now has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia, a massive increase from just 200 infections on March 15, when its outbreak appeared to be nearly under control. About 3,000 cases have been reported in just the past three days. Low-wage migrant workers, a vital part of Singapore’s workforce, now account for at least 60 per cent of its infections. More than 200,000 workers from poorer Asian countries live in tightly packed dormitories.
WATCH | COVID-19: Some Asian countries seeing case numbers rise — again:
Japan boosted its new economic stimulus package on Monday to a record $1.1 trillion US to expand cash payouts to its citizens, as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.
India has recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases as the government eases one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume. An additional 1,553 cases were reported over 24 hours, raising the national total over 17,000. At least 543 people have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
The shelter-in-place orders imposed in India on March 24 halted all but essential services. But beginning Monday, limited industry and farming were allowed to resume where employers could meet physical distancing and hygiene norms, and migrant workers can travel within states to factories, farms and other work sites.
The reported death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran reached 5,209 on Monday with 91 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said Monday in a statement on state TV. The total number of diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Iran, the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the outbreak, has reached 83,505, he said.
South Africa will increase welfare provisions to help poor households suffering because of a nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the country’s coronavirus outbreak, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
WATCH | Bolsonaro downplays COVID-19 threat as Brazil’s death toll rises:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that he hoped this would be the last week of stay-at-home measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, wishing for an end to a policy that he has branded an ill-founded jobs killer. Speaking with supporters in Brasilia, he also opposed the view of a fan who called for the country’s supreme court to be shut, with Bolsonaro saying Brazil was a democratic country and the top court would remain open.
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