Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Anxiety mounts after the Canada Revenue Agency sends out hundreds of thousands of letters to CERB recipients in an attempt to prove eligibility
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will arrive by the end of the year
- Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine? Lack of data leaves expectant moms in the lurch
In Canada, there have been at least 475,215 cases reported. In the last week 46,181 new cases were announced, 1 per cent more than the previous week.
There have also been at least 385,975 recoveries and 13,659 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 14,571,413 tests.
Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts • Lockdown rules and reopening • Canada’s vaccine distribution plan • Developing/approved vaccines • Pfizer’s vaccine, explained • Essential resources
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario reported a single-day record of 2,275 new coronavirus cases today, with more than half of those new cases in Toronto and Peel Region.
- In British Columbia, long-term care residents and care workers should all be inoculated by the end of March, the province says.
- ‘Mr. Covid’ – star of Alberta’s new coronavirus ads – says he’s happy with the response to the campaign.
In Ottawa, the federal government says upgrades are necessary to Canada’s vaccine-tracking technology, but critics question why Ottawa started looking for a solution just weeks ago with a draft “request for proposal” letter to industry on Nov. 30.
- Ottawa has identified seven large technology, accounting and consulting firms that it thinks can do the work, according to the documents obtained by The Globe.
- Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the Public Health Agency of Canada is able to track vaccines and monitor their distribution but declined to give a timeline for the upgrades.
Still in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government signed an agreement to receive up to 168,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine before the end of December. Moderna’s vaccine is not yet approved by Health Canada, but deliveries could begin within 48 hours of it getting the green light, Trudeau said.
COVID-19 and pregnancy: Lack of data on pregnant women is raising questions about whether they should get COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, Pfizer and BioNTech excluded pregnant women at the outset of their clinical trials.
Coronavirus around the world
- In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration said there are no new concerns over data on Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine, clearing the way for authorization of a second, easier-to-handle vaccine. Meanwhile, an over-the-counter coronavirus test kit was approved.
- Developing countries will face delays getting COVID-19 vaccines through the initiative known as COVAX. It has secured just a fraction of the two billion doses it hopes to buy over the next year and is short on cash.
Coronavirus and business
Canada Emergency Response Benefit repayment requests have caused confusion for thousands of self-employed Canadians. Here’s the response from government officials.
Also today: Tens of thousands of retailers across Canada are now hoping online sales will help them to survive a make-or-break holiday shopping season.
And: Is the rate environment for home buyers the best we’ll see for this generation and possibly in our lifetimes? Rob Carrick breaks down ridiculously low interest rates.
- Michael Wolfson: “For anyone with experience in software, databases and statistical analysis, the vaccination monitoring described sounds like a dog’s breakfast. That’s not good enough when lives are on the line.”
- Globe editorial: “The idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of an unexpected virus is partly true, and partly a cop out. A pandemic’s date and place of arrival can never be known in advance. But what is well known is that pandemics, like bad weather, happen.”
- J. Kelly Nestruck: “There’s a strong case to be made – not based on sentiment, but on economics – for getting performers who can’t realistically keep a distance from their colleagues or wear PPE on the job back to work entertaining and uplifting us as soon as possible.”
- Canada’s banks and insurers win court approval for online-only annual meetings in 2021
- Restaurant regulars show their appreciation with increased tips through COVID-19 crisis
- Gordon Pape: How my pandemic stock picks performed in a year unlike any other
- Travel: Eight festive holiday experiences at hotels and resorts across Canada
- International vaccine effort has secured a fraction of necessary doses
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.