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The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Oct 26th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 26, 2020:

There are 216,103 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 100,114 confirmed (including 6,143 deaths, 84,828 resolved)

_ Ontario: 70,373 confirmed (including 3,093 deaths, 60,160 resolved)

_ Alberta: 24,261 confirmed (including 300 deaths, 20,310 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 12,554 confirmed (including 256 deaths, 10,247 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 4,249 confirmed (including 54 deaths, 2,142 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 2,729 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 2,085 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,100 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,029 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 328 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 257 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 290 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 275 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 64 confirmed (including 63 resolved)

_ Yukon: 20 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

_ Nunavut:  No confirmed cases

_ Total: 216,103 (3 presumptive, 216,100 confirmed including 9,946 deaths, 181,429 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Meet the new leader of Canada’s Green Party

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Oct 26th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, Annamie Paul made history earlier this month when she became the first Black woman to lead a Canadian party when she became the successor to Elizabeth May. Now that the party is hers though, where is she going to take it? How can she bring the Green Party’s branding beyond “the environment”? How will her party hold the Liberals to account without forcing an election Canada doesn’t need? And how does she hope to snap Canadian voters out of their Liberal-versus-Conservative approach?

GUEST: Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Ontario dog first to test positive for COVID-19 in Canada

MICHELLE MORTON | posted Monday, Oct 26th, 2020

A Niagara-area dog has been identified as the first in Canada to test positive for COVID-19.

But experts say this doesn’t mean pet owners should panic.

A veterinary internal medicine specialist with the University of Guelph told the Toronto Star, the dog belongs to a household where four out of six members tested positive for the coronavirus.

Scott Weese adds the dog had no symptoms and had a low viral load, suggesting dogs remain at a relatively low risk of becoming ill or passing the virus onto others.

Weese has tested 45 dogs since the start of the pandemic.

Last week, the province’s office of the Chief Veterinarian said people with COVID-19 symptoms should try to ‘exercise the same infection control precautions’ with their pets as they would people.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 23, 2020:

There are 209,144 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 97,321 confirmed (including 6,094 deaths, 82,033 resolved)

_ Ontario: 67,527 confirmed (including 3,071 deaths, 58,066 resolved)

_ Alberta: 23,829 confirmed (including 296 deaths, 20,014 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 12,331 confirmed (including 256 deaths, 10,114 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 3,773 confirmed (including 47 deaths, 1,920 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 2,558 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 2,024 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,097 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,027 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 319 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 223 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 287 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 274 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 64 confirmed (including 61 resolved)

_ Yukon: 17 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 209,144 (3 presumptive, 209,141 confirmed including 9,862 deaths, 175,789 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020

The Canadian Press

A trip to a beautiful little deadly beach

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, it’s called Six Mile Beach, and it sits in a remote part of British Columbia. It’s not on any of the tourism brochures. You need to know how to find it to get there, but once you do, it’s stunningly beautiful. You can stand well out from shore and a sand bar makes it feel like you’re walking on top of the water. It’s a secret spot worth savouring.

And every so often, someone dies. And no level of government wants to be responsible for those deaths.

GUEST: Tyler Harper, Nelson Star

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Le Chateau files for bankruptcy, plans to close its doors

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Oct 23rd, 2020

Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors to allow it to shut down and liquidate its assets.

Le Chateau’s application under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act will be heard Friday by a Quebec court.

The clothing retailer says it can no longer continue its operations as a going concern.

It says circumstances leave the company with no option other than to start the liquidation process.

The move will affect 500 head office employees and 900 retail store employees at its 123 locations across Canada.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2020:

There are 206,360 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 96,288 confirmed (including 6,074 deaths, 81,267 resolved)

_ Ontario: 66,686 confirmed (including 3,062 deaths, 57,325 resolved)

_ Alberta: 23,402 confirmed (including 296 deaths, 19,734 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 12,057 confirmed (including 256 deaths, 9,993 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 3,626 confirmed (including 43 deaths, 1,809 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 2,496 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 2,002 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,097 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,027 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 319 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 223 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 287 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 274 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 64 confirmed (including 61 resolved)

_ Yukon: 17 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

_ Nunavut:  No confirmed cases

_ Total: 206,360 (3 presumptive, 206,357 confirmed including 9,829 deaths, 173,748 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Trump, Biden prepare for presidential debate rematch

JAMES MCCARTEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2020

Television viewers across the United States and Canada might well wonder tonight why living room couches don’t come with seat belts.

After last month’s interruptive, insult-riddled debate performance against Joe Biden, Donald Trump has a chance to redeem himself — though observers don’t expect him to try.

Instead, they’re bracing for another show of vintage Trump, one in which he’ll seek to be heard even in spite of his muted microphone.

The Commission on Presidential Debates will be cutting off the opposing mic during two-minute opening statements before each 15-minute segment.

Tonight’s debate, hosted by Belmont University in Tennessee, will be moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker.

Topics will include American families, race relations, climate change, national security and leadership.

Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien called the decision to cut off microphones an attempt by the commission “to provide advantage to their favoured candidate.”

In fact, the commission said in a statement this week, it’s designed to level the playing field for the two candidates.

“One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough,” the statement said.

“We are comfortable these actions strike the right balance, and that they are in the best interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held.”

During last month’s clash in Ohio, Trump interrupted, antagonized and irritated his Democratic rival from the outset, vexing moderator Chris Wallace and eliciting an exasperated plea for order from Biden himself: “Will you shut up, man?”

And that was only the first 15 minutes.

It was hardly the most cutting insult of the night — Biden called Trump a “clown” and America’s worst-ever president, while Trump branded his rival a drug-addled socialist and the Biden family a criminal enterprise.

But the “shut up” line emerged as the sound bite of the night, a fact that experts say offers clues into Biden’s best strategy.

“My advice to Biden would be to do exactly that — have a few pithy one-liners. But they also have to be presidential,” said Will Stewart, a former Progressive Conservative operative who’s now a senior vice-president with Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Toronto.

“I think ‘Shut up, man’ was the wrong approach. I think it was tone-deaf; it sank to Donald Trump’s level. It’s also not presidential. And I don’t care if you don’t like Donald Trump, you respect the office of president.”

This time, Biden would do well to ignore the president’s “buzz saw” approach, or at least find a way to short-circuit it, said Stewart, who is no stranger to the rituals of debate prep.

As for Trump, the mission — should he choose to accept it — is a relatively easy and simple one, say veterans of debate strategy: stop being such a jerk.

Performing better than the public expects, which is Job 1 in a political debate, ought to be easy when the expectations of Trump likely couldn’t sink lower.

On that, the experts agree. Also on this: don’t hold your breath.

“I expect to see Trump very aggressive, fighting like someone who is behind in the polls and knows he needs to make up ground,” said Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary.

Study shows novel coronavirus can live on skin for 9 hours, but what does that mean?

MELISSA COUTO ZUBER | posted Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2020

A recent study suggests the novel coronavirus can live on human skin for up to nine hours, but experts say those findings aren’t as alarming as they sound.

The study by Japanese researchers, published earlier this month in the science journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at how long viruses can survive on human skin based on samples collected from cadavers about a day after death.

The findings suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can remain active for 9.04 hours – nearly five times longer than the survival time of the pathogen that causes the flu.

The study also showed that an 80 per cent ethanol-based sanitizer can kill the novel coronavirus in a matter of 15 seconds.

Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist in Winnipeg, says that’s her main take-away from the study.

“It’s an important public health message to remind people that even though the virus can last basically a full workday in a lab setting, you can quickly get rid of it if you just wash your hands,” she said.

“It’s not about panicking and having a full-body shower every time you get home. It’s about remembering that if the virus is on your hand and you wipe your nose or put your fingers in your mouth, that’s where the opportunity is to get infected.”

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, says people are less likely to contract COVID-19 from touching a surface than from having close contact with an infected person.

He suspects the reason for that has to do with the viral dose on surfaces versus that in droplets or aerosols. Coming into contact with small viral load on a surface likely won’t result in a severe infection, he says, adding that our bodies may fight off a very mild case without us even realizing we have it.

“I don’t think (this study) is anything we need to be too concerned about,” Furness said. “If it were, clinically we would be seeing that touch matters a lot more. And we’re not.”

Furness says public health strategies over the last few months have emphasized mask-wearing and avoiding gatherings “because they matter more.”

However, even someone who’s asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic can transmit the virus, so Furness says it’s still important to wash your hands on a regular basis.

“I don’t want anyone thinking that touch doesn’t matter at all. You can still pick up the virus from touch,” Furness said. “And you can pick up a different virus during COVID that weakens your body, and then if you do get COVID you can have a worse outcome.”

The experts say it’s also important to remember that studies done in lab settings, under perfectly controlled conditions, don’t necessarily translate to the outside world.

Carr said the study in Japan was done in warm, humid conditions, which the virus is known to thrive in.

Using skin samples from immobile cadavers could also play a role in how long the virus remained on that surface, she added.

“My understanding is that the virus is relatively fragile,” Carr said. “So I don’t know how long it would be detectable on your hand in a real-life situation where you’re moving around.”

Plenty of lab studies have been conducted since the pandemic began showing how long the novel coronavirus can survive on different surfaces. Another recent one found the virus could live on banknotes for up to 28 days.

But Furness says to take that with a grain of salt.

“It’s almost like a little perverse competition to see who can keep COVID alive the longest, and I don’t think that’s fair,” he said. “Saying it can survive on a banknote for several days – OK, when the banknote is in the dark not being disturbed, and with perfect humidity and so on and so forth. That’s when it becomes a bit dodgy.”

And detecting the virus on a surface isn’t the same as determining whether it’s strong enough to infect someone, Carr warned.

“That’s where we have a lack of knowledge,” she said. “It could be (detectable) for nine hours, six hours, 12 hours, but again the main take-away for me is how quickly it can be eradicated if you just wash your hands.”

For Furness, the interesting part of the Japan study was its comparison to the regular flu virus, which lasted on average slightly less than two hours on skin surfaces.

He says that may provide a potential clue as to why the novel coronavirus is so transmissible.

“It sheds a little bit of light on the fact that this is a tough customer, that this is a relatively hardy virus compared to flu,” he said. “And it would help explain why this is so much more contagious than something like the flu.”

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