Latest Coronavirus News: Ontario Reports 821 New Cases of COVID-19; Social media strategies played an important role in the pandemic elections, experts say
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Saturday. This file will be updated during the day. Web links to longer stories, if available.
10:15 am: Ontario reports 821 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Of these cases, 621 affect people who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status, and 200 are with fully vaccinated people.
9:01 am: A worrying report from Statistics Canada last month could suggest that the country’s economy has already entered a cold autumn.
StatCan attributed the decline to the decline in home sales and exports. However, experts say that the second quarter’s slump into negative economic growth may have little to do with a cooling housing market that remains in the sunny summer area.
“The best way to put this is to think of it as a hot summer day versus a muggy summer day,” says Leah Zlatkin, mortgage specialist.
“So it was a hot summer (first quarter) in terms of real estate, and now the second quarter was a hot summer day,” said Zlatkin, the principal agent for Brite Mortgage in Toronto.
The unexpected downturn – in which gross domestic product contracted at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent from April to June – could change everything from Canada’s economic recovery to the results of the upcoming federal election, with affordability being a major election issue.
Read the full story by Joseph Hall.
9 a.m.: While Alberta’s health system is on the verge of collapse, a doctor in the intensive care unit is waging his battle outside the walls of the hospital
Dr. Darren Markland is sad and frustrated despite taking more time to care for COVID patients. But “I never thought people would be mad at me” for doing my job.
Read Omar Mosleh’s full story from the Star.
8:59 am: If there’s one fact how many people need a COVID-19 vaccine to keep us all safe, it is this: The target posts changed in 2021.
At the start of the pandemic, top World Health Organization (WHO) scientists and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, between 60 and 70 percent of the population must be resistant to the virus – either through vaccination or infection – in order for life to return to some degree of “normalcy”.
But now that the fourth wave is subsiding and the highly transmissible delta variant has supplanted all other strains to become dominant, those numbers are far less reliable. And what the new threshold should be is not entirely clear, as experts wrestle with what will be sufficient protection to fend off Delta.
Read the full story by Kenyon Wallace from the Star.
8:58 am: Just a month ago, President Joe Biden and his health aides announced big plans to soon deliver a booster of the coronavirus vaccine to all Americans. But after fighting for the White House to “follow science,” Biden found himself untypically before that with this lofty statement.
Some of the country’s leading medical advisors painfully reprimanded the idea on Friday, essentially telling the White House: not so soon.
A key government advisory body overwhelmingly opposed Biden’s plan to give COVID-19 booster vaccinations across the board and instead recommended the additional vaccine dose only for those 65 years of age or older or at high risk of developing serious illness.
Biden’s announcement on August 18 that the federal government was preparing to strengthen the protection of almost all Americans had been made with a great deal of noise. It should calm the nerves of millions of Americans who fear a new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.
“The plan is for every adult to receive a booster vaccination eight months after the second vaccination,” Biden said, noting that his administration would be ready to begin the program on September 20.
Biden added that the third dose would require approval from health officials at the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but his public message glossed over the nuance.
“Just remember,” he said, “as a simple rule: eight months after your second vaccination, a booster vaccination.”
8:58 am: Military leaders at the Elmendorf-Richardson Joint Base have declared a public health emergency in response to the rising COVID-19 cases in Alaska.
They also urged all employees to avoid places that don’t require masks or social distancing, officials said.
U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar said Friday the statement will remain in force for 30 days but could be shortened or extended depending on cases and community transmission of COVID-19.
Hospital stays and COVID-19 cases across the state have increased due to the highly contagious Delta variant. Alaska reported more than 1,200 newly confirmed cases per 100,000 population in the past two weeks on Friday.
8:57 am: Police used pepper spray to suppress protesters at an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, on Saturday.
About 1,000 protesters rallied in the Richmond suburb after the location of the protests was changed at the last minute to evade authorities.
There was minor scuffle as well as a violent confrontation with a handful of demonstrators. Several demonstrators were arrested.
Most of the protesters broke the rules by not wearing masks.
About 2,000 police officers were deployed at checkpoints and barricades and on roving patrols to try to stop the rally in violation of public health orders.
Melbourne’s 6th lockdown began on August 5th. Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, where 535 new infections and one COVID-19 death were reported in the past 24 hours on Saturday.
8:57 am: India distributed 25 million doses during a special COVID-19 vaccination campaign organized on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday.
The campaign took place on Friday when Modi turned 71. The Ministry of Health said Saturday the special had increased India’s total vaccinations to more than 790 million.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya called the achievement “a golden chapter … written in the history of the country and the world”.
Only China has administered more. The Chinese government said this week it has given more than 2.16 billion vaccinations and one billion Chinese people are fully vaccinated.
India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, has given more than 62% of eligible adults at least one dose and approximately 21% two doses. Health Department officials say they plan to give over a billion syringes by mid-October.
India has reported more than 33 million coronavirus cases and 444,529 deaths. The country has over 30,000 new COVID-19 cases every day.
8:56 am: More than three-quarters of Quebecers are in favor of compulsory vaccination for health workers, according to a new Leger poll that also found strong support for vaccine passports across the country.
76 percent of Quebec respondents said they are in favor of compulsory vaccinations for medical workers, including 57 percent who said they strongly support the mandate.
Health care workers in Quebec have until October 15 to receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or risk being suspended without pay.
Those aged 55 and over were most likely to support the mandate with 89 percent, while those between 18 and 34 were least likely to support it and 36 percent were against it. Support was strongest in urban areas, where it was 82 percent, compared with 63 percent in rural Quebec.
Outside the province, 75 percent of respondents said they are in favor of mandatory vaccination for health workers, with the highest support in Atlantic Canada (83 percent) and British Columbia (82 percent). Albertans were the least likely to support the mandate, with 65 percent saying they were for it.
The survey, conducted in collaboration with The Canadian Press and the Association for Canadian Studies, also found strong support for vaccine passports across the country, with 79 percent of respondents in favor. Seven provinces are currently requiring or planning to require individuals to provide proof of vaccination in order to gain access to certain non-essential activities and services.
7:50 am: During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending even more time on their social media and all political parties are hoping to take advantage of tapping their voter base directly. But just because someone likes or shares a political contribution does not necessarily have to be translated in the polls.
Experts across the country are watching which social media strategy paid off the most on election day.
Half of Canadians, regardless of age, use Facebook weekly to catch up on current events and politics, said Oksana Kishchuk, a consultant at Abacus Data.
Social media has become a major player in building support. It’s not just about posting either, she said, because parties have to take into account good photos, crisp clips and current trends.
“It will be important to master these techniques,” said Kishchuk.
As Election Day approaches, she says that all three major parties have a “aim and spend” strategy. In the last week or so, everyone has spent between $ 400,000 and $ 600,000 on advertising on Facebook and Instagram. The Liberals and the NDP are using this money to spread messages that are mostly focused on their own strengths, while the Conservatives are focusing on Justin Trudeau, she said.
Abacus’ latest poll shows Liberals are at the forefront with their social media strategy, Kishchuk said, but the impressions of Singh and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rose significantly during the election.