Covid-19 Briefing
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A roundup of COVID-19 developments for Friday July 10, 2020

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the bureaucratic heads of our health care systems have become household names — and even heroes — during the pandemic

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, probably has better name recognition these days than many in Premier Brian Pallister’s cabinet. In Vancouver, the larger than life faces of British Columbia’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, are celebrated on a mural. And south of the border, the world has frequently been hanging on every word from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 79-year-old who is the top adviser to the White House’s coronavirus task force.

Alas, for the past two months, Donald Trump has left the good doctor hanging.

As Hannah Kuchler reveals in her interview with Fauci published by the Financial Times today, there’s now more than social distance at play between the straight-talking scientist and Trump.

“Fauci last saw Trump in person at the White House on June 2 — and says he has not briefed the president for at least two months,” writes Kuchler. “He tells me this in a matter-of-fact tone, but I suspect that his indifference is feigned. While Trump holds potential superspreader events, Fauci meets with the task force run by the vice-president. He says he is ‘sure’ that his messages are passed along — but Trump is evidently not listening. On July 4, the president declared that 99 per cent of Covid-19 cases were ‘harmless.'”

The supposed one per cent of COVID-19 cases that by extension are harmless have now led to nearly 134,000 deaths in the country Trump leads.

In that interview, the leading public health official now serving his sixth president says he understands why Fauci-mania has taken off during what he describes as a perfect storm.

“I believe, in fact I’m certain, that the country, in a very stressful time, needed a symbol of someone who tells the truth, which I do.”

I’m betting these would be far less stressful times for all if Trump had been willing to spend as much time with Fauci as he has been with Fox’s Sean Hannity over the past two months.

— Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press editor

THE LATEST NUMBERS

Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases

 

Chart showing daily status cumulative counts of positive COVID-19 cases

 

Chart showing age and gender breakdown of reported COVID-19 cases

 

COVID-19 CASES IN CANADA

 

COVID-19 NEW DAILY CASES IN CANADA

 

CANADA COVID CASES OVER TIME

Note: Manitoba and Canada figures may not match due to differences in data sources.

THE LATEST IN MANITOBA

● Manitoba continues its streak of COVID-19 free days. No cases of the virus have been identified in July. The number of cases in Manitoba remains at 325. There are four active cases, but none that require hospitalization. A total of 314 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. Seven people have died. A further 928 laboratory tests were performed on Thursday, bringing the total number of tests since early February to 69,036. 

THE LATEST ELSEWHERE

 ● Starbucks will be requiring customers to wear facial coverings while visiting all company-owned café locations in the U.S., beginning Wednesday. The company said in a blog post that at select locations where a local government mandate is not in place, customers not wearing a facial covering will have various options to order their items, including drive-thru and curbside pickup.

● An online poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies released this week found 86 per cent of respondents in Canada are opposed to letting U.S. tourists north of the border. An Abacus Data poll out Friday found much the same thing. And when Rep. Brian Higgins, a New York Democrat, updated his bipartisan call for a plan to reopen the border, the ensuing Twitter barrage of sarcasm, satire and outright anger belied Canada’s reputation as a bastion of civility, replete with memes of building walls, slamming doors and Bugs Bunny taking a handsaw to the 49th parallel. “I don’t blame them for wanting us out of there,” the congressman said Friday.

● Unions representing Ontario’s health-care workers are consulting with their memberships about taking political action in response to the province potentially extending its emergency act. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/Canadian Union of Public Employees says that under the emergency orders their collective bargaining agreement with the province is suspended. Michael Hurley, president of the unions, says that while that was acceptable in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now a detriment to health-care workers. He says that nurses and other care workers can have their shifts changed, be moved from site to site, or have vacation requests denied under the act.

● Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says the state will re-implement restrictions on bars and restaurants in certain counties to prevent further spread of the coronavirus after a spike in confirmed cases. Sisolak’s newest order began Friday at midnight. It requires bars that do not serve food to close their doors. Restaurants will stop serving parties of six or more. The directive includes Washoe and Clark County, home to Reno and Las Vegas. The directive is the second time Nevada has tightened restrictions since the state began reopening. The number of confirmed cases rose, prompting the governor to announce a statewide mask mandate on June 24.

● A medical association that the White House has cited in its press to reopen schools is pushing back against President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to cut federal funding if schools don’t open this fall. In a joint statement with national education unions and a superintendents group, the American Academy of Pediatrics on Friday said decisions should be made by health experts and local leaders. The groups argued that schools will need more money to reopen safely during the coronavirus pandemic and that cuts could ultimately harm students. “Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics,” the groups wrote in the statement.

ODDITY

 “No shirts, no shoes, no mask — no service.”

— Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, mandating businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear one.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

 

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LOCAL NEWS


Job stats show Manitoba economy bouncing back

Manitoba’s labour force recovery is the second strongest among the provinces, but who deserves the credit for it is in dispute. In June, the employment level in Manitoba was 92.8 per cent of whe... Read More

 

Manitoba MPs call for help for commercial fishers

Two Manitoba MPs have put aside political differences to draw the federal government’s attention — and money — to local fishers facing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemi... Read More

 

Public washrooms downtown could be built with grant money

THE City of Winnipeg could soon spend a COVID-19 response grant to build public washrooms downtown. On Friday, council’s protection and community services committee approved a motion to devote u... Read More

 

Grand chief became vaccination advocate as son’s health deteriorated

OTTAWA — Manitoba’s grand chief says he was a vaccine skeptic until his ailing son needed a major medical procedure. “You vaccinate animals; I wouldn’t immunize my kids,”... Read More

 

Hard decisions ahead as city embarks on service review

As the City of Winnipeg considers what services it should maintain in an upcoming operational review, it also needs to consider how it plans to pay for everything it wants to do. The city is launching... Read More

 

Season’s unbelievings

You know how television shows often recap key plot developments to get viewers up to speed before the next episode? It feels like we could use that kind of montage right now when it comes to the Winni... Read More

 

Stages of recovery

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the middle of March, the world seemed to stop. That sensation was especially sharp for people who make their living through live performance. For three local performi... Read More

 

NATIONAL NEWS


Conservatives say police should be called in to investigate WE charity scandal

OTTAWA – Calls for independent review of the Liberal government giving a sole-source contract to the WE organization intensified Friday with the Conservatives demanding police step in and the ND... Read More

 

Class-action lawsuit alleges meat packer failed to take COVID-19 precautions

CALGARY – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Cargill Ltd. that claims the meat-packing company failed to take reasonable precautions to protect its workers in Alberta during the COVID... Read More

 

Grocers defend pandemic pay cut decisions as independently made despite emails, calls

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains were in communication before launchingand ending temporary wage increases for grocery store workers during COVID-19, but maintain their d... Read More

 

Canadian economy adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls

OTTAWA – Nearly one million more Canadians had jobs in June than a month earlier, Statistics Canada says, as businesses forced to close by the pandemic began to reopen and the country continued... Read More

 

NHL, NHLPA ratify RTP, CBA extension; Toronto, Edmonton unveiled as hub cities

TORONTO – The NHL remains on course to resume its pandemic-delayed season north of the 49th parallel later this summer, and now has the labour peace needed to ride out the unprecedented economic... Read More

 

Quebec town imposes masks after COVID-19 outbreak south of Montreal hits 80 cases

MONTREAL – A COVID-19 outbreak linked to two house parties south of Montreal has grown to about 80 cases, Quebec’s public health director announced Friday. Horacio Arruda said there was &#... Read More

 

Health-care unions considering political action over Ontario’s emergency act

TORONTO – Unions representing Ontario’s health-care workers say they’re consulting with their memberships about taking political action in response to the province potentially extend... Read More

Presumptive Nunavut COVID case turns out negative after further testing

IQALUIT, Nunavut – Tests for what would have been Nunavut’s first case of COVID-19 have come back negative. The territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, is con... Read More

 

Newfoundland and Labrador reports first positive COVID-19 case since May

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Newfoundland and Labrador has confirmed a new case of COVID-19, the first reported in more than a month. The Department of Health says the man in his 50s lives in the Ea... Read More

 

Officials in Windsor-Essex ask province, feds to take lead on farm outbreaks

Officials in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex region called on the provincial or federal government Friday to take the reins in tackling COVID-19 outbreaks in farms, saying the situation requires more co... Read More

 

Time to stop warehousing Canada’s seniors

THE COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that Canada needs to change the way we care for our older adults. We have failed in our duty to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society. The Canadi... Read More

TSX ends week higher on positive sentiment from potential virus treatment

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index ended higher for a second-straight week on positive sentiment from a potential COVID-19 treatment and strong domestic jobs numbers. The S&P/TSX comp... Read More

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS


America’s worsening COVID-19 crisis has some Canadians barring the border door

WASHINGTON – A Canadian cabinet minister was among the guests waiting in the virtual wings of a recent Zoom panel when the moderator posed one last question to the chairman of the U.S. House Int... Read More

 

US appeals to proceed with 1st federal execution in 17 years

WASHINGTON – Determined to proceed with the first federal execution in nearly two decades, the Justice Department plans to appeal a judge’s ruling that would halt authorities from carrying it ou... Read More

 

China auto sales off 22.4% in first half of 2020

BEIJING – China’s auto sales rose 1.8% in June over a year earlier but fell by double digits for the first half of 2020 after the country shut down to fight the coronavirus, an industry group re... Read More

 

US wholesale prices fell 0.2% in June as food costs plunged

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesale prices fell 0.2% in June as food costs dropped sharply, offsetting a big increase in energy prices. The drop in the Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pre... Read More

 

The Latest: China rejects food imports after virus detected

BEIJING — New coronavirus cases have dropped sharply in China, and authorities are turning their attention to concerns that the virus could spread through imported food. Those worries have risen since... Read More

 

NBA teams at Disney had tough travel-party decisions to make

The 22 teams participating in the NBA restart were all at the Disney campus together for the first time Friday. None of them, however, made it to the Orlando, Florida, area with their usual travel par... Read More

 

South American World Cup qualifiers rescheduled for October

SAO PAULO – FIFA has agreed to move South America’s World Cup qualifiers from September to October as the region struggles to contain the coronavirus. FIFA also said South American soccer... Read More

Posey out for 2020 as MLB teams deal with churning rosters

PHOENIX – San Francisco catcher Buster Posey became the latest well-known player to opt out of the abbreviated 2020 season because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, joining Dodgers pitc... Read More

 

Kansas City player the latest to test positive for COVID-19 at MLS tournament

A member of Sporting Kansas City is the latest player to test positive for COVID-19 at the MLS is Back Tournament. The club confirmed Friday that one of its players had recorded a pair of consecutive... Read More

COVID-19 BASICS


COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 is now impacting the lives of Canadians on many levels and people across the country are seeking answers to numerous important questions they have about the novel coronavirus. Below is a summ... Read More

 

COVID-19 by the numbers

The Winnipeg Free Press is tracking the number and results of COVID-19 testing in Manitoba, as reported by the provincial government. Compare Manitoba's status to other provinces. Read More

 

Still open and ready to serve

In a bid to help restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and other local businesses hurting during these trying times, the Free Press launched a directory service to help our community connect with companies still open for business. Read More

 

What to do if COVID-19 suspected

Manitoba’s health department has implemented guidelines for who to call and where to go if Manitobans are concerned they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms... Read More

 

Mask-maker matchmaker

The Free Press has created a new service to connect those looking for homemade face masks with those who are able to make them. Scroll down to see what’s on offer and how to contact the mask-mak... Read More

 

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