/Evening Brief: Feds release updated COVID-19 modelling

Evening Brief: Feds release updated COVID-19 modelling


Tonight’s Evening Brief is brought to you by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Canada’s trusted source of information on COVID-19 and substance use. Get the latest expert-reviewed research and data at www.ccsa.ca.

Good evening, readers.

The Lead

Latest short-term modelling from the federal government projects Canada could have 53,196 to 66,835 COVID-19 cases and 3,277 to 3,883 deaths by May 5 — one week from today.

The forecasts are intended for planning purposes and reflect the likeliest scenario out of a number of possibilities. As of the morning of April 28, 49,014 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported, as well as 2,766 deaths.

However, the growth of cases nationwide is slowing down, with epidemic growth levelling off in several provinces, such as New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba.

On April 9, the doubling of cases in Canada occurred every three days. But now, the number of cases is doubling at a rate of every 16 days. Cases in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta — three of Canada’s four most-populated provinces — are driving recent growth.

Jolson Lim explains.

In Canada

Premier François Legault says most Quebec stores and companies operating in construction and manufacturing will gradually be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks. Stores outside Montreal can reopen next Monday while those in the greater Montreal region will reopen May 11. Stores in shopping malls will remain closed, unless they can be accessed from outside.

The premier said the reopening of stores and other businesses will depend on physical distancing rules being respected.

“Our challenge is to gradually restart the economy without restarting the pandemic,” Legault told reporters, noting that the process will be staggered.

The Canadian Press has this story.

Canadian Blood Services on Wednesday afternoon will collect its first COVID-19 convalescent plasma donation for a national study probing the use of the treatment. The donation is for CONCOR, a national clinical trial designed to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as a treatment for patients infected with the virus.

Marco Vigliotti reports.

On a similar topic, researchers conducting trials on the effectiveness of an antibody-dependent treatment for COVID-19 say they’re not worried about a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) casting doubt around how long antibodies may last.

In a scientific brief in its Saturday COVID-19 update, WHO warned that there’s “no evidence” that recovering from the virus prevents someone from falling ill again because of it.

Charlie Pinkerton has more.

As the military is deployed to long-term care homes in the urban centres of Ontario and Quebec, approximately 20 per cent of the now full-time Canadian Rangers preparing to assist across remote communities in Canada’s territories are seniors, iPolitics has learned — from age 65 to octogenarians.

Those members, numbering roughly 83, are among around 403 Rangers who, in response to a call for full-time service amid the coronavirus pandemic, volunteered or consented to take part. Though none of the Rangers, as of now, are permitted to work in contact with individuals who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or their belongings, the extra risk to the older Rangers presents a new complication.

Victoria Gibson has the details.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has been working remotely from Oklahoma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rempel Garner said she travelled to Oklahoma — where her husband and stepchildren live — on an “unexpected and urgent private personal matter” before Canada and the U.S. enacted travel restrictions at the border to stem the spread of the virus.

In a statement, Rempel Garner said she has been in constant contact with Conservative party whip Mark Strahl, and the party has advised her to shelter-in-place and work remotely like other MPs.

The Toronto Star has more.

Almost 90 per cent of MPs on Tuesday dialled on to the videoconferencing platform Zoom for the first ever virtual sitting of the new special COVID-19 House committee.

The meeting kicked off just after noon, and at that time 297 of the 338 MPs were dialled on, with some technical stumbles persisting in the early stages.

CTV News reports.

The first in-person meeting of the committee is set for tomorrow afternoon, and you can follow along then with iPolitics’ liveblog coverage of the proceedings.

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In Other Headlines

Andrew Scheer: Tory MP Derek Sloan Shouldn’t Have Questioned Dr. Theresa Tam’s ‘Loyalty’ (HuffPost Canada)

Postmedia to lay off 80, permanently close 15 newspapers amid COVID-19 fallout (Canadian Press)

Coronavirus ‘travel bubble’ idea gains steam but wouldn’t work for Canada, U.S.: expert (Global News)

Fantino resigns from Aleafia Health board alongside former RCMP commissioner (Canadian Press)

Internationally

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has named a family friend to head the federal police — only days after the country’s justice minister quit over alleged meddling in law enforcement. (Reuters)

Reports of infected medical workers are emerging almost daily in Russia, with more than half the staff and patients at one St. Petersburg hospital having tested positive for COVID-19 in the aftermath of a single patient, in for a routine surgery, developing a fever post-operation. (Associated Press)

France detailed plans today to start opening schools on May 11, with limits on class sizes and rules requiring face masks, while Italy intends to keep schools closed until September. (Associated Press)

Britain is on track to record one of the worst coronavirus death tolls across Europe, after data published on Tuesday showed nationwide fatalities topped 24,000 nine days ago. (Reuters)

And in the U.S., former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton endorsed former vice president Joseph Biden Jr. in his bid for president on Tuesday — as former top advisors to Senator Bernie Sanders are reportedly forming a super PAC to aid Biden. (New York Times)

The Kicker

Virtual parliament today gave us a glimpse inside the homes of a whole sweep of MPs, who showcased backdrops that ranged from the entirely bland (we’re looking at you, Steven Guilbeault) to the surprising. This colourful piece of art, courtesy of science minister Navdeep Bains, drew its fair share of attention.

And an honourable mention to MP Marty Morantz for keeping things functional around the house, with a can of WD-40 tucked to one side during the call.

Have a great evening.

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