Smarten up: The Public Health Agency of Canada’s latest COVID-19 modelling tells a familiar story. Young people are driving the recent surge in cases, the opposite of the predominant first-wave trend. But the scariest slide—the graph that evokes anxiety similar to the spring—charts the virus’s rapid spread if Canadians maintain the status quo. A much friendlier future awaits us if we collectively—based on individual actions—reduce our contacts. After a lax summer, like it or not, the pressure is back on. Canadians need only look to the Maritimes for proof that it’s possible.
Ottawa Public Health, which was the first in the country to declare a second wave of COVID-19, continues to paint pictures of the consequences of poor behaviour. The latest example: a 40-person park BBQ spawned an outbreak that ended up forcing 105 high-risk contacts to self-isolate for 14 days, missing work and school in the process. Later yesterday, local top doc Vera Etches laid down the law: anyone who tests positive, has a close contact who tests positive, feels any symptoms, or is awaiting results must self-isolate for 14 days. The penalty for violating the rules is a $5,000 fine for every day they’re broken.
Need a Throne Speech refresher? A new parliamentary session comes with a healthy dose of pageantry. Before today’s speech, the Usher of the Black Rod will knock on the Commons door—they only open it after he makes three attempts—with a message from the Governor General. A gaggle of MPs would typically follow the usher down the street to the temporary Senate, where the House speaker, standing at the edge of the chamber with some of his fellow elected commoners, will say a few ceremonial self-deprecating words before being reassured by his Senate counterpart that he’s an honourable fellow. Today, only the people doing all that talking will board separate buses between chambers. MPs appear to be sitting this one out. Finally, GG Julie Payette will deliver the speech. Soon after, incisive Maclean’s analysis will follow.
As PHAC pushed out projections, Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced millions more potential vaccine doses. The feds inked agreements with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline to “secure up to 72 million doses” of their candidate, if it’s approved. That brings the number of total potential confirmed doses to 262 million, though no vaccine is yet a sure thing—and the language of each agreement only guarantees 154 million doses.
On Sunday, just two days after Tory leader Erin O’Toole tested positive for COVID-19, his wife Rebecca experienced symptoms herself, including a fever. She lined up for a test at Brewer Park Arena in Ottawa—one of the city’s overtaxed assessment centres—and it, too, turned up positive. The two parents are now monitoring their kids, Mollie and Jack, for symptoms. In her own statement released through the party, O’Toole thanked the “incredible frontline healthcare workers across the country” and shared the same sentiment as so many families: “Our focus is on ensuring our children stay healthy.”
At a recent retreat, O’Toole’s Ontario caucus-mates made use of a serological test that remains unapproved by Health Canada—but has gotten the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Scot Davidson, the Ontario caucus chair, told reporters the company producing the test briefed those MPs—and then conducted 28 tests in 39 minutes. Public-health experts reminded the CBC that serological tests are ideally used to identify an infection after the fact. They detect antibodies that fight COVID-19, which can take weeks to develop. The tests aren’t designed to confirm an active infection.
Unifor and Ford struck a deal that’ll see the automaker and various governments spend $1.95 billion on Canadian operations. The union’s president, Jerry Dias, said Ford will build five models of electric vehicles in Oakville, Ont., and bring more work to an engine plant in Windsor. Flavio Volpe, who heads up the auto-parts manufacturers group, credited the new NAFTA, in part, for the announcement.
Keith Beardsley, a former deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper who once ran the Tories’ research bureau, offered some wisdom to Eric Duncan, the architect of the Conservative question period strategy. Among the tips: Don’t give an MP a slot just because he is “convinced he has the perfect issue.” Threaten to remove slots from MPs who don’t show up for QP practice. Assign three attack dogs to handle the dirty work. And always remember: “No one on the other side is your enemy.”
Because 2020: As a tropical storm named Teddy lashes Atlantic Canada with strong winds and heavy rain, the U.S.-based National Weather Service tweets a spooky observation out in the Atlantic Ocean. “We now have Zombie Tropical Storms. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm #Paulette.” The 16th named storm of the season, Paulette first formed off the coast of West Africa way back on Sept. 7. Now, the regenerated storm is in the Azores.