Canada wants national sick leave plan in place for second wave of the coronavirus pandemic - CNN
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is trying to give all workers a minimum of 10 days paid sick leave per year as Canada starts to prepare for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ottawa, Canada (CNN)Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is trying to give all workers a minimum of 10 days paid sick leave per year as Canada starts to prepare for a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. "Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with Covid-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa Monday. As of Monday, Canada has reported more than 85,000 cases of coronavirus and 6,545 related deaths. For those infected, sick leave is usually a provincial jurisdiction, which complicates the national effort. Trudeau said putting the necessary mechanisms in place for a national paid sick leave program would be challenging, but his government and the provinces are determined to try. "When the Fall comes and flu season starts up we don't want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that while they really shouldn't go into work but they can't afford to not go into work and therefore the risk of contributing to a wave significantly, could be a real problem," Trudeau said. Canada's top doctor repeated her assertion Monday that a second wave of the virus could be worse than the first and encouraged public health officials to build up capacity for testing, hospital beds and personal protective equipment in order to prepare. "I think you can never be overly prepared and we have to just keep going with some of these capacity developments and that goes for lab testing as well," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer during a press conference Monday. In hopes of managing the spread of the virus into the country, Trudeau announced last week that the border with the United States will continue to be closed until at least June 21. Trudeau called the border, which has been closed since March 21, a clear point of "vulnerability" for Canada. The prohibition of international travelers and quarantine of returning Canadians is the only thing that has allowed Canada to manage its first wave of coronavirus, Tam said.
Judge dismisses Michigan Legislature's lawsuit over governor's use of emergency powers - CNN
A Michigan judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republican leaders of the state's Legislature challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's use of emergency powers to extend Michigan's state of emergency.
US-Canada border will remain closed to nonessential travel for at least another month - CNN
Calling the border with the United States a clear point of "vulnerability" for Canada in terms of Covid-19 infections, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that by mutual agreement, the border will remain closed to nonessential travel unti…
Ottawa, Canada (CNN) Calling the border with the United States a clear point of "vulnerability" for Canada in terms of Covid-19 infections, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that by mutual agreement, the border will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least June 21. Trudeau did not rule out a further extension of the border closure. The US-Canada border has been closed since March 21. "It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure of the Canada, US border to travelers other than essential services and goods, but we will continue to watch carefully what's happening elsewhere in the world and around us as we make decisions on next steps," Trudeau said during his daily press conference in Ottawa. Even if the border does reopen to nonessential travel, Trudeau repeated that stronger measures may be put in place, such as requiring quarantine, medical checks and tracking for those entering Canada, including those from the US. "We know that we need to do more to ensure that travelers who are coming back from overseas or the US as Canadian are being properly followed up on, are properly isolated and don't become further vectors for the spread of Covid-19," Trudeau said. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN, "The United States has great appreciation for the efforts of our partners in Canada and Mexico to ensure that North America is working together to combat the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus." Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said the only thing that's allowed Canada to manage this first wave is the fact that international travelers have been banned and that returning Canadians and Canadian residents have quarantined for two weeks. Asked how best to manage a border reopening when it happens, Tam said: "We want to make sure we not only keep up but maybe strengthen some of those measures. The mandatory 14-day quarantining of people who come in remains a cornerstone as we go forwards and the fact that we need to be able to manage that, then show that people are following that requirement." Canada has had at least 79,411 coranavirus cases and at least 5,960 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. By comparison, there have been more than 1.5 million cases in the United States and at least 90,432 deaths. Canadian border communities reacted with relief after lobbying the Trudeau government to keep the border closed for the time being. "Casual travel across our land borders is not yet safe and may actually lead to greater community transmission of Covid-19 which is something no one wants to see happen," said Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, Ontario, in an interview with CNN. Windsor is less than five miles from Detroit, Michigan, and is the busiest border crossing between the US and Canada in terms of traffic and commercial goods. Since the border closed in March, both governments say essential commercial traffic has continued to flow smoothly. Essential workers, including hundreds of health care employees, also continue to cross daily into Michigan to work in health care centers in Detroit and across the state. "This is the only place within our two countries where two major urban areas are this close to one another and so the intricacies (of reopening) are a little different and the consequences are perhaps a little different, if we move too fast," Dilkens said. Dilkens points out his city is already expecting more border traffic as the US auto industry reopens this week. Auto manufacturing supply chains are closely inter-connected between Michigan and the province of Ontario. Dilkens says it's important for both economies that border traffic continues "at the speed of business." "The flow has to continue, and that the border has to work for business while also protecting the general public from crossing for nonessential work or anything else," Dilkens said. CNN's Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.
Stacey Abrams endorses Joe Biden - CNN
Stacey Abrams, who has publicly made the case for why she believes she is well positioned to be Joe Biden's running mate, endorsed the former vice president on Tuesday, calling him the "leader America needs."
(CNN)Stacey Abrams, who has publicly made the case for why she believes she is well positioned to be Joe Biden's running mate, endorsed the former vice president on Tuesday, calling him the "leader America needs." Biden is "a leader who will restore dignity, competence and compassion to the Oval Office while restoring America's moral leadership around the world. His commitment to fighting climate change, leading an economic recovery for all, and protecting every eligible American's right to vote are among the many reasons why he must be the next President of the United States," she said in a statement Tuesday. Abrams, the former top Democrat in the Georgia House, has praised Biden for several weeks since he became the presumptive Democratic nominee, but she had not formally endorsed his candidacy until Tuesday. "While marginalized communities struggle under Donald Trump's failed leadership and people of color face disproportionate consequences of COVID-19, Joe Biden will take no one for granted. I look forward to continuing my strong support for his candidacy and doing all I can to make sure he is elected this November." Biden has mentioned Abrams, who ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in Georgia in 2018, as a possible running mate. She has notably promoted herself for the role. "I would be an excellent running mate," she said in an interview with Elle last month. "I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I've spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America's place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve." Since committing to selecting a woman as his running mate in March, Biden has been prodded by some to select a woman of color to join him on the ticket. Abrams is often mentioned as a possible choice as well as Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Abrams is also the founder of Fair Fight, an organization advocating for fair elections across the country. In an interview with the virtual event series 19th this week, Abrams said she did not endorse during the primary because of her role with Fair Fight, saying "I had to promise neutrality because I could not be seen and the work we did could not be seen as the arm of any campaign." Biden and Abrams are set to conduct their first television interview together on Thursday evening.
Latest coronavirus pandemic news from around the world: Live updates - CNN
The global coronavirus pandemic has brought countries to a standstill. Here's the latest updates on worldwide Covid-19 cases, deaths, government responses and more.
The spread of the novel coronavirus has slowed down significantly in most parts of Canada but the situation in Montreal remains critical. "Of course, I'm worried as a Quebecer, as an MP about the situation going on in my riding, in the province, as I am concerned about Canadians coast to coast," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Saturday in Ottawa. There are more than 68,000 cases of the virus in Canada and about 4,800 people have died, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Montreal's cases account for about a quarter of the country's cases, Quebec officials say. More background: Trudeaus electoral district is in Montreal, where senior centers have been reporting outbreaks. Projections released by the Quebecs public health institute on Friday indicate the virus could lead to as many as 150 deaths per day if Montreal fully reopens and strict social distancing guidelines are loosened. Earlier this week, authorities in Quebec, the province where Montreal is located, postponed plans to lift some restrictions in the city from mid-May to May 25.
Our cities may never look the same again after the pandemic - CNN
From Auckland to Bogota, urban planners are already adapting our cities to lockdown. But will the changes last, and which more radical design proposals -- be it sewer monitors or "epidemic skyscrapers" -- will shape the post-pandemic city?
Our cities may never look the same again after the pandemic From Auckland to Bogota, urban planners are already adapting our cities to lockdown. But will the changes last, and which more radical design proposals -- be it sewer monitors or "epidemic skyscrapers" -- will shape the post-pandemic city? Published 10th May 2020 For advocates of walkable, unpolluted and vehicle-free cities, the past few weeks have offered an unprecedented opportunity to test the ideas they have long lobbied for. With Covid-19 lockdowns vastly reducing the use of roads and public transit systems, city authorities -- from Liverpool to Lima -- are taking advantage by closing streets to cars, opening others to bicycles and widening sidewalks to help residents maintain the six-foot distancing recommended by global health authorities. And, like jellyfish returning to Venice's canals or flamingos flocking to Mumbai, pedestrians and cyclists are venturing out to places they previously hadn't dared. In Oakland, California, almost 10% of roadways have been closed to through-traffic, while Bogota, Colombia, has opened 47 miles of temporary bike lanes. New York has begun trialing seven miles of "open streets" to ease crowding in parks, with Auckland, Mexico City and Quito among the dozens of other world cities experimenting with similar measures. There are many purported benefits of "reclaiming" the streets during a pandemic. Encouraging cycling may reduce crowding on buses and subways, where people can struggle to get distance from one another. Vehicle-free roads also offer those without access to parks the ability to exercise safely. Other urban initiatives have been introduced to directly control the spread of the virus. Cities in the US, Canada and Australia have reconfigured traffic lights so that people no longer need to touch crosswalk buttons. (In any case, many pedestrian crossings are equipped with "placebo buttons" that have no impact on whether the lights go green). It is unclear if these urban interventions will continue once the pandemic is over. Milan plans to build 22 miles of new cycle lanes and permanently widen sidewalks after its lockdown lifts. Authorities in Hungary's capital, Budapest, have suggested that its new bike lanes may become permanent if the measures "prove favorable," while planning officials in Providence, Rhode Island, have said crossings will now remain button-free. But few other cities have been so committal. And it will be harder to make the case for pedestrian- and cycle-friendly streets once their benefits are weighed against the knock-on effects of congestion elsewhere -- especially in countries as dependent on cars as the US. Indeed, the cities in which pandemic-era measures seem most likely to stick are those already committed to change. Take Paris, for instance, where more than 400 miles of pop-up bike lanes (or "coronapistes") are set to open when France's national lockdown ends on May 11. Mayor Anne Hidalgo has called returning to a car-dominated status quo "out of the question," but she was already backing a huge overhaul of biking in the city. In other words, the pandemic may only have served as a catalyst. But urban planning is a long game in which change is piecemeal and the legacies of past decisions take time to overcome. Public spaces and amenities cannot always be expanded or reconfigured at will. So, looking to the coming years rather than the coming months, how else might the virus -- or attempts to prevent future ones -- re-shape our cities? Parc de la Distance, a speculative proposal by Austrian design studio Precht, imagines a public park made from a maze-like network of three-foot-wide hedges. The layout provides 20-minute walking routes that can, in theory, be completed while maintaining distance from others, thanks to gates indicating when paths are occupied. Czech firm Hua Hua Architects has meanwhile proposed a "Gastro Safe Zone" (pictured top) which uses brightly colored ground markings to encourage passersby to keep their distance from al fresco diners. And in Milan, one of the cities worst hit by Covid-19, designer Antonio Lanzillo has envisaged public benches equipped with plexiglass "shield" dividers. Other ideas have ranged from self-disinfecting "smart" elevators to door handles that can be easily operated with elbows, rather than hands. It is too soon to know which, if any, may be realized. But each idea suggests that the practice of social distancing and unease over shared surfaces could continue long after the current crisis. Planners talk about creating 'sticky' streets -- places where people linger and stay around. So the question now is: Will those efforts continue, or how will they need to be changed? Can we still achieve connectivity if we all keep social distancing? If they do, the widely-publicized six-foot distancing guidelines could redefine the layout and spacing of new public facilities, according to Northeastern University's Sara Jensen Carr, whose forthcoming book "The Topography of Wellness" considers how urban landscapes have been transformed by epidemics like cholera, tuberculosis and obesity. "Everybody from Daniel Burnham -- who was the planner of Chicago -- to Le Corbusier came up with arbitrary measurements on their own," she said in a phone interview. "Le Corbusier writes extensively that every 'unit' in the Radiant City (or "Ville Radieuse," the celebrated architect's proposed utopia) needed a specific amount of light ... and a certain amount of cubic feet of air to circulate within it. "So six feet could be the new unit we use when we think about cities and public parks." Yet, the idea of keeping people apart seems to contradict the emphasis planners have traditionally placed on human interaction. Architects, whether designing parks or social housing, have often valued meeting points as sources of collaboration, inclusion and community-building. "That contradiction is very interesting," said associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Jordi Honey-Rosés, who co-authored one of the first academic studies into the potential impact of Covid-19 on public space. "In fact, if you look at the literature on the health benefits of green spaces, one of the primary (advantages) is social connectivity -- people seeing their neighbors and being part of a community. "Planners talk about creating 'sticky' streets -- places where people linger and stay around," he added, speaking on the phone from lockdown in Barcelona. "So the question now is: Will those efforts continue, or how will they need to be changed? Can we still achieve connectivity if we all keep social distancing?" Rather than outlining solutions at this early stage, Honey-Rosés' paper (which, subject to peer review, is set to publish in the journal Cities & Health) instead lays out the questions facing urban planners. Many relate to how cities manage the green spaces that he thinks "will, overall, be more valued and more appreciated" after the current crisis. In addition to their well-documented health and psychological benefits, greener cities may also be more resilient to future pandemics. A recent Harvard study has indicated a possible correlation between air pollution and the likelihood of dying from Covid-19 in the US, while Italian scientists have detected the virus on pollutant particles (and are looking at whether pollution may aid its spread). Neither line of inquiry has yielded conclusive results. But should a definitive link between pollution and the virus emerge, it would "really be a game-changer" for green urban planning, Honey-Rosés said. "Then, cities will be able to say, 'We're going to redesign our streets not only because we need social and physical distance, but because we need to increase our probability of survival," he suggested. The biggest questions may center around population density. Fears that disease spreads more easily in busy urban centers could already be having an impact on people's attitudes towards living in cities. Data from Harris Poll found that nearly a third of Americans are considering relocating to less crowded places as a direct result of Covid-19. The poll, conducted at the end of April,indicated that respondents aged 18 to 35 were the most likely to be considering such a move. "Space now means something more than square feet," Harris CEO John Gerzema said in a press release. "Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also appeared to blame the severity Covid-19 in his city on urban density. "There is a density level in NYC that is destructive," he tweeted. "It has to stop and it has to stop now. NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density." So will there be a long-term push for cities to sprawl outwards in order to reduce downtown populations? According to Carr, the backlash against city centers may be especially acute in America, where high rates of car ownership make suburban life less inconvenient. "The United States has always been a country that somewhat fears density," she said. But she, like other experts, worries that a potential retreat from cities will come at a cost. After all, density makes mass transit systems viable, improves access to public facilities (including hospitals) and promotes innovation and creativity. "I think as designers and urban planners we have to think about how we emphasize the benefits of density," Carr added. "Because now, whenever anyone tries to build new housing anywhere, it's probably going to be the first question that people have." Even before the development of germ theory, people have distrusted the benefits of living in close quarters. The Victorians' widespread belief that miasma (or "bad air") helped spread disease partly justified the clearance of London's 19th-century slums. During the 2003 SARS outbreak, the perils of density were seemingly laid bare when faulty plumbing saw the deadly virus sweep through Hong Kong's Amoy Gardens housing estate. Six feet could be the new unit we use when we think about cities and public parks. But there is not, yet, any clear evidence linking population density to the spread of Covid-19. Hong Kong (which is more densely populated now than it was in 2003, with some neighborhoods housing more than 60,000 people per square kilometer) has more effectively contained local transmission of Covid-19 thansparsercities in Europe and the US. Robert Steuteville, editor of the journal Public Square, has argued that data from the US (such as the high transmission rates in the relatively sparsely-populated New Orleans, for instance) disprove what he calls the "'density is dangerous' narrative." Whether the use of public transport is a significant factor in Covid-19's spread is a theory still being explored. And while, again, the findings remain far from conclusive, mistrust of buses and subways may nonetheless see their use decline. Honey-Rosés suggested we may instead see the growth of "micromobility" -- vehicles like scooters and e-bikes -- though this could be accompanied by reduced demand for initiatives like bike-sharing schemes. "The sharing model is going to have additional costs related to hygiene and cleaning, which will be very challenging," he said, adding that sharing schemes "might get hurt in this pandemic." Epidemics can have radical and unexpected effects on architecture and design. The 1918 flu pandemic, for instance, helped transform home bathrooms, leading property owners to install brass fittings and powder rooms to keep guests from the main lavatories. Later that century, sanatoria built to treat tuberculosis came to inspire the white, clinical aesthetic of modernist architecture (while beliefs the disease could be remedied by sunlight influenced the movement's penchant for terraces and roof gardens, according to Carr). So although considering the impact of Covid-19 is, at this stage, largely speculative, there's plenty of scope for innovation. Perhaps we'll see the widespread adoption of automatic doors. Perhaps the popularity of urban farming in recent months will offer new relief from the threat of bare supermarket shelves. Or perhaps the installation of sewage monitors will be used to decipher if -- and where -- certain diseases are growing among city populations. There have been more outlandish ideas, still. Italian designer Umberto Menasci has envisaged a series of plexiglass boxes that allow beachgoers to relax in isolation. Elsewhere, this year's eVolo skyscraper design competition was won by a prefabricated emergency healthcare tower -- a concept dubbed "Epidemic Babel" -- that its Chinese designers claim could be rapidly erected in a future outbreak. Regardless of such proposals' viability, there is plenty of optimism that this crisis can improve the way cities are designed and run, said Honey-Rosés. But he caveated this by saying politics and opportunism may play significant roles in dictating which ideas come to fruition. ("I'm seeing a lot self-interest in the optimism -- the cyclists are talking about having bigger bike lanes, because that's in their interests," he offered as an example.) But despite his self-professed skepticism, the researcher nonethelessbelieves that the pandemic has presented real opportunities to rethink public space. "This is a time for humility on the part of pundits," he said. "And researchers need to be asking good questions. But I also think it's time for city leaders to be bold. "Things that were not possible before, now are."
Alphabet gives up its plan to build a futuristic neighborhood in Toronto - CNN
Google's parent company is abandoning a controversial plan to turn Toronto's waterfront into a futuristic neighborhood.
Canada says its coronavirus death rate continues to spike despite a slower growth rate - CNN
Canada has a higher coronavirus death rate than previously predicted, even though the country has a growth rates slower that most countries -- including the United States -- according to a new snapshot and updated modeling Tuesday.
Ottawa (CNN)Canada has a higher coronavirus death rate than previously predicted, even though the country has a growth rates slower that most countries -- including the United States -- according to a new snapshot and updated modeling Tuesday. The epidemic growth rate was doubling every three days, but now has slowed to doubling every 16, Canadian public health officials say. But Canada is now reporting nearly 3,000 coronavirus deaths, much higher than originally predicted. "We are seeing the tragic paradox of the epidemic playing out," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, during a presentation of the new modeling Tuesday. "As the epidemic comes under control, and the growth of cases slows, the severe outcomes and deaths continue to accrue, as Covid-19 takes a heavy toll among highly susceptible populations," said Dr. Tam. Less than two weeks ago, Canadian officials had predicted a case fatality rate of about 2.2%. It now stands at 5.5% with hundreds more deaths possible in the next week alone. However, health experts have cautioned that fatality rates may be lower than reported because they do not always count asymptomatic or mild cases. 'Soldiers taking care of seniors' Canada is currently dealing with hundreds of outbreaks in long-term care homes throughout the country, and hundreds of those elderly and vulnerable residents have died. Government statistics released Tuesday show that 79% of deaths across the country are related to outbreaks in care centers. "Outbreaks in long-term care and seniors' homes are driving epidemic growth in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia and are responsible for the majority of all deaths in Canada," said Dr. Tam. In response to the outbreaks and requests from provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that thousands of soldiers would be deployed to long term care homes to support seniors. "This is not a long-term solution. In Canada we shouldn't have soldiers taking care of seniors," Trudeau said during his daily press conference in Ottawa Thursday. 'We might lose the progress we've made' The virus is clearly slowing down in Canada with a marked improvement in transmission rates. Earlier in the pandemic, each infected person was likely to infect 2.19 people, now that rate of transmission has slowed to only one. Some regions are issuing guidelines and dates for reopening, like Quebec where elementary schools will open in phases beginning in May. Trudeau said he is collaborating with provincial leaders, but that there must be enough personal protective equipment throughout the country before it is safe for businesses and workplaces to reopen. While Canada was flattening the curve, Trudeau said distancing measures and some closures would remain in place for some time. "We're in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen and if we lift measures too quickly, we might lose the progress we've made," said Trudeau during a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday. CNN's Sheena Jones contributed to this report.