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World University Games in China postponed until 2022

Summer Sports

The World University Games that were due to open in China in just over four months have been postponed until next year, the governing body the FISU said on Friday.

Decision prompted by pandemic, travel restrictions

The World University Games, which features about 8,000 athletes, was to have opened in Chengdu in western China on Aug. 18, just days after the closing of the Tokyo Olympics. (Feng Li/Getty Images/file)

The World University Games that were due to open in China in just over four months have been postponed until next year, the governing body the FISU said on Friday.

The Switzerland-based FISU said COVID-19 and travel restrictions prompted the postponement, adding the decision was made jointly with officials in China.

The multi-sport event, which features about 8,000 athletes, was to have opened in Chengdu in western China on Aug. 18, just days after the closing of the Tokyo Olympics. A rescheduled date has not been announced.

The country has two other large multi-sport events coming up. The Winter Olympics open on Feb. 4, 2022 in Beijing, and the Asian Games, which feature more sports than the Olympics, are set for Hangzhou from Sept. 10, 2022.

China has become the go-to nation for many of these mega-events because it pays the costs, builds venues quickly, and does not need voter approval, which is common in many European countries.

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CBC | Sports News

Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti Possibly Pushed Back Until May, Ampere in Short Supply

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The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, previously thought to be launching in April, may not actually debut until mid-May. There have been various capacity predictions for the new cards — 20GB units were originally forecast — but the new report suggests the 3080 Ti will only be a 12GB card.

Rumors around the RTX 3080 Ti have been all over the place. The GPU is said to offer either 10,240 cores or 10,496, with either 936GB/s (older) or 864GB/s (newer) worth of memory bandwidth. The price has generally come in around $ 1,000, but that may not hold if GPU manufacturers raise prices on existing cards.

GPUs like the MSI RTX 3070 Gaming Trio have been difficult to find during the shortage.

This would be the fifth time the 3080 Ti has reportedly been delayed. Last year, there were rumors of poor yields on Nvidia parts at Samsung foundries. There were reports that things had improved in early December, but now manufacturers are saying their supplies of GPUs are increasingly limited. According to Asus’s CEO, they’re unable to buy enough GPUs from Nvidia to adequately meet demand.

“On the graphics card question, currently the main issue is the shortage of Nvidia (GPU) shipments, so there’s a supply constraint situation. Because we lack supplies, the prices are increasing,” said Asus Co-CEO SY Hsu. “Everyone is scrambling to obtain units… We currently speculate the yield from the upstream supplier hasn’t been smooth. That’s led to such a big shortage.”

GDDR6 was in short supply at the end of 2020, but there haven’t been any major updates on the situation since. The current RTX 3080 Ti should end up very near the RTX 3090 in performance, while the new RTX 3070 Ti keeps the same 8GB frame buffer as the RTX 3070 but adds GDDR6X support. All of this assumes rumors are accurate, and rumors around these Ti cards have been less accurate than most. MSI and Asus have separately stated they will likely increase prices as a result of the semiconductor shortages

There was some hope that the “Ti” versions of these cards might not be as useful for mining as current Ampere GPUs, but new reports suggest Nvidia’s mining limiter on the RTX 3060 can be bypassed using an HDMI dummy plug, even if you don’t have the unlocked driver that Nvidia released earlier this month.

Unless the company can come up with a better solution than that, the 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti will be just as in-demand as every other card right now. If these GPUs are built at TSMC they might increase absolute GPU availability, but launching more cards out of the same limited supply of silicon helps no one.

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Why the world won’t go back to ‘some sense of normal’ until all countries are vaccinated against COVID-19

As countries such as Canada and the United States continue vaccinating millions of citizens, global health experts warn the pandemic could keep raging if lower-income nations don’t get their share of much-needed doses.

It’s a concern that’s growing even as Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden, announced on Thursday the country will rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO) — and with it, the COVAX Facility, a global initiative to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need.

It’s long overdue, some say. Others worry it’s just the latest example of lip service after what’s so far been a deeply inequitable vaccine roll-out around the world.

“I would characterize the approach to global vaccine distribution as a massive failure,” said Jenna Patterson, the South Africa-based director of health economics at the Health Finance Institute, a U.S. non-governmental organization.

‘No doses in the pipeline’ for some countries

While Canada is among the nations signed on with COVAX, it’s also one of the wealthy countries buying up massive shipments from a slate of vaccine producers — with millions of doses already administered between them.

Meanwhile, other countries have no doses in the pipeline, with some lower-income nations waiting for international aid that could take months.

That could amount to “catastrophic moral failure” on a global scale, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday. 

And from both an ethical and economic standpoint, the disparities could prove a lose-lose.

“Everyone wants to go back to some sense of normal,” said Dr. Ranu Dhillon, a global health physician who teaches at Harvard Medical School. 

“But that won’t be possible unless we solve this globally.” 

WATCH | WHO chief describes vaccine inequity between countries:

The wealthier countries of the world are buying up too much of the COVID-19 vaccine supply and leaving too little for poorer countries, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 0:57

Ignoring vaccine equity could ‘prolong’ pandemic

On one hand, countries without COVID-19 vaccination programs could experience more infections and deaths for far longer; on the other, the possibility of vaccine-resistant variants emerging from ongoing hot zones could backfire on already-vaccinated countries as well. 

“Not only does this me-first approach leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk; it is also self-defeating,” Tedros said at the opening of the annual meeting of the WHO’s executive board.

“Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic.”

Allowing the virus to continue its spread in certain regions could impact travel and tourism, supply chains and the world economy, warned several experts who spoke to CBC News.

The coronavirus doesn’t respect international borders, said Dhillon, evidenced by the ongoing global spread of variants first found in countries such as Brazil and the U.K., meaning there’s no way to end the pandemic by focusing solely on national response.

If transmission continues largely unchecked in lower-income countries, there’s a possibility that variants emerge that don’t respond to current vaccines being rolled out in wealthy nations, he said.

A situation like that could derail widespread vaccination efforts, travel routes and economic recoveries.

“We can’t control COVID unless we control it in the rest of the world,” echoed Dr. Anna Banerji, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

“And so that’s an additional incentive to get the whole world working together to try to get all places, rich and poor, vaccinated as soon as possible.”

WATCH | U.S. health economics expert: one nation’s health affects another 

Jenna Patterson, the South Africa-based director of health economics at U.S. non-governmental organization the Health Finance Institute, says an equitable global vaccination effort is crucial to fighting COVID-19 for both public health and economic reasons. 0:44

Canada has administered 700,000 shots

While Canada’s vaccination program got off to a slow start, including an imminent pause on shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech, it remains among the countries poised to vaccinate tens of millions in the months ahead.

Canada has administered close to 700,000 shots so far, providing at least one dose to roughly 1.7 per cent of the population.

Israel, the world leader in doses per capita, has vaccinated more than three million people; the United Kingdom more than five million; and the U.S. and China have both inoculated more than 15 million and counting. 

That’s a stark contrast to some of the world’s poorest nations.

Many African countries, in particular, are in danger of being left behind as countries in other regions strike bilateral deals, driving up prices, according to the WHO.

The delay is, in part, because of the stringent cold-storage requirements for certain vaccines, which can be challenging to accommodate in remote areas. But WHO officials said they’re working to ensure countries’ readiness to receive shipments, and suggested clear inequities are also at play.

“It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, in a statement the organization released on Thursday.

Guinea is currently the only low-income country in Africa to provide its residents with COVID-19 vaccines, and to date, according to the WHO, those have only been administered to 25 people.

Casket and coffin manufacturers in South Africa are currently experiencing an increase in demand because of the high number of registered deaths caused by COVID-19. While wealthy nations buy up vaccines from multiple producers, poorer countries have no doses in the pipeline. (Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images)

No doses yet in many countries

Patterson, who’s based in South Africa and was speaking for the Health Finance Institute, said it’s in the world’s best interest to ensure all countries are vaccinated against this virus, on both economic and moral fronts — since the death toll in unvaccinated regions could continue skyrocketing while infection rates drop elsewhere. 

“And COVID has displayed this better than any other disease, how the health of one nation affects another,” she said.

South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with more than 1.3 million cases to date. It’s also now known for first discovering one of several concerning new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus — one which appears to be more transmissible, and potentially capable of evading some level of immune response.

Yet the country hasn’t vaccinated any of its residents and is set to pay more than twice as much per dose for its batch of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India compared to purchases made by countries in the European Union, according to a Reuters report.

Malawi, a low-income country in southeastern Africa, also has no vaccination campaign underway, even though the situation on the ground is a “disaster” according to Dr. Titus Divala, a physician and lecturer with the University of Malawi College of Medicine.

The country is currently grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases, far higher than its first wave, which recently claimed the lives of two cabinet ministers and prompted a national lockdown. It has more than 16,000 cases of COVID-19 and 396 deaths to date.

“I think we’re going to be in a situation where we do need the vaccine, but we don’t have access to it for some time,” Divala said.

COVAX aims to bring 600 million doses to Africa

Through the COVAX initiative — organized by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — international aid is meant to arrive,  albeit slowly, in the shadow of vaccination programs elsewhere that are months ahead.

The coalition has secured at least two billion doses of vaccines from multiple companies, with sources telling Reuters on Thursday that Pfizer-BioNTech, one of two companies with vaccines currently approved for use in Canada, will be signing on as well. 

COVAX has committed to vaccinating at least 20 per cent of the population in Africa by the end of 2021 by providing a maximum of 600 million doses, with a first round of 30 million doses expected to start arriving in countries by March.

The WHO, however, warned shipments and timelines could change if vaccine candidates fail to meet regulatory approval — or if production or funding challenges arise. 

Alison Thompson, an associate professor at the University of Toronto and researcher on ethics and public health, said countries like Canada and the U.S. who participate in COVAX need to either support other countries’ vaccination efforts financially or, at some point, take a backseat so other nations can enter the crowded queue. 

“That’s a hard sell politically,” she added, “but it really does raise the question about, what are Canada’s global obligations to public health?”

A technician prepares COVID-19 vaccines in Toronto. COVAX, a global initiative to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, has committed to vaccinating at least 20 per cent of the population in Africa by the end of 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Need to ‘mass-manufacture’ globally

Dhillon, the physician from Havard, said this pandemic has shown the level of innovation and technology available, and now it’s just a matter of scaling up to meet international need. 

“How do we mass-manufacture these vaccines in the quantities needed globally?” he questioned. “There is manufacturing capacity in other areas of the world. We need to remove issues with patents, we need to remove issues with intellectual property.”

It’s all easier said than done in a charged climate where citizens are clamouring to access shots in short supply within their own borders, and Canada is no exception.

But Dhillon compared the current vaccine landscape to the therapies that emerged to prevent AIDS, the often-devastating illness caused by HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. 

Wealthier nations accessed those first, he explained, while poorer countries were left waiting, with many of those infected in the developing world still starting therapy late.

“Instead of waiting to look back in retrospect and question why we didn’t do more — I think we’re in that moment now,” Dhillon said.

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CBC | Health News

Ontario extends online learning for elementary students until Jan. 25 as COVID-19 cases rise

The provincial government says it is extending online learning for elementary students in southern Ontario until Jan. 25.

That aligns with the date secondary students signed up for in-person learning in those regions are scheduled to return to class.

Elementary students and secondary students in the seven northern Ontario public health unit regions will proceed with returning to in-person learning on Jan. 11, the province said in a news release.

Many students were set to head back to class earlier in the month amid record-high COVID-19 numbers. Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that one in five kids under the age of 13 in Ontario who are being tested are now positive for COVID-19.

“That’s not mentioning all the other kids that haven’t been tested that might have a runny nose or a cough,” Ford said.

“The number one priority is not to put our kids in jeopardy, and I will never do that. Especially at the rates we’re seeing.”

Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams at 3 p.m. ET, which CBC News is carrying live in this story.

The premier also said that before the holidays, Ontario was seeing positivity rates of around three per cent.

“Now, the information I received as of late yesterday afternoon, that has jumped [by] 116 per cent,” he said. Data shared by the province Thursday shows that from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, the positivity rate increase in the age 4 to 11 age bracket was 116.7 per cent. 

That was the largest jump of any age bracket, followed by age 12 to 13 at a 97.9 per cent increase and age 14 to 17 with a 75.9 per cent increase.

Ontario’s current test positivity rate is 6.1 per cent.

Some regions already announced schools will close, before the government said anything about the entire province.

Windsor-Essex’s top doctor says he plans to keep schools closed for a couple more weeks, even if the province doesn’t. Officials also say schools in Guelph and area will be closed for in-person learning until at least Jan. 24.

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CBC | Health News

Why some say Canada needs to do more to protect essential workers until COVID-19 vaccine arrives

As Canadians await the rollout of the first round of COVID-19 vaccines, experts say Canada needs to double down on protecting essential workers most at risk of exposure to the coronavirus in the coming months. 

Canada will only have a limited supply of vaccines to start, with just 3 million expected to be vaccinated in the first few months of 2021, but the news of COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon could not come at a more critical time.

Over 400,000 Canadians have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began and the situation in our hardest-hit provinces shows no signs of slowing down. 

The percentage of COVID-19 tests across the country that have come back positive during the past week has skyrocketed to 7.4 per cent — up from 1.4 per cent in mid-September and 4.7 per cent in early November. A rising positivity rate can signal that cases are being missed and more people could unwittingly be spreading the virus.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have to get through the tunnel to get there,” said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont.  

“You also don’t want to be in a situation where you have a raging fire that’s going on and when you’re trying to roll out a vaccine, you’re doing it in a setting where the hospital is overwhelmed and health-care workers are getting sick.”

While much of the focus on public health messaging throughout the pandemic has been focused on individual actions, experts say Canada isn’t doing enough to protect those most in need of support in the coming months. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Alberta positivity rate tops 10 per cent

Of all the COVID hotspots, Alberta has the biggest fire to put out at the moment, and this week asked the federal government and the Red Cross to supply field hospitals to help offset the strain COVID-19 is having on the health-care system.

There, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive hit an astonishing 10.5 per cent on Friday.

COVID-19 cases in Alberta are growing at such an explosive rate they’ve even outpaced Ontario, a province with 10 million more people, for the first time in the pandemic — with cases in Edmonton alone totalling more than those in Toronto and Peel Region combined

“If you think this is a hoax, talk to my friend in the ICU, fighting for his life,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said during a Facebook livestream Thursday.

“If you’re thinking of going to an anti-mask rally this weekend, how about instead send me an email, call me all the names you want, send me a letter, organize an online rally.” 

Yet while much of the focus on public health messaging throughout the pandemic has been focused on individual actions, experts say Canada isn’t doing enough to protect those most in need of support in the coming months. 

Ontario, Quebec see surge in workplace outbreaks

While elderly Canadians are most at risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, totalling close to 90 per cent of all deaths, essential workers on the front lines are facing a worsening situation.

For the first time in the pandemic, active outbreaks in workplaces in Canada’s biggest provinces have outpaced those in long-term care facilities — accounting for 30 per cent of the outbreaks in Ontario and 40 per cent in Quebec, as first reported by The Globe and Mail

While limited information is available on exactly where the spread of COVID-19 is occurring, Ontario’s ministry of health said in a statement to CBC News the hardest-hit industries include construction, manufacturing, mining, warehousing and transportation.  

WATCH | Essential workers talk about being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic

Essential workers — from grocery store employees to truck drivers — talk about their experiences on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic share how it has affected them and why they do it. 11:43

Because of the disproportionate risk of exposure they face, the union for workers in food retail, manufacturing, long-term care, home care and security said Friday that frontline workers should also be among the first recipients of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Workplaces are a big deal,” said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and an associate professor at McMaster University. 

“There are people that need to go to work, unfortunately, for us to support society, and again we have to be willing and able to give them at least some measures of safety in their workplace.”

Paid sick leave key to stopping spread of COVID-19

Chakrabarti says one area that could help address rising transmission rates in workplaces is more paid sick leave for those who are unable to miss work due to COVID-19. 

Unlike policing people’s contacts in their own homes, it’s a problem policy could tackle, he said.

“Workplaces are things that are really important because you can only do so much to keep things safe.” 

If people are going to decide between putting food on their table … or going into isolation … they’re going to show up to work sick.– Dr. Zain Chagla

Chakrabarti says mask wearing and physical distancing aren’t always possible in certain situations in workplaces, especially those that involve workers in close quarters indoors — as evidenced by outbreaks in meatpacking plants, warehouses, and mines.

“Many people are financially unstable and they’re scared because if they do have to go off work, they’ll end up losing income,” he said. Undocumented workers may also be hesitant to speak up about symptoms for fear of being deported

“So you have a lot of these kinds of factors that I think are barriers for people getting tested.”

Chagla says more targeted education, oversight and internal audits to control COVID-19 transmission are needed in high-risk workplaces, in order to ensure compliance and accountability. 

“There’s certainly tons of essential workplaces that will continue to have issues unless people actually intervene and do this type of stuff,” he said. 

Last month, the federal government created Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to give up to $ 1,000 of support to workers with COVID-19 over two weeks, but Chagla said more could be done. 

“You have to incentivize people to get tested,” Chagla said. “If people are going to decide between putting food on their table and paying their rent, going to work or going into isolation … they’re going to show up to work sick.”

Isolating, outreach better than ‘finger wagging’

Chakrabarti says another way to protect essential workers is through the creation of more dedicated isolation facilities for those recovering from COVID-19. 

“One big place that amplification is happening is in large families,” he said. “So if you have a place for people to have their meals covered and they can isolate away from their family, that’s going to really help to reduce amplification of the cases that we’re seeing in workplaces.” 

Chakrabarti says the “condescension and finger wagging” in public health messaging across the country against individual actions isn’t always effective — especially nine months into the pandemic.

“Community outreach often helps,” said Chakrabati, who is also a member of a recently formed South Asian task force to connect with and inform people in Peel Region.

“I think that a lot of the focus right now is on people. ‘Hey, you stay home, stay home, stop partying,’ that kind of stuff. Whereas we don’t hear a lot of what’s happening in these workplaces.” 

“This is going to be a problem throughout the entire pandemic,” said Chagla. “Because they have to stay open.” 

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CBC | Health News

Rogers Cup men’s tournament postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19

The Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament will not be played in 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Tennis Canada said in a release issued Wednesday that the event’s start date will be pushed back until Aug. 7, 2021.

The annual ATP Tour event, which rotates between Toronto and Montreal, was scheduled to be played Aug. 8-16 at the Aviva Centre at York University.

With the Rogers Cup 2020 women’s tournament in Montreal shelved earlier this month and rescheduled for next year in the same city, the men’s event also will remain in Toronto in 2021.

Tennis Canada said it considered holding the event without fans, but decided against the idea due to travel restrictions and potential strains on public health.

“Organizing a closed-door event is complex and requires certain important health and operational protocols to be put in place,” Gavin Ziv, managing director of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, said in the release. “We estimated that to organize and broadcast such a tournament, we would require having up to 450 people on-site.

Mandatory quarantine an issue

“The safety of these people during the two weeks of the event would have been a concern for Tennis Canada and in the current context, the level of risk would have remained high, especially for a sport like tennis where athletes comes from all parts of the world. In addition, at this time, the federal law relating to access to our country and mandatory quarantine would require players to arrive in Canada well before the start of the tournament, which made things much more difficult.”

Spain’s Rafael Nadal has won the past two Rogers Cup men’s singles competitions.

According to Tennis Canada president and chief executive officer Michael Downey, the organization has absorbed a loss of $ 17 million this year.

“Tennis Canada cannot afford to increase this deficit,” Downey said. “As of today, there is no guarantee that a closed-door tournament would significantly mitigate those losses.”

Tennis Canada said tickets purchased for the 2020 Rogers Cup will be valid at the 2021 tournament.

“I know that Tennis Canada worked hard and did everything they could to try to make a closed-door event possible, as I personally checked in a few times to see how it was progressing,” Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic said in a release. “It saddens me to know that I won’t be able to compete in my hometown in August, but I am already looking forward to returning in 2021 and playing in front of a full house in Toronto.”

The men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour have both issued their revised calendars for the resumption of professional tennis following the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The men’s Tour will resume on Aug. 14 with the Citi Open, ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C., while the first WTA event will be staged in Palermo, Italy from Aug 3.

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CBC | Sports News

Demonstrators in U.S. vow to sustain momentum until change happens

Protesters in the U.S. stirred by the death of George Floyd vowed Friday to turn an extraordinary outpouring of grief into a sustained movement, as demonstrations shifted to a calmer but no less determined focus on addressing racial injustice.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed in police custody, the city agreed to ban police chokeholds and require officers to intervene any time they see unauthorized force by another officer. The changes are part of a stipulation between the city and state officials who launched a civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death. The city council was expected to approve the agreement, which will be enforceable in court.

The country’s most significant demonstrations in a half-century — rivalling those during the civil rights and Vietnam War eras — resumed for an 11th day nationwide with continued momentum as the mood largely shifted from explosive anger to more peaceful calls for change. Formal and impromptu memorials to Floyd stretched from Minneapolis to North Carolina, where family members will gather Saturday to mourn him, and beyond.

Josiah Roebuck, a university student who used social media to help gather 100 people to demonstrate Friday in an Atlanta suburb, is confident the momentum will last.

“Once you start, you’re going to see this every day,” said Roebuck, who has attended multiple protests. “I just want minorities to be represented properly.”

Protests across the country had initially been marred by the setting of fires and smashing of windows, but Friday marked the third day of more subdued demonstrations. At a heartfelt tribute to Floyd in Minneapolis on Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton outlined plans for a commemorative march on Washington in August, vowing that the movement will “change the whole system of justice.”

Private service for Floyd Saturday

Floyd’s body was being taken to North Carolina, the state where he was born 46 years ago, for a public viewing and private service for family Saturday. Then in Texas, where Floyd lived most of his life, services culminating in a private burial will take place Monday and Tuesday.

In Washington, city workers and volunteers painted “Black Lives Matter” in enormous yellow letters on the street leading to the White House on Friday in a sign of local leaders’ embrace of the protest movement. The mural stretched across 16th Street for two blocks, ending just before the church where President Donald Trump staged a photo-op earlier this week after federal officers forcibly cleared a peaceful demonstration to make way for the president and his entourage.

“The section of 16th Street in front of the White House is now officially ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza,”‘ Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a tweet shortly after the mural was completed.

People walk down 16th street Friday in Washington, D.C., after volunteers, with permission from the city, painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the street near the White House. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The project follows Bowser’s verbal clashes with the Trump administration over the response to protests. Still, the local chapter of Black Lives Matter took a swipe at Bowser on Twitter by saying the project distracts from their efforts to shift funds from local police to community investment.

Meanwhile, in a sign protesters’ voices were being heard, more symbols of slavery and the Confederacy came down. Mobile, Ala., removed a statue of a Confederate naval officer after days of protests there, while Fredericksburg, Va., removed a 176-year-old slave auction block after several years of efforts by the NAACP.

Community activists were working to convert anger and grief into long-term action. Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward circulated a sign-up sheet at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., protest that drew 1,500 names of people who want to stay involved. The group followed up with each person this week suggesting simple actions such as emailing or calling to demand local change.

‘Every single day it’s growing’

“We are taking more of the strategy of: ‘How do we actually invest people’s energy beyond protesting?”‘ said Tifanny Burks, a community organizer. “We are thinking long term.”

This weekend, they were building a church altar with the names of victims killed by local police and having their family members speak. On Monday, they plan to have a workshop to help people engage at the local level, including mobilizing in upcoming elections.

“Every single day it’s growing from people who want to get more involved, who want to take more actions, so we’re going to be mobilizing those folks,” Burks said.

In Minneapolis, organizer Sam Martinez said regular meetings and a mailing list of about 5,000 has sustained the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, formed after the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in 2015.

“We meet every week, because we know that’s what it takes,” Martinez said.

‘The world is watching’

Nakia Wallace, an organizer of protests in Detroit, said people were beginning to understand the movement’s power.

“The world is watching,” she said. “The main strategy is to get people to collectively come out and make demands until those demands are met.”

Another Detroit organizer, Brian Silverstein, acknowledged that maintaining the pace of protests is demanding and said less-visible efforts are also important.

“We may not protest every day. That is tiring,” he said. “I woke up this morning and it felt like my calves were falling off. A lot of our folks are elderly and can’t be out in the streets. This movement is not just these marches. The marches are great, but we need to force the government to do the things we want them to do.”

WATCH | George Floyd’s death could be turning point for racial justice:

As hundreds attended a memorial in Minneapolis for George Floyd, his death was hailed by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton as a possible turning point for racial justice in America. 3:09

For the past week in Richmond, Va., Austin Carroll, a 28-year-old musician, has spent six hours a day marching or protesting near a soaring statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which the governor agreed this week to remove.

Carroll, a member of Black Lives Matter, has strained his voice from yelling and his six-year-old son, Levi, has blisters on his feet. But Carroll said they plan to continue to march every day until more changes come, including de-escalation training for police.

“I am tired. My voice and legs are gone,” Carroll said. “We’re resting right now, but we’ll be back out here marching tonight.”

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CBC | World News

Ontario shuts schools until September because of COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday that the province is cancelling in-person learning for the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The safety of our children is my top priority,” Ford said.

The province said in a news release that the decision was made after consultation with the chief medical officer of health and an assortment of medical experts. 

“We cannot open schools at this time,” Ford said. “I’m just not going to risk it.”

Ford told reporters that learning will continue online. The province said in its news release that all students “who were on track to graduate” from high school before schools were shuttered in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said a full plan for reopening the province’s school schools in September will be released by the end of June. He indicated the plan will include measures to ensure physical distancing and to restrict the movement of students at school.

“It is obvious that schools will not look the same, that we will have to reimagine education in some respects in September given that there will have to be some protocol changes,” Lecce said.

The province also announced its plan will be “bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months,” according to a news release. You can read the government’s full plan at the bottom of this story.

When asked why he wouldn’t reopen schools in areas of the province with lower COVID-19 case counts, Ford said that he just wouldn’t “chance it.

“For a few weeks, it’s just not worth it,” he said.

WATCH | Premier Ford talks about the decision to close schools:

Citing safety concerns, Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday that schools in Ontario would remain closed. 0:54

Private schools, licensed child-care centres closed for time being

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association said in a statement issued Tuesday that school boards appreciate the direction being offered by public health officials.

“We appreciate the government taking a measured and cautious approach to the return of in-class instruction that is guided by the advice of health officials, with input from school boards, educators and staff,” the statement reads.

According to the provincial news release, private schools, licensed child-care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through the first phase of the province’s reopening plan, which started today.

“A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff,” the news release reads.

Ford also said Tuesday the province’s overnight camps would remain closed.

“Unfortunately, we just cannot have 500 kids living together right now,” he said.

But, the province says, if public health indicators allow, indoor and outdoor summer day camps “may” be allowed in July and August with “strict health and safety guidelines.”

Students in Ontario have been out of class since mid-March as the province tries to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The province launched an online learning portal several weeks later, and teachers have been trying to continue lessons in various ways.

But parents and students have expressed frustration about distance learning

427 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario’s Ministry of Health reported 427 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning, a 1.9 per cent increase that brings the provincial total since the outbreak began in late January to 23,384.

The growth rate in new daily cases is slightly higher than those seen over the last several weeks, which have generally hovered around 1.5 per cent. It is also the first time new cases have been higher than 400 since May 8. After a three-week-long steady decrease in the five-day rolling average of new cases up to May 12, that figure has now been on the rise for the past week. 

The official death toll rose to 1,919, up 15 from Monday. Data from regional public health units — which provide a more current snapshot of deaths in the province — puts the real toll at at least 2,005.

More than 70 per cent of those who have died from COVID-19-linked illness were residents in long-term care homes. 

Just over 76 per cent of all cases in Ontario are now resolved.

Moreover, some 683 of total deaths have been reported in the City of Toronto, where nearly a quarter of all confirmed COVID-19 cases have been linked to community spread.

The province’s network of labs processed just 5,813 on Victoria Day, far below the target of at least 16,000 per day. The day before, 16,217 tests were processed.

Asked why relatively so few tests were completed, a spokesperson for Elliott’s office said the “decrease in tests from Sunday to Monday may be as a result of the long weekend and reflective of the fact that we’ve now completed long-term care testing.”

In an afternoon news briefing, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said officials can’t make people come forward and get tested. He also suggested the long weekend might have played a role in the number of tests conducted.

“We can’t force people to come, they have to be willing and wanting to come,” Williams said.

Independent commission on long-term care

Meanwhile, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton announced Tuesday morning that the province is launching an independent commission into its long-term care system.

Fullerton said in a statement that the commission will start in September, and in the meantime the government will be finalizing terms of reference, leadership and timelines.

She said “an independent non-partisan commission is the best way to conduct a thorough and expedited review.”

The Ontario Long-Term Care Association, opposition parties and health-care union SEIU have all called for a full public inquiry into the sector.

Data compiled by CBC News shows that at least 1,467 residents of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19.

The number of long-term care homes experiencing an outbreak has grown over the past few weeks, even as the government has imposed increasing restrictions and implemented widespread testing.

Meanwhile, the province has extended its emergency orders until May 29, including the closure of bars and restaurants except for take-out and delivery, and limiting gatherings to five people.

However, the government is making a new exemption for drive-in religious gatherings, if vehicles are kept at least two metres apart and only contain members of the same household, and no one leaves their vehicle.

Here’s the Ontario government’s plan for education for the rest of the school year:

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‘This is the new normal’ until a vaccine is developed: PM Trudeau

The latest:

Federal health officials urged Canadians to stick with public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as they offered their first look at national projections into how the outbreak could unfold, saying that the first wave of the outbreak may end in the summer. 

Several provinces, including hard-hit Ontario and Quebec, have already released their own projections and the federal government had faced growing calls to do the same.

Health officials noted that regions are having different experiences with COVID-19, which has now been reported in every province and territory except Nunavut.

When exactly the public health measures would be lifted wasn’t immediately clear, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated at his daily briefing Thursday that efforts to keep case numbers down will take “months of continued, determined effort.”

“The initial peak — the top of the curve — may be in late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer.”

The prime minister, citing Tam, said there would likely be “smaller outbreaks” for several months after that.

He said “this is the new normal” until a vaccine is developed.

WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam outlines what models can (and can’t) offer: 

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says models are “imperfect” but that they can help understand the state and trajectory of the pandemic and the effect of public health measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. 1:03

Models are not a “crystal ball,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer. The models can’t predict what will happen, she said. Instead, they help people see what could happen in certain scenarios and inform plans within the health system. 

A  forecast for the next week suggested Canada would see a cumulative total of between 22,580 and 31,850 cases by April 16, with the death toll reaching between 500 and 700. According to a tally maintained by CBC News, there were 476 known COVID-19-related deaths as of Thursday morning.

With strong control measures, the federal public health agency projects that 11,000 to 22,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19 in the coming months. The total number of positive diagnoses with strong controls ranges from 934,000 to 1.9 million. With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher.

Tam said health officials used two kinds of models: forecasting and dynamic. Forecasting models use actual data on cases in Canada to estimate how many cases to expect in the coming week. Dynamic models allow officials to take a longer view, using “evolving” knowledge of how the virus behaves.

The chief public health officer said the models are “highly sensitive” and changes in behaviour, including physical distancing, handwashing and other measures, are critical to stamping out the virus.

Tam said it’s critical to maintain resolve and try to drive case numbers down and keep hospitalization and ICU admissions down. She said what Canadians do together now will buy more time to investigate the virus and search for treatments and cures. 

“We cannot prevent every death, but we must prevent every death that we can.”

Health systems coping ‘for the time being’

Trudeau said that the modelling described by health officials shows that Canada is in an earlier stage of the outbreak than some other countries, which means Canada has a chance to determine how things will look in the weeks and months ahead.

“Our health-care systems across the country are coping for the time being. But we’re at a fork in the road, between the best and the worst possible outcomes,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister also talked about the staggering job losses, saying the government will keep expanding plans to protect jobs and help both individuals and businesses struggling with the economic fallout linked to the outbreak. 

Massive job losses in March

Earlier Thursday, new data from Statistics Canada showd that job losses are mounting in Canada, where measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus have caused businesses to close and employers to cut jobs. 

The data showed that more than one million people lost jobs in March, sending the country’s unemployment rate up to 7.8 per cent. The 2.2 per cent increase in the national unemployment rate marks the worst single-month change over the last 40-plus years of comparable data and brings the rate to a level not seen since October 2010.

The federal government has rolled out a range of programs to try and get cash moving to people who are out of work and businesses struggling to stay afloat, but opposition politicians have expressed concern that money isn’t moving fast enough to meet the growing need. 

Call for more testing at long-term care homes

Public health officials have noted that while anyone can contract COVID-19, the elderly face a higher risk of severe disease or death if they contract the novel coronavirus, formally known as SARS CoV-2. The virus, which was first reported in China but has since spread around the world, causes an illness called COVID-19, for which there is no proven vaccine or cure.

Quebec’s premier says all residents and staff at long-term care facilities will be tested for COVID-19 as the hard-hit province tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has caused deadly outbreaks at several nursing homes across the country.

Premier François Legault said Thursday that the province will also work to get more skilled staff into long-term care facilities. Health Minister Danielle McCann said that additional staffing support will first flow to homes that have seen outbreaks, but the goal is to eventually deploy extra workers to all homes. More doctors will also be deployed to help, McCann said.

“We want to protect those who built the Quebec we have today,” said the health minister.

WATCH | Nurses talk about shortages of critical supplies at long-term care homes:

Nurses brought in to help during a COVID-19 outbreak at the Ste-Dorethee long-term care home in Laval, Que., say the conditions were “inhumane” because of a lack of protective equipment and training. 2:05

A long-term care home in Almonte, west of Ottawa, has reported eight deaths related to COVID-19, according to a letter sent home to families. Two other residents at Almonte Country Haven, which is home to 82 people, died of unspecified reasons. The outbreak in eastern Ontario comes on the heels of a deadly outbreak at a long-term care in Bobcaygeon, Ont., and another at a facility in Scarborough, in Toronto’s east end.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who has called for increased testing in that province, said he wants to see tests of front-line health workers — including long-term care staff — as well as tests of seniors living in nursing home facilities.

“We need to start testing everybody possible,” Ford said Wednesday as the province faced questions about testing shortfalls.

How to protect the elderly and vulnerable is an issue of concern around the world as case numbers rise. According to a database maintained by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 1.5 million known COVID-19 cases worldwide, with almost 90,000 deaths. The true numbers are almost certainly much higher because of limited testing, different rules for counting the dead and concealment by some governments.

Japan reported more than 500 new cases for the first time Thursday, a worrisome rise since it has the world’s oldest population and COVID-19 can be especially serious in the elderly. Hard-hit Italy, which has recorded more than 17,000 deaths, has the oldest population in Europe.

In Belgium, authorities in the French-speaking Walloon region have requested the support of the armed forces to tackle the worrying situation at nursing homes, where several hundred residents have died because of COVID-19. According to official figures released this month, a third of the deaths linked to the deadly virus in the region of southern Belgium have been registered in resting homes.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has described COVID-19 as a “serious” health threat and said the risk to Canadians is considered high.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

As of 7:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had reported 19,291 confirmed and presumptive cases. The provinces and territories that offer data about cases that are considered to be recovered listed 4,666 cases as resolved. CBC News has counted a total of 476 COVID-19-related deaths in Canada, and there are two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people across the country to behave as though COVID-19 is in their community, even if there are no known cases. Health officials have also reiterated that case numbers don’t offer a complete picture as that data doesn’t capture people who have not been tested or potential cases still under investigation.

British Columbia’s COVID-19 death toll is at 48 after the province recorded five more deaths. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s top health officer, urged people not to travel over the coming long weekend. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Alberta says its supply of critical equipment — including ventilators and personal protective equipment — should carry it through the expected COVID-19 peak if the province doesn’t hit the more “extreme” of the projected scenarios. The province projects its peak in coronavirus-related hospitalizations to come in late May. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta

In Saskatchewan, health officials say it’s too soon to tell when COVID-19 will peak in the province. Dr. Jenny Basran, senior medical information officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said the province is on “a better trajectory than in our ‘what-if’ scenarios, but at the moment we do not have enough information to know for certain.” Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

WATCH | See how ERs are preparing for COVID-19:

David Common sees how emergency department staff are preparing to treat a potential onslaught of COVID-19 patients in respiratory distress. 2:18

A worker at a Winnipeg nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now home in self-isolation. Health officials in Manitoba said Wednesday that 20 health workers have tested positive for the virus. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his “patience is running thin” over COVID-19 testing rates. The province has the capacity to run up to 13,000 tests daily but the swabs coming in have fallen short of that. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, reported COVID-19 cases have topped 10,000, with 175 deaths. Premier François Legault said Wednesday that the province has a better sense of when cases might peak, but cautioned people to stay vigilant about measures like physical distancing. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.

New Brunswick’s top public health official is warning people not to gather over the long weekend. “You may think, ‘It’s just my family,’ or ‘It’s just my friends.’ But the COVID-19 virus may be an uninvited guest at your table, brought along by someone who has only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Do not let that happen,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Ten per cent of reported COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia are believed to be from community transmission, the province’s top doctor says. “We have more of our recent cases that are under investigation where it’s not as clear-cut that there’s a clear explanation, and therefore we may end up concluding there is community spread,” said Dr. Robert Strang. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

Prince Edward Island officials believe the province could see thousands more COVID-19-related job losses. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

A projection suggests Newfoundland and Labrador could have a shortage of intensive care beds as COVID-19 case numbers rise. Premier Dwight Ball said the numbers show why people must continue to follow public health orders over the long weekend and beyond. Read more about what’s happening in N.L. 

Yukon has reported another COVID-19 case, bringing the territory’s total to eight. Read more about what’s happening across Canada’s North, including a plan to invest in testing capacity in the Northwest Territories.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.

From The Associated Press, updated at 11 a.m. ET

With a startling 6.6 million people seeking unemployment benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: More than one in 10 workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks to the coronavirus outbreak.

The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. By contrast, during the Great Recession, it took 44 weeks — roughly 10 months — for unemployment claims to go as high as they now have in less than a month.

The U.S. has by far the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 of any nation, with over 430,000 people infected. New York state on Wednesday recorded its highest one-day increase in deaths, 779, for an overall death toll of almost 6,300, more than 40 per cent of the U.S. total of around 15,000.

Marlboro Diner owner Kara Petrou, right, and Evangelia Italou wear masks preparing Passover meals for pickup on Wednesday in Marlboro, New Jersey. The state limits restaurants to offering takeout and delivery service in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

“The bad news is actually terrible,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Still, the governor said hospitalizations are decreasing and many of those now dying fell ill in the outbreak’s earlier stages.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious-diseases expert, said the Trump administration has been working on plans to eventually reopen the country amid evidence that physical distancing is working to stop the virus’s spread.

But he said it’s not time to scale back such measures: “Keep your foot on the accelerator because this is what is going to get us through this,” he said at Wednesday’s White House briefing.

Vice-President Mike Pence warned that Philadelphia was emerging as a potential hot spot. Washington, D.C., Louisiana, Chicago, Detroit and Colorado were also seeing worsening outbreaks.

Pence said he would speak to leaders in African American communities who are concerned about disproportionate impacts from the virus. Fauci acknowledged that historic disparities in health care have put African Americans at risk for diseases that make them more vulnerable in the outbreak.

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world, including the latest from Spain and Italy — as well as reports of reinfection in South Korea

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, updated at 8:30 a.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reportedly improving on Thursday in intensive care, where he is battling COVID-19, as his government extended its overdraft facility and reviewed the most stringent shutdown in peacetime history.

“Things are getting better for him,” said Culture Minister Oliver Dowden. “He’s stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff.” On Thursday, Johnson’s spokesperson said he had a good night at St .Thomas’ Hospital in central London and is able to contact people if needed.

In Spain, confirmed case numbers rose to 152,446, the health ministry said Thursday. The death toll in the country also rose, marking a grim new milestone as it passed 15,000.

Cecilia Alvarez Velasco cleans a condominium residence in Barcelona on Thursday during a national lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

There were 542 deaths from COVID-19 in Italy on Wednesday, lower than the 604 the day before, taking the total death toll to 17,669. There were 3,693 people in intensive care, down from 3,792 on Tuesday, marking the fifth daily decline in a row.

Italy may start gradually lifting some restrictions in place to contain the novel coronavirus by the end of April, provided the spread of the disease continues to slow, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the BBC on Thursday: “We need to pick sectors that can restart their activity. If scientists confirm it, we might begin to relax some measures already by the end of this month,” Conte said. 

In Germany, the health minister said restrictions on public life are flattening the curve of new coronavirus cases. “The number of newly reported infections is flattening out, we are seeing a linear increase again rather than the dynamic, exponential increase we saw in mid-March,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

South Korea says at least 74 people who had been diagnosed as recovered from the novel coronavirus tested positive for the second time after they were released from hospitals.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday health authorities were testing virus and serum samples to determine whether patients who tested positive again would be capable of transmitting the virus to others and whether their bodies had properly created antibodies.

She said some of the patients didn’t show any symptoms before their follow-up tests turned positive, while others were tested again because they were exhibiting respiratory symptoms. She said none of these patients so far have seen their illness worsen to serious conditions.

Singapore confirmed 287 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the biggest daily increase yet, taking the total there to 1,910, its Health Ministry said. More than 200 of the new cases were linked to outbreaks in foreign worker dormitories.

Indian authorities have identified and sealed dozens of hot spots in the Indian capital and the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state to check the rising trajectory of new coronavirus infections. Government statements late Wednesday said people will be given food, medicines and other supplies at their doorsteps and they will not be allowed to leave these areas.

Workers prepare an isolation centre Thursday at the NSCI dome in Mumbai during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities also made it compulsory for people to wear face masks when stepping outdoors in areas not covered by these restrictions in the two states. The sealing of hot spots came as the number of confirmed cases in India crossed the 5,000 mark, with 166 deaths, according to India’s Health Ministry.

Iran’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 117 to 4,110, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said on Thursday. The total number of infected people with the novel coronavirus has reached 66,220, he said.

The World Bank says sub-Saharan Africa is expected to fall into recession for the first time in a quarter-century amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Africa, which has more than 10,000 documented cases across the continent, has had some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in recent years. The World Bank says African nations will require a “debt service standstill” and other financial assistance. African leaders have been calling for debt relief, warning the pandemic will continue to threaten the world if any region goes without needed support.

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Trump extends physical distancing measures in U.S. until April 30

Bracing the nation for a grim death toll, U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday extended a voluntary national shutdown for a month, bowing to public health experts who told him the COVID-19 pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the U.S., perhaps significantly more, if not enough is done to fight it.

It was a stark shift in tone by the president, who only days ago mused about the country reopening in a few weeks.

Trump had eyed a “reopening” of the U.S. economy by Easter, but in recent days medical professionals warned that would be far too soon for the nation’s heavily affected urban areas.

When asked if his statements had been premature, Trump said his Easter revival hopes had only been “aspirational.”

The initial 15-day period of physical distancing urged by the federal government was set to expire on Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines — at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic.

But instead he decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he’d been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

WATCH | Trump extends physical distancing measures to April 30:

U.S. President Donald Trump says his previous statement about trying to get Americans back to work by Easter was ‘just an aspiration.’ 1:01

Trump’s impulse to restore normalcy met a sober reality check Sunday from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, who said the U.S. could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic. Trump’s decision to extend the guidelines reflected a recognition that the struggle will take place over the longer haul and the risk of deaths spiralling into the hundreds of thousands is real.

“I want our life back again,” the president told reporters in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had the country not put social distancing measures in place. And he said the country would be doing well if it “can hold” the number of deaths “down to 100,000.”

“It’s a horrible number,” Trump said, but added: “We all together have done a very good job.”

Brought forward by Trump at the outdoor briefing, Fauci said his projection of a potential 100,000 to 200,000 deaths is “entirely conceivable” if not enough is done to mitigate the crisis. He said that helped shape the extension of the guidelines, “a wise and prudent decision.”

WATCH | U.S. could see more than 1M cases, says top doctor:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, said the country could see “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths related to the illness. 2:30

The federal guidelines recommend against large group gatherings and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home. People are urged to work at home when possible and avoid restaurants, bars, non-essential travel and shopping trips.

The extension would leave the federal recommendations in place beyond Easter (April 12), by which time Trump had said he hoped the country and its economy could start to rev up again. Alarmed public health officials said Easter was sure to be too soon.

With more than 139,000 COVID-19 cases reported by Sunday evening, the U.S. has the highest number of infections in the world. There have been more than 2,400 deaths in the U.S. During the course of the Rose Garden briefing, reported deaths grew by several dozen and the number of cases by several thousand.

As some of his allies had predicted, Trump was clearly rattled by the haunting images coming out of New York, some from Elmhurst Hospital in his native Queens.

“I’ve been watching that for the last week on television,” he said. “Body bags all over, in hallways. I’ve been watching them bring in trailer trucks — freezer trucks, they’re freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies, there are so many of them. This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York,” he continued. “I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”

One in three Americans remain under state or local government orders to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, with schools and businesses closed and public life upended.

No state will be spared from coronavirus

Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force, said parts of the country with few cases so far must prepare for what’s to come.

“No state, no metro area, will be spared,” she said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Most people who contract COVID-19 — the illness caused by the novel coronavirus — have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization.

The risk of death appears to be greater for older adults and people with other health problems. Hospitals in the most afflicted areas are straining to handle patients and some are short of critical supplies.

Trump backs off New York quarantine idea

On Saturday, Trump was discussing tightening restrictions, suggesting then backing away from an “enforceable” quarantine of hard-hit New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Instead, the White House task force recommended a travel advisory for residents of those states to limit non-essential travel to slow the spread of the virus to other parts of the U.S.

Prior to Trump’s announcement on Sunday evening, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that Trump shouldn’t be so quick to reverse the physical distancing guidelines, saying more testing needs to be in place to determine whether areas currently showing fewer infections are truly at lower risk.

Trump’s “denial” in the crisis was “deadly,” she told CNN.

“As the president fiddles, people are dying, and we have to take every precaution,” she said. She promised a congressional investigation once the pandemic is over to determine whether Trump heeded advice from scientific experts and to answer the question that resonates through U.S. political scandals: “What did he know and when did he know it?”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., pictured last Thursday, told CNN there will be a congressional investigation once the COVID-19 pandemic is over to find out whether or not Trump heeded scientific advice early enough. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Trump minimized the gravity of the pandemic for weeks, repeatedly citing the flu’s comparatively much higher cost in lives in playing down the severity of this pandemic.

Fauci’s predictions, however, would take the death toll well past that of the average seasonal flu.

When Pelosi was asked whether Trump’s attitude cost American lives, she said: “Yes, I am. I’m saying that.”

That put Pelosi out of lockstep with former vice-president Joe Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, who said he wouldn’t go so far as to lay the blame for deaths on the president. “I think that’s a little too harsh,” he told NBC.

Biden faulted Trump for holding back on using his full powers under the recently invoked Defense Production Act to spur the manufacture of the full range of needed medical supplies — and for making erratic statements about the pandemic.

“He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, governors in other hotspots across the U.S. were raising alarm that the spread of the virus was threatening their health-care systems.

“We remain on a trajectory, really, to overwhelm our capacity to deliver health care,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on ABC’s “This Week.” “By the end of the first week in April, we think the first real issue is going to be ventilators. And we think it’s about the fourth or fifth of April before, down in the New Orleans area, we’re unable to put people on ventilators who need them. And then several days later, we will be out of beds.”

He said officials have orders out for more than 12,000 ventilators through the national stockpile and private vendors, but so far have only been able to get 192.

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