The COVID-19 Brief: 'The risk remains'

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February 01, 2021

Your resource for cutting through the fear and misinformation. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, check your email for trusted CTV News reporting and analysis to help differentiate between fact and

Follow the latest updates and read full coverage

The outbreak by the numbers (as of 8:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2021):
  • Canada: 778,972 cases | 51,796 active | 20,032 deceased
  • Globally: 103,036,685 cases | 57,141,354 recovered | 2,229,601 deceased
Vaccinations by the numbers (as of 8:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Globally: 94,143,812 doses administered  |  1.21% of population
  • Canada: 847,004 first doses  |  109,832 second doses  |  2.23%
  • British Columbia: 124,979 first doses  |  4,262 second doses  |  2.43%
  • Alberta: 90,136 first doses  | 16,118 second doses  |  2.04%
  • Saskatchewan: 30,722 first doses  |  4,637 second doses  |  2.61%
  • Manitoba: 33,996 first doses  |  6,789 second doses  |  2.46%
  • Ontario: 270,795 first doses  |  68,849 second doses  |  1.84%
  • Quebec: 238,227 first doses  |  0 second doses  |  2.78%
  • New Brunswick: 11,418 first doses  |  2,839 second doses  |  1.46%
  • Nova Scotia: 11,880 first doses  |  2,709 second doses  |  1.21%
  • Prince Edward Island: 5,225 first doses  |  1,892 second doses  |  3.27%
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 8,343 first doses | 1,737 second doses | 1.6%
  • Yukon: 6,496 first doses  |  0 second doses  |  15.4%
  • Northwest Territories: 9,471 first doses  |  0 second doses  |  21.01%
  • Nunavut: 5,316 first doses  |  0 second doses  |  13.53%

Here's what's been happening in Canada

Cases pass 778,000Since the last newsletter, officials have confirmed more than 12,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 1,223 in Quebec on Sunday, as hospitalizations in the province continued on a slow downward trajectory. Also on Sunday, Canada's COVID-19 death tally surpassed 20,000.

Warning from the top. As Quebec officials hinted that the province might soon ease pandemic restrictions amid declining infections and hospitalizations, Canada's top infectious disease expert Dr. Theresa Tam issued a warning. "It is crucial that strong measures are kept in place in order to maintain a steady downward trend," she said in a weekend news release. "The risk remains that trends could reverse quickly and some areas of the country are seeing increased activity."

Sunny cancellations.
As of Sunday, four of Canada's major airlines have suspended service to
Mexico and the Caribbean. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat all agreed to suspend flights to the popular sunny destinations in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Hotel quarantine. New rules requiring international travellers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense upon arrival in Canada may be coming into effect "very quickly," a spokesperson for the transport minister told CTV News in an email. The hotel quarantine requirement could cost each traveller more than $2,000, officials estimated.  

Hotel quarantine 'like a curse'

Some Canadian snowbirds plan to avoid new federal travel restrictions by extending their stays abroad, according to one industry expert who said his phone has been "blowing up" with travellers decrying the incoming hotel quarantine rule. 

"The quarantine to them is like a curse and they want nothing to be a part of this whatsoever," travel insurance broker Martin Firestone told While many snowbirds typically return home in April, the new travel restrictions are in place until April 30, so many are electing to wait out the period instead.

For some of those snowbirds, the wait comes with serious health and financial risks if they are unable to extend travel insurance. "To be in the United States without any insurance is a scary thought," said Firestone


#ABrightSide in dark times

Find uplifting moments during the pandemic with the #ABrightSide series. 

Here's #ABrightSide for Monday:

A teacher in Victoria, B.C., created a felt doll of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in his
now-signature mitten ensemble and started a fundraising campaign for a local homelessness charity. "There is a lot of suffering in our world and our community but I am reminded there is so much kindness and goodness," said the artist Laurie Bayly. Her felt creation isn't the only Bernie doll to spark fundraising. A similar handmade Bernie doll in the U.S. recently spurred major donations for a food insecurity charity. 

Share your tips for stories that provide "a bright side" of a dark time by emailing us at Please include your full name, city, and a phone number or email where we can reach you.

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