KEY FACTS

10:40 a.m.: Ontario reporting 131 new cases

8:30 a.m.: TTC passengers to get Presto credit for unused monthly fares

6:40 a.m.: Lebanon begins two-week partial lockdown

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

12:30 p.m.: As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the U.S. during the first seven months of 2020, suggesting that the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is significantly higher than the official toll. And half the dead were people of colour — Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and, to a marked degree unrecognized until now, Asian Americans.

The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a stark disparity: Deaths among minorities during the crisis have risen far more than they have among whites.

As of the end of July, the official death toll in the U.S. from COVID-19 was about 150,000. It has since grown to over 170,000.

But public health authorities have long known that some coronavirus deaths, especially early on, were mistakenly attributed to other causes, and that the crisis may have led indirectly to the loss of many other lives by preventing or discouraging people with other serious ailments from seeking treatment.

12:10 p.m.: Quebec reported 93 new COVID-19 cases Friday, for a total of 61,495.

Public health officials reported three more deaths attributed to COVID-19. They said one death occurred in the past 24 hours while two others occurred between Aug. 14-20.

The number of hospitalizations dropped by 10 to a total of 136 on Friday. Of those, 23 people are in intensive care, two fewer than a day earlier.

Authorities said they conducted 16,164 COVID-19 tests Wednesday, the last day for which testing data is available.

11:30 a.m.: Quebec’s health department says a 19-year-old has died from complications linked to COVID-19.

The case marks the first time someone under the age of 20 has died from COVID-19 in Quebec since the pandemic began.

Spokeswoman Marie-Claude Lacasse says the health department cannot release any information about the identity of the person who died, or details about the death.

The province says 3,279 people between the ages of 10 and 19 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus to date.

Among those cases, 31 people had to be hospitalized, including six who were in intensive care.

Quebec has reported 61,402 COVID-19 cases and 5,730 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

11:03 a.m.: Tennessee had 2,100 confirmed coronavirus cases in children ages 5 to 18 during the past two weeks, according to state data.

So far, 131 of Tennessee’s roughly 140 public schools have restarted, with 129 districts operating or planning to run on a hybrid model. Most of those are opening in person with a virtual option, according to Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. Eighteen districts are operating fully remotely, and nine individual schools were closed due to at least one COVID-19 case, Schwinn says.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee says his administration is asking federal officials how specific Tennessee can get in disclosing cases of COVID-19 in schools. School districts currently have the choice of releasing information on cases on their own.

Tennessee has nearly 1,500 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.

10:40 a.m.: One day after a data glitch led to fewer than average new COVID-19 cases being reported, Ontario is reporting 131 additional cases Friday and three more coronavirus deaths.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said problems have been resolved with the Integrated Public Health Information System, which revealed just 76 new cases on Thursday.

That was because there was no data from 11 of Ontario’s 34 public health units: Algoma; Brant County; Chatham-Kent; Hamilton; Niagara Region, Peterborough; Simcoe Muskoka; Southwestern; Sudbury; Timiskaming; and Windsor-Essex.

Click here for the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie.

8:30 a.m.: TTC users will be able to get refunds for fares they purchased on their PRESTO cards during March and April that were unused due to the pandemic lockdown.

People will be able to redeem their credits on Friday, which will come from unused monthly fares betwee March 18 and the end of April. To do so they can continue to tap their card as usual while boarding, or scan their card at a fare vending machine.

“We know many residents who were required to stay home or were working from home were not able to use the TTC monthly passes they purchased for the months of March and April,” said Mayor John Tory in a news release shared by the transit agency. “By providing a credit, we are ensuring that some of our most loyal transit customers are fairly reimbursed.”

Due to the high number of people who are likely to seek refunds, the agency said it could take until November to process each rider’s request. The service cost the agency $13 million and was approved in June.

7:17 a.m.: South Korea added its most new virus cases in months on Friday, driven by a surge around the capital that appears to be spreading nationwide.

The 324 new infections was its highest single day total since early March and the eighth consecutive triple-digit daily increase.

Most of the new cases are in the densely populated Seoul region, where health workers are scrambling to track transmissions from sources including churches, restaurants, schools and workers.

But the new infections reported Friday were from practically all major cities, including Busan, Gwangju, Daejeon, Sejong and Daegu, the southeastern city that was the epicenter of a massive outbreak in late February and March.

6:40 a.m.: Lebanon on Friday began a two-week partial lockdown and nighttime curfew after coronavirus cases increased sharply following an explosion in Beirut that killed and injured thousands of people.

Confirmed cases of the virus have increased from 5,417 a day after the massive blast on Aug. 4 to nearly 11,000 on Friday, leading officials to announce the lockdown.

On Thursday, Lebanon’s Health Ministry tallied a record 605 confirmed new cases in the previous 24 hours, raising the total registered cases since late February to 10,952.

The pandemic has killed 113 people in the tiny country, which was successful in limiting the spread of the virus during the early months.

6:37 a.m.: Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Friday reported its lowest tally of new coronavirus cases in more than six weeks. Victoria’s Health Department reported 179 new infections and nine deaths in the latest 24-hour period, the lowest daily increase since July 8.

The state capital Melbourne has been under a strict lockdown for two weeks, and authorities have said daily infections will have to fall to single digits or low double digits before Melbourne’s lockdown is relaxed.

6:34 a.m.: A Chinese mining company in Papua New Guinea claimed to have immunized employees against COVID-19 in an apparent vaccination trial, a newspaper reported. The Australian newspaper reported Papua New Guinea’s health department is investigating the claim by Ramu NiCo Management.

Papua New Guinea has not approved any vaccine trials and says any vaccine imported into the country must be approved by PNG’s health authorities.

The newspaper reported that a document on Ramu letterhead said 48 Chinese employees were “vaccinated with SARS-COV-2 vaccine” on Aug. 10 and tests on them might return false-positive results. Papua New Guinea has recorded only 361 COVID-19 cases and four deaths but infections have surged in the past month.

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6:32 a.m.: India’s coronavirus caseload crosses 2.9 million with a surge of 68,898 in the past 24 hours. The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 983 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 54,849.

India has been recording at least 50,000 new infections per day since mid-July. Four of India’s 28 states now account for 63 per cent of fatalities and 54.6 per cent of cases. Western Maharashtra state and three southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are the worst-hit.

The Health Ministry said more than 900,000 tests are being done and the rate of tests that are positive for the virus is averaging 8 per cent, but it will be lowered through isolation, tracking and clinical management.

6:30 a.m.: Stronger actions to enforce public health measures are expected to be announced today in British Columbia as the number of active cases of COVID-19 rises.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is scheduled to give an update about compliance and enforcement measures under the province’s ongoing state of emergency to combat the illness.

Farnworth said on Tuesday he would bring in new measures to address the behaviour of people whose actions “demonstrate their indifference to the health and safety of others.”

At the same time, Premier John Horgan said people in B.C. have sacrificed to keep transmission of the illness low, and unsafe parties and gatherings are eroding that hard work.

He said the provincial government is committed to getting B.C. back on track and will announce enforcement action against people who continue to put others at risk.

B.C. reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 780, including 11 people in hospital.

6:30 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join Ontario Premier Doug Ford today to announce a deal aimed at ensuring Canada is never again at the mercy of unreliable foreign suppliers of personal protective equipment during a pandemic.

Under the agreement, 3M is to increase capacity at its Brockville, Ont., facility so that it can produce up to 100 million medical-grade N95 masks a year.

The federal and Ontario governments are each kicking in $23.3 million to help increase production capacity at the plant.

A provincial government official confirmed the masks are to be used to meet private sector, provincial, and North American market demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Ford has repeatedly said that Ontario needs to ramp up production of personal protective equipment given the experience early in the COVID-19 crisis, when Canada was scrambling in a global competition for a limited supply of masks and other equipment.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 1 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2020:

There are 123,873 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 61,402 confirmed (including 5,730 deaths, 54,383 resolved)

_ Ontario: 41,048 confirmed (including 2,793 deaths, 37,291 resolved)

_ Alberta: 12,604 confirmed (including 228 deaths, 11,292 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 4,825 confirmed (including 200 deaths, 3,845 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,590 confirmed (including 22 deaths, 1,419 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,077 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,007 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 796 confirmed (including 12 deaths, 537 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 268 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 263 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 186 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 172 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 44 confirmed (including 40 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 123,873 (0 presumptive, 123,873 confirmed including 9,054 deaths, 110,282 resolved)

Click here for news from Thursday.



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