11:37 a.m.: Quebec has reached more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 as of today.

11:36 a.m.: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows acknowledged the Trump administration can’t stop the spread of COVID-19 and is focusing instead on getting a vaccine.

10:15 a.m.: Ontario is reporting another 1,042 COVID-19 cases in its daily morning update, the second day in a row the province has reported a record single-day total.

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

1:40 p.m.: The federal government is being criticized for not doing enough to help disabled veterans as new figures appear to confirm fears COVID-19 is making it more difficult for them to apply for assistance.

The figures from Veterans Affairs Canada show about 8,000 veterans applied for disability benefits during the first three full months of the pandemic, which was about half the normal number.

The sharp drop in the number of applications helped the department make a dent in the backlog of more than 40,000 requests for federal assistance waiting to be processed.

Yet the department also acknowledges at least part of the decline is likely because the pandemic made it harder for veterans to get the necessary information to apply, such as doctor’s assessments.

That is exactly what Brian Forbes, chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations, has been warning about since the spring.

Forbes, whose organization represents more than 60 veterans groups in Canada, says he is frustrated because the government has not moved to address the problem despite knowing about it for months, and that now is the time to act.

1:39 p.m.: Florida’s rising number of COVID-19 cases could be the leading edge of a dangerous spike that could continue for months as the state remains wide open for business, tourism and education, public health experts warn.

A decline of cases since the summer surge is over, four weeks into the state’s Phase 3 reopening of bars and restaurants at full service, state and national data indicates.

With Gov. Ron DeSantis promising there’s no chance of a return to lockdowns, no matter the severity of another surge, we can expect more people will need hospital treatment and more will die, experts say.

“My worry for Florida is that the embers are out there and they’re starting to burn, and by the time we see it in the numbers that are reported officially, it’s too late, and you’re going to see it only in the rearview mirror and wish you’d been a little more aggressive,” said Dr. Thomas Giordano, chief of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

1:38 p.m.: Much of San Francisco looked like a ghost town during late April. All but essential services were closed. Few roamed the streets. The mood seemed as grim as the gray skies overhead.

Now life has returned. Restaurants and stores are open. Clad in masks, pedestrians last week clutched bags from stores where they had just shopped. Diners sat at tables outside restaurants and cafes. People strolled along the bay on the Embarcadero, and a huge Ferris wheel opened for business at Golden Gate Park.

After cautiously approaching the pandemic for months, with a go-slow attitude toward reopening, San Francisco has become the first urban center in California to enter the least restrictive tier for reopening. Risk of infection, according to the state’s color-coded tiers, is considered minimal, even though San Francisco is the second-densest city in the country after New York.

“We have, at least so far, done everything right,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco.

City officials still are not declaring victory. Characteristically, they warn, the virus still lurks around the corner. And as they have before, they will follow local metrics rather than reopen just becomes the state allows it.

1:37 p.m.: Ontario reported 1,042 new cases Sunday; the province’s seven-day average for new infections — a better indicator of the overall trend than single-day numbers, experts say — also hit a new all-time high, now up to an average of 857 cases daily.

The totals suggest the second wave is “getting worse not better” in Ontario, said University Health Network infectious-disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, adding that there are other areas that are getting “hotter,” including Halton, where new restrictions “are needed without delay.”

Looking ahead, “this week and the next week are going to be crucial” to gauging where Ontario’s epidemic is headed, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital.

It’s still too early to know whether “modified Stage 2” restrictions in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa are slowing the virus’s spread, he said.

“We all have to take a deep breath in,” he said, noting it can take two weeks for interventions to show up in case numbers. “We won’t see the first whiff of improvement until later this week ahead.”

Read Ed Tubb’s full report.

11:42 a.m.: Monday’s vote on a Conservative motion to launch an in-depth review of the Liberal government’s COVID-19 response highlights a key challenge of pandemic politics: how to hold a government accountable for decisions based on science, when the science itself is changing nearly every day.

The opposition wants a committee probe into everything from why regulators are taking so long to approve rapid testing to an early decision not to close the border to international travel, and what concerns the Liberals is how that probe is being framed.

11:37 a.m.: Quebec has reached more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 as of today.

The province is reporting 879 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 100,114 infections since the pandemic began.

Health officials also say 11 additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus were reported, for a total of 6,143.

Five of those additional deaths took place in the past 24 hours, five were reported between Oct. 18-23 and one occurred at an unspecified date.

Hospitalizations went up by two across the province in the past 24 hours, for a total of 551.

Of those, 97 people were in intensive care — an increase of four compared to the previous day.

11:36 a.m.: With COVID-19 cases surging in the United States, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows acknowledged the Trump administration can’t stop the spread and is focusing instead on getting a vaccine.

He told CNN’s “State of the Union”: “We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics.”

President Donald Trump largely shuns wearing a mask and has repeatedly insisted at campaign rallies that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” when it comes to the coronavirus. But Meadows on Sunday appeared to contradict that assessment. When pressed why the U.S. won’t get control of the pandemic, he replied: “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Meadows says the administration is making efforts to contain the virus and predicts “we’re going to defeat it.” Meadows says “our ability to handle this has improved each and every day.” New cases, however, have been on the rise, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.

11:35 a.m.: Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse course and provide free meals for poor children during school holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more families into poverty.

Some 2,200 members of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health have written an open letter to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying they were shocked by his “refusal’’ to back down on the issue. The House of Commons last week rejected legislation that would have provided free meals during all school holidays from October through the Easter break.

The doctors say some four million children live in poverty, and a third rely on free school meals. Many parents in Britain have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours during the pandemic, making it imperative to make it possible for poor children over the holidays get at least one nutritious meal a day, the doctors argue.

“Families who were previously managing are now struggling to make ends meet because of the impact of COVID-19,’’ the doctors wrote. “It is not good enough to send them into the holiday period hoping for the best, while knowing that many will simply go hungry.’’

11:34 a.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s not giving up on passing another coronavirus relief economic package before the November 3 election.

At issue is a huge virus relief bill that would send another $1,200 direct payment to most Americans, restart bonus unemployment benefits, fund additional testing and vaccines, provide aid to schools and allocate money to state and local governments, a Democratic priority.

Pelosi says she sent the administration a list of concerns on Friday and she is told that she’ll have answers on Monday.

Pelosi says she wants a relief bill that is predicated on steps that science dictates should be taken to deal with the coronavirus, and “if we don’t, we’re just giving money to the president to spend any way he wants and that has not been in furtherance of crushing the virus.”

10:15 a.m.: Ontario is reporting another 1,042 COVID-19 cases in its daily morning update, the second day in a row the province has reported a record single-day total.

Ontario’s seven-day average for new infections, a measure experts point to as a better reflection the course of the pandemic than single-day numbers, is also at an all-time high, now up to 857 cases daily.

It was the first day in which Ontario’s daily case total had surpassed 1,000. The previous record was set Saturday, with 978 cases.

Another seven deaths were reported; Ontario has now seen 3,093 people die in the pandemic.

Locally, Ontario’s hardest-hit regions continued to be responsible for the majority of new infections. The province reported another 309 cases in Toronto, 289 in Peel Region, 117 in York Region and 80 in Ottawa; the province’s four largest health units by population are all currently in a “modified Stage 2” over their high infection rate.

Meanwhile, the two other regions that may see new restrictions announced Monday also reported significant totals, with 52 new cases in Durham Region and 31 in Halton Region.

On Saturday, mayors from Halton and Durham lobbied against new restrictions for their regions, arguing instead for more “targeted” measures.

The province reported 38,769 tests were completed Saturday, down from more than 44,000 the day before.

The Star’s Ed Tubb has the full story.

9:42 a.m.: Spain declared a second nationwide state of emergency Sunday and ordered an overnight curfew across the country in hopes of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.



The Socialist leader told the nation in a televised address that the extraordinary measure will go into effect on Sunday night.

Sánchez said that his government is using the state of emergency to impose an 11 p.m.-6 a.m. nationwide curfew, except in the Canary Islands.

Spain’s 19 regional leaders will have authority to set different hours for the curfew as long as they are stricter, close regional borders to travel and limit gatherings to six people who don’t live together, the prime minister said.

“The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic,” Sánchez said after meeting with his Cabinet.

7:31 a.m.: A COVID-19 outbreak in the north of Melbourne has led health authorities in Australia’s Victoria state to hold off on any further easing of restrictions in the beleaguered city.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews withheld any announcement on an easing on Sunday as the state awaits results on 3,000 people who were tested in the city’s north in the past 24 hours.

He described it as a “cautious pause” — not a setback — to rule out there wasn’t widespread community transmission linked to the cluster.

Among the current restrictions are mandatory wearing of masks and no travelling beyond 25 kilometres (15 miles) from home. At the start of the second wave of cases two months ago, Andrews instituted an overnight curfew and shut down most businesses.

7:27 a.m. (Updated 11:56 a.m.): There are 215,879 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 100,114 confirmed (including 6,143 deaths, 84,828 resolved)

Ontario: 70,373 confirmed (including 3,093 deaths, 60,160 resolved)

Alberta: 24,261 confirmed (including 300 deaths, 20,310 resolved)

British Columbia: 12,554 confirmed (including 256 deaths, 10,247 resolved)

Manitoba: 4,088 confirmed (including 50 deaths, 2,116 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 2,669 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 2,070 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,100 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,029 resolved)

New Brunswick: 326 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 250 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 289 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 275 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 64 confirmed (including 63 resolved)

Yukon: 20 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 215,000 (3 presumptive, 214,997 confirmed including 9,929 deaths, 180,372 resolved)

7:24 a.m.: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a Cabinet meeting Sunday to prepare a new state of emergency to stem surging coronavirus infections, a move that could impose curfews and other restrictions across the country.

Sánchez’s government said Saturday night that a majority of Spain’s regional leaders have agreed to a new state of emergency and the meeting Sunday was to study its terms.

The state of emergency gives the national government extraordinary powers, including the ability to temporarily restrict basic freedoms guaranteed in Spain’s Constitution such as the right to free movement.

Spain’s government has already declared two state of emergencies during the pandemic. The first was declared in March to apply a strict home confinement across the nation, close stores and recruit private industry for the national public health fight. It was lifted in June after reigning in the contagion rate and saving hospitals from collapse.

The second went into effect for two weeks in Madrid to force the capital’s reluctant regional leaders to impose travel limits on residents to slow down an outbreak in which new infections were growing exponentially. It lasted until Saturday.

7:22 a.m.: Just weeks after India fully opened up from a harsh lockdown and began to modestly turn a corner by cutting new coronavirus infections by near half, a Hindu festival season is raising fears that a fresh surge could spoil the hard-won gains.

“I’d be very worried about what we are going to see in India,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health and a leading infectious disease expert.

The festivals draw tens and thousands of people, packed together shoulder-to-shoulder in temples, shopping districts and family gatherings, leading to concerns among health experts who warn of a whole new cascade of infections, further testing and straining India’s battered health care system.

Sunday 7:20 a.m.: Several members of Vice President Mike Pence’s inner circle, including at least four members of his staff, have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past few days, people briefed on the matter said, raising new questions about the safety protocols at the White House, where masks are not routinely worn.

Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Pence, said that the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, had tested positive. A person briefed on the diagnosis said he received it Saturday.

“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today and remain in good health,” O’Malley said, adding, “While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

The statement did not come from the White House medical unit but instead from a press aide. Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House Chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.

A spokeswoman for Meadows did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Read Saturday’s coronavirus news

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