Trump under fire, live concert experiment and a big mall reopens

Published 2020-05-22 09:57

Your coronavirus news for the week

Tired of looking to Instagram Live for live music?

Well, thanks to sanitizing fog machines and something called “fan pods,” some music fans in Arkansas got the real deal this week.

On Monday night, country-rock musician Travis McCready headlined what was billed as the first major concert in the U.S. since the pandemic began.

The concert, however, looked a lot different than any you’ve probably been to.

Travis McCready sings into a microphone.

Travis McCready played to a crowd of around 200 people on Monday night. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Lauren Brown, the opening performer for the concert, said organizers took a lot of safety measures to make the event possible.

“Everything is within [physical] distance guidelines. Everyone is required to wear a mask. There's sanitation stations. We have foggers with sanitation material inside of them. It's very, very safe,” she told CBC’s As It Happens.

Brown said they also scaled the venue down to around half capacity in order to make sure everyone was two metres apart.

Well, not exactly everyone.

Introducing the ‘fan-pod’

Some people could sit in clusters, as long as it was with people they were quarantined with, kind of like a bubble family.

“Fan pod is something that they've started coining the term for here. It's a block of seats …. If you buy one, you have to buy all of the seats,” Brown said.

But is this the right move?

Lauren Brown said that ‘if it's been considered safe for churches to open and for Walmart to open,’ music venues should be considered safe, too. (Submitted by Lauren Brown)

Many American states have eased restrictions following public pressure, despite health authorities urging them to take their time.

The United States has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world.

Despite this, Brown said that live musicians need to make a living like anyone else, and if U.S. retail stores can open with restrictions, music venues should be allowed to as well.

‘Everyone needs a little retail therapy’

Speaking of retail stores, some other places are also getting COVID makeovers, albeit without the cool fog machines. Womp womp.

Last week, the West Edmonton Mall — Canada’s biggest mall — opened its doors for the first time since March.

But if you’re expecting to slurp back some bubble tea while you reunite with your classmates, that’s probably not going to happen.

Man in a mask walks past a store.

For the time being, the West Edmonton Mall will only be allowing 30 to 50 per cent of its usual capacity. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press).

Customers entering the mall can expect to be:

Regardless of the limitations, general manager Danielle Woo said she thinks the mall’s reopening will be good for people.

“I do expect to see a lot of people coming to the mall. Everyone needs a little retail therapy after the past few weeks,” said Woo.

The latest numbers

But if a new pair of shoes and a food court burger aren’t in the cards for you, it can also be helpful to keep tabs on how COVID-19 is changing in Canada over time.

Check out Canada’s curve every week in COVID Catch-Up to see how well we’re doing at keeping that line as flat and horizontal as possible. Pancake style.

Canada's Curve. Graph track daily new cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and shows the number decreasing overall.

Trump taking malaria drug

Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that he has been taking a drug to prevent COVID-19, even though there is no evidence that the drug is an effective treatment.

The drug, hydroxychloroquine, is used to treat malaria, which is an infectious disease passed on by mosquitoes.

Donald Trump stands at podium with people in masks behind him.

Several major scientific studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for COVID-19. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Trump said he asked the White House physician if it was OK to take the drug, and the doctor told him, "Well, if you'd like it."

However, the president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Patrice Harris, said that the drug is not proven to fight COVID-19 and can have serious and sometimes fatal side-effects.

“There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective for the treatment or the prevention of COVID-19.”

Grey Cup put on hold

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a number of sports have had a tough time finding their footing.

This includes Canadian football.

On Wednesday, the CFL announced that Regina would no longer be hosting the 2020 Grey Cup and all the festivities that go along with it.

Instead, the CFL is hoping to return for a shortened season starting in September, with or without fans.

Blue Bombers player holds Grey Cup over his head.

If a shortened season does happen, the CFL is considering pushing the Grey Cup to December rather than November to get in as many games as possible. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Since the Grey Cup is a multimillion-dollar event that attracts thousands of people and takes place over several days, the risk of spreading COVID is high.

With this in mind, if the season does return in September, the championships would move away from the usual festival format.

Instead, the team that qualifies with the best regular season record will host the championship game, likely without fans.

Regina will still get to host the Grey Cup, but in 2022.

With files from Reuters, The Associated Press, CBC and Sarah Jackson/CBC

TOP PHOTO: (Allison Cake/CBC, Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

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