Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Feb. 11: Canadian Blockades Costing Automakers Billions, New York City to Fire Thousands of Non-Vaccinated Workers

Inspired by Canada, Motorists Plan Protest Convoy in Europe

By Jonathan Spira on 11 February 2022
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Brussels as seen from the Mont des Arts

President Joseph Biden asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use federal powers to end the blockade of truckers who are interfering with border crossings to the United States, including the Emerson Port of Entry in Manitoba and the Ambassador Bridge that links Detroit with Ontario.  The truckers are protesting coronavirus restrictions and mandates and the demonstrations are reportedly resulting in billions of dollars of losses and costs as the blockades are shutting down supply chains between the two nations with an especially great impact on the auto industry.

Ford, Honda, and Toyota have already said they have had to shut down plants and production lines as a direct result of the blockades.  Meanwhile, the mayor of Windsor has said that protestors will be physically removed, if necessary, and automakers have called for courts to issue injunctions to end the protests.

In other news we cover, motorists in Europe inspired by protestors in Canada plan to converge on several capital cities, New York City will fire thousands of non-vaccinated municipal workers, and Amazon is ending the mask mandate for warehouse workers.


In New York City, almost 3,000 municipal workers are slated to be fired as a result of failing to get vaccinated per the city’s mandate. The mandate has been effective: approximately 95% of the city’s 370,000 employees have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, up 11 percentage points from when the mandate was announced in October of last year.

Nevada joined a growing list of states stretching across the country that have eased or ended coronavirus restrictions.  The state’s governor, Steve Sisolak, said the state was dropping its mask mandate “effective immediately.”

“I think this is the appropriate time,” he said.

In Washington, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi extended proxy voting in the House of Representatives through at least March 30.   Proxy voting allows congressmen to vote without physically being in the chamber.

Amazon said it will allow fully vaccinated employees to work without masks inside its warehouses where state mandates that would require masks are not in effect.  The change is effective on Friday. In addition, the company said it will no longer provide Covid-19 related paid leave for non-vaccinated employees starting in mid-March.


Authorities in Brussels banned a pan-European so-called “freedom convoy” of motorists who are protesting coronavirus restrictions from entering the Belgian capital. 

“The Federal Police will control motorized vehicles on the main roads to Brussels that come to demonstrate in Belgium,” the Région bruxelloise government said in a statement.  “The Region and the City of Brussels will issue decrees banning demonstrations with trucks on their territory.”

Inspired by protestors in Ottawa who have caused gridlock in the Canadian capital, protestors started their convoy in southern France on Wednesday and planned to converge on Paris and Brussels.  Paris authorities banned the protestors from entering the French capital.

Finally, new data released Friday show that the sudden emergence of the highly-transmissible omicron variant in Britain late last year stalled the country’s economic recovery, although the impact was far milder than had been anticipated.


Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, February 11.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 407.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 2.9 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 5.81 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 327.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of  3.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 74,194,410.  Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 74,104,827, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 89,583, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical fell is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 169,502 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 228,782 on Thursday, 194,021  on Wednesday, and 346,108  on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 205,115, a 65% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 2,575, an increase of 2% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 79.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 939,427. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 42.5 million, and a reported death toll of 507,208. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 638,111, and has seen 27.1 million cases.  France now occupies the number four position, with 21.4 million cases, and the United Kingdom is in the number five slot with 18.2million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 251.7 million people in the United States – or 75.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 64.3%, or 213.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 545.5 million. Breaking this down further, 87.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 225.6 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 74.5% of the same group – or 192.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 45.8% of that population, or 88.1 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 61.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, a figure that is largely unchanged in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 10.32 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 10.6% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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