Ontario narrowly avoided possible rolling blackouts as hot weather brought increased electricity demand from a system still recovering from a huge blackout that hit the northeastern US and parts of Canada last week. \nDespite conservation measures by industry, businesses and consumers, the peak demand Tuesday was 19,180 megawatts, about 1,100 megawatts less than the amount available, Premier Ernie Eves said. \nIf demand had exceeded the supply, the province would have cut power to some areas to prevent overloading the system. With no plants scheduled to restart yesterday, Eves said the supply would remain the same with another day of hot weather forecast. \n"We have another challenge ahead of us tomorrow," he said. \nTerry Young, a spokesman for the Independent Electricity Market Operator that regulates Ontario's power, said traditional US sources in New York and Michigan have little excess to send because they also are recovering from the Aug. 14 blackout. That leaves neighboring provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, as well as Minnesota in the US, as possible providers. \nEves and others have pleaded for people to use as little power as possible to avoid overloading a system still operating below capacity. On Monday, demand peaked at 18,270 megawatts, well below the normal 23,000 megawatts or more on a summer weekday. \nEves said Tuesday that conservation measures -- including major automakers closing some plants, electric billboards being shut off and people urged to keep air conditioners off as much as possible -- must continue for the rest of the week as power plants get restarted. \n"Hotter temperatures will place more demand on the system," he said of a heat wave expected to bring temperatures of 30?C or higher. \nMore Ontario plants shut down by the blackout across a swath of the province and eight US states would restart today, Eves said, with close to full capacity expected to be reached on the weekend. \nAlso Tuesday, a virus that brought down computer systems in Canada also affected some computers of Ontario's emergency response system dealing with the aftermath of the blackout. The virus was of the self-spreading kind known as a "worm." \nDr James Young, the Ontario commissioner of public safety, said the problem was "making our job more difficult." \nThousands of government workers stayed home a second straight day to comply with government pleas to slash electrical use. Among the major companies complying with the request were automaker giants Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. \nThe chief executive officer of Toronto's electricity company, Toronto Hydro, said the experience showed that people must learn to use less electricity. \n"It is pretty clear that many people could cut back their use of power pretty substantially if they wanted to," Courtney Pratt said. "It is a question in many ways of changing mental mindsets about: `It is out there and I am going to use it, use it as much as I want.' "
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,