TORONTO -- Canada is approaching 150,000 total cases of COVID-19, with more than 11,100 cases still active. Here's what else you need to know to start your day.

1. Public backlash: The top health officials co-ordinating Canada’s COVID-19 response say the majority of public reaction to their work has been positive -- but they’ve also received some abusive feedback that ranges from "well-thought-out insults" to "death threats." 

2. New virus benefits: The federal government has announced it is increasing one of a trio of promised new COVID-19 aid benefits to be equivalent to the amount received through the soon-to-expire Canada Emergency Response Benefit. 

3. Worlds apart: With just weeks to live, Charie Santiago has one final wish: to see her sister again. But her younger sister, who lives in the Philippines, is unable to visit because the Canadian government won't grant an exemption to the COVID-19 travel ban. 

4. Blood test: U.S. scientists say they have identified a routine blood test that could help predict which COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital face a higher risk of becoming critically ill and dying from the virus.

5. Careers on hold: As the country enters the second wave, a growing number of parents have made the difficult decision to pause or leave careers in order to support their children through the new realities of the education system. 

One more thing…

Not easy being green: Breathe easy, guacamole lovers. The possibility of a world without avocados has been averted thanks to an Australian scientist who found a way to preserve the pitted-fruit plant for future generations.