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Canadians must reduce contacts by 25 per cent to flatten 2nd wave curve, officials say – CBC.ca

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Canadians must reduce the number of close contacts they have with other people by 25 per cent in order to suppress the second wave of COVID-19, according to new federal modelling on the spread of the coronavirus released today.

At a news conference in Ottawa, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people being infected continues to increase across the country, even as some regions tighten restrictions. 

“If we increase, or if we even maintain our current rate of contact with others, the epidemic in Canada is forecast to continue increasing steeply,” said Tam.

“To bend the epidemic curve and reduce transmission to lower levels … we must really reduce our number of contacts as much as possible.”

Reducing those interactions by 25 per cent would bring the pandemic under control in most regions, according to the modelling.

A presentation slide shows the Public Health Agency of Canada’s long-term forecast for COVID-19 cases based on three scenarios: increasing, maintaining or decreasing current rate of contacts. (Public Health Agency of Canada)

The projections show the number of COVID-19 cases could rise from the current level — 230,547 as of 11:20 a.m. ET today — to 262,000 by Nov. 8, with up to 300 people expected to die from complications of the disease during that time.

While it has been increasing, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 remains below the peak of about 3,000 per day observed during the first phase of the pandemic. Tam said this is most likely because the vast majority of recent cases have been among young people who have experienced less severe illnesses, and because of the better availability of treatments.

The number of deaths also has continued to gradually increase over the past several weeks — but at a slower rate than it did during the first wave.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged people to continue following public health guidelines — particularly those that call for people to physically distance and reduce close contacts with others.

“When you’re thinking of seeing people outside your household, ask yourself, ‘Is this absolutely necessary?'” said Trudeau.

“I know that the situation is frustrating. I know it’s hard. But it is temporary.”

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Canadians now owe more than $2 trillion, Equifax says – CBC.ca

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time home buyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

Total debt $2 trillion

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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Canadians now owe more than $2 trillion, Equifax says – CBC.ca

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time home buyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

Total debt $2 trillion

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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Canada added over 6,000 new coronavirus cases each day since Friday, new data shows – Global News

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Canada is now adding new coronavirus infections at a rate over three times what was seen during the first peak of the pandemic in May, new data reveals, as the country ends a particularly brutal month of rising cases and deaths.

The country saw 6,103 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, after the daily number inched closer to the 6,000-mark throughout the previous week.

But weekend data reported by British Columbia on Monday also raised the daily totals for Saturday and Sunday even further past that threshold. Saturday marked a new daily record of 6,488 infections, while Sunday brought another 6,195.

Read more:
Canada hints at ‘major’ coronavirus recovery plan but still no brakes on spending

Those cases now bring the national total to 377,806 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 299,972 are considered to be recovered, while another 2,545 patients are currently in hospital.

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Canada’s death toll also rose to 12,130 after 66 new deaths were reported Monday. Another 32 deaths over the weekend in B.C. further added to the total.

November has been a particularly sobering month for the pandemic, as cases and deaths continued to climb despite new restrictions and other efforts from public health officials.

Roughly 140,000 people tested positive over the past 30 days — almost twice the number of new cases in October. It took from the start of the pandemic until mid-September for the country to confirm its first 140,000 cases.

Almost 2,000 people also died of complications from COVID-19 in November. While not as deadly as the first spring peak when roughly 150 people were dying daily, deaths have been steadily climbing along with infections.

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The federal government closed the month by providing an update on the country’s economy, which pegged the current deficit projections at $382 billion this fiscal year and confirmed the government plans to issue a formal budget next year.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada’s economic recovery will likely not begin until “deep into 2021,” but few details on how that recovery will be achieved were revealed Monday.

Freeland told the House of Commons the federal deficit likely won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2026, due to expected extensive spending on social programs and continued economic restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.


Click to play video 'Ottawa releases much-anticipated fall economic statement'



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Ottawa releases much-anticipated fall economic statement


Ottawa releases much-anticipated fall economic statement

In the meantime, health officials are urging everyone to do their part and follow those restrictions into next year, as Canada and the rest of the world anxiously awaits the arrival of a vaccine.

“As with our last effort to bend the curve, and more so now, this is not going to be a quick solution but a test of our determination and endurance,” Canada’s chief medical health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.

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“While now is not the time to gather, we can take comfort in knowing that the sacrifices we are making today are for our tomorrow.

Read more:
What the fiscal update does and doesn’t tell us about the coronavirus vaccine roll-out

Ontario and Quebec, which have each been reporting over 1,000 daily cases for weeks, announced 1,746 and 1,333 new infections Monday, respectively. Quebec also reported another 23 new deaths, while officials announced eight more people have died in Ontario since Sunday.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba each reported over 300 new cases. Thirteen more deaths were also announced in the two Prairie provinces, with two in Saskatchewan and 11 in Manitoba.

Alberta nearly matched Ontario’s daily case total with 1,733 new infections, setting a new daily record, along with eight additional deaths. The province continues to lead the country in active cases, with officials warning hospitals are being pushed to their limits.


Click to play video 'Stress, defiance rise along with COVID-19 cases, restrictions'



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Stress, defiance rise along with COVID-19 cases, restrictions


Stress, defiance rise along with COVID-19 cases, restrictions

In B.C., 596 new cases and 14 more deaths were reported Monday, while officials also revealed over 700 new cases were added both Saturday and Sunday. Another 277 historical cases from earlier in November were also added.

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In Atlantic Canada, six new cases were reported in New Brunswick while Nova Scotia announced 16 more people had tested positive.

One new case was also reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, which on Monday further tightened its border to travellers after leaving the Atlantic travel bubble last week. Starting Tuesday, all essential travellers will have to submit a form and obtain a reference number to show border officials when they arrive.

Read more:
Fiscal update would boost child benefit and wage subsidy, calls for airline refunds

Two of the three territories also saw new cases Monday, with Yukon adding one and Nunavut reporting four.

Nunavut is planning to lift its two-week lockdown on Wednesday, as the number of active cases has finally started to trend downward after an explosion in cases this month.

The pandemic has now infected over 63.1 million people around the world and killed more than 1.46 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

— With files from Global’s Amanda Connolly

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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