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Macklem puts 'dangerously over-leveraged' Canadians on notice – BNN

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The governor of the Bank of Canada said managing the financial risk from the COVID-19 pandemic is more critical than ever, while the central bank is paying close attention to the housing market amid an historically low interest rate environment.   

“We will also watch for signs that housing markets are being driven higher by speculation that prices will keep rising,” Tiff Macklem said in a speech Thursday. “And we will watch whether people buying houses are taking on outsized debt relative to their income.”

“But if too many Canadian households start to become dangerously over-leveraged, policy-makers have several macroprudential tools they can use. Our experience with the mortgage-interest stress test shows how effective these tools can be.”

Companies and households have been given a financial lifeline during the pandemic, including deferrals on mortgage payments, a drop in the central bank’s key policy rate, and billions in federal aid and credit programs.

Macklem said in the speech to the Global Risk Institute that policy-makers need to navigate the potholes on the road to recovery, including new ones created by the pandemic.

Canada has managed the crisis better than many countries, he says. Macklem notes the country’s risk-cautious culture that is not usually celebrated, but it protected the economy during the financial crisis a decade ago and has helped during the current recession.

Still, Macklem says overwhelming uncertainty weigh on the Canadian economy and country writ large.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it painfully clear that how well we mange risks has a huge impact on our well-being,” Macklem says in the text of his speech, released ahead of time to journalists.

“Globally, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the quality of risk management will increasingly influence the success and stability of societies.”

The speech comes as the country heads into an expected second wave of COVID-19, with case counts rising and the threat of lockdowns looming over businesses and workers.

Widespread lockdowns in March and April led to historic plunges in the labour market, with three million people out of work and 2.5 million more working less than half their normal hours.

The country has recouped about two-thirds of the jobs lost, but Macklem says it will be a long time before the losses in jobs and work hours return to pre-pandemic levels.

Federal spending has skyrocketed to provide aid to hard-hit companies, and put a financial floor under Canadians whose incomes crashed. The bank’s key interest rate quickly dropped to 0.25 per cent and will stay there until a recovery is well underway.

Macklem says the effect of the lower-interest rate environment created will require insurance companies and pension funds to adjust, and the path the policy rate takes will eventually have an impact on financial system vulnerabilities.

“Without the fiscal and monetary policy actions, the economic devastation of the pandemic could have been much, much worse,” Macklem says in the text of his speech.

“As much as a bold policy response was needed, it will inevitably make the economy and financial system more vulnerable to economic shocks down the road.”

But it’s not the only risk Macklem warns about, pointing to the long-term impacts climate change will have on the financial system and domestic economy.

Physical and financial risks from more frequent and severe weather events, including the damage to infrastructure and homes, will almost certainly grow, he says.

Business face risk from shifts in earnings and expenses as the country transitions to a low-carbon economy that need to be properly managed, Macklem says. Otherwise, he says, climate change could lead to heavy losses for financial institutions or threaten the stability of the country’s financial system.

With files from BNN Bloomberg 

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When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, how good will be good enough? – National Post

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The difficulty is, hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 are uncommon, and it would require a large population over a longer period to accumulate enough deaths to see a difference between the vaccine and placebo group, Kimmelman said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set a minimum target of 50 per cent efficacy for a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning a vaccine would have to be 50 per cent better than a placebo at preventing disease.

In an early-stage study, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies in 45 healthy, 18- to 55-year-olds who received two vaccinations, 28 days apart, the company reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Side effects — fatigue, chills, headache or muscle aches — occurred in more than half the participants.

Dr. Jacqueline Miller, head of Moderna’s infectious diseases development, told last week’s FDA advisory panel meeting that more than 25,000 people have received both doses of its study vaccine, or a placebo, and that the vaccine was designed to evaluate Americans “at the highest risk of severe COVID disease.” Forty-two per cent of study participants are older adults or people with heart disease, diabetes or other underlying conditions, Miller added.

A technician works in a lab at Sinovac Biotech where the company is producing their potential COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac during a media tour on Sept. 24, 2020 in Beijing, China. Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed with Oxford University, has produced an immune response in both the young and old, Reuters reported this week. Less clear is how well an antibody response translates into how well any vaccine can actually fend off COVID.

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Fastly Announces Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results – Business Wire

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SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fastly, Inc. (NYSE: FSLY), provider of an edge cloud platform, today posted its financial results for the third quarter 2020 in its shareholder letter on the Investor Relations section of its website at https://investors.fastly.com.

“Despite the customer-specific challenges we faced this quarter, we are pleased with the continued strength and resilience of our business, including a 42% year-over-year top-line growth in the third quarter,” said Joshua Bixby, CEO of Fastly. “We not only continued to gain new customers, with the second-highest quarter of new customer additions since going public, but we also expanded our engagement with existing customers. Looking ahead, we remain confident in the future of Fastly. Customers are increasingly relying on our platform to transform their businesses, and we are delivering on two key pillars of our long-term strategy with Secure@Edge and Compute@Edge.”

Fastly management will host a live Q&A session today at 2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET to discuss financial results and outlook.

Fastly Third Quarter 2020 Q&A Session

When: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Time: 2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET

Conference ID: 2491525

Live Call: (833) 968-2077 (US/Canada) or (236) 714-2139 (International)

Webcast: https://investors.fastly.com

The webcast will be archived on the investor relations site following the call.

About Fastly

Fastly helps people stay better connected with the things they love. Fastly’s edge cloud platform enables customers to create great digital experiences quickly, securely, and reliably by processing, serving, and securing our customers’ applications as close to their end-users as possible — at the edge of the internet. Fastly’s platform is designed to take advantage of the modern internet, to be programmable, and to support agile software development with unmatched visibility and minimal latency, empowering developers to innovate with both performance and security. Fastly’s customers include many of the world’s most prominent companies, including Vimeo, Pinterest, The New York Times, and GitHub.

This press release contains “forward-looking” statements that are based on our beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to us on the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our future financial and operating performance, including our outlook and guidance, our ability to gain new customers and expand engagement with existing customers, our customers’ reliance on our platform to transform their business, and our ability to deliver on our long-term strategy. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially are detailed from time to time in the reports Fastly files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on Fastly’s website and are available from Fastly without charge.

Source: Fastly, Inc.

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Canadians are feeling pandemic fatigue. Experts say ‘greater good’ message isn’t enough – Global News

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COVID-weary. COVID-tired. COVID-fatigued.

No matter how you chop it up, the feeling likely resonates for many at this point in the coronavirus pandemic. Months of isolation, fears and lifestyle changes have taken its toll. In turn, following COVID-19 safety guidelines has begun to feel like more and more of a challenge.

A new poll puts into perspective just how fatigued Canadians are. The poll, conducted by Ipsos, found nearly half of Canadians are getting tired of following public health recommendations and rules related to the virus. The feeling of burnout was most prominent in Quebec (52 per cent) and Alberta (53 per cent) and less so in British Columbia (34 per cent).

Read more:
Coronavirus ‘fatigue’ is real, but we can’t give up, says World Health Organization

The challenge now — both for people and policymakers — is tackling it.

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Igor Grossmann, psychology professor and director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, said understanding the situation at hand might help strengthen our resolve.

“We often get this ‘hunker down and get through it’ message,” he said. “But if we start accepting that this is a marathon situation, the sooner we develop meaning out of the situation.”


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Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules


Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules

Falling off the bandwagon

Not only has the medley of measures imposed by countries plunged economies into a sharp contraction, it’s also had a profound impact on people’s psychological well-being. Nine months since the lockdown, rules and restrictions still keep many aspects of life fenced in. In a separate poll, 25 per cent of Canadians said their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic'



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Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic


Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic

Understandably, “we’re exhausted,” said Steven Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

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High-stress situations often elicit a “fight-or-flight” response, he said, but that reaction is “meant to be short term.”

“When there’s a predator in front of you, you either take on the predator or get the heck away from them. Either way, 15 or 20 minutes and it’s over, and you come out of that state,” he said.

“We’ve had this predator staring in our face for months.”

What’s followed is a collective burnout or exhaustion, and everyone experiences it differently. Some may feel restless, irritable, lack motivation or have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Some people may find themselves withdrawing from socializing, while others might feel physical symptoms like changes in eating and sleep habits. Young people are particularly susceptible, according to Joordens.

Read more:
As cases increase, are Montrealers suffering from ‘COVID-19 fatigue’?


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How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge


How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge

The age divide is reflected in the Ipsos poll. Pandemic fatigue was highest among Generation Z (57 per cent), Millennials (50 per cent), and Generation X (53 per cent).

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The burnout has become somewhat of an adversary for governments trying to quell a second wave of the virus.

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Canada’s top doctor has repeatedly urged Canadians “not to give into COVID-19 fatigue.” So has the WHO. Its researchers estimate that about half the population of Europe is experiencing “pandemic fatigue” as infections surge yet again.

But the “stay home” message has expired, and experts worry the “greater good” or “we’re all in this together” message designed to keep people engaged has too.

“It’s very abstract,” said Grossmann. “For some people, it might work. But for individuals facing economic hardships because of the crisis, or people who are more concerned about simply surviving the next day with kids running around, that doesn’t resonate anymore.”


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Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up


Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up

What needs to change?

For one, we need to acknowledge “things are different now,” said Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist and science communicator.

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Not only do we know far more about the virus than in March, we also have tools to make activities safer, said Yammine. She said too much of the focus has been the “no’s” and “you cant’s” despite the public appetite for wanting to do things, but do them safely.

“Fatigue comes from frustration.

“If we focus on what we can’t do rather than what we can, that’s why we fatigue. It feels very limiting.”

This is where adopting a harm reduction approach would be helpful, she said, both on an individual level and policy level.

“Every decision is a big task. … We’re at a point where should say, ‘Here’s how you reduce your risk as much as possible.’”

Read more:
What is the ‘Swiss cheese model’ and how can it apply to coronavirus?

Yammine said people need to feel empowered to make a choice through the right information.

“I think then they’ll feel less trapped and hopefully less fatigued,” she said.

According to the recent polling, 93 per cent of Canadians say they’re doing their best to abide by public health recommendations and rules. Support for safety measures also remains high. On masks, nearly 86 per cent of Canadians say they support the mandatory wearing of face masks when in public, with younger Canadians even more likely to be wearing them when out-and-about.

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“We’re in this process of modifying all of our habits, and it will get easier,” said Joordens.


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Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’


Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’

He said it was trickiest when things first reopened, which might have sent out mixed signals. When governments opted to open bars, restaurants and gyms, even with new rules, he said some people might have interpreted that as these places being safe or safer.

“Habits are triggered by the environment. So as soon as you go back into that bar, everything about it triggers you to behave like you did the last time you were there,” he said.

“The hope is that we develop new habits over time to keep up with the changes.”

But it won’t be easy, said Grossmann. He said the vagueness in some of the ever-changing recommendations deviates from the core message — that “this won’t be over anytime soon.”

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“Not every situation is alike, but we need to figure out how to balance something that is challenging in different ways across different provinces and different municipalities,” he said.

“You don’t want a new rule to come in and have people say, ‘Well, that doesn’t apply to me.’”

Read more:
A Canadian coronavirus winter is looming — and it could ‘amplify loneliness’

What can you do personally?

A looming winter will provide an extra challenge, experts agree. Weariness over restrictions might grow as cold weather forces people indoors.

It comes down to arming yourself with the “basics,” said Joordens — a good night’s sleep, good nutrition and routine exercise.

“Leading a random life makes our body unhappy,” he said. “You have to find activities that bring you to a better place mentally.”

Before the snow piles up, think about ways to get outdoors in advance, he said. And once it does, make sure you stay connected socially.


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Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months


Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months

“I recommend the phone because people actually pay attention when they’re talking to you on the phone,” he said with a laugh.

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It’s also good to remember that we’re not perfect, said Yammine.

“We’re still going to face tough decisions. It’s still going to feel exhausting,” she said. But keeping up with the twist-and-turns of pandemic rules and recommendations is “like any goal you can set.”

“A New Year’s resolution, even,” she said.

“People often say you give up on your resolution the first time you slip up — but that’s not the right thinking. Just because maybe you have more riskier encounter or you just don’t care one day, it doesn’t mean you can’t do better the next.”

“Risk is cumulative. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. We can try again.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 23-26, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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

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