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Saskatchewan will shut down parts of economy should daily COVID-19 cases continue to rise – Global News

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A shutdown of some Saskatchewan sectors is looming if daily COVID-19 cases continue to rise, says the province’s chief medical health officer.

“Those are not easy decisions for any jurisdiction to have to do that. Livelihoods are affected, but we are evaluating the impact (new cases) have,” Dr. Saqib Shahab said.

Read more:
Outbreaks and potential COVID-19 exposures in Saskatchewan for the past 2 weeks

In the past week, new cases in Saskatchewan have reached 30 to 40 a day, largely driven by those aged 15 to 39, said Shahab. The week prior, daily cases averaged 19 a day.

“The positive test rate has been less than one per cent, but it is now hovering around two per cent for 15 to 39 year olds, which is concerning and we don’t want to get any higher,” Shahab said.

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The threshold in which more restrictions would be enforced is if Saskatchewan reaches 60 cases a day, over several days. That is about five cases per 100,000 people.

Read more:
Prince Albert, Sask. church ‘crossed the line’ with event linked to COVID-19 outbreak: mayor

“That is a threshold we really don’t want to reach,” Shahab said. “It would force us to think what else could we do beyond what we’ve done already to slow things down.”

The same thresholds are being used by jurisdictions across Canada, the U.S. and Europe to enforce stricter measures, including economic shutdowns, said Shahab.

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“No one wants to be there,” he said.






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Parts of Europe impose restrictions as COVID-19 resurges


Parts of Europe impose restrictions as COVID-19 resurges

Added restrictions in Saskatchewan would depend on where the cases are, who is affected and how the virus is spreading.

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“Some general recommendations could be slowing down specific sectors, earlier closures or going to 50 per cent capacity like the re-open plan,” Shahab said.

Additionally, the province would enforce the closure of businesses if case numbers rise to more than 100 new cases a day, for several days, which is 10 cases per 100,000 people.

“Gathering sizes would come down to a smaller number to less than 10 or five,” Shahab said. “Where in some cases, sectors that were late to reopen – bars and restaurants, gyms – unfortunately, do have to close.”

Shahab said the restrictions would be necessary to prevent the health care system from overburdening.

“That’s when you start seeing pressures on the health system, and the hospital system,” Shahab said. “That’s when unfortunately you need to start then to save the health system, have tighter measures which we all know we have taken.”


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Gathering sizes to be reduced as Saskatchewan coronavirus cases increase


Gathering sizes to be reduced as Saskatchewan coronavirus cases increase

He said further cases could be prevented by reducing our contacts. Many new cases have been linked to social gatherings like birthday parties, weddings and places of worship.

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“We really need to look at what we’re doing at work and what we’re doing when we’re going out and about. We need to slow things down and bring our number of contacts down.”

According to Shahab, most people who have contracted the virus in Saskatchewan have around eight contacts, which, he said, “is a bit high.”

“It was three to four before. Some cases have up to 200 contacts.”

Moving forward, he is encouraging people to stick to the basics: wear a mask, have good hand hygiene and practice physical distancing.

“We have had a great summer. But the great outdoor Saskatchewan summer is over, and we can’t bring the party inside.”

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

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Canadian economic growth cools to 1.2% in August – CBC.ca

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The Canadian economy grew in August as real gross domestic product rose by 1.2 per cent in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday. 

That marked the fourth straight month of growth following the steepest drops on record back in March and April amid pandemic lockdowns. August’s figure was down from the 3.1 per cent expansion seen in July.

The August number was still ahead of what forecasters had been expecting. According to financial data firm Refinitiv, economists had been predicting growth of 0.9 per cent for the month.

Despite the recent string of growth, overall economic activity is still about five per cent below February’s pre-pandemic level, Statistics Canada said.

September growth is forecast

Preliminary information from Statistics Canada indicates real GDP was up 0.7 per cent in September, with increases seen in the manufacturing and public sectors, as well as in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.

“This advanced estimate points to an approximate 10 per cent increase in real GDP in the third quarter of 2020,” Statistics Canada said. Back in the second quarter, the country’s GDP shrank by 11.5 per cent in the three-month period between April and June. 

Assuming the economy contracts in October and November as a result of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, fourth-quarter GDP looks likely to undershoot the Bank of Canada’s “tepid” forecast for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of one per cent, said CIBC Capital Markets senior economist Royce Mendes.

“It appears that the economy was slowing more than expected heading into the fourth quarter, and the most likely outcome now suggests that GDP barely advanced during the period,” Mendes said in a commentary.

BMO chief economist Doug Porter said the way forward has been deeply clouded by the second wave and renewed restrictions, so growth will cool considerably in the fourth quarter.

“However, we suspect that with ongoing massive fiscal support, less restrictions than earlier, and, simply, that consumers and businesses have learned to operate in this new environment, the late-year setback should be relatively mild,” Porter said. “In fact, we continue to expect modest growth overall for [the fourth quarter].”

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Big Tech is strengthening its hold on the US economy – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL) all reported impressive results on Thursday for the July to September period. Their ability to generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue during a pandemic has made these companies the envy of Wall Street, which predicts Big Tech will continue to benefit from changes to daily life caused by Covid-19.
Expectations are so high for these companies, however, that their stocks are extremely sensitive. Shares of Apple are down 4% in premarket trading, while Facebook and Amazon are off about 1%. Google’s stock is rallying 7%.
Breaking it down:
  • Apple: The iPhone maker reported nearly $65 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 1% from the same period last year and $1 billion ahead of what analysts had expected. But iPhone sales disappointed due to a delay in the release of the iPhone 12, which is expected to drive a wave of new purchases.
  • Facebook: Facebook’s revenue jumped 22% over the previous year to $21.5 billion, also beating analysts’ forecasts. Yet the huge bump in usage that the company experienced early in the pandemic appears to be waning. Daily and monthly active users in the US and Canada, a core market, declined slightly in the third quarter.
  • Amazon: Amazon’s sales grew 37% to $96 billion year-over-year (yes, you read that correctly). Profit increased 197% to more than $6 billion. “There is no doubt that Amazon’s latest results show it continues to be a winner from disruption caused by the pandemic,” Neil Saunders, analyst at GlobalData Retail, told clients.
  • Google: Parent Alphabet reported revenue of $46 billion — a 14% increase from the same period last year. The company made more than $11 billion in profit. The report marks a strong turnaround from the previous quarter, when Alphabet posted its first revenue decline in history as online ad spending dropped in the early days of the pandemic. Between July and September, Google’s advertising revenue jumped nearly 10% year-on-year, with search advertising revenue growing 6.5% and YouTube ad revenue surging 32%.
Big picture: Even if some results aren’t playing as well this morning, on a macro level, tech’s top companies are clearly emerging from a tumultuous economic period with even more clout. This helps justify their growing importance to US stock markets, but likely won’t stop warnings that their dominance creates vulnerabilities. (Just think: If Apple were to really tumble, it could take the market down with it.)
On the radar: Strong earnings in a tough environment could also ramp up calls in Washington for greater regulation.
Google’s results are particularly awkward given that the US Justice Department has brought a huge antitrust lawsuit against the company. One has to wonder: Will blockbuster revenue make it harder for Google to argue that it doesn’t have a lock on the search market?

Stocks are set for another choppy session

A volatile week could end with another bumpy trading day.
The latest: US stock futures are lower again after the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained ground on Thursday. Concerns about rising Covid-19 cases in North America and Europe have sent the S&P 500 down 4.5% this week, putting the index on track for its second straight month of losses.
One warning sign has been the price of oil. West Texas Intermediate futures, the US benchmark, have shed more than 10% this week, with oil now trading around $36 per barrel.
The worst drop in US oil prices since March reflects growing fears that the demand outlook could be hit by another wave of shutdowns. France and Germany will enact tight new restrictions on Friday and Monday that echo the strict measures taken earlier this year.
“Many nations with high oil consumption across the world are seeing infection levels that they didn’t have even during the first wave,” said Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, senior analyst at Rystad Energy. “Demand will not fall as much as during the pandemic’s first wave as the world is now better prepared, but is sure to take a hit.”
Watch this space: Analysts expect markets to experience a relief rally once a winner emerges in the US presidential election, since that will eliminate a major area of uncertainty. But that outcome may take time given the complexities of tallying votes during a pandemic and a tense political environment. Next week could be turbulent, too.

The truth about a record economic bounce

There’s plenty to celebrate in the latest GDP reports out of the United States and Europe.
Over the summer, the US economy grew at a record annualized rate of 33.1%, while the 19 countries that use the euro saw output jump 12.7% compared to the previous quarter, the fastest growth rate going back to 1995.
But the reality of what could happen to the economy during the fourth quarter means few people (other than the US president) are cheering the results. Economies are still well behind where they were before the crisis, and fresh restrictions in the fall and winter could stall or reverse early progress, economists warn.
“Incoming information signals that the euro area economic recovery is losing momentum more rapidly than expected after a strong yet partial and uneven rebound in economic activity over the summer months,” European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Thursday.
With Europe staring at a potential double-dip recession, anxiety is rising that the United States isn’t far behind. The Back-to-Normal Index from CNN Business and Moody’s Analytics edged higher in October, but some view new social distancing rules as inevitable as coronavirus cases spike. An inability to agree on another stimulus package in Congress could make matters worse.
“An intensifying pandemic and probable lack of another round of fiscal aid this year will almost certainly dampen overall economic activity to close the year and to begin 2021,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US.

The truth about a record economic bounce

There’s plenty to celebrate in the latest GDP reports out of the United States and Europe.
Over the summer, the US economy grew at a record annualized rate of 33.1%, while the 19 countries that use the euro saw output jump 12.7% compared to the previous quarter, the fastest growth rate going back to 1995.
But the reality of what could happen to the economy during the fourth quarter means few people (other than the US president) are cheering the results. Economies are still well behind where they were before the crisis, and fresh restrictions in the fall and winter could stall or reverse early progress, economists warn.
“Incoming information signals that the euro area economic recovery is losing momentum more rapidly than expected after a strong yet partial and uneven rebound in economic activity over the summer months,” European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said Thursday.
With Europe staring at a potential double-dip recession, anxiety is rising that the United States isn’t far behind. The Back-to-Normal Index from CNN Business and Moody’s Analytics edged higher in October, but some view new social distancing rules as inevitable as coronavirus cases spike. An inability to agree on another stimulus package in Congress could make matters worse.
“An intensifying pandemic and probable lack of another round of fiscal aid this year will almost certainly dampen overall economic activity to close the year and to begin 2021,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US.
Altria (MO), Chevron (CVX), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), ExxonMobil (XOM), Honeywell (HON), Newell Brands (NWL), Phillips 66 (PSX) and Under Armour (UA) report results before US markets open.
Also today: US personal income and spending data post at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with the PCE Price Index, a crucial reading of US inflation.
Coming up: The US election, now just five days away, will dominate markets next week. Want to stay in the loop? Special editions of Before the Bell will hit your inbox starting Sunday.

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Big Tech Continues Its Surge Ahead of the Rest of the Economy – The New York Times

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While the rest of the U.S. economy languished earlier this year, the tech industry’s biggest companies seemed immune to the downturn, surging as the country worked, learned and shopped from home.

On Thursday, as the economy is showing signs of improvement, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook reported profits that highlighted how a recovery may provide another catalyst to help them generate a level of wealth that hasn’t been seen in a single industry in generations.

With an entrenched audience of users and the financial resources to press their leads in areas like cloud computing, e-commerce and digital advertising, the companies demonstrated again that economic malaise, upstart competitors and feisty antitrust regulators have had little impact on their bottom line.

Combined, the four companies reported a quarterly net profit of $38 billion.

Amazon reported record sales, and an almost 200 percent rise in profits, as the pandemic accelerated the transition to online shopping. Despite a boycott of its advertising over the summer, Facebook had another blockbuster quarter. Alphabet’s record quarterly net profit was up 59 percent, as marketers plowed money into advertisements for Google search and YouTube. And Apple’s sales rose even though the pandemic forced it to push back the iPhone 12’s release to October, in the current quarter.

On Tuesday, Microsoft, Amazon’s closest competitor in cloud computing, also reported its most profitable quarter, growing 30 percent from a year earlier.

“The scene that’s playing out fundamentally is that these tech stalwarts are gaining more market share by the day,” said Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. “It’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ for this group of tech companies and everyone else.”

The results were strong despite increasing antitrust scrutiny from regulators. Last week, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit accusing Google of cementing the dominance of its search engine through anticompetitive agreements with device makers and mobile carriers. Facebook faces a possible antitrust case from the Federal Trade Commission.

The companies’ advantages are becoming more pronounced in an economy starting to dig out from the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the Commerce Department said U.S. economic output grew 7.4 percent last quarter, the fastest pace on record, but remained below where it was in the last pre-pandemic quarter.

That slow return to health is also providing momentum to companies that suffered early in the pandemic, like Twitter, which reported on Thursday that revenue rose 14 percent in the third quarter as advertisers started to return. Twitter’s stock dropped about 14 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday, a reaction that analysts attributed to slow user growth.

Big Tech’s third-quarter boom could look modest when compared with the final quarter of the year. For Apple, it’s when consumers buy newly released iPhones. And the year-end shopping peak means lots of customers turning to Amazon for gifts, while advertisers rely on Google and Facebook for digital ads during the holidays.

The pandemic-fueled surge in online shopping pushed Amazon to a record for both sales and profits in the latest quarter.

Sales were $96.1 billion, up 37 percent from a year earlier, and profits rose to $6.3 billion.

The quarter did not include the usual boost from Prime Day, Amazon’s yearly deal bonanza, which was delayed to October. And the profit increased during a building boom, with Amazon expanding its fulfillment infrastructure by 50 percent this year. The company added almost 250,000 employees in the quarter, for the first time surpassing more than a million workers.

The lucrative Amazon Web Services division grew 29 percent as companies continued their shift to cloud computing.

Amazon said sales could reach $121 billion in the fourth quarter because of the confluence of Prime Day, the holiday shopping season and the turn to online spending.

The delay in the iPhone 12’s release meant Apple would face a tough comparison with the same quarter last year, which included sales of the iPhone 11. As a result, iPhone sales dropped more than 20 percent in the quarter.

A delay in releasing the new iPhone, which customers lined up to buy in Manhattan, didn’t stop Apple from increasing overall sales last quarter.
Credit…Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Yet Apple’s overall sales still rose 1 percent to $64.7 billion, showing the increasing strength of other parts of the company’s business.

Apple’s services segment, which includes revenues from the App Store and offerings like Apple Music, increased 16 percent to $14.5 billion. Sales rose 46 percent for iPads, 29 percent for Mac computers and 21 percent for wearables.

Profits fell 7 percent to $12.7 billion, partly because the company spent more on research and development.

“There are lots going on here, and everything is going incredibly well,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said in an interview.

Facebook’s revenue for the third quarter rose 22 percent from a year earlier, to $21.2 billion, while profits jumped 29 percent to $7.84 billion. The results surpassed analysts’ estimates of $19.8 billion in revenue and profits of $5.53 billion, according to data provided by FactSet.

Facebook had strong results despite a wide-ranging boycott by advertisers this summer over issues of hate and toxic speech on the site. Though the grass-roots campaign, Stop Hate for Profit, rallied many of the top advertisers on Facebook to reduce their spending, the overall effects were brief.

The company continued gaining users as well. More than 1.82 billion people used the Facebook app every day, up 12 percent from a year earlier, it said. More than 2.54 billion people now use one or more of Facebook’s family of apps — Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger or Facebook — daily, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

After its first-ever decline in quarterly revenue in the second quarter, Alphabet rebounded with its highest-ever profit. The strength came from across Google, with search advertising revenue growing 6 percent and YouTube ad spending rising 32 percent. Google’s cloud computing business grew 45 percent.

When advertisers slowed spending with Google this year as Covid-19 started to spread, Alphabet’s business took a significant hit. But as the economy has improved and businesses found their footing, advertisers have returned.

Alphabet posted a net profit of $11.25 billion in the third quarter as revenue rose 14 percent to $46.1 billion. Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer, said the improved profitability reflected efforts to cut costs during the economic downturn, including a hiring slowdown.

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