Australia 'Double dip' recession can be avoided if more people get COVID-19 vaccines, NAB boss says
Will we all need COVID vaccine booster shots?
How do boosters work and how can we celebrate Eid safely this year?A booster vaccine is designed to strengthen our body’s immune response to an antigen or “foreign invader” that it has been primed to respond to by a previous vaccine. These are commonly used to protect against diseases such as tetanus and polio, where, after time, our immunity against the antigen wanes. Boosters are usually a shot of the same vaccine again, just given at a later date.
Australians are becoming more financially and mentally distressed, with half the nation's population locked down at home and increasingly worried about their futures.
The National Australia Bank's latest consumer stress index, released today, reveals households are becoming more anxious about paying their mortgage and funding retirement nest eggs, while those on lower incomes are struggling just to pay the rent.
NAB chief executive Ross McEwan told AM that volumes of calls from distressed customers have(up from 10 per cent last week).
"The longer the lockdowns go on obviously the more people it impacts along with their financial buffers," Mr McEwan said.
As the pandemic wears on, some Americans could need booster shots
Some health officials now think a third shot could help older and immunocompromised people. Israel is already offering a third Pfizer shot for immunocompromised residents — though millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have yet to be vaccinated — and Pfizer has previously suggested that a booster shot could be needed in the US. Regulatory questions abound Though the US currently has tens of millions of surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses on hand, making a third Pfizer or Moderna shot available to millions of immunocompromised or elderly Americans likely won’t be a quick process.
"The big thing they're worried about is their ability to pay their mortgage, even things like their credit card or personal loans. If it's a business, they need some financial buffers to help staff through this.
"Let's be quite clear, this lockdown hurts. That's why we want people to call us early so that we can intervene with them and then put in place a some sort of arrangement."
Some customers urged to sell their homes
Major banks have reintroduced loan repayment deferrals to residential and business customers to reduce stress during the lockdown, mirroring deferrals introduced last year when the pandemic hit.
Mr McEwan said despite the mortgage stress during the pandemic, the bank had held back from foreclosing on loans in default or at risk of default.
How Vaccine Companies Have Bankrolled Fox News’ Anti-Vaxx Insanity
With increasing regularity over the past few months, Fox News has peddled vaccine skepticism and at times outright resistance to its millions of viewers, leading critics to accuse the network of “killing people” as large swaths of conservatives refuse to get vaccinated. And it turns out that such dangerous rhetoric has, in effect, been sponsored by the pharmaceutical giants involved in developing, manufacturing, and distributing the very vaccines that Fox News hosts and pundits have railed against on a near-daily basis.
"We've had no foreclosures of a single homeowner impacted by COVID over the last ... 14 months," Mr McEwan said.
"Our intention is to keep homeowners in their homes as much as we possibly can and work with them.
"We want to get people through this. This is not their fault."
However, Mr McEwan conceded there could be cases where the bank would be forced to make hard decisions about distressed loans.
"There will be some situations where for some customers, the best thing for them to do to put the house on the market if they themselves don't see themselves getting back into employment for a long period of time."
Interest in vaccination rises as COVID situation worsens
The NAB's consumer stress index shows anxiety remains highest in NSW, ACT and Victoria, while rising the most in Western Australia.
The research shows vaccination intentions are more positive, with almost eight out of 10 people saying they have been or intend to get vaccinated, up from almost seven out of 10 earlier this year.
Unvaccinated Arkansas Is Running Out of Time
Only 35 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, and with case rates rising, living there can feel like moving through a distorted reality.Arkansas has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States, and one of the worst case rates for COVID-19. Our neighboring states—especially Missouri—are seeing similar trends. Case counts have been increasing at the highest rates since February, and we have the most new cases per capita in the nation. On Monday, we saw the highest single-day increase in hospitalizations, 79 new patients, of the entire pandemic. Test-positivity rates are also high, suggesting that infections are undercounted.
However, most of that increase has come from the "unsure" who are down from nearly one in five people to 8 per cent, while those who said they did not intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine remained stuck at 13 per cent.
Vaccination intentions were stronger among men (84 per cent versus 73 per cent of women), with uncertainty more than twice as high among women (11 per cent) and refusal also higher (16 per cent).
Vaccine hesitancy is also more than twice as high among young people (18 per cent of 18-29-year-olds) versus 7 per cent for over-65s.
Uptake and positive intent was highest in New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria, at 80 per cent or more, and lowest in Queensland at 73 per cent.
Ross McEwan told AM that a faster rollout of vaccinations was critical to ensuring more lockdowns are avoided.
"This is now the way the country gets out of this COVID situation. Getting people vaccinated takes us back to the freedoms that we had pre-COVID," the NAB boss said.
"It does come down to getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. That is the answer to getting back to what will be normal life after COVID."
Few immigrants in detention have been vaccinated. That needs to change.
Covid-19 outbreaks in ICE detention have made vaccinations more urgent.As of last week, 8,221 immigrants in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, or roughly 30 percent of the detained population, had received one dose of the vaccine, CBS News reported. Just over 1,300, or about 4 percent, had received two doses. (The agency has not indicated how many immigrants have refused the vaccine or have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is just one dose.
Double dip recession is unlikely
Market economists are forecasting a lockdown hit to September quarter GDP, with the consensus centering on a 0.7 per cent contraction.
Mr McEwan is betting the eventual lifting of restrictions will mean a consumer rebound and a second consecutive negative quarter will avoided.
But he warns avoiding a "double dip" recession is dependent on the elimination of future lockdowns.
"We certainly look like we'll be going back into negative territory. But what we have seen after each of these lockdowns, the opening up does bring economic activity back very, very quickly," Mr McEwan said.
"We're still seeing unemployment at a very low level 4.9 per cent and by the end of this year we'll be around 4.8. But that won't be the case with more severe lockdowns."
Other major banks have also offered assistance to borrowers, with the Commonwealth Bank extending its moratorium on mortgage foreclosures if customers are unable to meet their home loan repayments.
Thailand to boost Sinovac with AstraZeneca as Delta variant drives worst COVID-19 outbreak .
Sinovac vaccines are readily available, but as Thailand faces a surge in COVID-19 variant cases, the Chinese-developed drug is not enough. Now, the South-East Asian nation is forced into a desperate, world-first and untested vaccine strategy.More than 10 million people are under strict restrictions and a curfew as infections of the Delta COVID-19 variant rise in the capital of Bangkok and surrounding provinces.