What central banks were really saying about their response to COVID-19
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In statements released this morning about COVID-19, the U.S. Federal Reserve and G7 finance ministers addressed the economic fallout from the outbreak of the virus and reaffirmed their efforts to counter the damage caused by it.
The G7 statement used phrases like “standing ready” and “maintaining the resilience of the financial system,” language meant to impart confidence. But it came as the U.S. Federal Reserve cut the “federal funds rate,” an emergency move that hasn’t happened since the dawn of the financial crisis, and sent markets into a spiral. Fed Chair Jerome Powell then held a press conference about the rate cuts, calling the outbreak a “fluid” situation.
Jessica Rett, a linguist at UCLA, broke down the language used today with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal. She considered what the central banks were really saying about COVID-19, and why, ultimately, it didn’t make leave the markets feeling very calm.
“If you say something like ‘Everybody stay calm,’ I think the first thing that people think of, if they are calm, is: ‘Oh, goodness, why are you telling me to stay calm?'” Rett said.
Click on the player above to hear the interview.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?
Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.
How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?
Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.
How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?
As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.
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