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What will servicing look like in 2022?

HousingWire recently spoke with Joe Davila, president and CEO of Selene Finance, about how servicers can best help homeowners as foreclosure moratoriums expire. Communication, borrower education and training of consumer-facing staff are all critical eleme

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The number of homeowners still in forbearance plans has been declining as foreclosure moratoriums expire. HousingWire recently spoke with Joe Davila, president and CEO of Selene Finance, about how servicers can best help homeowners with next steps as they exit forbearance plans.

HousingWire: More than one million borrowers are exiting forbearance plans. How can servicers prepare to help them with next steps?

Joe Davila: Communication, borrower education and training of consumer-facing staff are all critical elements to ensure your servicing operation is properly prepared to help borrowers as they exit forbearance plans.

Embedding the loss mitigation rules into process workflow is needed to ensure consistency and proper flow of information and decisioning. The call center and loss mitigation teams must be properly trained on the options that are available to the borrower to properly guide the discussion.

In certain cases, with the proper technology, the borrower can self-service through a portal to select their exit plan with limited or no documentation requirements.

HW: What do servicers need to know about expiring foreclosure moratoriums?

JD: Servicers have foreclosures in process that are either stopped in a certain stage or progressing to the next stage that require appropriate reporting, tracking and documentation.

Once the moratoriums are lifted, the need to monitor state-by-state rules or potentially county-by-county in an automated fashion will be tricky and require technology enhancements and comprehensive training of the staff.

There are still many unknowns so the servicer will have to remain flexible and start to think about staffing the foreclosure teams because most of the foreclosure teams were reassigned due to moratoriums.

HW: How can servicers best help homeowners as those moratoriums lift?

JD: Servicers will utilize a structured waterfall to determine the optimal outcome for the borrower. These rules will assess the borrower’s ability to pay, property value and employment status.

The goal is always to keep the borrower in the home whenever possible. The servicer will provide outreach to borrowers in foreclosure as well and handle inbound calls where alternatives to foreclosure will be discussed.

HW: What will servicing look like in 2022, and how can servicers best prepare for what comes next?

JD: In 2022, the focus will be on the new CFPB and regulatory environment along with post-moratorium management of the borrowers and the foreclosure process. Compliance with regulatory changes will require technology adjustments, training and advanced reporting to identify real-time risk.

If post-moratorium foreclosure guidelines are set at the state or even county levels, the need to embed the new rules will also be a challenge to manage.

In addition to all of this will be managing the COVID-19 situation if the virus continues to impact day-to-day life. Hiring and retaining a work from home staff versus a hybrid model of in and out of the office will continue to be a challenge even though we have seen very good performance to date.

The post What will servicing look like in 2022? appeared first on HousingWire.

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Don’t believe the claim that only 17,371 people have died from COVID in England and Wales

A freedom of information request is only useful if you know how to read the data.

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There is no doubt that the pandemic has led to many deaths; however, in the past week, new claims have emerged that the true number of people who have died from COVID in England and Wales is much lower than previously thought. These claims have been widely shared on social media and even amplified by a senior MP. Can it really be true that new data shows that COVID has killed far fewer people than we previously thought?

To arrive at an answer, we first need to delve into the various ways that COVID deaths are counted in England and Wales. There are two main sources of this data: the first, published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and featured prominently on the government’s coronavirus dashboard, is a simple count of all deaths that occur within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

The second, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is based on death certificates that list COVID as a cause of death. Being based on a medical assessment of the circumstances of each individual death, the ONS figures represent the gold standard.

The UKHSA figures will include some deaths that are clearly unrelated to COVID – for example, somebody who has a mild case of COVID and is involved in a car accident three weeks later – and exclude some COVID deaths where someone is in hospital for more than 28 days. The UKHSA data gives us a picture of what is happening now – albeit an imperfect one – while the ONS data takes several weeks to process.

We also need to understand how death certificates work in England and Wales. When somebody passes away, a medical professional completes a death certificate. This includes a field for the “disease or condition directly leading to death” – often called the “underlying cause”. It also includes the option to list one or two diseases or conditions that were not the underlying cause, but which contributed to the death (“contributory causes”).

The data that the ONS publishes shows that, in 2020 and 2021 combined, 157,889 deaths were registered where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate. Of these, 139,839 listed COVID as the underlying cause. In almost 90% of cases where COVID was a factor in somebody’s death, it was considered by medical professionals to be the primary reason they died. So where does the figure of 17,371 COVID deaths come from?

Freedom of information request

This figure originates from a freedom of information request to the Office for National Statistics that asked for the number of deaths where COVID was the only cause of death recorded. This is complicated by the fact that often COVID itself can cause complications, such as severe respiratory difficulties or organ failure, which will then be listed alongside COVID on the death certificate.

To exclude these deaths, the ONS responded by giving the number of deaths where no “pre-existing conditions” were listed on the death certificate. Which comes to 17,371 for the period up to the end of September 2021. But what is a “pre-existing condition”?

Pre-existing conditions and their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes

Office for National Statistics

This list is extensive, including high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, diabetes and a wide range of other common conditions. The argument being made by some is that 17,371 is the true number of COVID deaths, because people with these pre-existing conditions, who make up the vast majority of deaths that list COVID on the death certificate, were already sick. But even a cursory glance at the list makes it clear that this will be incorrect for a great many people.

Over a quarter of adults have high blood pressure, 4 million people in England have diabetes and a similar number have asthma. Having one of these conditions is neither a death sentence nor a sign of being in poor health. You almost certainly know several people with one or more of them, or are living with one yourself.

The idea that people with a pre-existing condition are at death’s door is simply untrue. Over half of people aged 50 and over have at least one long-term health condition. But if someone with one of these conditions is unlucky enough to catch COVID and subsequently die, all it takes is for the condition to have some impact for it to end up being listed as a contributory cause on the death certificate.

Let’s take asthma as an example. COVID frequently attacks victims’ lungs, leading them to require ventilation. As a respiratory condition, asthma may well exacerbate these difficulties and will therefore be listed on the death certificate if the person dies. It would be bizarre to claim that the person died of asthma on this basis. Perhaps they would not have died if they didn’t have asthma, but they certainly wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t got COVID.

The vast majority of people who get seriously ill with COVID were living full, independent lives before they were hospitalised. And reasonable estimates suggest that the average number of years of life lost per COVID death is around ten. The idea that people who died from COVID are all extremely ill and would have died soon anyway is not borne out by the facts.

To argue that the deaths from COVID of people with pre-existing conditions don’t count as true COVID deaths is to say that people with pre-existing conditions don’t matter; that their lives are expendable and shouldn’t be considered when assessing the impact of the pandemic. Over 140,000 people with pre-existing conditions have died of COVID in the last two years. We should be mourning this tragic loss of life, not minimising it.

Colin Angus does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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As Omicron-specific boosters are in the news, BioNTech to expand German site workforce by 200 employees

BioNTech has added about 200 jobs to its Marburg, Germany manufacturing site since it took it over from Novartis in 2020. This year, it will add another 250, as demand for Covid-19 boosters has led to calls for an omicron-specific vaccine in adults.
Curre

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BioNTech has added about 200 jobs to its Marburg, Germany manufacturing site since it took it over from Novartis in 2020. This year, it will add another 250, as demand for Covid-19 boosters has led to calls for an omicron-specific vaccine in adults.

Currently, there are around 500 employees at the site, which is north of Frankfurt. The boost is expected to cost around €50 million, or $56.5 million, and will include the addition of office spaces in anticipation of future growth, the company said. The Marburg site has supplied 1.2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to the world so far, and a total of 4 billion doses are expected to be doled out by the end of this year.

The news came out of an interview with Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the company confirmed. The $56 million expansion is planned for just the Marburg site alone, the spokesperson confirmed. Before the sale to BioNTech, Novartis invested in the site heavily since 2016, equipping it with capabilities for cell and gene therapy, recombinant proteins, cell culture and viral vector production. In the future, once the need for Covid-19 boosters dies down, BioNTech has said it will other mRNA vaccines, antibody and C&G therapy candidates, as well as its cancer and infectious disease pipeline.

Testing for the vaccine tailored to the pesky variant — which has been deemed more transmissible with less severe symptoms for those that are vaccinated — began this week, BioNTech said along with Pfizer. The trial will test 1,420 healthy adults under the age of 55. Three groups of people, representing different levels of immunity,

In March 2021, Marburg began producing Covid-19 vaccines. It started with the production of mRNA, the active pharmaceutical ingredient for the vaccine. The first batch of doses shipped out in April.

Uğur Şahin

The site has become an example for further growth. BioNTech made waves in the summer of 2021 when it announced plans to collaborate with the African Union to manufacture doses for the continent amid a severe shortage, and in October, the company said that its Rwandan site, which construction is set to begin in the middle of this year, will be modeled after Marburg. Capacity for that one will start at 50 million doses a year, then increase with added manufacturing lines and sites as the project progresses.

CEO Uğur Şahin has already said that the Rwandan site will spin its production into malaria and tuberculosis vaccines once there is a less desperate need for Covid-19 manufacturing.

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First Helium Licenses Second Exploration Well at Worsley

TSXV: HELI   FRA: 2MC Drilling of the "4-29" Well Planned for Mid-February First Helium Inc. ("First Helium" or the "Company") (TSXV: HELI) (FRA: 2MC), today announced that it has received its license from the Alberta Energy Regulator ("AER")…

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TSXV: HELI   FRA: 2MC

Drilling of the "4-29" Well Planned for Mid-February

First Helium Inc. ("First Helium" or the "Company") (TSXV: HELI) (FRA: 2MC), today announced that it has received its license from the Alberta Energy Regulator ("AER") to drill its second exploration well, the " 4-29 ", which is located on First Helium's 100% owned, 79,000 acre Worsley landholdings in Northern Alberta, Canada . The Company expects to begin drilling operations in mid-February, 2022.

"Identified by a comprehensive 3D seismic study, the "4-29" well location at Worsley will be drilled as a follow up to our successful 1-30 well, targeting multiple helium gas horizons and potential oil accumulations," said Ed Bereznicki , President & CEO of First Helium. "Drilling 4-29 is an opportunity to build on the strong results from the 15-25 and 1-30 discovery wells, which collectively represent significant growth potential and underlying asset value to First Helium shareholders."

The 4-29 well is located near the Company's 1-30 light oil discovery well, and approximately 3 km SE of the 15-25 helium well on the core Worsley Property. A geologic and seismic review of the region suggests that like the 1-30 and 15-25, the 4-29 prospect presents as a structural high on the Leduc Reef Complex.

The 1-30 light oil discovery well tested at approximately 419 barrels of 35 degree API light oil over 3 days and is expected to be brought on-stream in early February at approximately 400 barrels per day.

The 15-25 was most recently tested last month to contain 1.3% helium content based on a 10-day flow period at 2 million cubic feet per day of raw gas. The raw gas stream is comprised of approximately 65% natural gas, which will be produced along with the helium gas, sold to market and also used to generate power for facility operations.

The 1-30 Leduc well was drilled based on a detailed 3D seismic evaluation of the Worsley Property.  The results confirm the Company's geologic model for the area.  Based on the Company's assessment of economic Leduc wells along the Worsley Trend, approximately 20% have been light oil producers, the balance have been natural gas producers containing potential economic helium content.  A detailed geological and geophysical evaluation of the Company's lands in the vicinity of the 15-25 well, the 1-30 well, and along the broader Worsley Trend has yielded additional compelling drill targets.  First Helium will incorporate the results from the drilling and testing of the 4-29 well to strategically pursue new drilling locations across the highly prospective, 90 km wide Worsley Trend.

ABOUT First Helium

Led by a core Senior Executive Team with extensive backgrounds in Oil & Gas Exploration and Operations, Mining, Finance, Capital Markets and public junior growth companies, First Helium seeks to be one of the leading independent providers of helium gas in North America .

Building on its successful 15-25 helium discovery well at the Worsley project, the Company has identified numerous follow-up drill locations and acquired an expansive infrastructure system to facilitate future exploration and development of helium across its Worsley land base.  Future cash flow from its successful 1-30 oil well at Worsley , anticipated to begin in Q1 2022, will help support First Helium's ongoing helium exploration and development growth strategy.

First Helium holds over 79,000 acres along the highly prospective Worsley Trend in Northern Alberta , and 276,000 acres in the Southern Alberta Helium Fairway, near existing helium production.  In addition to continuing its ongoing exploration and development drilling at Worsley , the Company has identified a number of high impact helium exploration targets on the prospective Southern Alberta Helium Fairway lands to set up a second core exploration growth area for the Company.

For more information about the Company, please visit www.firsthelium.com .

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Edward J. Bereznicki
President, CEO and Director

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

FORWARD-LOOKING AND CAUTIONARY STATEMENTS

This news release contains certain statements or disclosures relating to First Helium that are based on the expectations of its management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to First Helium which may constitute forward-looking statements or information ("forward-looking statements") under applicable securities laws. All such statements and disclosures, other than those of historical fact, which address activities, events, outcomes, results, or developments that First Helium anticipates or expects may or will occur in the future (in whole or in part) should be considered forward-looking statements. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of the words "expect", "will" and similar expressions. In particular, but without limiting the foregoing, this news release contains forward-looking statements pertaining to the timing and rate of production of the 1-30 discovery well; the timing of the completion of the construction and commissioning of an oil battery at 1-30; anticipated cash flows; the entering into of off-take marketing arrangements; the use of funds and the Company's strategy. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release reflect several material factors and expectations and assumptions of First Helium including, without limitation: that First Helium will continue to conduct its operations in a manner consistent with past operations; the general continuance of current or, where applicable, assumed industry conditions; availability of debt and/or equity sources to fund First Helium's capital and operating requirements as needed; and certain cost assumptions.

Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and opinions of management at the date the statements are made and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those set out in the Final Prospectus dated June 28, 2021 and filed under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com .  Readers are cautioned that actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking statements made in this news release. Risks that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry; the ability of First Helium to fund the capital and operating expenses necessary to achieve its business objectives; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business and operations of First Helium; the state of financial markets; increased costs and physical risks relating to climate change; loss of key employees and those risks described in the Final Prospectus dated June 28 , 2021.  First Helium does not undertake any obligation to update forward looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

SOURCE First Helium Inc.

View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/January2022/26/c0468.html

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