Alberta, Canada, is seeing an overwhelming surge in COVID-19 cases as they enter their fourth wave of the pandemic. Premier Jason Kenney says he is sorry/not sorry for the way his government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenney has been widely criticized for not implementing public health measures/mandates that would have protected hospital capacity and saved lives (the two top medical priorities in the entire response to the pandemic). ICUs in Alberta are full and patients are being transferred around the province due to bed shortages in some areas.
Privacy rights were cited as the reason for not introducing vaccine cards (to show proof of vaccination before accessing public spaces in order to try and contain the spread). Now, Kenney says, protection of life must be the paramount consideration (“morally, ethically and legally”). (I said this in a post yesterday in response to a comment about withholding care on the basis of a COVID patient having refused to be vaccinated. It’s not a simple call and there are repercussions either way).
CTV News, Sept 15/21:https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/i-apologize-kenney-says-alta-wrong-for-covid-19-pandemic-to-endemic-shift-not-sorry-for-open-for-summer-plan-1.5587497
“Premier Jason Kenney apologized for his government's recent COVID-19 response as he introduced a proof of vaccination program and implemented new restrictions for the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kenney started off the press conference by apologizing for moving Alberta too quickly from a pandemic to endemic based on provincial modelling.
"I know that we had all hoped this summer that we could put COVID behind us once and for all, that was certainly my hope and I said that very clearly," said Kenney. "It is now clear that we were wrong, and for that I apologize."
"Yes, I said a lot of optimistic things in the summer, because I think it is the job of a leader to convey a sense of hope and optimism, not a sense of despair and pessimism, and from the perspective of where we were in July there were good reasons to be hopeful and optimistic."
“Wednesday marked the most Albertans ever occupying ICU beds in the history of the province, with the CEO of AHS announcing it was asking neighbouring provinces for help managing the situation.
"I don't apologize for not maintaining lockdown-style policies permanently but I do apologize for having predicted we could be open for good."
CBC News, Sept 15/21: “Province introduces sweeping COVID-19 measures, including proof-of-vaccination program”https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/kenney-shandro-hinshaw-update-covid-19-1.6177210
“Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Wednesday introduced strict and sweeping new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as he apologized for his government's handling of the pandemic.
“The measures include a new program that requires people to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry to participating businesses and social events.
“A decision this spring to move from a pandemic-to-endemic approach — or learning to live with the virus — seemed like the right thing to do based on data from other jurisdictions with similar vaccination rates, Kenney told a news conference.
"It is now clear that we were wrong, and for that I apologize," Kenney said.
“Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency and is taking immediate action to stave off the ongoing crisis in the health-care system, the premier said.
"To prevent an ongoing crisis, we must do three things urgently," he said.
"First, we must maximize our health-care capacity. Secondly, reduce transmission of the virus by reducing interaction with other people. And thirdly, we have to get as many people as possible vaccinated."
“Without interventions, Kenney said, Alberta hospitals may run out of staff and intensive care beds within the next 10 days.
“Right now, Alberta has more than 18,000 active cases — the most of any province. On Wednesday, there were 877 people in hospital with the illness, including 218 in intensive care. By contrast, Ontario, with a population more than three times Alberta's had 346 in hospital, with 188 in intensive care.
“The new measures include restrictions on restaurants, indoor gatherings, weddings and funerals, retail, entertainment venues, and indoor sport and fitness.
"I had earlier committed not to introduce proof of vaccination because of concerns I had around privacy rights," he said.
"But the government's first obligation must be to avoid large numbers of preventable deaths. We must deal with the reality that we are facing. We cannot wish it away. Morally, ethically and legally, the protection of life must be our paramount concern."
"No one will be compelled to get vaccinated against their wishes, and a negative test option will be offered as an alternative," Kenney said. "But with unvaccinated patients overwhelming our hospitals, this is now the only responsible choice that we have."
“Kenney later qualified his apology saying that it was a mistake to switch from pandemic management to endemic management too soon but he didn't believe it was wrong to lift public health restrictions in July.
"No, I don't apologize for the decision to relax public health restrictions in the summer … when numbers were declining and vaccine numbers were going up," he said.
“Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Albertans must meet the challenge the fourth wave is presenting, especially as health-care capacity is stretched nearly to the limit.
"To ask Albertans yet again to step up, to protect each other through activity restrictions after all we have been through, is agonizing. And yet it is absolutely necessary," Hinshaw said. "Our hospitals cannot sustain care for all Albertans with the dramatic and rapid increase of COVID patients that we are seeing."
“Alberta reported 1,609 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 new deaths, the highest number of deaths reported in one day in the province's fourth wave.
"That is one person's life lost for every hour of the day," Hinshaw said. "Every death is a reminder of the seriousness of this virus and why these actions that are being taken today are so critical."
Re Mormonism - I continue to be amazed that the Big Guys have said Be Vaxxed and so many members respond with a big fat NO. As others here have commented, why don't they exercise their free will more often, though in more positive ways than refusing to comply with public health directives. I would never have predicted that Mormons would be anti-science types, at least when it comes to medicine. Mormons I knew and, in fact, all the Christians I've known in various denominations have seemed middle-of-the-road types to me. The only exception re medicine is the JWs who, following the dictates of their faith, refuse to accept blood transfusions (and die needlessly for their choice, based on a questionable interpretation of one scripture). The difference between that and people refusing to receive the vaccine against COVID is that a JW's refusal affects themselves only (and their family members who mourn their passing if they don't pull through their emergency) whereas a person refusing to be vaccinated against COVID can contract the virus and spread it to others, potentially killing themselves and/or their spreadees in the process.
When your choices affect only yourself, fair enough. But when they affect others, potentially drastically negatively, that's a different matter.
Here's a shout out to Lethbridge Reprobate who lives in Alberta (in Lethbridge, obviously). Another COVID winter is an unwelcome prospect for all of us and complicated issues arise involving limited hospital capacity and potential rationing of care. Who lives and who dies are undoubtedly the toughest decisions medics must make. When it's purely a medical decision the choices are clearer. When fairness and moral considerations are in the mix things get hairier. I feel for everybody, patients obviously, staff, family members, decision-makers and the wider community.
'No Man is an Island'
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Don't be a clod washed away.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2021 01:52PM by Nightingale.