Alberta was “open for the summer.” Now Covid cases are on the rise

Prime Minister Jason Kenney was roundly criticized by public health experts in June when he proclaimed victory over the coronavirus and made Alberta de first province to largely lift pandemic restrictions.

“We finally have the upper hand on this virus and can open safely up our county,” said Mr. Kenney on a podium with An sign declare that the province was “open” for summer.” At his United Conservative Parties website, supporters can buy caps embroidered with the slogan: “Best Summer Ever, Alberta 2021.”

Last week Mr. kenney… back with a less triumphant message: the declaration of An public health emergency while re-imposing? more limits for the second time this month, and the firing of his health minister.

if of On Thursday Alberta had 20,180 active Covid cases, almost half of all cases in Canada, the intensive care units in burden hospitals so heavily that the provincial government has asked for military help to fly patients thousand of miles to treat in other provinces. Ever since Mr. Kenney lifted the restrictions… on Canada Day, Covid killed 308 people people in Alberta.

“L know that this summer we had all hoped that we would have Covid behind us once and for all; that was certainly my hope,” Mr Kenney said: on 16 Sept. “It is now clear that we were wrong, and for that I apologize.”

many members of Medical Alberta community flatly rejected Mr Kenney’s comments for coming, in their view, weeks late to the crisis in to checkers, and said that his new public health measures were far too short of what was needed.

“Goods already at the point where our health care system has functionally collapsed,” Dr. Ilan Schwartz, specialist in infectious diseases at university of Alberta, told me on Friday. “Yet we have a society die continues as if nothing happened.”

dr. Schwartz is one of many in the county medical department community who started to sound the alarm during the summer, when the Delta variant was combined with Alberta’s relatively low vaccination coverage led to a rise in infections and hospitalizations. (Of just 61.9 percent of Albertans fully vaccinated compared with the national rate of 69.7 percent, the province is second only to Saskatchewan for to have lowest rate of taking vaccine-up.)

In the begin of In September, Alberta introduced some pandemic control measures. But dr. Schwartz said they were inadequate and often ineffective.

“Like an alcohol ban? of 10 pm could wander off off the virus,” he said. instead of keeping crowds from packing nightclubs, Dr. schwartz added, the measure merely meant that “people goods just to go out until party earlier.”

On the day of Mr. Kenney’s apology, his… government announced a variety of new restrictions and rules, including die met masks. But given the level of seriousness of the situation, said Dr. Schwartz that the new safety measures would not be nearly enough to prevent health care system of being overwhelmed. Alberta, in to be view, need to make a “hard lockdown” where most things other than essential retail and services would be closed.

He noticed in in particular, with disapproval, the plans until allow NHL games to take place in front of tens of thousands of fans in Calgary and Edmonton. While fans shall need proof of vaccination of a recent negative test result enter, several news outlets have reported that Alberta’s vaccine document, like Ontarios, can be edited easily of forged using only minimal computer skills.

“We really don’t have any” option but to in to go on a hard lockdown, what we call a firebreak,” he said. “Actually, we have a savage forest fire — Albertans are known with the imagery. We call for delete what of the combustible elements, in this case people, out of the way.”

Instead, mr. Kenney’s government has usually promised to give more resources to hospitals. dr. However, Schwartz said such additional resources were impossible to provide because: of shortages of trained medical personnel.

He did not foresee that the situation in Alberta would improve until the… government shut the province down.

“I never thought this could happen in Canada,” said Dr. black. “We are at such a desperate point. It is extremely demoralizing for health professionals. It’s terrifying for patients and for individuals who are chronically ill. That the government has no meaningful hard lockdown at this point, while perhaps politically unpopular, it baffles me.”


  • Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of huawei, appeared virtually on Friday in a US court to settle a fraud case against her by admitting a mistake. When that was done, she went to court in Vancouver to learn that the United States has withdrawn its extradition request met regarding the charges of fraud die had led to her, had dropped arrest on that city’s airport in 2018. Ms. Meng is now free to leave Vancouver and return to China. But what does that mean? for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians die imprisoned by China in apparent retaliation for her arrest, is unclear.

  • Manohla Dargis, a New York Times film critic, wrote that after attending the Toronto International Film Festival, where screenings were held in largely empty cinemas because of the pandemic: “I was reminded that a film festival is not just a series of back-until-back new movies. To be also people, joined together, and usually stuck together, as one under the cinematic groove.”


AN native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, alive in Ottawa and has reported over Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


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