How much more proof do we need?

Written by Brenda Schimke

The Alberta Government did well with the initial wave of COVID-19. With many unknowns and no vaccinations, Premier Kenney declared a public health emergency on March 17, 2020 and locked down the province. The active cases of COVID peaked at 3,022 on April 30. Total COVID deaths were 89.

Summer came, transmission rates lowered considerably and everyone was hopeful for a return to normal. However, by Dec. 8, 2020 the Premier was re-announcing significant public health restrictions to deal with another surge.

The severity of the second wave did not come as a surprise to anyone who had been listening to Dr. Tam, Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officer, immunization researchers or medical professionals working in our hospitals. By Dec. 14, active cases peaked at 20,500 cases, 733 deaths and a positivity rate of eight per cent.

In December, three vaccines had been developed and approved for use, and by the second quarter of 2021, significant deliveries of life-saving vaccinations were being rolled out.

But the Alberta government couldn’t wait for vaccinations. As soon as cases started to subside in the new year, the Kenney government introduced their “Path Forward” in February 2021 and once again moved quickly to eliminate public health restrictions.

A predicted third wave, fuelled by variants of concern, grew exponentially. By April 29, Alberta’s active case counts peaked at 21,385, deaths reached 2,075, and the positivity rate was 10.1 per cent.

But it was soon rodeo season, and there was no way on God’s green earth that COVID would stop the Calgary Stampede. On July 1, Kenney, when announcing our ‘best summer ever’, removed all restrictions and began bragging about Alberta being the first province to hold a major post-COVID event.

Kenny based his ‘Open for Summer’ plan on 70 per cent of eligible Albertans getting at least one shot. He ignored the fact that the much more contagious Delta variant had arrived in our province.

So, we’re now in the fourth wave. Our health system is on the brink of collapse as COVID cases and deaths pile up, ICUs were at 130 per cent capacity and non-essential surgeries are again postponed in order to add surge capacity. Even with the added surge capacity, our ICUs are at 97 per cent capacity.

Recently Dr. Hinshaw admitted that by August 1, the actual COVID numbers were tracking nowhere near her modelling projections. But it took until September 3 for she and Kenney to re-introduce some limited public health restrictions, with gobsmacking exemptions for rodeos, schools and churches.

By Sept. 10, Alberta’s numbers had climbed to 17,083 active cases with 2,444 deaths and a positivity rate of 11.65 per cent, which has yet to peak. On average, four families each day grieve the loss of a loved one who succumbed to COVID unnecessarily.

How much more proof do we need? When will the death count or hospitalizations be too high? How many cancelled cancer procedures and surgeries will be too many? 

On Sept. 8, Dave Mathers’s kidney transplant was cancelled at the U of A hospital, one of many for lack of ICU beds. Does the recent death of an unvaccinated pregnant mother from COVID complications resonant, at all? 

On Sept. 9, hospitalized COVID cases included 12 little children, three of whom are in the ICU. Pediatric doctors say these admissions will continue to grow.

We’ve gone through this three times before. We’re now going through our fourth wave and doing the exact same thing—fill up hospitals, introduce restrictions, add avoidable deaths, lift restrictions too soon, and repeat, repeat!. 

People, it is only when a critical mass has been vaccinated that this insanity will stop. Please get your jabs.


Brenda Schimke

ECA Review

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.