So, we want to be like Texas and follow their example for pandemic response. It certainly turns upside down those once-accepted biblical truths of ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, and ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’.
As of May 4, 2021, Texas had 2.83 million confirmed cases and 50,164 deaths. Canada had 1.26 million cases and 24,450 deaths.
Texas with 78 per cent of Canada’s population had twice as many cases and deaths as Canada. During the worse of their second wave, refrigerated morgue trucks were a common sight in hospital parking lots across Texas.
Although awash in vaccines, 50 per cent of eligible Texans remain unvaccinated and only 27.9 per cent of the total population is fully vaccinated. It is unlikely they will ever reach herd immunity.
Since Texas’ grand re-opening and removal of all public health restrictions, hospitalizations and deaths did trend downward for weeks, but that too is changing. By the last week in April, Texas’ daily infection rates have risen almost seven per cent.
Seems Texans don’t understand that the more viruses are allowed to circulate, the more opportunities they have to mutate into even more lethal variants. There is increasing evidence that variants of concern, originating from Brazil, Britain, California and Texas, itself, are on the rise.
Texas made a decision early on that freedom and economics were more important than lives. They double-downed on the economy once they realized it was the poor, black, brown, elderly and immigrant most likely to die from COVID.
Texas stood up for self, self-centeredness and selfishness of the privileged white caste and received unbridled support from poor whites dreaming of joining the club.
Then there’s Great Britain. Kenney likes to compare his 18 dissident MLAs to the 80-plus Tory detractors in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s caucus. They too defied and denied the seriousness of COVID-19, fought aggressively against public health restrictions and accepted tens of thousands of deaths, primarily amongst non-productive old people, as preferable to economic harm.
Both Kenney and Johnson initially were on the same page as their dissenters, both called the virus a simple flu, mocked and disregarded public health guidelines, and expressed more concern about their government’s budgets than people’s lives.
Prime Minister Johnson’s tune changed dramatically after his near-death experience with COVID-19. With the highest per capita death rate in the world, subsequently overtaken by the United States and Brazil, the United Kingdom underwent strict and lengthy lockdowns and are only now reducing restrictions as vaccination rates close in on herd immunity levels.
Premier Kenney’s tune finally changed after Alberta’s active cases per capita became higher than all of North America and doctors started preparing to triage patients, choosing who and who would not receive life-saving emergency care.
Johnson’s popularity soared after he became serious about the pandemic, whereas in Alberta, Kenney’s life and that of his 83-year-old mom are now being threatened by his once supporters.
Premier Kenney, the 18 UCP MLAs who turned against public health guidelines, the 20 UCP MLAs who today won’t publicly support vaccinations, police forces reluctant to enforce restrictions and court officials unwilling to prosecute are all culpable for today’s mess.
The real victims are front-line workers, business owners who followed health guidelines, seniors in care homes, students, young adults, urban millennials, health care workers, ordinary citizens faithfully abiding by the rules, and the dead.
Ironically, the ‘I-can-do-anything-I-please’ crowd have become the virus’ greatest ally.
As much as Kenney tried and wanted to follow Texas’ example, he’s Catholic and it’s likely it became too much for his conscience to ignore ICUs on the verge of becoming overwhelmed, and the real possibility of triaged deaths on his watch.