With the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the province’s health-care system and with dozens of Albertans continuing to die every week, the tragedy of the fourth wave is crystal clear for everyone to see.
Whether things will start to improve as they did following the first three waves remains anyone’s guess. What is known is that the divide between the UCP government and the province’s physicians around what should and must be done continues to grow ever wider.
Make no mistake, ordinary Albertans of all ages are being significantly impacted by COVID-related decisions being made by Premier Jason Kenney and his cabinet ministers, including area MLAs Jason Nixon and Devin Dreeshen.
For his part, the premier says his government is trying its best to lead the province through the pandemic.
A lockdown would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated,” and that vaccinated people are far less likely to require hospitalization if they do get sick, he said.
The 17 per cent of Alberta adults who haven’t been vaccinated are also less likely to follow any new public health measures, he added.
On the other side, Alberta’s doctors say the health system is in danger.
“While we know that there are serious negative consequences to hard lockdowns, unfortunately we see no other solution,” said Alberta Medical Association (AMA) president Dr. Paul Boucher. “We need the government to institute clear, decisive actions to immediately save our health-care system from collapse and protect Albertans.”
While this district has thankfully not seen the large number of deaths that have occurred in larger centres, the impact of the fourth wave has been widespread here as well, with hospitalizations, including ICU admissions, running very high.
Why Premier Kenney would choose to disregard the urgent advice of the 14,000-physician AMA at this critical time in the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is anyone’s guess.
Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.