Right-wing governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan are continuing to grapple with a devastating fourth wave of COVID-19, while refusing to introduce additional public health restrictions to curb the deadly spread of the virus.
- After Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government lifted most public health restrictions back in July and delayed introducing a vaccine passport system, new provincial data shows Alberta saw more COVID-19 cases in September than any month prior, CBC reports.
As well, CBC notes, records for hospital and intensive care unit admissions were set last month. With an increase in deaths, September was also the deadliest month during the pandemic since January 2021.
- Alberta reported 45,665 COVID-19 cases last month, and 259 deaths. Modelling predicts cases in Wild Rose Country will peak around mid October.
Craig Jenne, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary, told CBC: “When we backed off restrictions, the virus was able to exploit that and really move quite quickly through the unvaccinated.”
Yesterday, a contingent from the Canadian Armed Forces was scheduled to arrive in Alberta to help fight the spread of the virus, CTV News reports. Newfoundland and Labrador is also sending intensive care personnel to support efforts in Fort McMurray.
- Medical professionals have called on the Kenney government to quickly introduce “firebreaker” lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus and protect the province’s health system, which is at risk of being overwhelmed.
As reported by The Maple last month, Kenney likely delayed introducing new public health measures like the vaccine-passport system in part because of pressure from the far-right libertarian wing of his UCP caucus, which generally opposes such restrictions.
- In a tweet posted Monday, Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan wrote that in a conversation with a UCP caucus member, he said: “The UCP has lost the moral authority to govern and that the best thing they could do for Albertans is to resign & call an election,” adding that he told the caucus member to "listen to doctors and experts calling for a #FirebreakAB."
McGowan continued: “I also told him that it’s clear that the UCP caucus is hopelessly paralyzed by the fight between anti-vaxxers and those who actually want to listen to doctors and experts. I said if they’re incapable of taking action to save lives, they should step aside for someone who can act.”