Alberta’s new COVID-19 plan is a dangerous experiment – .

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Alberta’s new COVID-19 plan is a dangerous experiment – .


Visitors to the Calgary Stampede line up for tickets in Calgary on July 18, 2021. According to Alberta Health, 71 people likely contracted COVID-19 while attending the Stampede.

Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

Test-Trace-Isolate is the age-old mantra in public health. This is what every country, province and local government has tried to do in the fight against COVID-19. This is what prosperous places like Atlantic Canada, which were able to bring the virus under control even before the development of vaccines, have done and have done well.

When fighting a pandemic, public health experts tend to place Test-Trace-Isolate somewhere between very useful and totally essential.

So it’s a bit surprising to learn that Alberta, which has the second lowest vaccination rate in Canada, and is home to many rural areas where the overwhelming majority of people are not vaccinated, and which has end or is about to end almost all public health measures including masking, has now decided to largely eliminate contact tracing of people infected with COVID-19. It will also stop asking people who test positive to self-isolate. And he will stop asking people with mild symptoms to take a test.

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Don’t test. Do not trace. Don’t isolate yourself.

Don’t ask, don’t say. I don’t know, I don’t care.

This is the public health of Alfred E. Neuman: “What, am I worried?

On this page, we’ve repeatedly highlighted overseas jurisdictions that have turned into real-time experiments on what happens when the highly infectious Delta variant encounters too low a vaccination rate and end of rules on masking, distancing and inner capacity limits.

In the United States, these experiments are going well, that is, the preliminary results are clear, and clearly very, very bad.

Consider the evidence from Florida. As of July 28, there were more than 9,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from less than 2,000 a month earlier.

On a per capita basis, Florida now has about three times as many people hospitalized as Ontario last spring – when desperate measures had to be taken to lock in much of the economy, to flatten the infection curve and to avoid overwhelming health. care system.

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Florida’s history is similar to that of other US states, from Nevada to Missouri to Louisiana, with weeks of peak infections resulting in a sharp increase in hospitalizations.

Each of these states has a few things in common. They have relatively low vaccination rates. They have the Delta variant. And they ditched public health restrictions.

Who else has it all? Alberta.

And Alberta is adding something new: blinders. The province says it doesn’t believe there will be another peak in the virus – it has essentially declared the pandemic over. But if there is another wave, he doesn’t want to know until the tsunami is already on land. The early warning system is being dismantled.

Alberta also says that in the future, residents who believe they have been infected should not get tested, should not share their contacts with contact tracers, and should not stay at home to avoid infecting. others.

Where did they get this plan? Blindfolded R Us?

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On a positive note, Canada has a higher vaccination rate than the United States – just over 80 percent of Canadians 12 and older have at least one injection, compared to 67 percent in the United States. This means that we are at least closer than Americans to eventually achieving what the Government of Alberta believes has already been achieved, which is to sever the link between COVID-19 infection and widespread illness, hospitalization. And the dead.

But the total vaccination rate in Canada is not high enough to have reached this point. And Alberta’s rate is the second lowest in the country. Its level of vaccine protection is barely higher than that of Florida. In the Sunshine State, 68% of adults received a first dose and 59% a second. Alberta’s figures for ages 12 and over are 75 and 64 percent.

This leaves a large pool of vulnerable and unvaccinated Albertans. Of 4.4 million people, 1.6 million have not had any injections – 661,000 children under 12 who cannot receive a vaccine, and nearly one million adolescents and adults who for some reason chose not to.

Now is the time, and is Alberta the place, to end all public health restrictions, throw off masks, drop most testing and contact tracing, and effectively tell people that COVID -19 has been turned into a cold – so if you’re contagious, go out and mingle?

The experiment has already started.

Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with someone who has it, may have ripple effects across the country. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam urges people to continue to self-isolate, get tested for COVID-19, and notify their close contacts even though it is no longer mandatory. The Canadian Press

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