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HINSHAW: Learning to Live with COVID-19

COVID-19 has required extraordinary measures that have saved lives and prevented our health care system from being overwhelmed.

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I am sorry that the way I communicated about the planned changes to our COVID-19 response has caused feelings of confusion, fear or anger for some people.

I am hearing that the message people received from my words was that I think COVID is over, and that people are being left on their own to deal with it. That was not my intended message, so I want to share some of the rationale behind the changes and why I believe this course of action will support the whole health of Albertans.

Over the past year and a half, we have faced an extraordinary threat together. COVID-19 has required extraordinary measures that have saved lives and prevented our health care system from being overwhelmed.

These extraordinary measures were necessary and effective, but they also came with unintended consequences that harmed the health of Albertans in other ways. I care deeply about the health of all Albertans. This means I have to constantly consider not just COVID-19 but all the other threats to people’s health.

The majority of our public health resources have been directed at the COVID-19 response, as has been necessary. That has come at the cost of not fully working on other threats, like syphilis and opioid deaths.

As vaccine coverage has changed the nature of the province-wide risk of COVID-19, it is time, in my opinion, to shift from province-wide extraordinary measures to more targeted and local measures.

This allows us to start looking at other issues while still continuing COVID-19 protective measures in areas of high risk, and responding to local outbreaks where the health system is under threat. We will not eliminate COVID, which means we need to learn how to live with it.

Testing every person with a runny nose or sore throat is an extraordinary measure that we cannot sustain, particularly through the respiratory virus season.

Legally mandating everyone to stay home for 10 days if they have any symptoms is also an extraordinary measure. It was necessary before vaccines, but it is also incredibly disruptive; it could only be justified when the risk was unchecked by vaccine protection.

I know the vast majority of Albertans do not want to knowingly inflict harm on others. I believe that for those who test positive for COVID-19, knowing that staying home is the way to protect others, and is the right thing to do, will be enough for them to take that action.

When it comes to children, I understand the anxiety about kids under 12 for whom vaccine is not yet available. I have two children of my own in that age group, so it is a personal as well as a professional concern.

For children, it is important to think about the much smaller risk of severe outcomes and the consequences of the public health measures we have had in place. We know these have led to problems with kids’ mental health and impacts on learning and development.

We navigate risks for our children every day, and looking at how COVID-19 risks for kids compare with other risks is important to help inform the way forward. For example, for kids 0 to 9, the risk of an ICU admission for seasonal influenza in the year before COVID was roughly equal to their risk of an ICU admission for COVID.

In another example, kids aged 5 to 14 had a 140 times greater risk of an emergency department visit for a sports-related injury in 2019 than their risk of COVID-related hospital admission since March of 2020.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore the risk to kids from any of these things, but I believe it means we should consider COVID risk in context of all other risks that we face.

COVID-19 is a wicked problem; experts don’t always agree on the exact nature of the problem, much less the best approach.

But it is not the only wicked problem we are facing together. In addressing these complex issues, we are best served by trying to understand each other’s perspectives, engaging in a respectful dialogue, and continuing to assess our approach.

We will be doing just that with the upcoming shifts in our COVID-19 plans. We will be relying on a robust surveillance system including wastewater surveillance, clinical testing, sentinel surveillance in primary care, and outbreak testing to monitor trends and impacts.

We will respond to local threats and continue to communicate with Albertans. I cannot stress enough that vaccines are our most powerful tool in the fight against this virus. While the coverage we have in this province minimizes the threat of overwhelming the health care system, the virus remains a significant risk.

Now is the best time to choose to be protected, both for yourself and those around you. I commit to you that I will continue to do my best every day to serve Albertans, as I have always done, by considering all aspects of the health of all those in Alberta.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is the Chief Medical Officer of Health

  

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. SaskFreedom

    August 4, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Hinshaw says, “ When it comes to children, I understand the anxiety about kids under 12 for whom vaccine is not yet available. I have two children of my own in that age group, so it is a personal as well as a professional concern.”
    Giant eye roll. Your kids are more likely to get struck by lightning than die if they catch covid. Do you not read your own government statistics???? Clearly children under 12 have a statistical risk of zero dying from sars-cov-2. Your kids have a greater chance of getting killed by bear attack or helicopter accident or car accident. Kids don’t die from covid unless they’re already on their dead bed for something unrelated, like childhood leukaemia.

  2. SaskFreedom

    August 4, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    You are not forgiven Hinshaw. I watched what you said in March 2020. You are a sheep. You are bought off. You live in your overpriced house, trading your wage for your soul. You screwed Albertans for 18 months, and now you think we’ll just get over it because you’re finally saying the same thing you should’ve said over a year ago. I watched when you snickered in a press conference about the covid risk, downplaying it, and then a month later decided to take it seriously to the max and deprive Albertans of their rights for over a year since.
    I guess it’s true that women don’t handle power appropriately, they go overboard. You’re a perfect example of that. Likewise, Jason Kenney is a male pos. But he’s just a dumb politician, you’re supposed to be an educated medical practitioner, so you should know better. You’re supposed to be smarter, but all you used your power for was to deprive Albertans of their rights. You better make amends to the people soon and come clean or God will eventually hold you liable for your fraud against the people.

  3. berta baby

    August 4, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Well at least the lier finally is choosing the right path… could have saved billions of dollars if you didn’t play fear porn every day the last year and a half… how many died again 2400 in almost 2 years? Boy glad I survived this one huh? Out of 4 million folks …. Close call

  4. K

    August 4, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Admit you lied, DEMON. You are all complicit in innumerable deaths — NOT from a pseudo-virus but from suicide, drug overdoses, the list goes on.

  5. Josh

    August 4, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Andrew Red Deer is right.

    Its sad when you have to watch the news from other countries to find out what happening in your neighborhood.

  6. Left Coast

    August 4, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Hinshaw lied to the people of Alberta for 18 months . . . never informed them of resdily available medicine & suppies to ward off the Wuhan Virus before it got more serious.

    Now trying to save face & look concerned . . . what a joke !

    Freedom Fighter Court VICTORY! Ends Masking, Shots, Quarantine in Alberta!

    WE CAN WIN! Patrick King is a proud father of 2, Freedom Fighter and Patriot who took on the powerful government in Alberta, and WON!
    We can ALL learn from this, and we MUST battle this in every single city, every single county, every single state, every single NATION!

    The fight for freedom is a worldwide effort, and WE CAN WIN!

    VIDEO . . . Mind numbing after 18 months of LIES . . . even the Feds get involved !

    https://canadafreepress.com/article/freedom-fighter-court-victory-ends-masking-shots-quarantine-in-alberta

  7. Steven

    August 4, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Did you know a liberal dominated province in Canada (New Brunswick) has done the same thing as Alberta? Removed Restrictions, but the Lefty Socialist Media in Canada hammers a Conservative Province or just because we are Albertans because we are fully open. Hypocrisy. New Brunswick beat Alberta on opening. Where’s the anger & outrage on their opening?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/covid-19-new-brunswick-vaccines-million-1.6114325

    New Brunswick will lift all COVID restrictions next Friday and go green — regardless of whether the province meets vaccination targets, Premier Blaine Higgs says.

    That means that all travel and public health restrictions will be lifted and masks will not be required, he announced at a COVID-19 briefing on Friday.

  8. luigi

    August 4, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    There’s a padded cell wait for you Hinsaw.

  9. Andrew Red Deer

    August 4, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Well your tyranny just ran into a RED DEER brick wall didnt it? AHS ADMITTED YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF SARSCOV2′ existence IN A COURT OF LAW!!!

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Opinion

Krahnicle’s Cartoon: January 18, 2022

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KAY: Why is Prince Andrew the only one being held accountable?

“All I am saying is that the price he is paying — a royal castaway, shunned for the sake of The Firm’s continued good health, and relegated to a social Devil’s island — is very, very high, much higher than would have been the case for an ordinary man.”

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It was with a pang that I was informed by People.com that “Queen Elizabeth strips Prince Andrew of [his eight] military titles and patronages amid sexual assault lawsuit,” as the headline read. A day after a judge rejected Prince Andrew’s attempt to have a civil lawsuit quashed, alleging sexual misconduct against him in 2001 by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, the axe fell.

Thursday, the royal palace announced, “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.” Although still nominally a prince, Andrew will no longer have the right to be addressed as His Royal Highness (HRH). No more public duties for the dozens of charities for whom he has been a patron. “The Duke of York is defending this case,” the statement informed us, “as a private citizen.”

Why do I shudder slightly at those words, “private citizen,” and greet the news in general with a “pang,” though? Prince Andrew is nothing to me personally. He got himself into a very tawdry mess through his own appallingly bad judgment. The allegations surfaced in 2019, so this was no surprise. And it is not the first occasion in which bad judgment and a sense of entitlement has led “Randy Andy” into temptation of one kind or another, and thence onward to, at best, unethical behaviour, and at worst — oh dear, oh dear.

Let us not, though, count the ways that make this ultimate disgrace a deserved punishment for Andrew’s sins. Or rather, let other commentators — those who experience an uprush of joy or schadenfreude in their hearts when white males of extreme privilege are brought low, instead of a pang — do that.

When I unpack my pang a bit, what comes to mind is I know this had to be done; I know he deserved it; I know he is a wastrel. But oh, the mortification! And not for love, like Harry’s for Meghan or his great-uncle, Edward VIII’s for Wallis. At least they got to ride off to the colonies believing at the time they made the decision, anyway, their lives as royals were well lost for the glittering prize that had chosen them.

Even though he was of weak character — a suspected Nazi sympathizer, amongst other cases of bad judgment — Edward, Duke of Windsor was still a duke in exile. He was given royal sinecures to keep him busy. He was still a social asset outside Britain. Harry isn’t technically a Royal; he gave up his title voluntarily, but he’s good enough for Hollywood. So he has all the perks of royalty — money-making sinecures, constant attention, lots of social adulation — and none of the tedium. And when he comes home to visit, he still gets to mingle with the family. He has disappointed his family by quitting The Firm, and embarrassed them by foolishly airing private laundry, but he has not brought shame on the House of Windsor. He was not cast out. He left.

But for Andrew it’s the opposite. He cannot leave, but he has been “effectively banished.” There is no corner of the English-speaking world in which he can relax and just be himself. Himself? What would “himself” look like, stripped of what has defined him as a human being for all his 61 years? A turtle without a shell to retreat into. And no natural habitat. His gorgeous military uniforms will hang lifeless in his closets. Forever. I am trying to imagine what a future social life might look like. But I can’t.

Of course, there’s the saving grace of ex-wife Fergie to keep him company. Nobody is less likely to be judgmental, or more likely to empathize with the results of bad judgment in a buddy than Sarah Ferguson. I suspect she will eventually be remembered for her loyalty to Andrew in exile. He will have company watching Netflix. (Do you remember the scene in The Crown where the Duke — played by the wonderful actor Michael Kitchen — and Duchess of Windsor are watching Elizabeth’s televised coronation from their home in France? Oh, the suffering etched on Kitchen’s face.)

Andrew is often referred to as his mother’s favourite child, and that is how he was portrayed in The Crown as a boy on the cusp of manhood. He was buoyant, confident and ready for adventures of all kinds, military (at which he excelled) and prankish — even then, a bit of a wild card, but endearing to his mother on that account. In Philip’s general mold, but without Philip’s maturity, intellect and sense of duty.

But back to my pang. Consider: Stupid as he was, the woman accusing him of being party to her sex trafficking was 17 at the time of the alleged encounter. The age of consent in the U.K. as well as in 32 U.S. states is 16. A lot of other rich and famous men palled around with Epstein and made use of his private plane and visited his island home(s). How come their names didn’t come up in Maxwell’s trial? So maybe my pang has something to do with the murkiness surrounding the alleged encounter, and the fact that Andrew seems to have been cut from the herd to keep all eyes on him and all eyes off the American guys.

The only other man Giuffre publicly charged with sexual assault was celebrated lawyer Alan Dershowitz in 2019, who had defended Epstein in his 2005 sex-trafficking charges. Dershowitz immediately counter-attacked Giuffre in his typical take-no-prisoners style, and that turned into a nightmare of a legal circus that is apparently still unresolved. I imagine Giuffre took a lesson from her challenge to a lion. Next to Dershowitz, Andrew must look a lot like a sacrificial lamb.

Andrew is what he is, and I am not making the case he shouldn’t have paid an appropriate price for his bad behaviour — bad whether he slept with Giuffre or didn’t. All I am saying is that the price he is paying — a royal castaway, shunned for the sake of The Firm’s continued good health, and relegated to a social Devil’s island — is very, very high, much higher than would have been the case for an ordinary man. There is no court of appeal for this lifetime sentence.

Barbara Kay is a senior columnist for the Western Standard.
kbarb@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter: @BarbaraRKay

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Opinion

THOMAS: Gondek’s legacy could very well be an empty parking lot

“There can be no doubt that more than a few Calgarians, who are against using public money to help build the Event Centre, have benefited from the owners’ largess.”

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Most of the people who have held the office of mayor of Calgary probably hoped to leave a legacy that people recognize as a positive contribution to the city.

Some did. Some didn’t. A couple of ‘dids’ come to mind. 

As mayor from 1980 to 1989, Ralph Klein’s legacy is as being part of the team that brought the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calgary, which resulted in the Saddledome being built, which brought the Calgary Flames to the city.

Dave Bronconnier, mayor from 2001 to 2010, also left a legacy near the Saddledome.

East Village: It’s the area directly east of city hall, stretching to Fort Calgary, with the Bow River on the north and 9 Ave. southeast on the south side.

When ‘Bronco’ took over the mayor’s chair, East Village was the most dangerous area of the city. Totally run down, it was a centre of illegal drug activity and the ‘office’ for sex workers. In earlier years, it served as the Calgary dump. It was not an area you wanted to be in, especially after dark.

Bronco, vowing to clean it up, approached the development community to gauge any interest in participating. 

There was no interest. Developers told him the cost to remediate the area was too high, but if the city undertook the task, there would be interest in building condo-apartment buildings. 

So, the mayor introduced the Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) program, with the blessing of the Alberta government. The way a TIF works is, an area for redevelopment is identified and for 20 years, all taxes collected in that area are used to pay infrastructure costs incurred by the city to get the job done. 

No tax money comes out of the city’s general revenues. Only money from taxes collected in the designated area. 

It obviously worked. The TIF helped pay for, among other things, the new central library, and East Village is now an urban oasis of apartments and retailers.

The TIF worked so well, city council decided to expand the area it financed, calling it the Rivers District, which runs from the banks of the Bow River south to 25 Ave. S.W., with Macleod Tr. as its western border. Eventually, the Bow Building was added to the Rivers District because of the high taxes it would pay, which would contribute greatly to the TIF, now renamed the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

Here, from the City’s website, its (abbreviated) definition of the CRL. 

“(The) Community Revitalization Levy substantially funds the delivery of the Rivers District Revitalization Plan. The levy provides a means to segregate increased property tax revenues in the Rivers District, which result from redevelopment into a fund that will be used to pay for the new infrastructure required. The end result is improvements in the Rivers District are self-funded without any additional tax burden on the balance of the city, and at the end of the CRL period, the amounts that were charged under the CRL would become general property tax revenues and flow into the general revenues of the city and the province.”

There’s a lot of work going on in the East Victoria Park area within the Rivers District, including the RoundUp Centre upgrade, the demolition of the Corral and a lot more to come. Plans include homes for 8,000 new residents in the community, with approximately four million square feet of absorbable mixed-use development, a Stampede Trail retail street and the LRT Green Line extension. All of this development might even give some justification to converting the empty downtown office buildings into residences. 

Up until about a month ago, the plans included a new Event Centre, to be built on a couple of mostly empty parking lots north of Stampede Park. The cost of the centre would have been shared by the Calgary Flames organization and the City of Calgary. 

That deal is dead.

How vital was/is the Event Centre to the success of the Rivers District? 

If the district was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Event Centre would be Tom Brady.

The Event Centre would be home to more than the Calgary Flames. It would put Calgary in the big leagues in attracting major concerts and other events (hence the name). Under the dead deal with the Flames, the City of Calgary would have received a percentage of ticket sales to every event. There are other opportunities for revenue generation for the city that are now in jeopardy.

However, without the Flames as a partner in some fashion, there isn’t likely to be an event centre.

The Flames ownership group is first and foremost a collection of very successful and astute business people. They are not the billionaire robber barons some Calgarians claim them to be. 

Bringing NHL hockey to Calgary was a great contribution, but their greatest contribution is the millions and millions of dollars they have donated to charities, to build major medical facilities and more. There can be no doubt more than a few Calgarians who are against using public money to help build the Event Centre have benefited from the owners’ largess. 

Without a new, reasonable deal would the ownership group move the Flames out of the city? 

They absolutely would.

That would be Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s legacy.

Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor. He started in radio as a child voice actor, also working in television and as the real estate columnist, reporter and editor at the Calgary Sun for 22 years.
mykethomas@live.com

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