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Statistics are a part of our lives.  Sadly, most people do not have a clue how they work and how they are to be interpreted.  Our conservative government here in Alberta continues to find unique and exciting new ways to  drop the ball when it comes to dealing with the pandemic.  The government has set up mass vaccination clinics in Calgary and Edmonton and both are ghost-towns.

Why?

 

(**edit – It has been brought to my attention that this comparison is more like orange to apples than oranges to oranges – The type of clot and severity are on quite different scales.  However, a better comparison would be the possible chance and complications from the AstraZenca vaccine versus the chance and effects of being infected with Covid 19 or one of its variants and the complications involved.  The vaccine is the better choice.)

Because people don’t want to die of AstraZeneca vaccine related blood clots.  How likely is that to happen?  Roughly the risk is 1 in 250,000.

Scary, right?

The risk of getting blot clots from another injection – Between 3 and 9 people out 10,000 will develop blood clots on the birth control pill.

Yet Birth Control pills are still widely prescribed and used in society with not a great deal of hoopla.  That being said, this what the vaccination centre looked like here :

 

“The mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Edmonton Expo Centre can administer 7,000 shots per day, if operating at full capacity.

On Wednesday, it did 280.

The rapid-flow clinic is solely offering the AstraZeneca vaccine and only to Albertans aged 55 to 64. An Alberta Health Services spokesperson said the Expo clinic did not run at full capacity this week because a slow uptake was expected for the shots.

On its opening day on Monday, the clinic administered 1,632 doses. That dropped sharply the next day to 520. As of Thursday mid-morning, AHS said around 400 people were booked for the day.

Another mass clinic at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre is also facing low appointment numbers after it opened last week.

“The first day we were doing about 5,000. Right now, we have bookings for between 500 and 1,000 people,” Dr. Cheri Nijssen-Jordan, AHS’s vaccine task force co-lead, said in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.”

The targeted people in the demographic are small in society and are afraid of the AZ vaccine – because blood clots(?).

“Nijssen-Jordan said part of the issue is hesitancy brought on by reports of extremely rare blood clots occurring in people who have received AstraZeneca, also known as Covishield.

On Wednesday, Health Canada announced it had completed a safety review and found that AstraZeneca is safe, and that Canadians over 18 shouldn’t hesitate to take it if offered.

Eligibility is still limited to those over 55 for the time being as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is still reviewing research and hasn’t updated its recommendation. An Alberta Health spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that the province is following NACI’s recommendation and will continue to only offer AstraZeneca to Albertans aged 55 to 64.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Thursday that the province’s Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization would discuss expanding the age eligibility this week.”

So because of statistical illiteracy we have viable vaccinations sitting on the shelf while not all essential and front line people have been vaccinated.

The UCP government has added fruitless dithering to its already terrible record of dealing with the pandemic in this province.

 

[Source: cbc.ca]

 

 

 

 

The UCP continues to fail at governing the province of Alberta.  We look to our public representatives to set an example of how to act properly during these pandemic times.

Apparently traveling to the likes of Ariziona, Mexico, and Hawaii are the behaviours the citizenry should be modelling.  Because air travel is safe:

 

“Two more Alberta MLAs are returning home from holiday trips abroad.

Pat Rehn, the MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, posted a statement on Facebook Saturday confirming he is on his way back to Alberta from a trip to Mexico.

“Residents in our riding have done a tremendous job reducing the spread of COVID-19. We must all work together to get past this pandemic and get back to normal life,” Rehn said.

“Given this, I apologize for the fact that I recently took a previously planned family trip, following a busy legislative session. I am returning home to Alberta and will ensure I follow the premier’s new travel directive.”

A photo posted to Rehn’s Facebook account on Dec. 24 shows Rehn wearing a T-shirt in a cave, with tropical plants in the background.

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South, is also returning from a trip to Arizona. In an emailed statement Saturday, Stephan said he flew to Phoenix on Dec. 31. He said he bought the ticket in October.”

This sort of behaviour from the party of ‘personal responsibility’.

“Allard said she has spent Christmas in Hawaii with her family for most of the past 17 years. She also said she felt she was keeping with the current health mandate through the international border testing program, which allows for a shorter quarantine period following a negative COVID-19 test.

“With all that said, however, as a minister of the Crown, I know that I’m held to a higher standard and in retrospect, I definitely made the wrong decision.”

Kenney said Allard was the only cabinet minister who left the country. The premier also confirmed Friday that Jamie Huckaby, his chief of staff, had travelled to Britain last month.

Kenney said Saturday that he takes responsibility for not being clear about travel rules.

CBC News has also confirmed that Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon was also in Hawaii over the holidays. It is not clear when he left or whether he has returned.

Calgary-Peigan MLA Tanya Fir said on social media Friday night that she had recently been to the United States visiting her sister. In a Facebook post, she said that she has since returned and will abide by the new travel directive.”

So of course our besotted Premiere knew about his MLA’s leaving the country during a pandemic.  He has never been in tune with the people of Alberta or the sacrifices they are making to stop the spread of the virus (gutting the healthcare system during a pandemic).  This is a clear illustration of one set of expectations for the populace, and another for the political class.

Certainly the rules currently do not forbid international travel but why even take the risk in these unflattened curve times?

Is it Arrogance? Hubris? Or just plain stupidity?

I hope Albertans remember the mendacity demonstrated by this UCP government come election year.

 

  Did you need a comprehensive plan on how to overwhelm the heath care system?  Burn out the doctors and Nurses?  Just take the Jason Kenny’s Alberta Personal Responsibility Plan to heart.  Our ideologically blinded Premier has condemned Alberta to a this entirely avoidable health care meltdown. 

   Most certainly personal responsibility is important and those Albertans who do the personally responsible thing are doing it.  They social distance, they wear a mask, and avoid other people.  Not surprisingly though, not everyone in the province fucking gets the fact that we are still in a pandemic (the most dangerous second wave, no less) and are royally fucking things up. 

   It is for these people we need the Public health orders and the stringent rules.

  But no, Jason Kenny, has deferred to his neoliberal ‘populist’ base rather that epidemiological science – and here were are – healthcare staff burnt out, hospitals overloading, and now field hospitals to be staffed by non medical professionals to warehouse the dying. 

As the doctor says – The Refrigerator trucks are next.

 

 

Some of the people in Calgary, Alberta feel that their fundamental rights and freedoms are being taken away from them. (Excerpts from cbc.ca)

“Hundreds marched through downtown Calgary on Saturday to protest against mandated masks and other public health measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the same day record highs in new cases and hospitalizations were reported in the province.

The protests, or “Walk for Freedom,” have been a weekly occurrence in the city and across the country for months, but Saturday was the first since the province’s 10-person limit on outdoor gatherings was announced on Tuesday.

“To see that there is a group of people in the Canadian population that is against masking, and to say that it infringes on their freedom, is taking the word out of context — it’s actually an insult on all those civil rights heroes who fought for freedom,” said Dr. Sajjad Fazel, a public health researcher at the University of Calgary.

“When we look at the word freedom, we’re talking about when people’s rights are taken away … you’re not allowed to drink and drive without any consequences, right? Everything has a consequence … when it’s for the public good, the scenario changes.”

So to protest the measures meant to inhibit the spread of the virus, we’re going yo hold a protest that will actively spread the virus?  I realize the level of intelligence required to vote for false populist neoliberal demagogues isn’t particularly high but these actions, the hyper-spreading of a pandemic level virus, make me wonder if they need to take classes on how to walk and chew gum at the same time.

This from Health Canada.

Respiratory droplets are one of the main vectors of disease transmission. Yet the only masks being worn at the rally looked like this:

Which means the hospitalization rates in Alberta look like this:

This section of the demographic in Alberta are the ones that don’t believe in Public healthcare.  The very same people they regularly demonize and vote against, are the ones keeping these fine individuals alive once the succumb to the virus.  Unfortunately, this cannot go on forever, our doctors and nurses and the care they provide are rapidly burning-out finite resources.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, has warned that the weeks to come are likely to bring dangerous trends.

“In case anyone is wondering, we’re really in deep trouble in hospitals. This can’t continue,” Saxinger said on Twitter

“This is a deadly pandemic, but we will be looking at excess deaths because of failure to take appropriate measures.”

Breaking point reached.  I certainly hope our plucky freedom fighters respect the overtaxed doctors right to choose – especially when they have to make decisions as to who lives and who dies based on the lack of medical personnel and resources.

 

 

 

In Alberta our current government is off the rails.  They are enacting austerity programs that are targeting the public sectors of our society during a pandemic.  The quarrel with Alberta doctors over their working conditions during this exceptional time exemplifies the negligence of this UCP government.

This same radical right United Conservative government laid off thousands of Educational Assistants and support staff during the pandemic as well.  The pattern is clear.  The UCP are starving each of the public sectors of our society of the funds and people necessary for them to function efficiently.  The next round of bullshit will be point out how these same gutted public sectors are not doing a good job and therefore must be replaced with private, more efficient, systems of delivery.

The UCP of Alberta are taking plays from the very first page Disaster Capitalism’s playbook.  They are pushing through reactionary anti-education, anti-worker, anti-public health, reforms in the legislator at a marathon rate with essentially no debate.  Albertan’s will be waking up to a very different set of ground rules in society, and most of said rules will be making their lives marginally worse.

Speaking of marginally worse, the contract for Alberta Teachers is up on August 30th.  There will be no joy at the negotiating table this year, let me assure you.  Austerity will be the only option – while we generously fund pipelines to nowhere – for Alberta Teachers.

Plastic shields for students? Netherlands is doing it.  Alberta is not.

Concomitantly, Teachers will be asked to perform their duties under conditions that are directly hazardous to not only their students’ health, but theirs and their families as well.  No additional funding for pandemic measures is on the table for the opening of the school year.  No PPE, no classroom caps of 15, no additional cleaning personal or cleaning routines will be available.  Teachers will be expected to take up the pandemic slack, as do ‘the best they can’ with the dangerous circumstances mandated by the UCP government.

This is unacceptable.  Teachers should not have to unreasonably risk their lives and the lives of their families working in unsafe conditions.  Is it just to expect teachers to be responsible for the death of their aging parents, or young children because of the government’s mandated unsafe working conditions in the schools?

Alberta teachers will not get, as in the previous agreements, another cent more in wages.  Cost of living be damned.  We expect that, especially with this government that is so completely beholden to private sector; especially Oil and Gas.  The continued existence of the white elephant Energy War Room more than proves this egregious bias, the fact that it continues to exist during the pandemic will be one of the darker stains on this government’s legacy.

Wages aside, it is not reasonable for Alberta Teachers to risk their lives (and their families) to perform their duties.  We are being set up to be the at the very nexus of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The situation, as currently mandated, is a untenable situation.

We must seriously consider a strike because our government seems unwilling or unable to adequately protect the students and teachers of this province.  We should also consider coordinating with healthcare professionals because this government is serious about dismantling our public systems, and we need to present a united front that is too big to fail and cannot be punitively,and in piecemeal, legislated back to work (which will happen).

We let this happen at the ballot box, and now the grave consequences of voting in a American style government with a unhealthy privatization fetish, are here.  We cannot sit back throw up our hands and somehow think that students and teachers dying at school because of the malfeasance of the government is in anyway okay.  We are better than that as a teachers and as Albertans.

 

Signed,

 

A very concerned Alberta School Teacher.

 

@albertateachers

@rachelnotley

@albertandp

@ucp

@edmontonjournal

@adrianalagrange

Here in Alberta I am really enjoying our neoconservative UCP government.  They replaced a government that sough to balance economic investment and diversification with support of the public good.  The UCP essentially tore up that balanced economic plan and went ‘all-in’ on ramping up the Oil & Gas industry and making building pipelines a major campaign promise.

The UCP budget forcast included oil prices to be well north of $50 a barrel.  And here we are speculating that the current oil prices (April/May 2020) may hi the (negative)-40 dollars per barrel figure.

Yep, they were elected on the premise of killing the deficit and now are forecast to run some of the largest deficits in Alberta’s history.  But this is nothing new for Alberta under conservative rule.  Allegiance to the large business sector and Oil & Gas has always been a fixture.  The people of Alberta and the public services they need have always come a distant 10th.

So, the price of Oil has now cratered and is tunneling downward toward the core.  What next dear UCP?

 

“Alberta’s oilpatch history is full of ups and downs, dating back to the province’s first big oil rush more than 100 years ago near Turner Valley. But who would have thought oil would one day be worth less than $0?

On Monday, the price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the North American benchmark, fell more than $50 to close at negative $37.63 US.

“It’s certainly not something I ever thought I would witness,” said Matt Murphy, a Calgary-based equity research analyst with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

“I won’t wager a guess how it may trade [Tuesday]. Could it go worse than negative $40? I don’t know,” he said.

Oil companies in Western Canada and offshore Newfoundland were already drastically reducing costs, slashing payroll and pulling back on oil production in recent weeks with commodity prices hitting multi-year lows. Now, the cuts are being accelerated further with Husky Energy and Crescent Point Energy both on Monday cutting spending more than previously announced.


It was a crazy day on the markets.

WTI prices swung wildly as oil traders began to panic as time runs out to get rid of oil contracts for May. The price of oil is determined by investments known as futures contracts, which are agreements to buy and sell a certain amount of oil at a certain time in the future. Typically, the contracts are bought and sold countless times before the oil is actually delivered to the final buyer.

But the May contracts are set to finalize on Tuesday, meaning anyone left holding one will have to physically receive the oil — and storage options are filling up, especially in the U.S. Midwest. No one wants to be stuck with the oil and traders were willing to take heavy losses to ditch the contracts before they come due.”

It galls me the level of disregard for our society being exhibited by our Alberta UCP government. The naked capitulation to business interests over the public well being is infuriating.

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