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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]

 

 

 

 

 

Organized religion makes people stupid.  This is a tale of a church and congregation in Alberta that kept going without following any public health guidance, as if we were not in a pandemic and that everything was right as rain.  Reminds me of the religious wisdom available circa 1347:

Not exactly the best strategy for dealing with an infection disease.  Yet, in the here and now of 2021 the religious persist.

“AHS [Alberta Health Services] said it has attempted to work collaboratively with the church for months to address ongoing public health concerns.

Steps taken before Wednesday’s physical closure include:

  • An order issued by AHS on Dec. 17 requiring the church to comply with restrictions ordered by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
  • A Court of Queen’s Bench order obtained Jan. 21 requiring the church to comply with the previous order.
  • A closure order issued Jan. 29 requiring closure until compliance with the restrictions was attained.
  • On March 27, AHS sent a letter to Coates providing him with information on the continued spread of COVID-19.
  • Last week AHS invited Coates to meet virtually to discuss the risks presented by COVID-19, but the church has not provided any dates to meet.

GraceLife Church “has decided not to follow these mandatory restrictions, nor have they attempted to work with AHS to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” AHS said in the media statement.”

Finally GraceLife church was shut down.

“Alberta Health Services has closed GraceLife Church in Parkland County west of Edmonton.

In an emailed statement to CBC News Wednesday morning, RCMP confirmed they were on scene, assisting AHS as they closed the church under Section 62.1 of the Alberta Public Health Act.

As of 8:30 a.m., police vehicles and unmarked SUVs were blocking entrances to the church parking lot. 

In a media statement, AHS said it “physically closed” the church and has prevented access until the church “can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s chief medical officer of health’s restrictions.”

It only took a year and a bit to nip this cluster of superspreaders in the bud.  Our current government has demonstrated repeatedly (until now) that it will not enforce public health regulations so we should not be surprised with the length of time involved with this particular case of religious inanity.

The United Conservative Party of Alberta has consistently chosen the ‘middle road’ when it has come to policy decisions between keeping the economy open and locking down the province to combat the COVID19 virus.  The result has been a roller coaster of half measures and half steps that instead of getting the transmissibility rate down to 0 we are following the historical pattern – experiencing first, second, and now third waves of infection (with a fourth coming as in the USA, because of the dithering of the government).

The Gracelife debacle illustrates how the government in pandering to its ‘base’ is only prolonging the epidemic in Alberta, and ultimately, allowing more people to unnecessarily die.  It is policy position that is illogical, science denying, and morally unconscionable.

Unfortunately for Albertans, this is par for the course for this government so fully expect the shit-show to continue.

 

[Source: cbc.ca]

 

 

 

This is an example of what happens when a society loses its base set of common values.  Healthcare professionals are leaving or being chased out of small rural communities because they are espousing the evidenced based protocols (wearing a mask) that are based on the best available medical knowledge during a pandemic.

Living in Canada we are not immune to segments of society that have been inoculated against evidence based medicine – witness the anti-mask rallies being held in my home province.  But, as in most cases, the United States is well ahead of us in terms of committing to stupid actions based on political ideology rather than empirical fact.   (Although we’ve gone off the rails with bullshit laws and pending laws like bill C-16 and bill C-6 {8} ), those are another post)

 

The virus infecting thousands of Americans a day is also attacking the country’s social fabric. The coronavirus has exposed a weakness in many rural communities, where divisive pandemic politics are alienating some of their most critical residents — health care workers.

“The values of hard work, the value of community, taking care of your neighbor, that’s what small towns shout from the rooftops, this is what we’re good at. We are salt of the earth people who care about each other,” Darnauer says. “And here I am saying, then wear a mask because that protects your precious neighbor.”

But Darnauer’s medical advice and moral admonition were met with contempt from some of her friends, neighbors and patients. People who had routinely buttonholed her for quick medical advice at church and kids’ ballgames were suddenly treating her as the enemy and regarding her professional opinion as suspect and offensive.

[…]

“Hard things should bring us together,” Darnauer says. “And instead, this hard thing has driven a wedge between us.”

That wedge is splitting off health care workers from communities that desperately need them.

More than a quarter of all the public health administrators in Kansas quit, retired or got fired this year, according to Vicki Collie-Akers, an associate professor of population health at the University of Kansas. Some of them got death threats. Some had to hire armed guards.

“These are leaders in their community,” Collie-Akers says. “And they are leaving broken.” Collie-Akers notes these professionals also leaving at a terrible time. The pandemic is still raging. Vaccines still need to get from cities to small towns and into people’s arms; public health officers are as important as ever.

[…]

“In community after community, after community, all I hear about is workforce, workforce, workforce losing clinical staff, trying to attract clinical staff into these communities. It is taking up the full time of our members right now,” Morgan says.

Closing rural hospitals, Morgan says, cuts health care to places where residents tend to be older, sicker and poorer than average.

[…]

Merrett says towns that let pandemic politics drive medical professionals away are choosing what he calls “toxic individualism” over the common good”

 

People seem to be willing to die for their beliefs, even when they do not correspond to reality.  The pandemic has brought to the forefront the necessity of a set of shared common values for a society to function properly, as we can see the evidence of what a fractured combative society entails.

Fascinating stuff from the Edmonton Journal:

 

 

“Premier Jason Kenney did not condemn weekend anti-mask rallies on Monday, saying the right to protest is constitutionally protected.

Saturday anti-mask protests in both Edmonton and Calgary drew crowds of hundreds after new provincial rules were introduced last week that ban private indoor social gatherings and limit “private social” outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In question period Monday, Kenney highlighted the legal right to demonstrate.

“We ask Albertans to be responsible in their actions … obviously when it comes to the constitutionally protected right to protest,” said Kenney.”

 

Let’s take a peek at where “ask[ing] Albertans to be responsible in their actions” has gotten us:

Personal responsibility (en masse) isn’t fucking working Mr.Premier.

 

Mr. Kenney did you perhaps wish to stop pouring gasoline on this particular fire?

 

“NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Kenney needs to call out the “irresponsible” behaviour of demonstrators.

“To those people who purposely and knowingly put themselves, their families, their communities at risk, this week you owe an apology for your extreme selfishness to every bleary-eyed exhausted nurse, doctor, and health-care worker in this province who is fighting day and night to fight this pandemic,” she told reporters before question period.

Instead of condemning those who attended, Kenney asked Albertans to be responsible.

“We would ask people not to engage in large-scale protests, and if they do so, please wear masks,” said Kenney, adding enforcement of any measures under the order Hinshaw signed is up to police, not the government.”

I am glad one of our political leaders understands the nature of public health and the ramifications of tacitly condoning behaviour that spreads the virus.  The NDP government of Alberta was far from perfect, but they at least understood that people are the basis of our society and public orders to protect their health are necessary actions during times of crisis.

 

“Kenney has resisted calls to issue a province-wide masking mandate, last Wednesday saying in a Facebook live event that a province-wide mask mandate could be counterproductive.

Kenney cited a rural MLA who told him more people are wearing masks in the local grocery store, but that “a lot of these folks who are doing that now, they’d take it off the moment the government tells them to wear it.”

Yes, because catering to the ‘muh-freedoms’ crowd during a pandemic is going so amazingly well.  I’m not going to let this one go folks – Jason Kenney is catering to his base over the well being of Albertans during a pandemic that is spiralling out of control.  When will we act?  When the hospitals are all bottled-necked?  When the field hospitals are full? When there are dead in the streets?

 

This UCP government is acting irresponsibly and sentencing Albertans to death by COVID-19.  There is no place from them in office, I hope the people of Alberta (especially the rural areas that keep voting conservative) see this.

  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.

 

 

 

I am hoping we do not have to learn about how bad the second wave is before it is too late.

History (Straight from Wikipedia)

Timeline

First wave of early 1918

The pandemic is conventionally marked as having begun on 4 March 1918, with the recording of the case of Albert Gitchell, an army cook at Camp Funston in Kansas, United States, despite there likely having been cases before him.[24] The disease had been observed in Haskell County in January 1918, prompting local doctor Loring Miner to warn the US Public Health Service‘s academic journal.[25] Within days, 522 men at the camp had reported sick.[26] By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York.[citation needed] Failure to take preventive measures in March/April was later criticised.[27]

As the US had entered World War I, the disease quickly spread from Camp Funston, a major training ground for troops of the American Expeditionary Forces, to other US Army camps and Europe, becoming an epidemic in the Midwest, East Coast, and French ports by April 1918, and reaching the Western Front by the middle of the month.[24] It then quickly spread to the rest of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Spain, and in May reached Wrocław and Odessa.[24] After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Germany started releasing Russian prisoners of war who then brought the disease to their country.[28] It reached North Africa, India, and Japan in May, and soon after had likely gone around the world as there had been recorded cases in Southeast Asia in April.[29] In June an outbreak was reported in China.[30] After reaching Australia in July, the wave started to recede.[29]

The first wave of the flu lasted from the first quarter of 1918 and was relatively mild.[31] Mortality rates were not appreciably above normal;[32] in the United States ~75,000 flu-related deaths were reported in the first six months of 1918, compared to ~63,000 deaths during the same time period in 1915.[33] In Madrid, Spain, fewer than 1,000 people died from influenza between May and June 1918.[34] There were no reported quarantines during the first quarter of 1918. However, the first wave caused a significant disruption in the military operations of World War I, with three-quarters of French troops, half the British forces, and over 900,000 German soldiers sick.[35]

Seattle police wearing masks in December 1918

Deadly second wave of late 1918

The second wave began in the second half of August, probably spreading to Boston and Freetown, Sierra Leone by ships from Brest, where it had likely arrived with American troops or French recruits for naval training.[35] From the Boston Navy Yard and Camp Devens (later renamed Fort Devens), about 30 miles west of Boston, other U.S. military sites were soon afflicted, as were troops being transported to Europe.[36] Helped by troop movements, it spread over the next two months to all of North America, and then to Central and South America, also reaching Brazil and the Caribbean on ships.[37] From Freetown, the pandemic continued to spread through West Africa along the coast, rivers, and the colonial railways, and from railheads to more remote communities, while South Africa received it in September on ships bringing back members of the South African Native Labour Corps returning from France.[37] From there it spread around Southern Africa and beyond the Zambezi, reaching Ethiopia in November.[38] The Philadelphia Liberty Loans Parade, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 28 September 1918 to promote government bonds for World War I, resulted in 12,000 deaths after a major outbreak of the illness spread among people who had attended the parade.[39]

From Europe, the second wave swept through Russia in a southwest-northeast diagonal front, as well as being brought to Arkhangelsk by the North Russia intervention, and then spread throughout Asia following the Russian Civil War and the Trans-Siberian railway, reaching Iran (where it spread through the holy city of Mashhad), and then later India in September, as well as China and Japan in October.[40] The celebrations of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 also caused outbreaks in Lima and Nairobi, but by December the wave was mostly over.[41]

American Expeditionary Force victims of the Spanish flu at U.S. Army Camp Hospital no. 45 in Aix-les-Bains, France, in 1918

The second wave of the 1918 pandemic was much more deadly than the first. The first wave had resembled typical flu epidemics; those most at risk were the sick and elderly, while younger, healthier people recovered easily. October 1918 was the month with the highest fatality rate of the whole pandemic.[42] In the United States, ~292,000 deaths were reported between September-December 1918, compared to ~26,000 during the same time period in 1915.[33] Copenhagen reported over 60,000 deaths, Holland reported 40,000+ deaths from influenza and acute respiratory disease, Bombay reported ~15,000 deaths in a population of 1.1 million.[43] The 1918 flu pandemic in India was especially deadly, with an estimated 12.5-20 million deaths in the fall months of 1918 alone.[31]

Third wave of 1919

In January 1919, a third wave of the Spanish Flu hit Australia, where it killed 12,000 following the lifting of a maritime quarantine, and then spread quickly through Europe and the United States, where it lingered through the Spring and until June 1919.[12][44][45][41] It primarily affected Spain, Serbia, Mexico and Great Britain, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths.[46] It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave. In the United States, isolated outbreaks occurred in some cities including Los Angeles,[47] New York City,[48] Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco and St. Louis.[49] Overall American mortality rates were in the tens of thousands during the first six months of 1919.[50]

Fourth wave of 1920

In spring 1920, a fourth wave occurred in isolated areas including New York City,[48] Switzerland, Scandinavia,[51] and some South American islands.[52] New York City alone reported 6,374 deaths between December 1919 and April 1920, almost twice the number of the first wave in spring 1918.[48] Other U.S. cities including Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis were hit particularly hard, with death rates higher than all of 1918.[53] Peru experienced a late wave in early 1920, and Japan had one from late 1919 to 1920, with the last cases in March.[54] In Europe, five countries (Spain, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland) recorded a late peak between January-April 1920.[51]

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