The UCP has been working hard to contain COVID-19 though there is a push to get things back to normal and the virus is being presented as a threat to seniors, but not so much to younger people, according to the Calgary Herald.
On Wednesday, during a legislature debate concerning the pandemic, Premier Jason Kenney emphasized the fact that the virus has a lower mortality rate for young people and has a high one for people over 80.
“The average age of death from COVID in Alberta is 83, and I’ll remind the house that the average life expectancy in the province is 82,” he said.
“In Canada, 95 percent of fatalities from COVID are from those over the age of 60, 80 per cent are in care facilities, and the risk of death from COVID for people under 65 is 0.006 percent.”
“What we are learning is that younger people, although not completely immune, have a rate of mortality related to COVID that is no higher than their general mortality rate from other illnesses,” he added. “For most Albertans, the risk of death from other pathogens, accidents and traffic fatalities is actually higher than it is for COVID.”
It is well known that the virus has different impacts on different age groups, though Kenney made an effort to vividly describe the age split during the first legislature debate on the subject since April 1.
Kenney said, “We cannot continue indefinitely to impair the social and economic as well as the mental health and physiological health of the broader population for potentially a year for an influenza that does not generally threaten life apart from the most elderly, the immunocompromised and those with co-morbidities.”
He added that there are more hospitalizations, deaths and outbreaks to come and said, “I challenge our public health experts and our officials to ensure that our policy response is predicated on protecting the most vulnerable in the strongest and most discreet ways possible.”
“One thing I think we’re learning epidemiologically is that that population has a very high level of immune resistance, of immunity, and resilience against an influenza of this nature,” Kenney said.
Kenney eventually leads up to his main point.
“Perhaps the most important strategy as we move forward is building a wall of defence around the most vulnerable, seniors in particular.”
Listening to this provides a general feeling that things will soon get back to some form of normal, besides the continued measures being taken in care homes and for the elderly in general.
Kenny doesn’t want to decrease screening, testing and other safety measures for the general population—he actually wants them increased.
When responding to the premier, NDP leader Rachel Notley believed that Kenney forgot to take into account the large possibility of a second wave of the virus that poses a risk for the entire population.
Now is “not the time to rest easy or let our guard down,” Notley said.
“We must, if we are cautious and prudent, actually see the time we are in as the eye of the hurricane, and we must use this time wisely to prepare for what most scientists tell us will be a second wave in the fall.”
Notley gave arguments for implementing better protocols in care centres and other places that may be more prone to infection such as meat-packing plants.
When referring to seniors residences, she said, “the issue is that when confronted with these challenges, the government didn’t move faster when it mattered most.”
Kenney has these issues and many others on his plate such as this year’s large seven percent decrease in Alberta GDP.
As the government begins to normalize coronavirus as an elderly issue, it is doing what it can to help the older population to get through the pandemic.