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COVID-19 News

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
COVID-19 and Human Rights - We are All In This Together
A Document From The United Nations

"COVID-19 is showing that universal health coverage (UHC) must become an imperative."​
"Countries that have invested in protecting economic and social rights are likely to be more resilient."​
"States need to be respecting and protecting, among other rights, freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of information, freedom of association and of assembly."​
"The threat is the virus, not the people. Emergency and security measures, if needed, must be temporary, proportional and aimed at protecting people."​
"This is not a time to neglect human rights; it is a time when, more than ever, human rights are needed to navigate this crisis in away that will allow us, as soon as possible, to focus again on achieving equitable sustainable development and sustaining peace."
Merry Christmas
AB_COVID_Banner-01a.jpg
United Nations Document Attached Below​
Did you see footage of the anti-masker protests downtown? With Trump 2020 flags?

Infuriating. Nauseating. So stupid.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Did you see footage of the anti-masker protests downtown? With Trump 2020 flags? Infuriating. Nauseating. So stupid.
I didn't see the "Trump 2020" flags but I'll take your word for it that they were there someplace. I'll share your sentiment on that particular element.

However, what I have seen are photos with Canadian flags, and poster boards that say "Lockdowns Are More Deadly Than COVID" and "Let's Get Calgary Back To Work". These are valid sentiments, and what I find even more infuriating, was our pompous, presumptuous, judgmental, condescending Mayor demeaning them by labeling them as "self-indulgent", "not really standing up for their rights", and "only there to be cool".

I haven't heard a politician say something so outrageous in a civilized Western Democracy - ever. The overbearing attitude that he can see inside of the minds of a group of protesters and condemn them in public for what he thinks they believe and feel, is sick. Even if I might disagree with some elements within the protest, I have no doubt that many of them are genuinely concerned for rights and freedoms, as well as saving lives and livelihoods, by taking a non-lockdown approach, and I believe they should have every right to express their concerns without unconstructive offhanded condemnation.

In particular, whatever your views might be ( and I know we seem to have some differences here ), there are now over 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners who don't agree with lockdowns either ( source ). That alone should be sufficient for any reasonably intelligent person to recognize that it is worthy of serious consideration, rather than being written off as uninformed childish opinion.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
I didn't see the "Trump 2020" flags but I'll take your word for it that they were there someplace. I'll share your sentiment on that particular element.
Yup it's wild. There were 3-4 people with them there.
However, what I have seen are photos with Canadian flags, and poster boards that say "Lockdowns Are More Deadly Than COVID" and "Let's Get Calgary Back To Work". These are valid sentiments, and what I find even more infuriating, was our pompous, presumptuous, judgmental, condescending Mayor demeaning them by labeling them as "self-indulgent", "not really standing up for their rights", and "only there to be cool".
I hate Nenshi, but he's right about this. Lockdowns are not more deadly than Covid. They are damaging, to be sure - so we should minimize them. And the way to minimize them is to wear masks and abide by the lockdown. The more we do it, the shorter it will be, and hopefully be avoided further.

That's the problem here - people not following the rules and not being stringent enough with enforcement (or the policy itself) has lead to more and longer lockdowns. Simply because people don't want to be told what to do.

It's childish.
I haven't heard a politician say something so outrageous in a civilized Western Democracy - ever. The overbearing attitude that he can see inside of the minds of a group of protesters and condemn them in public for what he thinks they believe and feel, is sick. Even if I might disagree with some elements within the protest, I have no doubt that many of them are genuinely concerned for rights and freedoms, as well as saving lives and livelihoods, by taking a non-lockdown approach, and I believe they should have every right to express their concerns without unconstructive offhanded condemnation.
My freedom to live outweighs their freedom to protest. It's quite a simple value proposition, quite frankly. I'm glad criminal charges have been laid, as well as tickets for not obeying the bylaw.
In particular, whatever your views might be ( and I know we seem to have some differences here ), there are now over 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners who don't agree with lockdowns either ( source ). That alone should be sufficient for any reasonably intelligent person to recognize that it is worthy of serious consideration, rather than being written off as uninformed childish opinion.
We all know the facts, man. The world knows the facts. Lockdowns work. Masks work. If we would have been wearing the masks and not being stupid in our province, we wouldn't have needed a lockdown in the first place. But we didn't, and now we do, and numbers are already going down.

I love you man, but right is right here.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Yup it's wild. There were 3-4 people with them there.

I'm glad you decided to engage on this, because although we seem to have some very different views, we both respect the process by which differing views should be resolved. So it should be interesting to see how this unravels. I hope you're up to it. Also, although I don't agree with much of the way the pandemic has been managed, I personally have not broken any of the rules or restrictions in place.

For anyone who suggests that might be hypocritical of me, I will say that there is a difference between what the better approach might be, and one that works to some degree, but not as well. So if that's the boat we're in, then we still all need to do our part to make sure it is as effective as it can be, regardless of whatever else we might think. At least to a point, but I won't get into that now.

I hate Nenshi, but he's right about this. Lockdowns are not more deadly than Covid.

Whether or not lockdowns are or aren't more deadly than Covid depends on how we frame that debate, and what sort of data we allow. Are we going to only allow the subset of data that supports our particular frame of reference? Or are we going to consider the bigger picture?

To determine this in a fair minded way, I submit that if the main issue here is the cost in lives, then the considerations need to include the all the consequences of lockdowns and restrictions, and not only the issue of viral transmission.

To do otherwise would be to insist on being willfully ignorant of factors other than viral transmission that contribute to loss of life. I don't imagine you would want to take the tunnel vision approach, but we might as well be clear on it. Otherwise there is no way to know tell who is right or wrong or somewhere in between.

Can we agree on this point before continuing that issue?

They are damaging, to be sure - so we should minimize them. And the way to minimize them is to wear masks and abide by the lockdown. The more we do it, the shorter it will be, and hopefully be avoided further.

That is split into two different issues: 1. Masks & 2. Lockdowns. So let's look at those two issues:

Masks:

Masks may or may not do anything to prevent a COVID-19 infection. For example, where there is no virus, a mask is pointless, and no scientist can argue that. So the question then becomes: How many people are pointlessly wearing a mask at any given time? On top of that, how many people falsely believe that despite it being pointless, it is actually "protecting" them or anyone else?

A specific answer to this question is almost impossible to ascertain, but a little extrapolation on what we know from the data suggests that at any given time, the virus simply isn't present in the vast majority of individual situations where people are. It's not ubiquitously floating around in the air that everybody breathes. Therefore the vast majority of the time, it's totally pointless to be wearing a mask.

However, we do know that there are certain places where there is a higher risk of exposure, but even in those situations there is no guarantee of exposure, and even if exposed, there's no guarantee of infection, or that a mask will prevent the infection, because there are other routes for infection besides simple breathing.

Nevertheless, there are reasonable grounds for people in high-risk situations to wear a mask, because given enough time, the likelihood of becoming infected will approach near certainty. Those places have been identified as medical facilities, long-term care facilities, jails, retirement homes, places where people are self-isolating due to being tested positive, etc.

However for the many millions of the rest of the population, their mask is at this very moment, doing them no good at all. In fact, it's contributing to a lower quality of life, unnecessary fear, and adding to the litter of garbage on the street along with cigarette butts, plastic bags, sanitary wipes, and used condoms.

Bottom Line: Masks are an obvious "Yes" in some places, but not in others, so only high-risk places should be included in any requirement that they be worn. That is sort of the way it is already, and the way it was before the enforcement came into play. So I don't see the justification for enforcement bylaws. Outside the designated high-risk areas, masks should be entirely voluntary.

Do Lockdowns Work:

Again, how exactly do we define "work" and by what standard are we measuring that? A leaky paddle boat will "work", but maybe a bridge will work better, and fewer people will drown along the way. I signed the Great Barrington Declaration as a concerned citizen because when we look at the bigger picture, lockdowns have the potential to cost more lives than the virus itself.

I have included in other posts, links to papers that say the same thing, as well as references to statistics on the number of deaths caused by poverty, and a WHO report on the effects of the lockdowns on poverty. These numbers are in the many millions worldwide. There are now over 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners who also agree with this concern.

Therefore I'm sorry to say, that while lockdowns might "work", it's certainly questionable whether or not they're the best option. We can't even be sure that in the places where they have been alleged to have worked, that they had anything to do with the result. At best, those are only unverifiable correlations. It may be the case that other factors played a much more significant role.

Bottom Line: A Lockdown will obviously lower the risk of transmission of a virus that is present in a place that is locked down. However widespread lockdowns that affect low-risk places that we don't know have any virus at all aren't justifiable, especially when there is a very real possibility that widespread lockdowns may cost more lives from the indirect economic and social consequences than the virus itself.

That's the problem here - people not following the rules and not being stringent enough with enforcement (or the policy itself) has lead to more and longer lockdowns. Simply because people don't want to be told what to do.

Relatively few situations seem to fit that assumption. The evidence shows that higher numbers of serious cases, are in the high-risk facilities mentioned earlier, where despite taking the precautions, the virus has been transmitted between people living there, or has unintentionally migrated from there to others outside those facilities, due to carriers not being aware that they had been exposed.

For those who are testing positive outside those high-risk areas, contact tracing has been very difficult. We simply don't know for sure how they were exposed, and therefore we don't know if masks or physical distancing were contributing factors or not. We can make an educated guess based on certain factors that are known, and make some broad assumptions, but when it comes to radically and negatively affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, we need to do better.

Lockdowns are not caused by the virus, they are caused by the Government, so putting the responsibility for lockdowns on people instead of Government is a bit like blaming the victim, especially when a closer look at the consequences of lockdowns makes it very uncertain that they are the best route to take.
It's childish.

Not necessarily. Concern about whether or not you can feed your kids and put a roof over their heads because you can't work isn't childish at all. There are perfectly healthy families out there now who are losing their homes, people sleeping in their cars, people committing suicide. Calling it childish is just a little too glib.

My freedom to live outweighs their freedom to protest. It's quite a simple value proposition, quite frankly. I'm glad criminal charges have been laid, as well as tickets for not obeying the bylaw.

That's a completely specious argument, but making it personal like that gives it an air of righteousness. The reality is that none of those people were any threat to your life at all, or for that matter, anyone else's. If they were such a big threat to anyone's life, why weren't they all falling dead on the street from COVID? Why aren't you dead right now?

Studies show that if you get COVID, there's a 40-90% chance it would be so mild you don't even know you have it. Not to mention that so far as I know, you personally aren't in a high-risk group. So no. Those protesters were no threat to your "freedom to live" at all. But nice try. It would make a great sound byte for the propaganda machine.

Something else to consider is what the protesters wanted. A significant number of poster boards were expressing a concern over the loss of their livelihoods and collateral loss of life as a consequence of the lockdowns. These are legitimate concerns, that from the point of view of someone who is facing eviction, and is wondering how they are going to provide for their family, is a much more direct threat to their lives than the virus.

So their concern about their lives are no less valid than yours. The difference is that some bully bylaw officer can take them down and fine them. Which brings up the issue of the right of citizens to protest. The only reason that any of these restrictions are in place is because we're in an AEMA situation, otherwise none of these measures would have any legal validity.

So it's fair to ask if AEMA measures are really necessary. To answer that we need to have a closer look at just how bad the situation is, not how bad we thought it might get when we knew less about it. We now know that this is a disease is so mild that 40-90% of the people who get it don't even know they have it. There simply aren't masses of people dropping dead in the street from the virus.

The vast majority of the rest recover fine within two weeks, the majority of the the rest also recover without hospitalization, and that only a small percentage end-up in a hospital bed. Most of them also survive, and virtually all who don't are already suffering from something that any number of other things besides COVID could be what finishes them off.

The Province has thousands of available beds and we are not near capacity. People aren't dying in the street from COVID, but there are people dying in the street from pandemic management fallout. We're in an economic crisis, not because healthy people couldn't work if they wanted to, but because the government has forced them not to. These factors do not in my mind justifying AEMA measures.

We all know the facts, man.

Not really. Some of us are more well informed than others ( including yours truly ). For many others, a lot of fear based assumptions are being made that could be making things worse, not better. They are not childish offhanded opinions either. Again, read the WHO paper on this and consider that some 50,000 medical & public health scientists and practitioners also have the same concerns. It's not reasonable to think their concerns are baseless. Additional info that supports my present view is included elsewhere on this thread, and in some new posts below.

The world knows the facts. Lockdowns work. Masks work. If we would have been wearing the masks and not being stupid in our province, we wouldn't have needed a lockdown in the first place. But we didn't, and now we do, and numbers are already going down.

We've just been through all that and it's far from that cut and dried.

I love you man, but right is right here.

Hey, at least we're having the discussion right here. And at least we're healthy enough to have it. Like I said at the start, I haven't personally broken a single bylaw. I am doing my part, because even if it is a leaky paddle boat, it's the boat we're in, and we have to do our part to get to the other side. I also have a bad habit of sticking up for the oppressed instead of the PTB, which can make me unpopular with the majority.

But for me it's not a popularity contest anyway. It's perfectly fine for people to complain about public policy and offer what they think is a better solution, so long as they do it at the same time as they are doing their part. Dragging the boat down just because they don't like it isn't the answer. Hopefully now that the vaccines are on the way, they'll assist in stomping out the pandemic, and things will get back to normal by next summer.

In the meantime, I hope you and your family stay well. Keep-up the conversation if it's not too draining for you. I'm not sure where exactly it should go from here. My final thought to throw out there is the following:

We've heard that the reasoning for the AEMA measures is to "protect the system from being overloaded". We still have thousands of available beds, and at present, they're making sure we have even more. But then we'd need support staff to work them. Could it be that the Government has invoked AEMA measures to keep the numbers so low as to not need those 11,000 healthcare support workers they want to get rid of?
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Dec 21, 2020

Judge rejects request to suspend Alberta's strict COVID restrictions in order to 'save Christmas'​

Lawyer Jeff Rath said there isn't any proof Canada is in the midst of a health pandemic and government has not proved the orders will prevent harm.

 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Dec 22, 2020

Alberta Eases-Up On Restrictions For Christmas Visits​

Elisabetta Bianchini

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that people in the province will be able to host two single individuals, not including minors, over the Christmas holiday between Dec. 23 and Dec. 28. People in Alberta who live alone will be able to attend only one event at another household.

“It will make a world of difference for single Albertans who otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit their families over Christmas,” Kenney said. “Similarly, it will allow parents who would otherwise spend Christmas alone to welcome their children home for the holidays.”

 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Cost of Lockdowns: A Preliminary Report
American Institute For Economic Research​

"In the debate over coronavirus policy, there has been far too little focus on the costs of lockdowns. It’s very common for the proponents of these interventions to write articles and large studies without even mentioning the downsides.

Here is a brief look at the cost of stringencies in the United States, and around the world, including stay-at-home orders, closings of business and schools, restrictions on gatherings, shutting of arts and sports, restrictions on medical services, and interventions in the freedom of movement."


 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Lockdowns will cause 10 times more harm to human health
than COVID-19 itself, says infectious disease expert

The harm caused by lockdowns is much worse than the disease of COVID-19. That’s the argument from numerous public health officials and economists around the world, including an Alberta expert in infectious disease and critical care, Dr. Ari Joffe of the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the University of Alberta.

“I’m truly worried the (lockdown) approach is going to devastate economies and the future for our children and our grandchildren,” says Joffe, who has practised at the Stollery for 25 years and has now written a review paper on the impacts of the lockdown.

 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
More than 6,900 scientists, Researchers & Healthcare Professionals
Misrepresent the Great Barrington Declaration and
Sign One of Their Own in Opposition.


The misrepresentation in the John Snow Memo is that they say that an approach like the GBD advocates allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. That is not the case. The GBD advocates that lockdowns will have a devastating effect that could be worse than the virus itself, and therefore low-risk individuals should go on living normal lives that include the usual measures to prevent infection, not to simply "let it spread uncontrolled". Meanwhile greater emphasis should be placed on preventing and caring for high risk cases.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
October 2020

Paper: Rethinking The Lockdown Groupthink
By: Ari R Joffe MD, FRCPC, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Alberta and
Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; John Dossetor Health Ethics Center, University
of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


 

Attachments

  • RethinkingTheLockdown.pdf
    1.2 MB · Views: 0
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Reason: Were COVID-19 Lockdowns Worth the Cost?​

The evidence suggests Americans are right to wonder.​

"Now that we have emerged from lockdowns with no real confidence that they actually reduced the ultimate death toll, many people are understandably asking what the point was."​

 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Lancet: Lockdown is not egalitarian: the costs fall on the global poor​


"Evidence of avoidable non-COVID-19 deaths (eg, cancer deaths,2 child deaths from measles,3 women dying in labour4) is mounting. We are disappointed by the false dichotomy implicit in the assertion that there “should be no trade-off between health and wealth”. The wealthy might profit from the economy, but the poor live by it."​
 

Attachments

  • LockdownsLancet-01a.pdf
    127.2 KB · Views: 0

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

WHO: The pandemic’s toll​

"As progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems – understood as all the activities and processes affecting the production, distribution and consumption of food. While it is too soon to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, the report estimates that at a minimum, another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19. The setback throws into further doubt the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger)." - SOURCE
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
It further separates the 1% from the rest of us. The rich are still getting richer as the rest of the populace are suffering. When people are lining up at food banks even though they have advanced degrees, something is wrong. When hospitals throughout the U.S. are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, something is wrong.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It further separates the 1% from the rest of us. The rich are still getting richer as the rest of the populace are suffering. When people are lining up at food banks even though they have advanced degrees, something is wrong. When hospitals throughout the U.S. are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, something is wrong.
Indeed. Advocates of The Great Barrington Declaration say that Lockdowns are a strategy for the affluent. They are right. For those in poverty, or on the edge of that precipice, pulling out their means of hanging on is cruel and will cost lives. Yet this aspect of pandemic management has been consistently downplayed or misrepresented, if not offhandedly rejected by many.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
That's oversimplified. The economy doesn't have to be any worse off, and the data shows that it is entirely possible that more lives can be saved over the longer term by letting it function normally. In the meantime, nobody is saying that everyone should run around irresponsibly infecting everyone. So that is not the alternative, despite it being the go-to criticism.
Check the graph below (for some reason it won't embed).

That spike is when we started the new lockdown enforcement in Alberta. It's since declined. Look at the colours leading up to it - all few restrictions. When restrictions are off, you get more cases and deaths. When they're on, they decline.
That's pretty stark evidence right there, isn't it?
With the billions saved by not enforcing lockdowns and having to give all these handouts out, more resources could be put toward protecting high-risk individuals, including vast improvements in the quality of care at those facilities. Overall, there could be a huge boost in healthcare, education, and jobs, all of which would raise our standards of living while at the same time lowering mortality rates.
That works well - when we have a vaccinated population. We don't. Instead, we have wing nuts on my own block throwing parties during covid. Now I didn't call the cops on them, but I wouldn't have blamed others for doing it. These kind of social gathering super-spreader events are a big part of the problem.
In the end, regardless of what is done, some people are going to die, but that is to be expected, especially in the high-risk categories. So the idea all you have to do is wear a mask and wait to be rescued by a vaccine while millions of lives and livelihoods are put to ruin, is incredibly shallow.
Why is it shallow? It's straightforward. Does that make it wrong?
Why can't it be about both?
How is it not already about both? If we would have locked down sooner, we could open up sooner. If we would obey the by-laws, this all would be over soon.
My dad is in the maritimes right now, freely hanging out with his girlfriend's family without restrictions because they took this thing seriously. We didn't, and now we're going to pay the price for longer and have it be harder, when our economy is already severely impacted.
I didn't vote for the Conservatives, and I think they dropped the ball right away by cancelling 11,000 jobs, and now they want to kill 11,000 more in the healthcare sector. And that's after killing who knows how many tens of thousands more with these lockdowns. There's probably even more, but his stance on the COVID-19 pandemic has actually been more balanced than others.
I agree with your opening statements, but look at that chart above. The response hasn't been balanced at all. It's been a fear response, with Kenney afraid to anger his base - the same kind of Neo-con base that Trump enjoys. In my opinion, of course.
Maybe. Maybe not. More studies are going to have to be done to determine the cost of the fallout from the whole thing. But it seems really plain to me when you look at the relationship between the data on the disease, the economy, and the money spent on pandemic management, that there are some gaping holes.
I'm not so sure about that. We are going to be looking at this for years to be sure. We're going to dissect the mistakes, I'm sure. But I'm confident the biggest mistakes we made will be tied to a failure to respect science and medicine. It's like many people believe that an uneducated layperson posting on Facebook about their opinion is the same or better than someone with the education and experience about this stuff.
That's not at all directed at you - but squarely at the people protesting along with their ProudBoys and Sons of Odin compadres that were there in full force.

When you know that white nationalists are on your side, you know you're on the wrong side.
Putting millions of perfectly healthy people out of work, and in the process destroying their livelihoods, leading to even more lives being lost, isn't the solution to caring for a relatively few sick people.
covid-19-measures-vs-cases-per-capita-provinces-oxford-stringency.jpg


What would you do instead?
 
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