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COVID-19 News

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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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
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 think that's a fair response.
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?
How would you like to frame the debate?
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.
I'm with you.
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?
Sure.
That is split into two different issues: 1. Masks & 2. Lockdowns. So let's look at those two issues:
I'd just add vaccinations now. I hope you're in favour of rolling out vaccines quickly and encouraging people to get them?
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?
The data there is fairly clear. Wearing a mask blocks up to 99% of the virus from being exhaled.
It's also not pointless if you're not infected, because it also helps block the virus from being inhaled, or from you touching a source of infection and then your nose or mouth.
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.
Say more? It can be transmitted quite effectively in the air. Especially in closed in places like airplanes, malls, etc where you are sealed in and breathing in everyone else's air.

Where I do disagree quite strongly with the lockdowns is on things like restricting outdoor ice rinks and the like. As long as you're socially distanced outdoors, it shouldn't be a problem. We still go skiing, and only wear masks in the lift lines and getting off the lifts (unless someone else is on the lift with us). Ontario shut down a ski hill, and that just screams nonsense to me.
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.
OK c'mon man. You know better than to think a guarantee of infection or a guarantee of non-infection is anything but binary thinking. This is the domain of probabilities, not certainties.
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.
Have you been to Chinook lately? Holy crap. That place seems like infection city to me.
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.
Wait wait wait... who exactly is being hurt by wearing a mask again? If we would have worn them and restricted social gatherings before, these lockdowns probably wouldn't have needed to occur. They aren't in some other provinces.

As I told my brother in law, who likes to yell at people wearing masks when we're out, who exactly is being hurt by them wearing one? Or how are they hurting him, who doesn't want to? He's the one inflicting potential harm, and very real social harm by acting out.
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.
I understand your reasoning.

So what would you do instead? We did a fairly close approximation of doing nothing in our province. Now we're fighting our way out of a big infectious cluster-f. So what would you do instead if you were Kenney?
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.
I disagree. One of the primary sources of infections appear to have been through careless social gatherings. Which is exactly what is being targeted. Would you target migrations instead? Should I be unable to drive to Edmonton, or BC? If so, why would that be better than restricting social gatherings?
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.
Contract tracing worked great when we had low infection rates. It's now gone far beyond our ability to do contract tracing simply because there's too many new infections per day to do it. So I struggle with this rationale.
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.
The only people being blamed are the people not doing what they're told with masks and social distancing as far as I'm aware. The lockdown was a response to the virus promoted by the global medical and scientific establishment and then accepted (or not) by the government we ourselves created. Kenney's just a guy like you or me. Well, that's being quite complimentary to the dude, but you get what I'm saying.
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.
I agree. Again, what would you replace it with? Part of the reason I agree with the lockdowns being harsh now is because then they'll end sooner, and we can all get back to business. Muck around with it like we did, and we're going to be in it for a lot longer.
Calling it childish is just a little too glib.
Is it, though? Debates about masks that are a minor inconvenience at worst, and debates about social gatherings respecting social distancing didn't work.

That sounds a lot like a kid that doesn't want to take his medicine, and who blames the doctor for being sick. We need to buckle down and get through this.
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?
That sounds like an argument from emotion, not reason. Are my reasons invalid because they have an (admitted) air of righteousness? How does that change the facts?
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.
Actually, they do. It's a superspreader event, man. That's what they are. That's what they look like. And they're geometric.

To me, they're akin to someone at a pro-gun rally shooting their firearms into the air, while claiming they "probably" won't hit anyone. It's stupid and pointless and foolish and needless. And they do cost lives, man. So no, I don't accept this criticism at all.
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.
And there I get the logic. However, the virus is here. We are not yet vaccinated. So therefore, all they did was prolong the lockdowns they're protesting against, and therefore working against themselves - harming everyone both economically and by spreading it more.
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.
Their concern is no less valid than mine. But their rationale certainly isn't. There is no underlying rationale for their actions except 'don't tell me what to do.' That's it. There's nothing more. There were no people carrying signs for something like 'reduce social distancing from 2M down to 1.5' or anything like that.

Section 2 of the Charter gives us the right to peaceful assembly. It wasn't peaceful - there was violence committed by the protestors. And they still willfully broke the bylaws.

If they would have protested with masks on and with social distancing (and without the Trump flags and ProudBoys and Sons of Odin), I wouldn't have cared at all. Because they wouldn't have been harming anyone except themselves.
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.
Wow, we must be reading different news.
"Doctors says it's 'day-to-day survival mode' as Calgary ICUs stretch surge capacity"

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 concerns are real. Everything you're raising almost without exception is a real concern. Economically and socially this is devastating.
I'm not debating this. But I am saying that math is math. Viruses spread geometrically. It's what they do. We're roughly one doubling progression away from our healthcare being overswamped. One. Look at our infection rates, man - we're worse than some parts of the US!
We've just been through all that and it's far from that cut and dried.
What are you offering instead?
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.
Right.
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.
Totally agree.
In the meantime, I hope you and your family stay well. Keep-up the conversation if it's not too draining for you.
You too, man.
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?
Maybe? But remember as well that those workers are paid for by our taxes - the same taxes that aren't going to be collected from our paycheques if we don't have any.
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When you have fourth epidemic its hard to stop the mutations . Tougher year coming and keep safe .
Ya, man I really hope the vaccines work against the new strain. You're in the UK right? Any thinking about that?
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Thanks for the great response!

I think that's a fair response. How would you like to frame the debate? I'm with you. Sure ...
Thankfully, we actually agree on most points, so let's try to take the rest in smaller chunks.
I'd just add vaccinations now. I hope you're in favour of rolling out vaccines quickly and encouraging people to get them?
I advocate voluntary vaccinations limited to specific ages and risk groups. This is pretty much what the situation is now. So I'm fine with it. There are a number of articles on it I posted earlier including the scientific paper from the test studies. Personally, they raise enough of a concern for me to avoid the vaccine, the details of which we can get into later if you want.
The data there is fairly clear. Wearing a mask blocks up to 99% of the virus from being exhaled. It's also not pointless if you're not infected, because it also helps block the virus from being inhaled, or from you touching a source of infection and then your nose or mouth.
Agreed. However the point I was making is that first the virus has to be present. If it's not. It's pointless, and the evidence does not indicate the virus is ubiquitous. There are only places of relatively higher or lower risk. Therefore the presumption that anyone who is not wearing a mask is either getting or spreading the virus is false. Unless they are in a high risk area, the likelihood of them being exposed is also very small, and even if they are exposed the chances of infection are small, and even if they are infected, the chance of any serious health issues is also very small.
Say more? It can be transmitted quite effectively in the air. Especially in closed in places like airplanes, malls, etc where you are sealed in and breathing in everyone else's air.
Given the above, I think that higher risk places should have the option of mandating masks of their own accord, and that people should have the right to voluntarily wear masks if they feel like it. I don't believe in the bylaws or the fines.
Where I do disagree quite strongly with the lockdowns is on things like restricting outdoor ice rinks and the like. As long as you're socially distanced outdoors, it shouldn't be a problem. We still go skiing, and only wear masks in the lift lines and getting off the lifts (unless someone else is on the lift with us). Ontario shut down a ski hill, and that just screams nonsense to me.
It's called Coronaphopbia, and it affects people who are already germaphobes, as well as those who were borderline before all the fear mongering in the news. Now political decisions are being made to appease the coronaphobes, who have become dominant on the political landscape, and backed by tunnel vision science rather than critical thinking on a more holistic level. They accuse others of only being concerned about themselves, when it's actually the other way around.
OK c'mon man. You know better than to think a guarantee of infection or a guarantee of non-infection is anything but binary thinking. This is the domain of probabilities, not certainties.
Exactly, and whenever we have we convicted people of crimes based on probabilities rather than actual crimes, there has been discontent. We put up with very few examples ( seat belts, insurance, impaired driving ). When it comes to an epidemic, or pandemic, there could be sufficient reason to invoke emergency measures ( which is what this is ), but in this case, the data shows the initial danger was far less than was assumed. See some of the other postes where there are actual statistics.
Have you been to Chinook lately? Holy crap. That place seems like infection city to me.
I've been to Chinook. The only thing I got was a sore dry eye from the goddamned mask. I could hardly wait to get out of there. I'm just not as afraid of infection as you seem to be. That being said, I don't want to get it either, and I do my part.
Wait wait wait... who exactly is being hurt by wearing a mask again? If we would have worn them and restricted social gatherings before, these lockdowns probably wouldn't have needed to occur. They aren't in some other provinces.
Whether or not the lockdowns were necessary before or even now is a matter of debate and I have taken on the side of The Great Barrington Declaration. That's where the real debate is. From what I can tell, the lockdowns are livelihood and economy killers that overall contribute to the loss of lives, most probably to the extent that they cause more of an overall problem than they solve.
As I told my brother in law, who likes to yell at people wearing masks when we're out, who exactly is being hurt by them wearing one? Or how are they hurting him, who doesn't want to? He's the one inflicting potential harm, and very real social harm by acting out.
I think that people should not be harassed for wearing masks. If they want to put on a mask it should be entirely their right to do so, and it should not be construed as some sort of political statement or condemnation of other people's belief that they shouldn't be forced under threat of law, to wear one.
I understand your reasoning. So what would you do instead? We did a fairly close approximation of doing nothing in our province. Now we're fighting our way out of a big infectious cluster-f. So what would you do instead if you were Kenney?
Like I've said many times now. I signed the Great Barrington Declaration.
I disagree. One of the primary sources of infections appear to have been through careless social gatherings. Which is exactly what is being targeted. Would you target migrations instead? Should I be unable to drive to Edmonton, or BC? If so, why would that be better than restricting social gatherings?
I don't think we need to disagree here so much as accept the data, and the data clearly shows that the largest infections and deaths have come from high-risk locations like long-term care facilities etc. This doesn't mean that group gatherings cannot themselves become a high risk. However if they don't consist of high-risk individuals who are going to clog the hospital system, then all they need to do is self-isolate for 14 days, and contribute to the herd immunity.

Revisit the vid I posted on the progress of the Swedish model, and consider how that would look if they'd just protected the vulnerable better at the start. How this plays out in the long run is where all the numbers will matter. Managing the virus alone is only one factor in a much bigger picture.
Contract tracing worked great when we had low infection rates. It's now gone far beyond our ability to do contract tracing simply because there's too many new infections per day to do it. So I struggle with this rationale.
The rationale is that the failure of contact tracing means we we're making assumptions about lockdowns that have certain sweeping negative ramifications, but uncertain positive ramifications, and a possibility of them doing more harm than good in the long run. Therefore before these AEMA lockdowns became a strategy, there should have been far more convincing data to support them.
The only people being blamed are the people not doing what they're told with masks and social distancing as far as I'm aware. The lockdown was a response to the virus promoted by the global medical and scientific establishment and then accepted (or not) by the government we ourselves created.
As you can see from the 50,000 plus signatures of scientists and medical professionals on the Great Barrington Declaration, the authors of which are PhDs, not everyone agrees with the "medical establishment". The "establishment" has been known to be wrong on more than one occasion in history, and I believe it's lockdown strategy has the serious potential to be one of them.
Again, what would you replace it with? Part of the reason I agree with the lockdowns being harsh now is because then they'll end sooner, and we can all get back to business. Muck around with it like we did, and we're going to be in it for a lot longer.
And again, we could have done this all without lockdowns in the first place, and therefore saying because they failed the first time is a good reason to keep using them doesn't make any sense.
That sounds a lot like a kid that doesn't want to take his medicine, and who blames the doctor for being sick. We need to buckle down and get through this.
Perhaps there were some people who fall into the category you suggest. But I wasn't there. I didn't talk to them. I don't know what the specific individuals reasoning was, or even if they had any. I do however think it's entirely safe to assume, given the prevalence of "Put Calgarians Back To Work" signs, that many were concerned about their ability to pay their rent and feed their families. That should not be equated with some kid who doesn't take his medicine.
That sounds like an argument from emotion, not reason. Are my reasons invalid because they have an (admitted) air of righteousness? How does that change the facts?
The fact is that unless you were there, exposed to the virus, and then infected, and then came someplace close to dying from it, blaming protesters for endangering your life is totally unsupportable.
Actually, they do. It's a superspreader event, man. That's what they are. That's what they look like. And they're geometric.
A superspreader event assumes that the virus is in the group. So far as I know, there is no evidence linking any infections to the protest. But even if there were, to endanger your life, it would have to get from there to you and actually make you sick. Honestly, if you were sitting at home watching it on TV, what are the chances?
To me, they're akin to someone at a pro-gun rally shooting their firearms into the air, while claiming they "probably" won't hit anyone. It's stupid and pointless and foolish and needless. And they do cost lives, man. So no, I don't accept this criticism at all.
And if at the pro-gun rally there was no evidence of guns or anyone firing them into the air, then what? Besides that, even if there were guns, they'd be equivalent to nerf guns. Sure, with enough of them going off, and nobody wearing eye protection, someone would probably choke on one and die, or end-up in the hospital, or some oldtimer would have a heart attack. Actually come to think of it, a nerf gun rally would probably be even more dangerous.
And there I get the logic. However, the virus is here. We are not yet vaccinated. So therefore, all they did was prolong the lockdowns they're protesting against, and therefore working against themselves - harming everyone both economically and by spreading it more.
Again, the "they" you are talking about when you say "they prolonged the lockdowns" should be the government, not the citizens. The Lockdowns are an AEMA restriction. To look at this issue in a balanced way, blaming the citizens for lockdowns they don't want makes no more sense than blaming them for no lockdowns when they do want them.
Their concern is no less valid than mine. But their rationale certainly isn't. There is no underlying rationale for their actions except 'don't tell me what to do.' That's it. There's nothing more. There were no people carrying signs for something like 'reduce social distancing from 2M down to 1.5' or anything like that.
Again, that's being glib. I have no doubt that many of the protesters sincerely believed their livelihoods and lives, including the health of others is being negatively impacted by lockdowns. And that doesn't even touch on their right to peacefully express their concern about it.
Section 2 of the Charter gives us the right to peaceful assembly. It wasn't peaceful - there was violence committed by the protestors. And they still willfully broke the bylaws.
If somebody got violent ( and weren't just defending themselves ) then they should be charged with whatever violence related crime is applicable. You know me well enough that I don't support violence. But that also goes both ways.

I don't agree with the bylaws and fines either, or the violence that the law can get away with. Simply standing a little closer than some bylaw says is allowed isn't violence, and neither is refusing to show ID so a bylaw officer can ticket you. But dragging you downtown and throwing you in jail is. I don't care if the bylaw gives them the right to do it or not.
If they would have protested with masks on and with social distancing (and without the Trump flags and ProudBoys and Sons of Odin), I wouldn't have cared at all. Because they wouldn't have been harming anyone except themselves.
I get what you're saying. But to be fair, you have to separate those out from the others with good intentions. Or at least as an individualist and a peaceful anarchist, that's the way I look at it.
Wow, we must be reading different news.
"Doctors says it's 'day-to-day survival mode' as Calgary ICUs stretch surge capacity"
Yes, it's interesting how the stats are trotted out. The numbers I gave were overall Province wide, and the problem areas were where patients were refusing to be transferred or couldn't be transferred to other facilities where there was more room.
The concerns are real. Everything you're raising almost without exception is a real concern. Economically and socially this is devastating.
I'm not debating this. But I am saying that math is math.
Interestingly, it's the math that first alerted me to the concern. First I looked at the number of poverty related deaths prior to the pandemic. It was over 250,000 a year before the lockdowns. Immediately I could see that the lockdowns were going to have a direct affect on this number, not just during the pandemic, but for years after, and that didn't even include the other factors, such as mortality rates from the loss of other medical and support services.

So if math matters to you, then we need to do all the math and not just what pertains to deaths as a direct cause of the virus. And BTW, even those numbers cannot be relied on because of the way they are counted.
Viruses spread geometrically. It's what they do. We're roughly one doubling progression away from our healthcare being overswamped. One. Look at our infection rates, man - we're worse than some parts of the US!
Infection rates aren't the concern because the vast majority of those infected will be fine. Many won't even know they ever had it in the first place. So forget about infection rates among the general population, and look at the cases that end-up needing medical intervention. Then we see that they are the same segment of the population that is already at high-risk from other factors, mainly old-age, and that if they are given special attention, the rest of the citizens should be able to go on living relatively normal lives.

Shutting down the livelihoods of millions upon millions of perfectly healthy people, who even if they were infected, would be just fine within two weeks, is not the way to protect a relatively few well identified high-risk people. It just doesn't make sense from a humanitarian or economic perspective.
What are you offering instead?
Like I've said many times now. I signed the Great Barrington Declaration. A lot of that may become moot now that the vaccines are coming. But the damage to healthy peoples lives is going to take a lot longer to recover from. Many will never recover. Hundreds of thousands of businesses across North America have permanently closed, affecting tens of millions of lives. At present, it looks like history will consider these lockdowns as one of the worst decisions ever made.

Then again. I could be wrong. I've changed my views a couple of times as new info has come in. It might also be the case that in some places the cost of lockdowns is something that was tolerable. But generally speaking it's a solution for the affluent. There will be a cost for us for sure, but for poorer nations it will be far worse. You can read the stories I've posted here, or if you really want to investigate it for yourself, just Google:

Google: lockdowns do more harm than good

PS: And tell your brother in law to settle down :p . Maybe try using the leaky paddle boat analogy. I don't agree with all these measures, but if I have to put up with them, I damn well want to make it to the other side. And he should be respectful of other people's right to wear masks if they want to.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
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?
It might look at it at first, but there's another analysis of a similar graph made on cases in the UK in a video I posted. First of all case numbers aren't really relevant because most people don't end-up in a hospital bed. Secondly, the way deaths are counted is misleading. Thirdly, there is no comparison with deaths from collateral causes. For example British Columbia recorded more deaths from overdoses than COVID, and health experts were blaming those deaths on the compromised resources due to the lockdowns.
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.
I'm glad you were civil enough to not to call the police. If they were all young low-risk people, then for them COVID is less of a threat than the flu or even a common cold, which means that if they spread it amongst themselves, their just contributing to herd immunity. The problem is if they don't take the proper precautions when encountering people who are high-risk, and spread it to them too.
Why is it shallow? It's straightforward. Does that make it wrong?
Forgive me. I don't mean to imply that because your view on masks is a simple common-sense, case-closed, issue that should be adhered to for the common good, that you are a shallow person. I respect your view far more than someone who simply thinks it's too much of a bother and could care less about the welfare of others.

However there is a third view, which is that unless one is in a location where there are high-risk individuals, the use of a mask to prevent the spread of infection may be lowering the rate of natural herd immunity, thereby prolonging the suffering of those affected by lockdowns and other emergency measures.

Remember, that lockdowns are a trade-off. They explained this way back at the start. By now most of the population would be immune, but there may have been overloads in medical centers. That's why the lockdowns went into force. However the disease turned out to be less deadly than was feared. Yes some health centers have been operating at overcapacity, but the lockdowns have been partly responsible for that as well, maybe not as much as the virus, but there are contributing factors.
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.
Then again, had there been no lockdowns at all, then lockdowns would not have been an issue, the economy would be fine, and the system may or may not have been overloaded beyond our ability to cope, but even if it was, we could have adapted, and in the long-term, there's a good chance more lives would be saved by not having the collateral damage from the lockdowns.
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.
It's also reflects at least in-part, the sentiment as the Great Barrington Declaration, which has nothing to do with politics, but the analysis of highly educated medical professionals of differing political backgrounds. That being said, I never voted for Kenny anyway, and I get what you're saying about it being an old-boys Conservative power base.
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.
Again, if you respect science and medicine, then the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration are PhDs from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford, and more than 50,000 other scientists and medical professionals agree with them:


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.
Can't argue that. However the scientists who authored the Great Barrington Declaration don't appear to be racist at all. In fact two appear to be ethnic.
 
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