A screenshot of the Facebook ad library showing the Alberta Government’s ads promoting the shipment of 750,000 N95 medical masks to other provinces (Image: Facebook).

The Alberta Government spent between $14,000 and $20,000 on Facebook advertisements promoting Premier Jason Kenney’s announcement Alberta would donate 750,000 N95 medical masks and other personal protective equipment to Ontario, Quebec and B.C., political blogger Dave Cournoyer revealed in a tweet yesterday afternoon.

The heaviest promotion was in Ontario, Mr. Cournoyer discovered when he peeked into the Facebook ad library, with the targeted message also pushed in British Columbia and, in French, in Quebec.

Blogger Dave Cournoyer (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“We are all in this together,” chirped the all-caps header on the English-language version of the ad. To help battle COVID-19, Alberta is sending supplies to British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec to help address unprecedented demand in those provinces for PPE and ventilators,” it continued.

“Based on current modelling, with current stockpiles and more shipments on the way, Alberta can safely send N95 masks, procedural masks, gloves and goggles while maintaining an adequate supply,” the ad said.

Unlike Mr. Kenney’s press conference on Saturday in Edmonton when he announced the gift, the Facebook ads that ran on Saturday and Sunday did not explicitly connect the idea of pipelines in return for PPE donations. Still, the timing of the large buy strongly suggests building social license for Alberta’s fossil-fuel-infrastructure wish list was the goal behind both the donation and the two-day social media campaign.

Facebook’s records imply the government didn’t even think to bill it to the apparently furloughed Alberta Energy War Room!

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on a happy day soon after the election of his United Conservative Party Government (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The response to the revelation by the premier’s $200,000-per-year “issues management” director also appeared to confirm winning social license for pipelines was the goal of the giveaway.

If we learned nothing else in recent years, Alberta needs allies,” tweeted Matt Wolf, who is often disparaged as the premier’s personal social media troll, in injured tones. “When Alberta steps up to help the rest of Canada, best to let the rest of Canada know.”

Mr. Wolf’s whiny comment, accompanied by the hashtag #OutrageDeJour, continued defensively: “Also note that these ads a promote Alberta, not the Premier.”

Well, we’ve come a long way from the days when Mr. Wolfe and the UCP’s echo chamber in the media used to repeatedly damn the former NDP government for “clinging to the myth of ‘social license’,” as a prominent right-wing columnist was still putting it even after the UCP election victory.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro at last Saturday’s news conference, with boxes of medical PPE for a backdrop (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video).

When Mr. Kenney’s United Conservative Party was elected one year ago today, they promised us we’d be sitting pretty by now, open for business and adding new jobs by the thousands.

Instead, all on their own they’d managed to eliminate something like 70,000 jobs by the time the COVID-19 tsunami struck Canada — and the first thing they did in response to that was lay off 26,000 public education workers in a single day!

Now, with Alberta COVID-19 cases within spitting distance of 2,000 (they’ll surpass that total today after reaching 1,996 yesterday) and oil prices still in the bargain basement despite a deal of sorts between Russia and Saudi Arabia to tighten supply a little, instead of living the dream, we’re living the nightmare.

Indeed, here in Wild Rose Country, things look positively apocalyptic. Frightened health care workers are wondering whether there’s a shortage of N95 masks or not. A lot of them sure aren’t feeling as if we’re all in this together, and for many it seems as if their safety and that of their patients has been compromised by a cynical effort to build social license for more pipelines.

Matt Wolf, the Premier’s “issues management” director (Photo: Twitter).

Before Mr. Kenney’s announcement of Alberta’s gift, Albertans were told a shortage of medical PPE was looming.

On Saturday, however, they were told the supply was secure. “I assure Albertans that we will have ample supply,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro promised.

At the same news conference, Mr. Kenney said: “We are absolutely confident that these contributions will in no way undermine our capacity to provide critical protective equipment and ventilators to Alberta’s medical professionals, to other associated front line workers, and to care for those in need of it. We would not contribute if it would in any way impair our ability to provide for our own health care needs.”

Yet just yesterday, the CBC reported used N95 masks from intensive care units in Edmonton and Calgary are being collected for sterilization and possible reuse. Alberta Health Services officials insisted the action is merely a “contingency plan” in the “unlikely event” the province runs out of respirators. The used-mask collection started Tuesday.

We are stuck with cheap, low quality product while Kenny sends the better equipment East for a little PR,” a health care worker commented bitterly on social media last night, a fairly typical sentiment on the front lines of health care.

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  1. Kenney BS rhetoric sounds like the Trump BS rhetoric, in these Kenney comments:

    “absolutely”, “in no way”, ” if it would in any way impair”

    “At the same news conference, Mr. Kenney said: “We are absolutely confident that these contributions will in no way undermine our capacity to provide critical protective equipment and ventilators to Alberta’s medical professionals, to other associated front line workers, and to care for those in need of it. We would not contribute if it would in any way impair our ability to provide for our own health care needs.””

  2. The best gifts are selfless, which is why some are anonymous. Those that get ones name on a building or a plaque surely will not get the donor into heaven. I suspect Mr. Kenney the shrewd political survivor has been around politics far to long to think about getting into heaven as much as he once did or some of his supporters still do.

    Yes, there is a cost to social licence, but they are not quite like indulgences that can be easily bought or sold. Those seemed like a clever idea initially too, but didn’t work out so well in the end for those selling them.

    I doubt Mr. Kenney will accomplish much with his more modern approach to such an old tactic. I suspect in the end when it fails, he will just use it as a way to whip up western alienation again. Perhaps he can then start up another “fair deal” panel and wallow, or is it revel, in yet another “humiliation” by the east. I can just imagine hearing him six months from noe, “we gave them all those masks and they gave us nothing in return”. Then after time for him to again trott out the idea of a provincial police force, so he can stop those pesky election finance investigations and set up a provincial pension plan so he has a bigger pot of money to play with. If Alberta loses, Kenney still wins, that’s the way he plays it.

  3. God knows what illogical sludge courses through the minds of UCP MLAs, from top to bottom. Shandro is a shambles with a mind with bovine spongiform encephalopathy Kind of like Trump – he’s going to reopen America in two weeks and bugger the consequences, because HE’s in charge, dontcha know. Delusions of autocracy. Chaos will ensue if governors of various states tell him to take a hike. Of course, unlike the case here in Canada, where the strutting peacock of a kenney can rely on the Feds to send out care pay packages to out-of-work Albertans and relieve him of any need to look after his subjects, Trump has only given $1200 each to Americans, except that it hasn’t arrived. The individual states apparently are responsible for the actual work and putting Trump’s signature on the checks (shades of stevie harper and his Canada website redesign to look like CPC webpages – these would-be dictators are so keen to promote their brand). The states’ computer systems are decades old and overwhelmed. I had my Cobol moment with the IT people twenty years ago, and it was the two-digit year entries that caused all the rumble about the possible end of the world at the beginning of 2000. I see the US hasn’t updated their creaky public IT infrastructure. Yet spends over $700 billion a year saving us all from non-marauding Arabs, Russkies and Chinese, and to hell with its own citizens well-being. It’s worse than dystopia, it’s insanity. The US always invents enemies when there are none about and props up outlaws like the Saudis and right wing South American dictators, then propagandizes its citizens into thinking they’re living in a paradise to which no other country can compare.

    With no income for more than two weeks, millions of Americans can’t even afford food, let alone rent. Hence the chanting groups demanding a return to work and lines miles long outside food banks. What a paradise! And that’s the way Alberta would be if the Feds weren’t backstopping the place, along with everywhere else. So these nasty little minds running Saskatchewan and Alberta can continue Con rhetoric untroubled with the mere matters of looking after citizens, and claim all the credit for things that do go well.

    So what do we get? Kenney as usual cannot read, so has decided to overlook the constitution to attempt to step on Federal jurisdiction and complain about lack of approval for various quick CV-19 tests. He’ll get nowhere on that. Alberta is supposed to be darn near clear of virus due to his pompous chubbiness’s instant action last month. Yeah right. So what’s this Cargill problem at High River and the Kearl tarsand workcamp? Heard about the latter workplace disaster a month ago when an off-duty worker on 10 day furlough in NS called up CBC and spilled the beans on that operation.

    Kenney’s posturing will probably work. If what I saw yesterday on a trip to the supermarket after a two-week hiatus is any indication, your average dolt doesn’t bother with the news or things like pesky recommendations and regulations beyond social distancing. Following Mr Climenhaga’s lead, I fashioned a face mask and went forth at 7 am to Loblaws (Superstore). Old folks shopping time. Less than a fifth of the customers had any face masks, and NONE of the staff. Youngsters shopping unaware of the time slot for oldsters, and couples shopping against Public Health recommendations for single users only. What pandemic? Sobeys, where I then went to try to find some flour, was the same. Not a mask to be seen on staff.

    If I were to sum up the attitude, I’d say the word OBLIVIOUS comes to mind. Maybe it’s just Nova Scotia, wouldn’t surprise me. We have seen no reduction in daily CV-19 cases and yet are testing like crazy. And now boat owners are agitating to put their yachts and cruisers in the water, because it’s almost Spring, don’t you know. Oblivious. The lack of availability to the public of cheap surgical masks in this country is unforgiveable, in my view. Looking at Turkey the country, they give you a new mask as you enter a supermarket! But not here, oh no.

    Sobeys still hasn’t discovered a source for hamburger meat after two weeks, either. Not a bit in sight then or now. Toilet paper on sale for $12.99 that cost just $5 during the hoarding binge a month ago. Costco must have grabbed it all.

    Makes me wonder. I asked the Sobey’s girl about the lack of facemasks for staff, and the happy bouncy fiftyish couple who had checked out before me. Her response was that all was going according to company policy. She was nonplussed when I said that Sobey’s policy meant nothing in the big scheme – Public Health and goverment ran the show and made the rules. Poor girl. Oblivious of the news, so parochial it hurt.

    What’s it like in Edmonton?

  4. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/keystone-xl-montana-ruling-1.5533863

    New setback for Keystone XL oil pipeline as U.S. court rules against new permit

    A U.S. court on Wednesday ruled against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ use of a permit that allows new energy pipelines to cross water bodies, in the latest setback to TC Energy Corp.’s plans to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

    Montana Chief District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Corps violated federal law by failing to adequately consult on risks to endangered species and habitat, and it must comply before it can apply the nationwide permit to any project.

  5. Kenney doesn’t care about anyone but himself, so you had to know this was a stunt.

    Sticking health care workers with shoddy masks was just the icing on the cake for him since he also never misses a chance to insult, belittle or abuse public sector workers.

  6. On the radio this morning Kenney was crying the crocodile tears about those poor fragile tarsand mines being threatened with a shutdown because some workers have tested positive for Covid.
    Kenney had nothing to say about the health or any measures contemplated to ensure the health of the hundreds of workers in these mines – not a word.
    But he had plenty to say how irresponsible, how damaging, how economically destructive to Alberta’s economy any attempt of any sort to close down these mines.
    He is a slow-witted and foolish greaseball promoter for yesterdays failing industry.
    A sad, sad joke.

  7. We truly are living the nightmare. All reason with regard to the Covid-19 phenomenon has gone out the window. The Alberta government website says that there have been 1870 cases to test positive in this province. As usual Wikipedia is a garbage source. Regardless, the positive test rate, with the garbage PCR tests, remains 2%. 2000 “positive” infections with hospitaliztion, ICU and fatality rates that do not, by any stretch of the imagination, exceed seasonal influenza.
    This is much, much worse than the early days of the War on Terror™. At least in 2003, millions of people who hadn’t lost their minds went out to protest the Imperial war to isolate China and Russia. The greatest coup ever executed by the financial elite that runs the west has occurred with the insallation of the Drumpf. By letting the orange freak spill the beans about the fake nature of this response to Covid near the outset, the position counter to the official narrative was already handed to the MAGA-freaks.
    In the UK, the mortality rate is spiking and yet half the deaths are attributed to the freak-out, and not the bug. Healthcare workers in Alberta were stampeded back in February, along with the rest of us, and yet after six weeks, only 115 “positive” people have ever been admitted to hospital across the entire province.
    No distinction is being made between people who died “from the virus” and those who died “with the virus”. And yet, even ignoring that fact which negates any possible rational assessment of the infectiousness of the Chupacabra, a massive health-crisis still can’t be manifested here. 1400 people were hospitaized with influenza in Alberta last year.
    Is it any wonder that charlatans like Tailgunner Jay, or Cuomo in New York, or the Drumpf, are relentlessly spinning this gift from the gods of psychological warfare?

    “A total of 130 of 166 new infections (78%) identified in the 24 hours to the afternoon of Wednesday 1 April were asymptomatic, said China’s National Health Commission.
    “The sample is small, and more data will become available. Also, it’s not clear exactly how these cases were identified. But let’s just say they are generalisable. And even if they are 10% out, then this suggests the virus is everywhere. If—and I stress, if—the results are representative, then we have to ask, ‘What the hell are we locking down for?’”
    Jefferson said that it was quite likely that the virus had been circulating for longer than generally believed and that large swathes of the population had already been exposed.”

    This lil’ number is already archived by the London Times. No sense working up the Great Unwashed:
    “England and Wales have experienced a record number of deaths in a single week, with 6,000 more than average for this time of year.
    Only half of those extra numbers were attributed to the coronavirus. Experts said they were shocked by the rise, particularly in non-Covid-19 deaths, and expressed concern that the lockdown might be having unintended consequences for people’s health.”

    The response to this epidemic is utter madness and I am absolutely astounded at the willingness of people to go along with the panic.

    1. Dear Murphy: you posted the following quote from the British Medical Journal:

      “Jefferson said that it was quite likely that the virus had been circulating for longer than generally believed and that large swathes of the population had already been exposed. What the hell are we locking down for?”

      You might want to consider the responses to the BMJ article which call into serious question the use Jefferson makes of the Chinese stats.

      Some of the responses also point out the fallacy of your distinction between “people who died “from the virus” and those who died “with the virus.”

      1. Dear Kang,
        I read the responses. None of them point out any fallacy in “my distinction” between those who die “from the virus” and those who die “with the virus”. Likely because it’s not a fallacy. An 88-year-old with pulmonary fibrosis, diabetes and atrial fib who develops pneumonia with Covid can hardly be said to have died from Covid. I have no reason to doubt any assertions counter to that of Jefferson. When you can give a figure for the rate of severe disease over a total number of infected, by all means, let us know.

        1. Dear Murphy: you are splitting hairs on the “with covid” and “by covid” which was the point of the one response in the BMJ. Dead is dead and the proximate cause, as the lawyers would say, is covid in any case. Two of the other responses disagreed with Jefferson’s reading of the Chinese stats in pretty substantial ways. One response was about treatment options, etc. Journal articles like these and the responses are a dialogue, not a final answer either way.

          As to the numbers, yesterday Alberta had 2,397 infections yet deaths have hardly changed at all since AHS started posting the numbers and those have bumped along at around 50 while infections have increased. So, your point Covid is not an especially dangerous infection for most is not unreasonable.

          None the less, slowing the demand for medical resources is still a sound policy. You can compare the efficacy of shutting things down by comparing Greece and Italy. Demographically and socially they are more or less identical. The Italians failed at shutting things down in time while the Greeks were quick and decisive and their population cooperative. Italy has 23,000 deaths, Greece has only 110 as at yesterday.

          AHS also posts “severe outcomes” broken down by age group in: “Figure 6: Rate of total hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths among COVID-19 cases in Alberta.” It shows this is almost always fatal for the over 80 crowd, but just about anything is at that age. But again, proximate cause is the issue as it was for the 44-year-old Quebec doctor who died yesterday.

          If the cons had resourced public health care properly, testing and tracing infection chains could have shortened the lock down period considerably as is standard practice for TB and STIs. However, Edmonton Public Health did not even have the resources to stop a syphilis outbreak last fall, so the draconian lock down was not unreasonable when faced with a new contagious virus.

          You are completely correct to say there is all sorts of skulduggery going on under the cover of this perfectly manageable public health issue. Ottawa’s thoughtful gift to the oil companies so they don’t have to pay for their pollution is a case in point with much worse happening in other areas as well. Instead of quibbling about covid it would be nice to see a greater focus on the other nonsense being carried out behind the curtain by Ottawa and Edmonton.

          1. I am, without question, not “splitting hairs” with regard to who dies “from’ or “with” Covid. If governments are going to claim that an unprecedented health emergency is unfolding and thus unprecedented social and economic controls must be implemented, then evidence that the emergency is unprecedented is required. Every winter hundreds of thousands of people across the globe die from respiratory ailments, in particular influenza. If the people dying in 2020 with Covid consist to a high degree of the people who would have died from respiratory ailments in any other year, then there is no unprecedented health emergency. Thus it is a very important distinction to make between those who died “from” Covid and those who died “with” the pathogen. Co-morbidity is hardly a trivial thing.

            “Proximate cause is Covid” is not what lawyers or anyone else would say when the proximate cause of death is not Covid, which it is apparently not in most cases with Covid in Italy. Given the overwhelming comorbidity in nearly all fatal cases, it’s likely not the proximate cause anywhere else, in most cases. I don’t think you know what “proximate cause” means, but regardless, given how sick and frail the Covid fatalities are, no reasonable person could say that “but for Covid, they would have lived.”. Mostly because they wouldn’t have lived.
            Covid isn’t “almost always fatal for the over 80 crowd”. It seems to kill about a quarter of them in Alberta, but of course that figure includes the Mckenzie Towne rapture. Given decent care, it seems quite reasonable that the fatality rate for those over 80 is much lower than 25%.
            “Shutting things down” cost a whole bunch of sick and elderly Italians their lives. The Eastern European health care workers ran back to Slovakia or Moldova or wherever they were from, because they were told the borders were being shut. Northern Italy has atrocious air quality and the oldest population in Europe and the highest proportion of elderly people living with younger generations and a health care system that is apparently at 95% capacity every winter and they had 38 000 deaths from influenza in a single season, within the last ten years. Those are not the conditions in Greece.
            The world has had several trillion dollars worth of productivity eliminated by the Covid panic, which is going to cost lives in the final accounting, so it’s not “quibbling” by any orthodox definition of the term.
            This bug is not like TB nor STI’s. Generally speaking it’s unlikely that somebody will give me syphillis on the C-train, although I remain optimistic about the prospect of such a spontaneous expression of affection. The economy has never been closed down in North America for TB.
            One cannot realistically corner a respiratory ailment like Covid by contact tracing. Between 2 and 4% are positive, every day, in Alberta, no matter how many are tested. Studies in California, Colorado and Italy indicate that currently these rates of infection are common. If 2% of Albertans are positive at any time, we have 88 000 infected.
            I appreciated your explanation of how journals work. Although I identify as a male, in the spirit of equality I’ll happily entertain your mansplaining.
            There was no need to “slow” the demand for health resources in Alberta because Covid was not going to put extraordinary demands on our system. But of course, the panic has put huge and extraordinary demands on the system. I got a text on March 19 with information from an Emerg doctor in Calgary saying that the hospital was overwhelmed. There were six positve cases in hospital in the entire province on that day. A few hundred stampeded people with a cold or flu makes for good times in the hospital triage area though, n’est-ce pas?

            New York added 50% to it’s total fatalities in a single day, jumping from 6500 or so to over 10 000 with no scientific testing of any kind. So sciency but not of any particular consequence, right?

          2. Dear Murphy: You are obviously having a great deal of fun with this, which is fair enough. I should think it is self-evident that some people with co-morbidities are being tipped over the edge by Covid 19 and may well have lived with a different infection. In any case the proximate cause, the thing that started the dominoes falling, would be the infection whether it is Covid 19 or influenza.

            Like STIs and TB (the latter of which you actually can catch on the C-Train with or without “spontaneous demonstrations of affection”), SARS and MERS were both contained using basic tracing of infection chains and isolation. As we get reliable mass testing for Covid 19, I suspect the same public health methodology will be successfully applied to Covid 19.

            In your view why is this panic being fomented?

      1. No, it’s not. It’s not as bad as ’57 or ’68, despite the fact that a lot of fat diabetics and people over eighty are dying. Can’t fill that under-fifty hole, unforunately. Watch out for Reds under the bed and El Kaydahs!

  8. kenney was a sleazy weasel from before his stint as short pants boy the harper coronation .
    never having a real job has not served him well.
    he is a petty tone deaf ideologue absolutely shameless in his pursuit of power.
    and we see, over and over,at any cost.


    it is never ever in your best interests
    they dropped the “progressive” long ago.
    (i now await my harshly worded memo or chastising visit from the war room)

  9. Good grief, I’m really not sure where the bottom is with the UCP, as they seem to somehow plumb lower depths daily. It’s only been a year and look where we find ourselves. How can we survive another 3 years of this crowd of carpetbaggers??

    I spoke to a family member this morning who works in an LTC in Ontario. She said that at her facility they only wear masks, whereas her friend’s facility provides both masks and goggles for the PSWs. Perhaps they can now expect to get added PPE with our premier’s name stamped on them, or an O & G logo. UGH!

  10. “We would not contribute if it would in any way impair our ability to provide for our own health care needs.”

    He means the needs of the premier, his cabinet ministers and UCP MLAs, and their associates. In other words, the stash of masks hidden under the stairs as the legislature, some of which are whipped out for photo ops with the unwashed masses.

  11. Just one example of the chicanery involved in stoking the panic was the reported massacre of doctors in Northern Italy. The Italians had to remodel their reporting once it became clear that they were including 84-year-old psychiatrists in the casualty reports from the front. Subsequent versions of the panic tally did not include birth-dates for the fallen healthcare warriors, struck down in their geriatric prime during a mass panic and accompanying respiratory epidemic.

    44% of the initial 50 were 70 or older. Ideal candidates to be working in a high-stress environment with a high risk of acquiring a high viral load. High-five!

    “Giuseppe Lanati 24 08 1946 † 12 03 2020
    Pneumologo – Como

    Raffaele Giura 23 10 1940 † 13 03 2020
    Ex primario del reparto di Pneumologia – Como

    Carlo Zavaritt 23 02 1940 † 13 03 2020
    Pediatra e neuropsichiatra infantile – Bergamo

    Gino Fasoli 09 12 1946 † 14 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale già in pensione richiamato per l’emergenza Covid-19 – Brescia

    Luigi Frusciante 13 02 1949 † 15 03 2020
    Medico di Medicina Generale – Como

    Andrea Carli 02 05 1950 † 19 03 2020
    Medico di Medicina Generale – Lodi

    Bruna Galavotti 03 04 1933 † 19 03 2020 (data segnalazione)
    Psichiatra, Decana dell’Associazione Donne Medico di Bergamo – Bergamo

    Piero Lucarelli 14 01 1946 † 19 03 2020 (data segnalazione)
    Anestesista – Bergamo

    Manfredo Squeri 06 01 1944 † 23 03 2020
    Già medico ospedaliero, attualmente responsabile del reparto di Medicina nella Casa di Cura Piccole Figlie di Parma convenzionata con SSN – Parma

    Ivan Mauri 30 09 1950 † 24 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale – Lecco

    Marino Chiodi 30 05 1949 † 22 03 2020
    Oculista – Bergamo

    Francesco De Francesco 09 03 1938 † 23 03 2020
    Pensionato, già medico ospedaliero, scultore e pittore – Bergamo

    Flavio Roncoli 08 05 1930 † 03 2020
    Pensionato – Bergamo

    Giulio Titta 23 02 1947 † 26 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale, ex-segretario FIMMG – Torino

    Benedetto Comotti, 06 05 1945 † 26 03 2020
    Ematologo – Bergamo

    Dino Pesce 16 01 1946 † 26 03 2020
    Medico internista, per vent’anni primario del reperto di medicina generale dell’ospedale Villa Scassi di Sampierdarena – Genova

    Giulio Calvi 19 10 1947 † 26 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale – Bergamo

    Marcello Ugolini 01 05 1949 † 27 03 2020
    Pneumologo, consigliere dell’Ordine dei Medici – Pesaro Urbino

    Abdel Sattar Airoud 23 06 1945 † 16 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale – Piacenza

    Giuseppe Maini 24 01 1946 † 12 03 2020
    Medico di medicina generale – Piacenza

    Luigi Rocca 24 12 1926 † 26 03 2020
    Pediatra – Piacenza

    Leone Marco Wischkin 23 03 1949 † 27 03 2020 (data segnalazione)
    Medico internista – Pesaro Urbino”

    I suffered through “The Irishman”, so it’s clear that some folks think we’ll buy any sort of rubbish with regard to the magic powers of the elderly, but if 94-year-old Dr. Rocca went down on the front-lines in the Chupacabra War, then I am a monkey’s uncle.

  12. I wonder if Jason Kenney has considered how history will look at his performance if this pandemic gets really bad. Items sure to make it into the 2060 history books will be how he 1. bought a useless pipeline during a pandemic and 2. gave away lifesaving equipment then took out ads bragging about it.

  13. I’m waiting for Alberta’s angry midget to denounce PMJT for the last time and declare himself Grand Poobah of the Duchy of Alberto.

    No doubt his ego needs its own country.

  14. The JK-Giveaway has resulted in reports on Twitter from Alberta doctors and nurses about the new face masks being sent to hospitals. Apparently the latest masks smell of chemicals, cause face rashes, cause breathing difficulties and fit poorly. The high-quality masks used previously are not what is being sent to hospitals now.

  15. I see some debate going on here about whether COVID-19 is dangerous enough to justify the extreme lockdown of our economy. As a health professional, please allow me to contribute some facts to this discussion; your readers can draw their own conclusions.
    – firstly, how deadly is COVID-19? Well, the best available estimates of its “case fatality rate” — what percentage of people who get it will die from it — is somewhere around 2-3%. In Alberta, of the 2,562 documented cases to date, 51, or 1.99%, have died. The comparable number for seasonal influenza is about 0.1%, but a key difference is that we have a vaccine for influenza, and many of us have some level of immunity to influenza, whereas there is no immunity in the population to COVID-19, which is a completely novel virus. Two percent of 4.4 million, which is the population of Alberta, is 88,000; this means that if COVID-19 is allowed to run rampant in the population, tens of thousands of Albertans are likely to die before this year is out. There’s a meme circulating around on Facebook that says, if you were given a jar of 100 Skittles, and told that 3 of them were poisoned, would you still be willing to grab a handful? Not bloody likely. Well, that’s what the case fatality rate of COVID-19 tells us.
    – secondly, how effectively are we “flattening the curve”? Well, outside of Calgary Zone, we’re not doing too badly. To date, Edmonton Zone has seen 433 cases, of which 306 have been in the City of Edmonton. #YEG has seen 12% of the provincial total, and only eight have died in the city. South Zone has had 77 cases and zero deaths, & Central Zone has had 76 cases & 1 death. North Zone is a bit of an outlier, with 137 cases & 7 deaths, but those numbers are skewed by the cluster in the North Peace region: the MD of Smoky River No. 130 (containing the Franco-Albertan communities of Falher, McLennan, Donnelly & Girouxville) and the adjacent Big Lakes County (including High Prairie & a number of First Nations & Métis Settlements) have accounted for 69 cases, 50.7% of the Zone total, and six deaths. The two biggest population centres in North Zone are the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in the northeast, and the City & County of a Grande Prairie in the northwest; between them, these two hubs have only had 17 cases, and zero deaths. Finally, almost 50% of Alberta’s total cases to date have recovered.
    – thirdly, what about Calgary? Calgary Zone has seen 1,820 cases — 71% of the provincial total — and 35 deaths. The City of Calgary alone accounts for 77% of the Zone’s cases, and 51% of the provincial total. 34 of those deaths have been in #YYC alone. When this is all over, I hope some enterprising grad student in epidemiology does a deep dive into Calgary to figure out why it’s been such an outlier. But Calgary is also where many of the province’s leaders and opinion makers are from, and so what happens in Calgary tends to drive what happens in the province.
    – finally, when can we reanimate the economy? Well, predictions are a fool’s game with this thing, but my own view is that if we could erect a fence around Calgary, we could start to gradually reactivate some things right now. But, of course, that’s not gonna happen, so we need to wait just a bit longer.
    – a few words about testing: one thing that stands out for me, is that there are clearly a lot of viral ILIs — influenza-like illnesses — circulating in the population. To date, around 93,000 people have been tested in Alberta; this is about 2.1% of the population. Of those tests, many of which were prompted by signs & symptoms that could have been related to COVID-19, less than 3% have been positive. That means over 97% of the tests have been on people who showed signs of some other illness, such as influenza, parainfluenza, RSV, the common cold, allergies, or who knows what else … or who were asymptomatic but were at risk due to known or suspected exposure. I’m not sure what conclusion(s) to draw from this statistic, but there it.

    1. There’s nothing in the stats that takes the expertise of a “healthcare professional” to understand. The Case Catality Rate for Covid is not 2-3%, and it is certainly not the Infection Fatality Rate, and thus does not indicate “what percentage of people who get it will die from it”.

      “Our current best assumption, as of the 9th April, is the CFR is 0.72% – the lowest end of the current prediction interval and in line with several other estimates.”

      “Evaluating CFR during a pandemic is, however, a very hazardous exercise, and high-end estimates should be treated with caution as the H1N1 pandemic highlights that original estimates were out by a factor greater than 10.”

      “Taking account of historical experience, trends in the data, increased number of infections in the population at largest, and potential impact of misclassification of deaths gives a presumed estimate for the COVID-19 IFR somewhere between 0.1% and 0.36%.*

      Data from COVID deaths in Gangelt, Germany, suggests an IFR of 0.37%. A random sample of 1,000 residents of Gangelt found that 14% were carrying antibodies (2% were detected cases), which led to the lowering of the IFR estimates”

      The IFR is likely somewhere between .1 and .6%. The case fatality rate in Alberta includes the Mckenzie Towne deaths, where 40% of fatalities occurred in a single cluster. Do you suppose that is indicative of properties of the virus or of the Mckenzie Towne facilty? Do you suppose it requires a grad student to answer that question?

      Studies are already demonstrating that the Covid Infection Fatality Rate is significantly lower than the nightmare estimates fueling the freak-out.

      “A study from a noted pandemic skeptic suggests the virus is more widespread but less deadly than people think.”

      Every day, for over a month, 2% of those tested in Alberta are positive for the virus. Do you suppose that everyone with Covid is clinical and thus tested? Or do you suppose that perhaps the daily 2% positive rate indicates a much wider prevalance of the bug in the Alberta population?
      “Emerging evidence suggests many more people are infected. than tested. In Vo Italy, at the time the first symptomatic case was diagnosed, about 3%, had already been infected – most were completely asymptomatic.”

      Rampant or not, Covid was not going to kill tens of thousands of Albertans. The CFR for people under 60 is .13. The IFR likely to be an order of magnitude lower. It wasn’t going to overwhelm the hospitals if the non-clinical rate of infection was ten times the clinical rate, which seems to be a minimum given the serological studies. One thing has caused significant problems in hospitals across the globe, and that is the stampede of terrified people to emergency rooms with various symptoms that did not derive from a Covid infection.
      If we accept the fantasy infection totals in Alberta of under three thousand, how exactly would the economy be brought back online with over 99% of the population uninfected and thus ripe to flood the healthcare system with tens of thousand requiring acute care within days of relaxing the duck-and-cover routines?

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