Other countries throughout the world have already broken into the hundreds of thousands of cases, while the global total is inching towards 1.5 million.
According to Premier Jason Kenney, things are about to get quite a bit worse for the province before they can start to get better.
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Kenney addressed Albertans in a televised statement at 6 pm this Tuesday to announce Alberta Health’s projections on how hard coronavirus is expected to hit the province.
He said that they created two models: a probable scenario, and an elevated scenario.
The probable scenario, according to Kenney, projects as many as 800,000 infections and between 400 and 3,100 deaths in Alberta by the end of the summer, with the peak of infections hitting around mid-May.
The elevated scenario would see a peak of infections by the start of May, with up to one million cases resulting in between 500 and 6,600 deaths.
“But these models are not a done deal. I want Albertans to see them as a challenge. Perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation,” Kenney said in the address.
“Those numbers are not inevitable. How this actually plays out – how many people are infected, how many die, whether we overwhelm our healthcare system – all of that depends on us and our choices.”
Kenney also noted that Alberta’s experts found that if there were no physical distancing or public health orders in place at all, Alberta would likely see up to 1.6 million infections and 32,000 deaths as a result of the Alberta health system collapsing under the pressure.
“Albertans won’t let that happen. Period,” Kenney said.
“The key strategy in our plan to defeat the Coronavirus is this: to push down that peak of infections as much as we can, while pulling up the capacity of our healthcare system to cope.”
He encouraged all Albertans to follow public health rules, thank frontline health workers, and take simple actions such as the following:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least twenty seconds with warm, soapy water – and always after you have been outside or before you touch your face.
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow or arm.
- When you can, stay home.
- Try to stay at least six feet away from other people outside your home.
- Stay at home for two weeks if you are sick or have returned from outside the country.
- Wear a covering over your nose and mouth if you are going into a crowded area.
Kenney also stated that, due to these projections, Alberta will be leaving current public health orders in place until at least the end of April, though likely won’t start relaxing physical distancing measures until the end of May.
“To be honest, I hope the models are wrong,” he said.
“I hope that the tough measures we have taken already will allow us to begin gradually returning to normal sooner than that. But that all depends on how Albertans act in the weeks to come.”