Covid-19 in Alberta

A few days ago, I expressed some frustration because I don’t know who is vaccinated. That makes me feel unsafe when I’m among strangers. I was worried about this because Alberta seems to have a high number of people who are vaccine-hesitant or resistant.

In response to that blog post, Tildeb provided extensive comments for which I am very grateful. I have taken from those comments some statements that I thought were very significant in helping us all understand both the current situation and the role of vaccines in bringing the disease under control.

I have added a little information and edited for clarity. Tildeb has offered to answer any questions.

Covid-19 Vaccine image by Shafin Protic, Pixabay.
  • Alberta right now has Covid-19 numbers higher – yes, higher – than India
  • Rates of transmission (i.e. the average number of people someone with Covid-19 will infect) fall below one when 75% of a population have received one dose of vaccine and 20% have received two.
  • Only by getting that rate below one other infection per infected person will the pandemic start to end. At present, Alberta’s Rate of Transmission (Rt value) is 1.12, meaning that the rate is increasing. This indicates a much faster doubling rate to exceed ICU capacity (17 days)
  • Today in Alberta, in the first 5 days (before self-isolation), each positive case produces just shy of 12 other infected people. 
  • The most insidious aspect of SARS-CoV-2 is that transmission occurs prior to the onset of symptoms (estimated on average to be for 5 days).
  • Without vaccination, the overall risk for getting sick with Covid-19 is calculated using the example of living with an infected spouse. The actual likelihood is about 30% for a 14-day infection, meaning 30 people out of hundred living with an infected person will become infected. 
  • If a person living with an infected person has had a single dose of any of the vaccinations (there is a time lag between getting the first shot and having it take full effect), this likelihood drops to about 3%.
  • The likelihood of a blood clot from the protein vaccines is at the very worst about1/250000th of 1%. Real world data is coming in around 1/1000000-150000000th of 1%.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 people who have had Covid-19 suffer from lingering aftereffects 6 months later – some with significant life-altering debilities.
  • Case counts are nearing 2500+ a day now. In three weeks, that will be over 4000 per day and, without a lockdown now, increasing for a minimum of 21 MORE days. 
  • The per million case count in Alberta is about double that of Ontario (and Ontario today is worse than any US state ever was).
  • In the US, triaging (deciding who gets treatment or gets treated first) led to 20% hospital staff leaving their profession. Not just taking time off or moving but deciding they felt being forced into making such decisions and dealing with the emotional cost was not what they went into medicine and nursing and specialities to do.
  • Over 7000 residents and care workers in long-term care got infected in a matter of weeks and about 40% of these residents died. 
  • The young are now as vulnerable as the elderly were earlier in the pandemic but, rather than dying, run a significant risk of contracting a life-long impairment.
  • RISK EQUALS THE NUMBER OF CONTACTS and more and more often the only barrier between a young person and this disease is a mask worn properly by someone six feet away.

I realize that this post is heavy on statistics, but I hope it helps to clarify our current situation. Many thanks to Tildeb for his research and concern.

5 Comments

  1. Two other points of interest:

    The numbers we read about today describe conditions from two weeks ago. This is why alarm bells are ringing in the ears of those people in positions of authority: they know what’s coming.

    The public health policy chosen for Canada addresses the availability of hospital resources. This is actually highly controversial (and an open letter signed by many infectious disease experts has now been published). But that’s why the response to the pandemic has been focused on those most likely to require hospitalization, namely, the elderly first and then by decreasing age cohorts. The idea was (and is) to have Intensive Care Units available to handle the percentage of sick people from Covid who require these interventions while ‘vaccination’ will do for the rest… when it’s available. The alternative policy has to do with targeting community spread rather than hospitalization. And so countries that took this approach now can show far, far better results for the entire population. The reason why Canada went with vulnerability is the political pressure premiers faced when long-neglected long term care imploded with so many elderly getting infected and dying.
    So our current situation of having a soaring third wave in the community was actually the chosen policy, and why the political response to it the carnage it is causing is to ‘blame’ individuals as if they ‘failed’ to behave properly. This is messaging and it’s deeply disingenuous so it’s both unfair and a complete cop-out. The reality is that only mass vaccination now stands between us today and having a forth or fifth wave later in 2021-22.

    1. Your points are well taken. I must say, though, that back in early 2020 we were all focused on the disasters happening longterm care facilities. If our politicians had not prioritized them, there would have been uproar.

      1. I’m spit-balling here, but I recall seeing the death rates from the various kinds of funded long term care: private for profit had the highest, public (meaning provincially subsidized) for profit had the next highest, non profit municipal lower, and rural (county) non profit homes the lowest. The difference basically doubled the death rate from lowest to highest and was directly correlated to how much hands-on funding each resident received and not the total funding per resident. Who could have known stable, high paying jobs with built in sick time, working normal hours and satisfaction measured by low turnover by residential care staff, providing the highest per resident care time, could almost eliminate Covid in LTC? Yup, many such places had zero infections, not because they were fancy places but because the staff not only had an invested interest in the health and welfare of the residents but the administration’s job was to support exactly that? Why, it’s almost like rocket science!

        So yes, your point about politicians seeming to respond to LTC was definitely a political move to avoid being hauled out and strung up but in effect nothing was done (and still isn’t being done) about addressing and correcting the systemic problems that enabled the tragedy.

        Proper care takes money, and the provincial governments quickly realized it was cheaper to add a hundred times the ICU capacity for a year or two than it was to fix the systemic problems of LTC. After all, who could be against the idea of reducing death of the most elderly?

        The cost in Canada, however, has been not just borne by literally thousands of additional community deaths dwarfing those that occurred in LTC and tens of thousands of additional community infections but an economic hit – through repeated lockdowns and closures as well as public aid in providing funding for millions – measured over a trillion dollars and still growing… a fraction of which would have permanently corrected for the LTC funding and operational inadequacies while profiting that we still have firmly in place. That’s the telltale sign of true leadership: failing to face uproars with legitimate solutions but always taking the easy way out and blaming everyone else for the ongoing problems. Yeah, it’s ALL the fault of those who aren’t wearing masks or gathering with others or who are trying to do some business or the lack of enough vaccination product, yada, yada, yada. Well, the fact is that these outliers are a problem but – and it’s a HUGE but – are a small portion of the inevitable product of a health policy that literally GUARANTEED multiple waves in the community. The fire, so to speak, was already set… so blaming a few who do their best to block an exit does not address the fire itself.

        As soon as you hear a leader of a political stripe shift accountability, you are hearing a con job. And in Alberta, Kenney is head con man, the UCC and its cabinet his tool, and the voters his prey, and so one would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to the constant prevarications and reality-denying preference the UCC has been promoting to not know that a significant portion of the population would be highly resistant to the reality of needing vaccinations to get a handle on this pandemic – THE fundamental plank in the Canadian Covid strategy – so it’s a created cohort that will be subject to ever-increasing blame. I can’t help but see this tactic as blaming the victim, blaming those who fell prey to the UCC.

        Although this cohort will certainly receive legitimate criticism for increasing the threat of maintaining Covid in the community, true accountability falls on its leaders, falls on those for having stoked, and profited by, such reality-denialism that seeded and fed the increasing threat. They have done their part to make the problem worse. Now it’s time to start doing their part – just like everyone else – to be part of its solution.

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