Why is everything opening up if we have more cases than when the lockdown started?

Alberta succeeded in flattening the curve of infections, and the province wants to reopen its economy.

The province decided the effects of keeping everything shut down would be worse than the potential increase in cases as businesses and services reopen. 

"While we continue to see new cases and expect to as long as the virus is around, we've achieved our primary goal of flattening the curve of infections to keep our health-care system from being overwhelmed," Premier Jason Kenney told a news conference at the end of April announcing the beginning of the province's relaunch plan.

"We can finally begin to shift our focus from the pain and anxiety of the past few weeks and to start looking, with modest hope and cautious confidence, toward the future."

Experts have said that although they expect an increase in infections, the relaunch seems to make sense given the consistently low number of cases in Alberta. "It's way ahead of everybody on a per capita basis and staying out in front," said Dr. Colin Furness, an epidemiologist and assistant professor in the faculty of information and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, in a Canadian Press story in mid-June

But that changed in mid-July, when Alberta became the province with the highest number of new daily cases per capita in the country. 

"The surge in Alberta reflects the risks tied to fatigue caused not by the novel coronavirus itself but by the policies designed to prevent the spread of the infection, according to experts," writes the Globe and Mail. The majority of new cases can be attributed to young adults. 

The Calgary Herald reported that one in 10 Albertans has been tested for COVID-19. As of July 9, that was more than half a million people across the province. By comparison, about one in every 12.5 Canadians had been tested at that time, the Herald said.

Through the first week of July, the province was averaging around 6,000 tests per day, but it was hoping to raise that to 16,000 per day. The number of tests that came back positive during the week stayed around 1%. 

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Thursday, July 16, 2020

by Karen Unland


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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see edmonton.ca/covid19, alberta.ca/covid19, canada.ca/covid19, and the World Health Organization.