Braid: Judging COVID-19 under control, Kenney surges ahead with economic action

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The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a controversial but influential group at the University of Washington, sees a dire future for the province.

Based on current protocols, the IHME projects 3,022 COVID-19 deaths in Alberta — more than 10 times the current total — by Feb. 1.

Kenney says he’s concerned about the level of new cases. But he puts little stock in apocalyptic projections.

In the legislature Tuesday, when NDP Leader Rachel Notley asked for the results of modelling, he said the government no longer does modelling.

He explained his reasoning in detail at a recent news conference.

“We did release modelling back in the spring, in April, which thankfully was proven to be completely out of line with what actually happened in Alberta,” Kenney said.

“We have never achieved a fraction of the number of active cases, of hospitalizations, ICU admissions or COVID-related fatalities that were projected in that modelling.”

Up to 800,000 cases were projected and only about 35,000 seem to have occurred, he said.

“So we know what the worst-case looks like and it’s a long, long way from where we are.”

He said provincial health officials “are obviously completely focused every hour of every day on the challenge of the pandemic, on the trend lines and our goal of preventing an overwhelming of the health-care system.”

Clearly, Kenney feels that despite the recent surge, the virus can be managed alongside intense focus on economic recovery, while keeping society open.

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