Braid: The UCP government’s tense and tricky dance with COVID-19 timing

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The Alberta government’s ABTraceTogether app has identified 70 close contacts since it was launched in May. Photo by Greg Southam /20092007A

The government obviously didn’t hire more tracers quickly enough. But nobody in the tracing operation is giving up. They still feed useful information into the system every day.

I had a fascinating note from Ross Thurston, whose wife, Emily McKenzie, is an AHS epidemiologist and senior scientist deeply involved in the tracing operation.

He says that despite the difficulties there are “days full of amazing development and accomplishment. Hard wins with a devious, covert force …

“More than 1,000 people are doing instantaneous science together, day and night for months, without arguing or bitching or complaining.

“They literally are fixing the pandemic. There is heartbreak and disappointment and it wasn’t ever going to be perfect. But it’s being as well managed as possible.”

The data from tracing are fundamental to planning and decision-making. The work is done by incredibly dedicated people. “Dunkirk with nerds,” Thurston calls this vital effort.

All the work in AHS and government is exhausting, the pressure almost unbearable. People who think health officials and AHS are heedlessly shambling along are quite mistaken.

They all know that if they get this timing dance with COVID-19 wrong, there will be much more personal suffering and economic pain.

And, probably, little forgiveness.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Calgary Herald.

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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