By Lethbridge Herald on April 7, 2020.
In what Premier Jason Kenney is calling a “probable” scenario, the province of Alberta could hit the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic by mid-May and have as many as 800,000 cases of the disease by the end of the summer with between 400 and 3,100 deaths.
Kenney gave these projections in his speech to all Albertans Tuesday evening. A worst case scenario could see as many as 1 million cases of COVID-19 over that time period and as many as 6,600 deaths, he said.
Kenney said the economic fallout from COVID-19 and the ongoing collapse of oil prices due to what he called a “predatory price war led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, who are trying permanently to damage North America’s energy industry,” was having a devastating effect on the provincial economy.
Kenney confirmed as a result of the world economic collapse due to COVID-19, the ongoing oil price war, and the economic measures needed to fight the pandemic at home, Alberta’s deficit would likely balloon from $7 billion to $20 billion this year for which, “We will face a great fiscal reckoning in the future,” he said.
He urged all Albertans to do what they can to lessen the risk of transmission of COVID-19 so we could turn this dark corner in our history sooner rather than later by following all public health orders and remaining isolated at home whenever possible.
Kenney felt certain Alberta would emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.
“We are showing what we are made of,” he told Albertans. “My friend Preston Manning– whose father Ernest Manning occupied this office for 25 years– recently shared with me an observation. In a fierce prairie storm, he said, cattle often get spooked, turn tail, and try to run from it, getting separated and lost. But the buffalo, which Indigenous people have always revered as a symbol of life on the prairies, herd closely together and face the storm head on, coming out of it strong and united. That captures who we are, and how we are going to get through this.”