By Tim Kalinowski on May 4, 2021.
The former head of Emergency Management Alberta during the Klein government years, Lt. Col. David Redman (ret.), has been a strong critic of the Kenney government’s pandemic response over the past year. And this latest round of restrictive public health measures, Redman says, proves the point he has been making all along: lockdowns don’t work.
“I think (these new lockdowns) will have just as much effect as all the previous lockdowns have had worldwide: very low, if at all, in terms of transmission and deaths caused by the disease,” he says. “But massive collateral damage (on society).”
Redman says the focus of last year’s public health measures missed the boat entirely. Instead of allocating the proper number of resources to deal with the population most at risk, seniors over 60 with multiple, severe comorbidities and creating additional surge capacity in the medical system, the Kenney government instead closed down businesses and used fear to spread an, in his opinion, false message that these measures were somehow in the best interests of all Albertans.
“COVID-19, Sars-COV2, we knew all along from way back a year ago February it is most dangerous to people over the age of 60, in fact most over the age of 70 with severe comorbidities,” he confirms. “Ninety-six per cent of all the deaths in Canada and in Alberta have been in people over the age of 60 with multiple comorbidities. Lockdowns did not save a single one of those people. In Canada that is over 22,000 deaths. And Canada has ranked last in the (OECD) countries for protection of our seniors during COVID. So lockdowns didn’t save 96 per cent of the deaths.
“We knew before this pandemic the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) are, at best, very slightly significant in stopping both transmission and death,” Redman adds. “In fact, there have been dozens of peer-reviewed studies from both the first and second wave that have reproved what we already know– that using what we now know as lockdowns, the 15 non-pharmaceutical interventions, have very limited, if any, effect on the transmission of the disease. And they have very little to no effects on the deaths. With the deaths, you either protect your seniors or you don’t.”
Redman says what frustrates him most is Emergency Management Alberta under his watch did have a well-thought out, well-planned and targeted response pertaining to future potential pandemic outbreaks on file, but the Kenney government simply did not follow it.
He says eight of those points could still be implemented, and, in his opinion, would have a greater impact than what the Kenney government and the Chief Provincial Medical Officer of Health have come up with to date; especially because COVID and its variants are now endemic in Alberta and will likely be with us for several years ahead.
Those points include: Release of a comprehensive plan which shows what will be done in phase after phase and stick to it, to vigorously enact a plan to protect those seniors and others who are most likely to die from the disease by offering voluntary quarantine options either at home or in government facilities, ensure all critical infrastructure is ready for people who get sick, end all fear campaigns surrounding the disease which seek to frighten people into obeying public health orders by shifting away from daily case counts as a focus to expressing confidence to Albertans our medical system has the capacity to deal successfully with the disease, end all future lockdowns and lessen social distancing rules to reduce fear among residents, guarantee to keep schools and daycares open, get everyone under the age of 65 without pre-existing compromised immune systems back to work, and continue to vaccinate as effective vaccines become available.
Redman does concede in a case of a severe pandemic with a large death percentage non-pharmaceutical interventions may have some applications, but he says COVID-19 is only a moderate pandemic by the standards of other historic pandemics like Spanish flu, for instance. Lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions should only be used a last resort under the most severe circumstances, says Redman, and not be thrown out as a first resort as the Kenney government has been doing for much of the past year.
“That eight point plan is exactly what we should do,” Redman states, “and should have done from last March, and what we should be doing right now, because if we don’t we are going to keep using these lockdowns again into next October. And you can call me again in October and call me wrong if we don’t.”
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