Two minutes with the Justice Center
On September 23, Alberta’s medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, admitted that some provincial case numbers were based on estimates rather than test results.
Trying to explain why parents have not received notification of Covid cases in their children’s schools, Dr Hinshaw cited privacy rights. (If the parents find the answer unsatisfactory, we understand their frustration. We, too, would like to know.)
But, in a detailed comment that’s hard to punctuate, she helpfully added that if schools saw an increased number of children with “respiratory disease,” help from Alberta Health Services (AHS) was available.
Further, she said: “If people choose not to get tested for Covid but are at home with an illness,” they would be “counted in the list as part of this outbreak”. And so, identifying where there is a problem is “less dependent on passing a test.”
Truly? His frankness is refreshing, but not very reassuring. The simple meaning is that any student who does not show up is considered a Covid case. Not a cold, not the flu, and not anything else. How much will this skew the statistics offered by AHS on a daily basis? It illustrates how public health agencies undermine their own credibility. The number of Covid cases used to determine whether schools will be closed, businesses closed and people ordered not to receive visitors to their homes should not be assumed, estimated or projected.
In October 2021, Dr Hinshaw also reported that a young victim of brain cancer from Ponoka, Alta., Had died from Covid.
Nathanael Spitzer, 14, tested positive for Covid a few days before his death. However, a re-examination of his case following a complaint from his family confirmed that Covid was neither a primary nor a secondary contributor at his death. In fact, the teenager has been battling brain cancer for over 9 months. Dr Hinshaw later admitted the mistake and apologized to the family.
Yet these two cases together indicate a loose, unscientific approach to data collection within AHS. Accurate data is crucial for science: a government agency that has the power to order the shutdown of businesses it considers non-essential must be trusted.
The AHS also determines who is eligible for vaccination. An undiscovered misclassification such as Nathanael’s could have been used to validate a policy of immunizing children – a demographic for whom a vaccine does little good and has the potential to harm.
Media reporting has shifted from science and debate to apparent advocacy.
Take the popular expression that Covid infections are now an “epidemic of the unvaccinated.” This is usually followed by a line like this, from the CBC: “It is often reported that unvaccinated Albertans make up only 32% of the population but a whopping 74% of Covid-19 patients in hospital. “
If 74% were not vaccinated, probably 26% were vaccinated. The way CBC reports its story is not up to AHS, of course. Yet an equally compelling headline could have had a different purpose: one in four hospitalized Covid patients is fully vaccinated. What are the implications of compulsory vaccination if 25% of those vaccinated fall ill enough to be hospitalized?
And how is “vaccinated” now defined? According to AHS, “a person is considered fully immune after 14 days since receiving the second dose of a series of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines.” Did any of the 74% reported to the hospital received one injection or even two, but classified as unvaccinated because the magic 14-day time frame has not passed?
From the first days since a pandemic was declared in March 2020, Canadians have been subjected to a relentless barrage of conflicting advice and frequently, orders that made very little sense. If Dr Hinshaw is right, for example, that “one of the most risky places is the home,” then why limit access to gyms and restaurants? Perhaps in the beginning, when all we had to do was “flatten the curve” – it would only take two weeks – it was incumbent on all of us to be kind to troubled government officials as we go. ‘they were reconstructing what the pandemic really was.
However, any real discussion today about cause, effect, and answer has now been taken underground. Dissent is unwelcome and sometimes pursued. Healthcare professionals who dispute the story are penalized. (Alberta doctor at risk of losing his job for giving a counter message. The Justice Center represents a number of doctors sanctioned for speaking.) Questions are not allowed. And if more information is needed, the requesting citizen is directed to a ministry, part of the system that for 19 months justified unjustifiable blockages and did not attempt to account for the costs of doing so.
For many Canadians, it has become more difficult to trust the science of so-called experts.
A better slogan would be to trust the scientific method. This would allow discussing the doctors currently silenced against challenging the government’s rhetoric. Canadians deserve more than careless data collection, thoughtless dogma and government coercion.
Download a pdf of this article to share.