Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says that as many as 6,600 Albertans may die of coronavirus over the next few months according to the latest predictions by health officials.
In a statement delivered on Tuesday, Kenney said that in the most “probable” scenario between 400 and 3,100 Albertans will die of coronavirus by the end of the summer.
In a more extreme scenario, as many as 6,600 Albertans could pass away.
“Under the more serious but less likely ‘elevated scenario,’ we would see infections peak at the beginning of May, with as many as one million infections, and between 500 and 6,600 deaths,” Kenney declared.
Kenney also said that the number of people who get infected and die largely depends on how closely the following public health orders are followed.
“These models are not a done deal. I want Albertans to see them as a challenge — perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation,” he said.
“I want this to end as soon as you do…But we simply cannot risk letting the virus loose in Alberta. That would create a public health catastrophe, which would force an even more stringent lockdown in the future, leaving our economy even further battered.”
Under new public health orders, public gatherings have been limited to 15 people and many businesses and community services have been ordered to close. Failure to follow the orders can result in hefty fines.
As of Wednesday, there have been 1,373 cases of coronavirus in Alberta with 26 deaths. Canada as a whole has seen over 18,000 confirmed cases and 402 deaths.
Kenney says that Alberta has tested 67,000 people for coronavirus, or 1.5% of Alberta’s population. This number is among the highest rates of testing per capita in the world.
Despite the daunting number of deaths forecasted, Kenney says that overall the coronavirus appears to be spreading less quickly in the province than other places around the world.
Kenney reiterated that the extent of the outbreak in Alberta depends on how serious the public takes public health orders.
“So far, our curve more closely resembles countries that have successfully fought the virus, like South Korea, than the sharp upward rise seen in countries like Italy, Spain and the United States,” he said.
“We are confident that our health system will be able to cope, and that we have the supplies on hand to get the job done,” he said.