Jeff Burgar

The “models” predicted at least 250,000 American deaths and possibly as high as 450,000.

These generated predictions, by computer, napkin scribbles, or fiddled about on a slide-rule or a handy calculator, might follow the old rule of number crunching data: Garbage In. Garbage Out.

During last week, the models dropped their doomsday predictions to 150,000. Then it was 100,000. Then it was 60,000. At that 60,000 American rate, this region of northern Alberta has perhaps seen almost all the deaths we should expect. Which of course, with a peak predicted two or three weeks from now, cannot be correct. Maybe. Or maybe not.

So, 60,000 deaths? For comparison, annual drug overdose deaths in America were 67,000 last year. Suicides 50,000. Alcohol related deaths 88,000. Diabetes 83,000. Cancer deaths were a staggering 606,000.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney last week gave out two predictions his experts had figured. In one calculation, the Albertan death count was 3,200. In another, the count was 32,000. What!

Let’s use the American ballpark figure of 150,000, not the more recent 60,000. Our scratching says Alberta will thus see 1,700 deaths in total. That means our region here, from Peace River and Grimshaw down to Valleyview and Kinuso, will suffer 12 deaths. Meanwhile, the worst case Kenney prediction is local deaths of 280 people.

Remember, each and every one of these represents a friend. A father or mother. A daughter or son. A life that should still be being lived. Each is an immense loss. We hope and pray there will be no more loss.

Right now, that is completely out of our hands. We still wish for the best, the best being we lose no more of our loved ones and wonderful people.

A chuckles moment

Maybe one of the least read books in any municipal government office anywhere in Canada got at least a couple of looksees in the past month.

That book isn’t the Bible. It isn’t the particular version of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act, which covers the main rules and regulations that govern how towns, counties, municipal districts and cities operate.

As one of the publications covering such politics for over 50 years, we know for a fact too many local politicians have never seriously looked at this book. The federal example was written by chief health officer Dr. Theresa Tam 14 years ago.

This least read book is the Emergency Preparedness Manual, or whatever each community calls its own version. Such manuals have emergency contacts. Procedures. Details where the blankets are stored. Whom to call when the crap hits the fan. Checklists. More phone numbers.

It’s good to know all those hours spent putting such information together, and sometimes even updating it, is getting some use today. To those who have to check it over, just don’t inhale much of the dust probably covering it.

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