#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 20 January Update, including vaccinations

The latest charts, compiled 20 January.

Vaccinations: Canada appears to be in the middle of the pack compared to G7 countries save for the UK and USA. Vaccination rates in the Canadian North are relatively high. The change in the Pfizer delivery schedule will be felt in the coming weeks, likely affecting our relative ranking.

Trendline charts:

Infections per million: Alberta no longer appears to be overtaking Quebec but Ontario appears to be approaching Prairie rates.

Deaths per million: Prairies continue to be slightly higher than Ontario with Alberta slightly behind Ontario.

Minor week to week changes:

Infections per million: UK ahead of Sweden

Deaths per million: No change

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 13 January Update, including vaccinations

As vaccination data is becoming available, I have started to compile this data (number of vaccinations administered) by province and my standard list of countries. Some countries have yet to publish vaccination data. While Canada is far behind the UK and USA, it is ahead of China and France:

The standard charts can be found below.

Minor week to week changes:

Infections per million: California ahead of USA, Ontario ahead of Canada less Quebec, Japan ahead of Pakistan, Atlantic Canada ahead of Australia 

Deaths per million: Alberta moved ahead of Canada less Quebec

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 6 January Update

The standard charts can be found below.

There has understandably been a “feeding frenzy” regarding federal and provincial parliamentarians who have disregarded public health and their own government’s advice to forego travel, domestic or international, during the holidays.

In some cases, this has been to visit elderly family members (e.g., Sameer Zuberi and Kamal Khera of the Liberals, Niki Ashton of the NDP), in others for holidays (the various Alberta MLAs and Premier Kenney’s Chief of Staff, Quebec MNA Pierre Arcand) along with others.

Responsibility and accountability has been mixed. The federal NDP handled Ashton’s case the best, removing her quickly from her critic responsibilities, setting the tone for the federal liberals to follow sui. Ontario Premier Ford initially botched it being aware of his former finance minister Rod Phillips vacationing in St Barts but recovering quickly by accepting (insisting?) on his resignation. In rare tone deafness, Alberta Premier Kenney initial response not to sanction minister Allard, his Chief of Staff Huckabay and a number of MLAs, for travel during the holidays, that prompted outrage on all sides of the political spectrum and led to belated resignations and discipline.

Highly ironic given Kenney and the UCP reliance of “personal responsibility” and “good judgement” to reduce COVID risks when so many in the government have demonstrated neither.

Some good examples of Alberta commentary:

Rick Bell: Premier Kenney, it’s time to face the music

Don Braid: Kenney fires and demotes to spike scandal, but Albertans will decide if they forgive

And the contrary arguments from C2C’s editor George Koch:

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney first avoided meting out Ford-style punishment upon Allard and her fellow travellers. When the news broke, Kenney himself shouldered much of the blame and said he would provide new and crystal-clear “guidelines” covering ministers, MLAs and senior bureaucrats. The opposition, however, gleefully called for Allard’s headwhile the media republished tweets demanding Kenney’s own resignation. It has become fashionable to criticize nearly anything Kenney says or does; his handling of the pandemic is, according to one poll, approved of by just 30 percent of Albertans.

Personally, I found the Alberta premier’s initial response not only courageous but admirable and honourable. Unlike Ford and innumerable politicians, corporate leaders and heads of other organizations in countless analogous situations, Kenney declined to throw Allard under the bus. This is not the first time Kenney has gone to the mat for a subordinate, at considerable short-term political cost to himself. Who would you rather work for? Further, someone who clearly cares about the people who work for him might, just might, also be sincere in his concern for small businesspeople and voters at large.

Sadly, however, Kenney ultimately could not resist the stinking red tide of public opinion; on Monday, he accepted Allard’s resignation from cabinet, as well as that of his chief of staff, who had travelled to the UK, and demoted the other MLAs.

Source: https://c2cjournal.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e8efce716429c34122979e2de&id=cb2f1e50a3&e=4174a59277

Minor week to week changes:

Infections per million: Sweden moves ahead of UK which in turn moves ahead of France, Canada total ahead of Prairies

Deaths per million: Germany moves ahead of Canada

And the standard weekly charts and table.

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 30 December Update, including cumulative data

Will now provide the trend line and weekly data to provide a more complete picture. As the charts are self-explanatory (advise me if not), will continue to keep narrative to a minimum.

Alberta’s infection rate maintains its overall convergence with Quebec whereas the death rate of the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan) have converged with Ontario’s.

The other related news, despite all the warnings and advice from political leaders, the Ontario finance minister was caught “off message” with a trip to the exclusive Caribbean of St Barts. Not the only one, Quebec MNA Pierre Arcand went to Barbados. Not to forget federal health minister Patty Hajdu’s repeated trips home to her riding during the first wave.

One expects better.

Lastly, may I wish you a happier new year.

Weekly updates below. Minor changes only:

Infections per million: UK moves ahead of Italy

Deaths per million: Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan) moves ahead of Ontario

And the standard weekly charts and table.

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 23 December Update including cumulative data

For a change and end 2020, I prepared these charts comparing infection and death rates per million for Canadian provinces with the G7 (less Canada) and top five immigration source countries (India, China, Philippines, Pakistan and Nigeria).

For the G7 average, only Japan is significantly lower. For immigration source countries, the large populations, lower infection and death rates except for India, and perhaps less comprehensive reporting, mean that rates are lower than all provinces save for Atlantic.

The charts compare the overall second-wave increase and particularly the relatively steeper increase in Western provinces for both infections and deaths.

While Canadian provincial infection rates are less than G7 (less Canada), Quebec’s death rate is higher than the G7.

And the standard weekly charts and table.

And in a rare public comment, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf “condemned political leaders for their experiment, branding the light-touch strategy a miserable and deadly failure.”

Remember in the early days of the pandemic, when people like Tucker Carlson and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) advocated that the U.S. follow the Swedish model of avoiding strict lockdowns and letting life carry on largely as normal amid the highly contagious virus?

Well, as the year ends, Sweden is coming to terms with a death toll that is approximately 10 times higher than neighboring Norway and Finland, and now its king has condemned political leaders for their experiment, branding the light-touch strategy a miserable and deadly failure.

“The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions,” King Carl XVI Gustaf, who is traditionally tight-lipped on political matters, told the Swedish state broadcaster SVT. He added, “I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died, and that is terrible.”

Although it’s remarkable for a king to comment on policy, his actual comments were a statement of the obvious. Anders Tegnell, the country’s top epidemiologist who designed its anti-lockdown strategy, has himself admitted that too many people have died and the country should have done more to prevent the spread of the disease from the outset.

Throughout the pandemic, Swedes have been allowed to go to restaurants and bars with no social-distancing measures in place and, until recently, were allowed to hit the gym and send their kids to school. The country has also broken with the near-universal guidance of recommending that protective face masks be worn in public, except in hospitals.

The sight of Swedes packing restaurants and bars in the first wave of the pandemic led some commentators in the U.S. to urge their own leaders to follow Sweden’s example. That way, they said, the economy would be protected and the virus could make its way through the population and offer a good level of herd immunity to slow down its spread.

Since then, deaths in Sweden have soared well beyond similar-size neighboring countries, and Tegnell previously said there’s no sign that herd immunity is doing anything to slow down the rate of infection. And the Swedish economy still entered a harsh recession—although it was milder than those seen in most other European nations.

The rapid increase in new infections has even caused Sweden to partially abandon its anti-lockdown strategy, with the government imposing tougher rules to reduce the limit on public gatherings to eight people from 50, asking high schools to do their teaching remotely, and banning late alcohol sales. Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson warned last month that the measures will harm the economy but are necessary.

Speaking to Swedish network TV4 this week, Tegnell said he was shocked by the second wave of the pandemic, saying, “I think many, with me, are surprised that it has been able to come back so strongly.”

A poll published Thursday showed that support for Tegnell and his approach has collapsed over the past two months.

Source: Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf Brands His Country’s Anti-Lockdown Strategy as a Deadly Failure

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 16 December Update

Main news continues to be with respect ongoing sharp spike in infections in most provinces and countries along with consequentdeath rate increases:

 

 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: California ahead of New York, Sweden ahead of Italy (the Swedish model keeps on looking worse by the week)
 
Deaths per million: USA ahead of Quebec, Prairies ahead of Canada less Quebec
 
 
 
And Sun Media’s Brian Lilley painting a slightly more positive picture of Ontario than warranted (Ontario’s relative position within Canada reflects the upsurge in Western Canada):

If you listened to much of the media and the opposition parties, you’d think that Ontario was handling the COVID-19 crisis worse than anywhere in the country — perhaps worse than much of the world.

Despite all the problems that Ontario has faced, and I have written extensively about those, compared to our neighbours and similar jurisdictions, the province continues to perform well in the face of a horrific virus. This thought was brought to mind as I watched the first vaccines being administered. In Ontario, it was a nurse at the University Health Network giving a shot to a personal support worker from a long-term care centre.

Premier Doug Ford was nowhere to be found.

In neighbouring New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually conducted a live video conference with the nurse getting the first shot, inserting himself into the story in a way that only Cuomo can. The New York governor continues to receive praise for his handling of COVID and recently received an Emmy for his press conferences during the pandemic.

The media and the American establishment love Cuomo and his handling of the pandemic; it’s a shame his record is so abysmal. More on that in a moment.

Listening to opposition leaders here, you would think Ontario was in far worse shape than neighbouring New York.

“Today’s exploding COVID cases should be a wake-up call for Mr. Ford,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath tweeted.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said that Ford’s priorities this fall were not looking after the people.

“He was focused on helping his buddies and forgot about the rest of us,” Del Duca said Tuesday.

When it comes to critiquing Ford’s handling of the pandemic, I’ll take a back seat to no one. I’ve been critical of his handling of long-term care, the length and style of his lockdowns and the collateral damage they have wrought, but criticism needs to be based in some kind of reality.

Could Ontario have done better in dealing with long-term care in the first wave? Absolutely. The province though made decisions based on the information before them. After watching emergency rooms be overwhelmed in China, Italy, in New York City, the province put scarce resources into hospitals. COVID-19 hit differently here than elsewhere: the general population was ready, a small portion of our long-term care homes were not.

The majority of homes still have not had an outbreak.

Now, back to that comparison.

On Tuesday, Ontario, with a population of 14.7 million reported 2,275 cases. This was the highest ever, due in part to a change in how cases are counted, but let’s take the number at face value. There were also 921 people in hospital and 20 deaths. New York State, with a population of 19.4 million, reported 10,353 new cases, 5,982 people in hospital and 128 deaths on Tuesday.

Deaths from COVID-19 would be the stat that matters most and while Ontario has 27 deaths per 100,000 of population, New York State has 183 per 100,000.

Within Canada, Quebec is the only province the comes close to Ontario in terms of population, international travel, urban density and other factors. With a population of about 8.5 million, Quebec has recorded 89 deaths per 100,000 of population or 3.3 times the rate of Ontario.

Other neighbours with similar populations fare no better.

Ohio is at 84 per 100,000, Pennsylvania at 98, and Michigan at 113.

In fact, were Ontario an American state, we would be the 45th lowest state in terms of COVID deaths per 100,000 and were we an independent country, we would be below most of the industrialized world. Only Japan would be among the G7 nations that would be lower than Ontario.

The province can always do better, and it must.

That requires targeted and constructive criticisms rather than what the opposition is offering up.

Source: LILLEY: Ontario outperforms much of the world in dealing with COVID

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 9 December Update

Main news continues to be with respect ongoing sharp spike in infections along with death rate increases:

 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: New York and California ahead of France, Sweden ahead of UK, Prairies ahead of Canada, Canada less Quebec ahead of Ontario, British Columbia ahead of India
 
Deaths per million: British Columbia ahead of India, Pakistan ahead of Australia
 
 
COVID Comparison Chart.002COVID Comparison Chart.003

And good commentary on Alberta Premier Kenney’s belated recognition of reality:

After months of pleading with Albertans to take “personal responsibility” to stop the spread of COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney has finally taken personal responsibility himself.

On Tuesday, he reluctantly announced the kind of sweeping COVID-19 restrictions he had been tersely rejecting for weeks.

He is now ordering everyone to wear a mask in public spaces everywhere in Alberta. And nobody is allowed to hold any social gatherings outside.

You can say “hi” to your neighbour walking the dog but stay two metres apart and don’t dawdle. Starting Sunday, you can only get take-out from restaurants and pubs. No in-person dining. Casinos are closing as are bingo halls, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, fitness centres, spas, gym, indoor skating rinks.

Retail stores can stay open but only allow in 15 per cent capacity at a time.

The list goes on. Odds are, if you enjoy doing it, it’s cancelled, postponed or diminished.

As Kenney recited the new restrictions, he must have felt like he was reading the Riot Act to Albertans.

And, in a sense, he was.

As the pandemic grew in the past month from bonfire to wildfire, Kenney had tried to argue his way through the crisis by ignoring pleas from physicians, ridiculing the NDP opposition, and insisting Albertans would bring the crisis under control by taking “personal responsibility.”

In the end he was done in by the might of two factors: freedom-loving Albertans who didn’t take the COVID-19 virus seriously; and the COVID-19 virus that didn’t take freedom-loving Albertans seriously.

Adding those two together gives you the inescapable math of a pandemic.

“The recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations will threaten our health-care system and the lives of many vulnerable Albertans unless further action is taken now,” said Kenney.

“With the promise of a vaccine early in 2021, we can see the end of this terrible time. But all Albertans must take this more seriously than ever by staying home whenever possible, and following these new measures.”

Even though Kenney was speaking to all Albertans, he focused particular attention on those who will resent the new measures. They’re more likely to live in rural areas, reject government interference in their lives, and preach self-sufficiency. In other words, United Conservative supporters. By refusing to introduce tougher restrictions for weeks, Kenney was bending over backwards to placate his political base.

But the inexorable math of COVID-19 has forced Kenney to demonstrate he has a spine.

“To many people, these policies, these restrictions seem unjust,” said Kenney. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that Alberta’s government has been reluctant to use extraordinary powers to damage or destroy livelihoods in this way. It is why we have stressed education together with personal and collective responsibility from the very beginning and it’s why we tried to balance the protection of lives and livelihood rather than resorting to damaging measures as a first resort.”

Kenney also announced more money to help small businesses survive the new measures. That is a great idea but it was a great idea when critics suggested it weeks ago, along with the very restrictions Kenney announced Tuesday.

Better late than never?

Understandably, Kenney bristled at questions from journalists about whether he might be responsible for the COVID deaths of Albertans because he didn’t lock down the province sooner. Kenney said it would be a “mistake” to draw simple conclusions during such a complicated time.

But it is a question that will dog him. And NDP MLAs will no doubt be helpfully re-asking the question whenever a microphone or TV camera is within hailing distance.

“The lockdown announced today comes late,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley after Kenney’s news conference. “We could have acted four weeks ago. Since then, an additional 317 people have died.”

Notley will be wielding this rhetorical knife through the next election.

Kenney might be thinking “better late than never” and while that might be great when talking about filling a pothole or repairing a school roof, it’s not so great when talking about enacting more precautions during a pandemic that’s killing people daily.

Kenney’s new restrictions will last four weeks. That will take us through the Christmas holiday and into the new year.

During Tuesday’s news conference, Doug Schweitzer, the minister of jobs, economy and innovation, happily declared “a vaccine is almost here” as if the pandemic will suddenly end Jan. 5 when Alberta is scheduled to start inoculations against COVID-19.

The reality is that, because of logistics and supply issues, during the first three months of 2021 only about 10 per cent of Albertans will receive vaccinations, mainly health-care workers and the elderly.

The rest of us will have to wait and continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and practise social distancing for many more months. Perhaps by then enough Albertans will know how to practise “personal responsibility” without Kenney having to read us the Riot Act.

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/opinion-thomson-covid-kenney-blinks-1.5833751?cmp=rss

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 2 December Update

Main news continues to be with respect ongoing sharp spike in infections along with death rate increases:
 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: Alberta ahead of Germany, Japan ahead of Australia
 
Deaths per million: British Columbia ahead of Philippines, Canadian North ahead of Japan
 
COVID Comparison Chart.002COVID Comparison Chart.003
 

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 25 November Update, Picard on Alberta

Main news continues to be with respect ongoing sharp spike in infections along with death rate increases:
 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: Italy ahead of UK, Prairies ahead of Ontario, Canada less Quebec ahead of India, Canadian North ahead of Pakistan
 
Deaths per million: Italy and UK now ahead of Quebec, Prairies and Alberta ahead of India, Pakistan ahead of Atlantic Canada, Canadian North ahead of Japan
 
November 4-25 increase:
 
Infections per million: Greatest increase in Canadian North and Western provinces, moving ahead of many European countries
 
Deaths per million: Similar pattern with respect to deaths
 
 

André Picard’s critique of Premier Kenney and his government’s response to the pandemic:

Feckless.

That’s the only way to describe Alberta’s “tough” new measures.

In response to the soaring number of COVID-19 cases in the province, Premier Jason Kenney declared a “state of public health emergency” on Tuesday.

He started out with a little muscle flex, saying “no indoor social gatherings will be permitted, period.” Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people.

But then we learned that restaurants will be open for in-person dining, bars will remain open, and so will casinos, gyms, stores, primary schools (Grades 7-12 are going to remote learning).

Heck you would be hard-pressed to find anything that will be closed.

Places of worship are allowed to hold services with one-third of capacity, just as they are now but “we are moving from recommendations to rules.”

Mr. Kenney also earnestly announced that masks would now be mandatory in the province’s two big cities, Calgary and Edmonton. But they already are mandatory because municipal governments have been a lot more pro-active and sensible than the province.

What we saw Tuesday was inaction posing as action, a quasi-libertarian Premier bending over backward to do nothing while pretending otherwise.

But Mr. Kenney’s true nature was revealed when he began prattling on about how he has resisted a lockdown because it would be an “unprecedented violation of constitutional rights.” He once again heralded the importance of “personal responsibility” while, at the same time, announcing rules that clearly suggest people don’t have to be very responsible.

Acting forcefully to protect citizens from the ravages of a global pandemic is not a violation of their rights. Quite the opposite.

Just hours before Mr. Kenney spoke, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced the closing of all restaurants, fitness and recreational facilities, libraries, museums, casinos and more for at least two weeks.

Why? Because the province had a “surge” of 37 cases. Thirty-seven. Business owners actually demanded the lockdown, saying severe rules are the only way to retain consumer confidence.

Alberta recorded 1,115 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, along with 16 deaths. And that was the lowest rate in a while, because testing is way down. In recent days, Alberta has had more cases than Ontario, which has more than three times the population.

The testing system is overwhelmed. The contact tracing system has collapsed. Hospital beds, and all-important intensive care beds in particular, are filling up fast. There are dozens of outbreaks in hospitals and care homes and schools.

Alberta’s pandemic response was great for many months – the Premier was right to underline that fact. But the harsh reality today is that public health and hospitals alike are dangerously close to losing control of the situation.

Mr. Kenney said it himself: “If we don’t slow the ER and ICU admissions, it will threaten our health system.”

But then, in the next breath, he was back to talking about how it’s essential to keep businesses open.

Who knows what the public will make of this Jekyll and Hyde discourse? The between-the-line message seems to be: It’s business as usual.

Yes, the pandemic is a blow to the economy; yes, it’s taking a toll on our mental health; yes, there is a lot of collateral damage.

But if there’s one thing we have learned – or should have learned – is that all that will continue, along with the harm of COVID-19, unless you go all-in to slow the spread of the virus.

Mr. Kenney said the “balanced approach” he has chosen will ensure that the spread of the coronavirus is interrupted while allowing businesses to remain open. But you can’t have it both ways.

The evidence from around the world is crystal clear: This approach is a fast-track to failure. Not only will the virus continue to spread, but the economy won’t flourish because people will still be scared.

Quebec has been in lockdown for more than two months – with rules that are way more strict that what Alberta is imposing – and it’s barely able to keep its COVID-19 numbers static, never mind lower them.

Does anyone seriously believe Alberta will be able to do better by essentially doing nothing?

Albertans should brace themselves because they’re in for a world of hurt in the coming weeks.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-jason-kenneys-balanced-approach-is-a-fast-track-to-failure/

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 11 November Update

Overall, infection rates continue to skyrocket with some increase in death rates. Prairies and North numbers particularly noteworthy.
 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: Ontario ahead of India, Prairies ahead of Canada less Quebec, Canadian North ahead of Atlantic Canada 
 
Deaths per million: Italy ahead of USA, Germany ahead of Canada less Quebec, Prairies ahead of Philippine