‘The UCP has abandoned Albertans to the fourth wave’: NDP rips COVID-19 comments by UCP caucus chair

CALGARY — Alberta NDP health critic David Shepherd ripped UCP caucus chair Nathan Neudorf (Lethbridge-East) Friday evening, after Neudorf appeared on a Lethbridge-based newscast to discuss the province’s approach to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases during the fourth wave.

Neudorf explained that the province was basing its actions on the pattern the Delta variant took in the United Kingdom, where the fourth wave struck before it got to Alberta.

“In the UK, we also saw a rapid rise of case numbers,” Neudorf said. “But then of equally rapid decline as it finished going through the unvaccinated population, it didn’t have anywhere to go.”

“I’m very hopeful that we will see the same kind of trend (in Alberta),” he said. “Maybe a bit of an accelerated case (count), but then a very quick decline as well, allowing us to safely keep businesses open, so we don’t have to add further restrictions.”

Then, addressing the upcoming return to school, he added, “We will keep what we’ve got in place right now, allow the opening of school to see what happens there, but will continue to watch those numbers and monitor safely – but we want to keep the economy going as best we can as well.”

SHEPHERD RESPONDS

Shepherd, who has been calling on the province to release its COVID-19 modelling, was critical of that approach.

“Albertans deserve a government that is focused on protecting their health, their families and their communities from the threat of COVID-19,” Shepherd said, in a release issued Friday evening. “While we have not heard a word from the premier or health minister, the UCP caucus chair says the plan is clear: let ‘er rip.”

David Shepherd

“This government will let the Delta variant sweep through our unvaccinated population, causing more serious illness and death. No thought for the impacts on families who will suffer, on health care workers who are still trying to recover from the last wave, on businesses trying to get back on their feet or students returning to school in just a few days.”

The health critic said he was in “disbelief” and that the UCP need to explain the recent surge in cases to Albertans while offering a plan to move ahead safely.

“The UCP has abandoned Albertans to the fourth wave,” he said. “I demand (Alberta health minister) Tyler Shandro stand up and explain: is this really the plan? Because if not, Albertans deserve to know what it is.”

Shandro has not spoken in public since the end of July. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has not appeared in public since Aug. 9.

Alberta Health Services announced 1,168 new cases Friday, the third consecutive day of more  than 1,000 cases reported.

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