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EDITORIAL: Public health care measures should be left in the hands of medical experts

Albertans across the province have been left physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Albertans across the province have been left physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus has taken a toll on our well-being and the whiplash of constantly changing public health measures is only exacerbating these experiences.

It remains important to keep two things in mind as we continue to pivot and adapt to COVID-19— The decisions in the province are being guided by health care experts and we are nearly at the finish line.

The province's return to Step One of public health measures was a heartbreaking but necessary decision to keep Albertans safe.

The return to Step One was made in reaction to the exponentially increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the province.

Premier Jason Kenney said it was a necessary action that will save lives and ensure the pandemic does not overwhelm our health care system.

While it was difficult to hear we must wait a little longer before life returns to normal.

The vaccine rollout in the province is picking up speed. Each inoculation brings us one step closer to the finish line.

But, until we see the majority of Albertans inoculated there remains a pressing need for measures designed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Until we see the majority of Albertans inoculated there is still a need to take care to help prevent the spread of the virus.

This is what makes it so disappointing to see a handful of UCP MLAs speak out against the health measures introduced.

Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin was one of 16 MLAs to sign a letter condemning the return of increased health measures, labeling the choice as the "the wrong decision."

The letter states the physical and mental health effects of the virus have taken a harsh toll on the province's most vulnerable populations, but the MLAs believes the return to Step One is a movement backwards abandoning a plan Albertans had worked diligently over the past year to follow.

Rosin's voice was joined by other caucus members including Grand Prairie MLA Tracy Allard, Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt and Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan.

Some of these names will likely be familiar to Albertans— Rosin was one of a handful of MLAs caught travelling outside the province in December, Allard was removed as Minister of Municipal Affairs after travelling to Hawaii in December, Pitt was briefly a member of the national End the Lockdowns Caucus opposing lockdowns related to the pandemic and Stephan also travelled outside the country over the holidays.

These MLAs represent the frustration many Albertans are feeling after 13 months of public health measures— But, they are first and foremost politicians, not medical experts.

Our path forward needs to be guided by health experts in the province using the most up-to-date scientific evidence.

One of the biggest mistakes to occur during the pandemic has been to allow the politicization of COVID-19.

Alberta lives and livelihoods depend on the expertise of medical experts.

Each day inches us closer to the finish line of the pandemic. When we are so close to the end it would be foolhardy to let politics instead of science guide the provinces' public health measures.

Cochrane-Airdrie MLA Peter Guthrie put it best.

“We’re not experts in the field, we’re politicians and we’re trying to make the best decisions possible with the information that we have,” Guthrie said. “We rely on experts and experts in the field in health for their advice in putting forward their recommendations so our leaders can make the tough decisions that they have to make.”