Alberta's premier had a less-than-hopeful message for locals in his lastest public announcement. On Tuesday, April 7, Jason Kenney addressed the public to share COVID-19 projections for the province. In one scenario, if the government and the public were to do nothing moving forward, as many as 32,000 Albertans could die as a result of the disease. 

In that case, over 1.6 million residents could get infected with the disease. “Our health system would collapse under the chaos of that scenario,” Kenney said in the televised speech

But rest assured, those numbers would only emerge if the public were to completely drop the social distancing guidelines and if the government were to just let the virus run its course. 

In a more "likely scenario," Kenney said that as many as 800,000 Albertans will get infected with the disease by the end of the summer. 

This would result in a death count between 400 and 3,100 individuals in the province. 

Considering Alberta's most recent estimate revealed a population of around 4,371,316 people, which means that one in six Albertans will likely contract the infection. 

These projections have been researched and compiled by Alberta Health Services, who think that the number of cases will peak in mid-May. 

Jason Kenney also revealed that our per-capita number of confirmed infections is the second-highest in the country, only behind Quebec, but that's in part due to the province "conducting one of the highest levels of COVID-19 testing in the world," he said.

The amount of testing plays a huge role in determining the number of positive cases, and Kenney also believes that our level of testing has allowed the province to help track close contacts of those infected, which in turn limits the spread. 

But it's not all grim news from Kenney. He's shared that Albertans' rate of hospitalization and admission into ICUs for COVID-19 is much lower than it is in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. 

But those provinces caught their cases much earlier than Alberta, so we could very well be following suit, the premier said. 

Another hopeful stat showed that the "curve in Alberta is much lower than many other parts of the world." 

Basically, the flatter the curve, the more we can be certain the number of new cases is slowing down and our social distancing efforts are actually working. 

The Premier also discussed a "more serious but less likely" scenario in which a million Albertans could test positive, resulting in deaths up to 6,600. 

Regardless, the numbers are just projections, Kenney reminded us. "I want Albertans to see them as a challenge. Perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation," he said. 

He said that the course of the pandemic, including the number of infections and deaths, as well as the endurance of our health care system, depends entirely "on our choices." 

It's looking like the physical and social distancing are going to have to stick around for a little while longer. 

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