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Alberta can start ‘significantly relaxing’ COVID-19 rules once hospitalizations dip: Kenney

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he believes the province should be able to start “significantly relaxing” public health measures once hospitalizations from the Omicron variant of COVD-19 decrease.

In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, airing in full on Sunday, Kenney said he expects the severity of the virus will only decrease in future variants that may emerge.

“Once we start to see sustainable reduction in our hospitalizations from Omicron, then I think we can move to begin significantly relaxing public health measures,” Kenney said.

“And if Omicron acts like, for example, the Spanish flu or any other similar contagious viral respiratory virus, I think we can expect to see decreasing severity in future variants, which should bode well for the future.”

He added that he believes, “we have to just learn to live with this.”

Read more: ‘Difficult to say’ whether Omicron will lead to end of COVID-19 pandemic: PHAC

Kenney pointed to an article in The Lancet medical journal earlier in the week, which looked at indications from South Africa that reinfections after an individual gets the Omicron variant may be milder than the initial infection.

That article suggested individuals infected with Omicron went on to have “a significantly reduced odds of severe disease compared with individuals infected earlier with the delta variant.”

However, a commentary published by other researchers in response argued the experience of South Africa, which has a demographically young population, won’t necessarily be the same elsewhere.

“This report of typically milder disease following infection with the omicron versus delta variant in South Africa is encouraging, but we should not assume that omicron variant epidemics

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