The first six months of this year have been among the most challenging our province has ever faced. The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with a global economic collapse and the unprecedented drop in our energy prices, have presented a triple whammy of adversity for Alberta. Your government has been doing everything within our power to support those Albertans impacted by these unprecedented challenges.
Firstly, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you will have noticed that some restrictions have begun to be lifted as we relaunch parts of our economy. I want to assure you that we are acting on the advice of public health officials, and monitoring progress carefully. Albertans have taken this challenge seriously and have worked hard and made tremendous sacrifices to confront the novel coronavirus, and that hard work is paying off. We have seen some of the lowest levels of hospitalizations and have had dramatically fewer patients require ICU care than originally projected. This is why we are able to move forward with relaunching our economy and getting life back to normal. We are not entirely out of the woods yet and must still follow the advice of our public health officials, but those Albertans who did all they could to win the fight against COVID-19 should feel proud of what they accomplished.
As much as there is some good news, there is also a sustained economic challenge we must now confront. The global economy will take time to recover from this unprecedented downturn, and severely depressed energy prices could be the reality for as long as 18 months. This means that Alberta will continue to face economic and financial challenges. Your government has made important investments to support small businesses, our energy jobs, and Albertans impacted by this economic crisis. As a result, we will be facing significant deficits and a fiscal reckoning when we get through it; however, everything we are doing now is to protect jobs, keep businesses open, and get Alberta back to work.