The latest presentation showing epidemiological statistics of COVID-19 in British Columbia has revealed some troubling trends.
On Thursday, August 13, the B.C. Ministry of Health shared its most recent breakdown of who in the province is most affected by COVID-19 and what the transmission rate trajectory looks like for the near future.
Arguably one of the most important figure throughout the presentation is that which shows that B.C. residents are currently interacting with their peers at 70 per cent of normal.
Dynamic modelling shows that if this level of contacts is not scaled back, the number of new COVID-19 cases per day could keep increasing to the point where, by September, there could be over 100 new cases per day.
In contrast, reducing contacts down to 60 per cent would keep the transmission rate at around 50 new cases per day, while reducing further to 50 per cent would see the transmission rate start to decline by September.
The data also showed what provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix have been expressing for several weeks: young people in their 20s and 30s account for the majority of the spike in cases B.C. has seen in recent weeks.
These cases have mostly been linked to parties and social gatherings, but some have also been attributed to outbreaks and exposures at workplaces.
Of the 4,274 COVID-18 cases thus far recorded in the province, only 78 have been children under age 10—accounting for 2 per cent of all cases—and 162 have been older children, account for four per cent of all cases.
Deaths and hospitalizations due to coronavirus are still heavily skewed to older populations, particularly those in the 60 to 90+ age range.
Fortunately, there has only been one COVID-19 related death recorded in B.C. thus far in August.
“This virus has consequences for every age group. It can hurt your heart and lungs, and leave you exhausted, even if you are a young adult,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.
“These symptoms can last weeks. That means weeks of your summer away from work and away from friends.”
Throughout August, public health and government officials have been asking young people to refrain from gathering in large groups without masks or physical distancing measures.
On Friday, prominent B.C.-born Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds took up the cause after Premier John Horgan called on him for help to spread the message.
“I hope that young people in B.C. don’t kill my mom, frankly, or David Suzuki, or each other. Let’s not kill anyone, I think that’s reasonable,” he said in an audio clip.
That clip has thus far been retweeted 1,500 times and shared by nearly every media organization in Western Canada since Reynolds first posted it Friday morning.