Canada’s age demographic shift in COVID-19 cases

Photo by Darien Funk

As of Oct. 2, 1,130 Canadian citizens between the ages of 0 and 39—only 9.6 per cent of our total population—have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. This is the demographic least likely to notice significant or worrisome symptoms due to the virus.

Therefore, their likelihood to be hospitalised is greatly decreased. Provided that the patient has no pre-existing health conditions, a two-week quarantine period is usually a sufficient treatment.

Canada has undergone a massive shift of age demographics infected with COVID-19. As of Oct. 2, the majority—about 18 per cent—of those carrying the virus are between the ages of 20-29. If we widen that age range a little, 43.8 per cent of Canada’s total active cases are people below the age of forty.

Almost half of our cases are comprised of our youth. It might be a stretch to call someone a few months away from hitting their fortieth birthday ‘young’—sorry Mom—but it’s safe to say they have a much better chance of fighting off the virus than someone in their mid-seventies.

The elderly are much more susceptible to developing complications due to COVID-19. Thankfully, their infection rate has gone down along with the number of those being hospitalized. The age demographic at most risk of fatality is now among the least likely to get infected.

But that doesn’t mean this trend is steady. Ontario has officially entered its second wave of the pandemic, raising more and more questions as cases continue to increase.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as to why cases have risen among Canadian youth. As restrictions have loosened over the previous months, high-schoolers and university students have found every reason under the sun to begin socializing with their peers again.

And government threats seem to be doing just about nothing. Not a week goes by in which a party breaking mandated government restrictions isn’t thrown. “We’ll charge cover,” I’ve been told by friends interested in hosting large gatherings, looking for ways to avoid substantial fines.

It’s nothing more than arrogance—and maybe a little bit of stupidity. Although the likelihood of complications arising from COVID-19 infection within this age demographic is quite low, their chances of catching the virus are quite high.

Youth have taken their reduced severe complication chance as an invitation to utterly disregard safety protocols. They’re simply fitting the stereotype: “It doesn’t affect me so why should I care?” It’s an embarrassing trope throughout uninformed Hollywood—that of the oblivious, arrogant millennial—and it pains me to see us proving them right.

During a period of the pandemic when cases are increasing at a record rate, the last thing we should be doing is physically socializing. “We are concerned by the rate of increase of cases in the community,” said Dr. Julie Emili, Waterloo’s associate medical officer of health, in an interview with the Cambridge Times

The quickest way to spread this virus is through constant social interactions with large numbers of people outside of your established social circles. 

Protect those most at risk of developing complications due to COVID-19 simply by keeping yourself safe. You can’t spread a virus you don’t have, so do everything in your power to avoid this worst-case scenario. 

It doesn’t matter that your single test result from six weeks ago came back negative. You’re just as likely to catch the virus the second you leave the testing centre as you were when you arrived. Stop using your test results as an excuse to socialize. Just because you had a nurse tickle your brain with a cotton swab doesn’t mean you’ve built an immunity to anything.

I know I shouldn’t generalize. The majority of people within the younger age demographic—at least the ones I’ve seen—have been following regulations diligently. For those of you reading this thinking, “Hey! I’m twenty-whatever and I’ve been following safety protocols!”, the irritation and anger expressed above is by no means directed at you.

But for those of you disregarding mandated regulations, those socializing without precaution, I wish you all the diarrhea in the world. Thousands and thousands of people have died due to COVID-19 and just because you might not be at risk, that doesn’t mean the people you decide to socialize with are not.

We preach of a longing for normalcy, a resurgence of regular social practices yet we behave in direct opposition to our complaints. 

To quote Awolnation—the first band I ever admitted might be better than The Beatles—“Seriously, it’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why it feels so f***ing good.” We have to work towards our ideal. It’s idiotic to think we can function as we did previously during a global health crisis.

And it’s even more moronic to think we’ll ever get back to normalcy behaving the way we do. We’ve allowed arrogance to spread a preventable disease and God knows, you reap what you sow.

Leave a Reply