covid canada

Canadians in their twenties and thirties said to be the cause of recent COVID-19 outbreaks

There's been an uptick in COVID-19 cases across the country in recent days, which some are blaming on Canada Day celebrations and others are attributing to young people doing young people things, which may be changing the breakdown of the country's virus stats.

National counts reveal that in those Canadians who have recently tested positive for the communicable disease (between July 8 and July 14), the age demographic that had the highest incidence rate was 20-29.

A total of 65 per cent of new patients in this time frame were under 39, and 25 per cent were in their 20s specifically — stark given the fact that those aged 20-39 only represent 14 per cent of cases overall, meaning far fewer in this age group were affected earlier on in the health crisis.

Ontario, the most populous province in the country, reported 203 new patients on Tuesday, the first time it has teetered over the 200 mark in some time after a consistent trend downwards — and, provincial Health Minister Christine Elliott pointed out that more than half (57 per cent) of these diagnoses were in people 39 or younger.

Individuals 20-39 now comprise approximately 30 per cent of all cases that have taken place in Ontario in total (compared with 30 per cent 40-59-year-olds, 18 per cent 60-79 year olds, 16 per cent 80+ year olds and 5 per cent who are aged 19 and under).

In the peak of the pandemic, this running total was closer to 23 per cent, compared with around 32 per cent aged 40-59, 23 per cent 60-79, 20 per cent 80 and over and 2 per cent 19 and under.

B.C. and Quebec are two other provinces that are starting to notice an increase in the proportion of young people getting sick with the virus.

"We know that most of the cases that have arisen over the last weekend and the last few days have been in people in their 20s and 30s," B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry said at a media briefing on Monday.

"We have not seen that sort of change that we've seen in other parts of the country of younger people being more affected... but expect that number will change in the coming weeks."

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has likewise pointed a finger at young people, a group perhaps more likely to socialize and enjoy recently-opened bars and restaurants, for recent outbreaks in his province.

And, it's something that officials like the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada have echoed at a national level, citing "increasing reports of individuals contracting COVID-19 at parties, nightclubs and bars, as well as increasing rates of transmission among young Canadians" at a press conference last week.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford today urged young people to stop "partying," which he likewise believes is a reason for the latest COVID-19 numbers.

"Just don’t go to a party. Simple... Wear a mask and if you don't have a mask keep two metres. I just ask people to hold off on these parties. I don't know why everyone wants to party so badly," he told reporters.

"You have to rein it in."

Along with their propensity for partying, young people are apparently also more likely to feel invincible to illness, to grow bored of lockdown measures, and to become complacent because they are less likely to have severe symptoms or any at all if infected, scientists say.

In densely-packed cities with all of the offerings of establishments that have been shuttered for months, this can mean that those packing onto bar patios or into restaurant dining rooms are more millennial-aged than older.

Many have been quick to point out, though, that if politicians did not want young people frequenting recently opened businesses that pose potentially social environments, perhaps it was not best to open them and then place blame on the groups most likely to frequent them.

Still, it's important for residents of all ages to keep in mind that despite whatever stage of reopening their region is in, physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing in situations where you are around others not in your household or bubble are imperitive steps to keep case counts on the decline.

Lead photo by

Simon Mange

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