Coronavirus update: BC modeling suggests what’s to come and young people are increasingly affected


VANCOUVER – Once a national model in the fight against COVID-19, British Columbia now faces the very real possibility of an alarming and sustained increase in cases. New modeling released Thursday by public health officials suggests that daily increases in cases in the province may soon exceed numbers seen at the height of the crisis in March and April.

The current trajectory indicates that this could happen by September, although Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health administrator, pointed out that there is still time to turn the tide if people improve their behavior.

“It’s worrying, but it’s not a predictive model – it doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen, it tells us what can happen,” she said of the modeling projections. “Right now, we have within our capacity to make the changes that we need to reverse that curve. ”

The modeling also warns that British Columbia’s COVID-19 Reproduction Index, which tracks the number of additional infections generated per new case, is also “above the epidemic control threshold.”

The threshold for sustained case growth is at one – just one additional infection for each identified case – but Henry noted that British Columbia has “rebounded a little above one” since June.

The daily number of cases rose sharply this week, with British Columbia adding 85 cases on Wednesday and 78 on Thursday. BC Health Minister Adrian Dix has urged people not to be discouraged and, more importantly, to do their best to diligently follow the advice that officials have been hammering out for weeks.

” Do not abandon. Don’t lose faith, don’t lose hope, ”Dix said. “Your participation and leadership have never been more important. We have public health responsibilities, but you make all the difference. We are counting on you. ”

Much of the recent growth in the number of cases has been blamed on young people who party and socialize in large numbers, or fail to keep an appropriate distance of two meters from each other.

The latest modeling highlights this more clearly, revealing that the demographics of young adults are now over-represented in the infection count in British Columbia.

Although people in their 20s make up 13% of the province’s population, they represent 17% of all cases identified since the start of the pandemic. Likewise, people in their thirties represent 14% of the population but represent 18% of cases.

“What we’ve seen is a decrease in the median age of those affected,” Henry said.

Fortunately, officials said, the vast majority of cases still have a known origin – credit for the crucial contact tracing work done by public health teams. This work will soon be bolstered by the hiring of 500 new health professionals, Premier John Horgan announced this week.

Despite the ominous outlook, Henry once again reminded the public of his motto – be calm, kind and secure – and championed the province’s approach as largely successful.

“What we have done has worked, and that is why we are where we are at,” she said. “It’s a very small proportion of the population doing things that are causing some of the spread that we are seeing. The vast majority of us survive together and that is what we must continue to do. ”

This is a last minute update. Check back for more information.


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