Who gets sick (and who isn’t) in Nova Scotia Wave 2


With the start of the second wave of COVID in Nova Scotia, the image of who gets sick in that province has changed.”It focuses on 18 to 35 year olds,” Dr Robert Strang, the province’s chief health officer, said in a briefing on Thursday.

“It’s just the nature of this virus when you catch it in a demographic age where social activity is a big part of their way of life. ”

All age groups had cases in the first wave, but attention turned to outbreaks in the elderly as COVID-19 spread from the community to staff and residents nursing homes across the province.

The first wave

Just over half of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 cases between March and the end of September were in people of working age, between 20 and 59 years old.

Another 21 percent were in the 60 to 79 age group, and 17 percent were over 80. About 10% were 19 and under.

Overall, 61% of cases were female and 39% male.

The Northwood long-term care facility outbreak in Halifax alone accounted for 345 cases between staff and residents. Smaller outbreaks have been reported in at least seven other long-term and senior care facilities across the province.

Fifty-three residents of the Northwood Halifax campus, Nova Scotia’s largest long-term care facility, died from COVID-19 in the first wave. (Robert Short / CBC)

Residents of long-term care facilities are more likely to be women, as women have a longer life expectancy than men. Long-term care staff are also more likely to be women.

Experts in aging and long-term care said this was one of the reasons the first wave showed an uneven gender distribution that was weighted in favor of women.

The second wave

At this point in Nova Scotia’s second wave – which Strang says began in early October – the age and gender distribution looks very different.

Between October 1 and Strang’s briefing on November 24, 71% of COVID-19 cases were in the 20 to 39 age range. People aged 40 to 59 followed this group, or 13% of cases.

Ten percent of the cases were between 0 and 19 years old and 7% between 60 and 79 years old.

No cases had been recorded in the age group of 80 years and over as of November 24.

The gender distribution has also changed, with 55% of the second wave cases being males and 45% females.

To come up

The second wave is not over and there is still a possibility that older groups or nursing homes will be hit hard again, which is why the province has set up isolation units in six nursing homes across the country. long-term care and hospitals.

Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang speaks at the COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, November 24. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Young adults are less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, although it can happen.

“If you look at the vast majority of our positive cases over the past few weeks, they are from young adults,” Strang said.

“Lots of social life, going to work… while we are testing contacts, there are a number that have been asymptomatic. But there are also many who have very mild symptoms. ”

And that can be problematic.

Strang said that the very fact that young people have mild symptoms – or none at all – makes them excellent transmitters of a virus that won’t go away anytime soon.


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