Government refuses to specifically protect at-risk populations
By Timothy Easling, Senior Columnist
Many have questioned why the vulnerable have not been afforded extra protection—such as complete isolation—rather than massive lockdowns that have little-to-no effect on these populations.
COVID-19 total deaths remain relatively low, though most media and lockdowns seem to suggest otherwise. It is important to keep in mind that the government data shows COVID still predominantly affects those of advanced age and weakened states, not those of average age or really even those who are over 60 but healthy.
British Columbia has suffered 93 deaths from 5,831 cases (1.5 percent fatality rate) since November 24 as Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry’s extended two-week health order continues towards the supposed end date of December 7. The population of the province is 5,147,712.
On November 30, Henry drew attention to the fact that the majority of deaths (approximately 80 percent or 74 of BC’s 93) were in long-term care. While the knowledge that deaths are primarily in LTCs is not new, the confirmation from an official draws several questions. Despite the obvious need to protect the older population, there have been no government motions to specifically protect them. Many have questioned why the vulnerable have not been afforded extra protection—such as complete isolation—rather than massive lockdowns that have little-to-no effect on these populations. Government relief funds are broadly based instead of focused on healthcare workers who could remain 24/7 in these closed systems to care for and protect Canada’s at-risk citizens.
Unless stated otherwise, all statistics in this piece are from available government data with age demographics (99.9 percent of cases). From November 24 to 30 there have been 519 deaths, and 96.9 percent of those (503) are from those 60-and-up—often in long term care homes (LTCs), acute care, or assisted living, and with multiple comorbidities; the risk of dying for Canadians who are neither of advanced age nor weakened states continues to remain low. Canada has suffered 11,759 deaths from COVID-19—and saw 8,511 deaths in 2018 from Influenza and pneumonia. The population of Canada is 38,005,238.
Countrywide from November 24 to 30, the 0-39 age bracket suffered 1 more death, the 40-49 age bracket, 2, and the 50-59 age bracket, 13. The massive case numbers indicate the low fatality rate of the disease for those not of ill health; the 0-39 age bracket saw 15,976 more cases, the 40-49 age bracket had 4,264 more, the 50-59 age bracket observed 3,914 more, and the 60+ age bracket recorded 6,231 more. Just from the last week of cases, the fatality rate for each bracket in relation to its case numbers was 0.006 percent (0-39), 0.04 percent (40-49), 0.33 percent (50-59), and 8.07 percent (60+). Further emphasizing the low risk of death to many Canadians, there were 24,154 cases from 0-59 and 16 deaths—which works out to a fatality rate of 0.06 percent.
Hospitalization increases remained relatively steady with previous weeks—and with almost none of them (again, for those not of weakened states) resulting in death. The vast majority (74.2 percent) of hospitalizations were from the 60-and-up age bracket (1,709 more) with the lower age brackets registering small totals: 0-39—191 more, 40-49—141 more, 50-59—279 more. ICU admittances remained much the same with only 315 more. Of those 315, 75.9 percent (239) were from the 60+ age bracket. The remaining 76 cases were divided among the lower age brackets: 0-39—20, 40-49—22, and 50-59—34.
Influenza (responsible for 8,511 deaths in 2018—approximately half of what COVID is on pace for) has been drastically down this year—with only four total cases reported in week 47 (November 15-21). The average from week 35-47 over the last six years has been 1,527, but this year has seen only 23. Based on the data, there is a likelihood that COVID-19 numbers have been merged with Influenza figures.
With Influenza numbers almost non-existent, Canada’s total death figures are relatively even with recent years. Canada’s largest fatality increase since 2014 was in 2017 when there were 9,476 more deaths than the previous year. Since 2014, four of the six years (data not yet out for 2020) have seen at least 5,512 additional deaths. With the current figures and the zero deaths from Influenza, it could be loosely calculated that Canada will record 4,000 to 5,000 additional deaths—well within the country’s normal death totals (current COVID deaths [11,759]—Influenza and pneumonia deaths [8,511] + rough estimation of COVID deaths for December [1,000-2,000]).