More Young Ontarians Are Getting COVID-19 But Health Staff Aren't Sure Why

The trend's been noticed both inside and outside the GTA.
COVID-19 In Ontario Is Hitting More People In Their 20s And Health Staff Aren't Sure Why

It seems like more and more relatively young people are catching COVID-19 in Ontario. The latest data suggests the number of 20-somethings in the province contracting the virus is on the rise. And health staff do not have a definitive explanation.

Areas of southern Ontario including Hamilton and Peel have reported apparent recent upticks in the number of younger people being infected with the virus.

As of Friday, June 5, 43% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days in the Hamilton area are in their 20s, per CBC.

Meanwhile, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said late last week that he is "alarmed that when you look at the positive cases we have, a high number of young people between the ages of 20 and 29 are testing positive."

On Monday, June 8, two leading local doctors were asked about this apparent trend, and neither could provide a definitive suggestion for why it may be happening.

First, Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, suggested several factors may be at play.

"Yes, we have noticed an increasing percentage of cases in younger people," Dr. Yaffe told reporters. "There are probably a number of factors that contribute to that.

"I would think part of it is that we've opened up testing to people with less severe symptoms, in fact no symptoms, so we're probably picking up milder cases in young people."

Dr. Yaffe cited other factors like more young people potentially coming forward for testing, as well as potential increased community exposure.

However, she noted: "We don't have a breakdown at this point of exposure sites by age group so it's hard to say, but I would say overall, yes, we are seeing more. It's probably related to the fact we're seeing less people in hospital as it tends to be more severe in older people are less severe in younger people."

Later on Monday afternoon, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, was also asked about the trend.

While she could not speak to specifics, she told reporters: "I do understand that those impacted by COVID-19 in recent weeks here in the city are a younger demographic than was seen earlier in the course of our outbreak."

She went on to stress the continued importance of physical distancing in avoiding case spikes.

"If our data suggests that physical distancing is not being as diligently practiced by younger members of our community as it should be, then I think we'll take our actions and direct our actions towards addressing that situation."

According to the City's COVID-19 updates page, people aged 20 to 29 make up 13.6% of all cases in the city right now.

Earlier on Monday, Ontario government staff had announced they are pressing ahead with the province's reopening plan in most areas outside the GTA.

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