Chief public health officers urge young people to stop fuelling spread of coronavirus
The Associated Press · Posted: Jul 25, 2020
Dr. Diana Pacheco explains to a patient that she will collect nasal and throat swabs, at a mobile COVID-19 testing tent in San Gregorio Atlapulco in the Xochimilco district of Mexico City on Friday. (Rebecca Blackwell/The Associated Press)
Canada’s chief public health officer issued a pre-weekend warning to young people to be cautious to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after an uptick in cases, largely among people in their 20s and 30s.
Dr. Theresa Tam says there’s a worrisome trend of rising infections among people aged 20 to 39. She noted that less than one per cent of Canadians have been infected, which means the population remains highly susceptible to getting sick.
Tam said the peak of new daily cases arrived in early May, when the average daily case count was 1,800. That number fell to 273 in early July but has crept back up to 487 in the last seven days.
As Canadian air travel begins to pick up, some hope a new national contract tracing app that is now in beta testing will help warn people of possible exposure to COVID-19. Others warn limitations in technology and passenger information gathering will hinder it. 1:55
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has urged Canadians to ask themselves before going out this weekend — “Is what I’m about to do worth the risk?”
Hadju on Friday said the government needs to do a better job tailoring its public health messaging to younger Canadians. She said her department is working on new language and new ways for connecting with an age group the government often struggles to reach.
“I have had a pit in my stomach that I haven’t felt quite frankly since February or March when we saw our numbers start to surge,” she said.
As playgrounds reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, National co-host Andrew Chang walks through the risks and how to keep kids safe. 1:42
She said the federal government has launched an online tool to help Canadians evaluate the risks of various activities and behaviours, which will be integrated with the COVID-19 tracing app now in the beta testing phase. The government also has posted online reminders of the risk level for certain behaviours.
More than 15.8 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 638,271 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
In the United States, a world-leading 4.1 million cases have been confirmed and more than 145,000 people have died from COVID-19.
“We have to change our behaviour now, before this virus completely moves back up through the north,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who is with the White House coronavirus task force.
Fans outside the ballpark stand as the U.S. national anthem is performed inside Fenway Park before the shortened season opening MLB baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, played before an empty ballpark because of COVID-19 in Boston, Mass., on Friday. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
“This first wave that we see now across Florida, Texas, California and Arizona began with under-30-year-olds, many who were asymptomatic and didn’t know they were spreading it,” she said.
Texas was approaching 400,000 cases on Friday, while Florida passed that mark, according to health officials.
Doctors answer questions about reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic including whether it’s safe and what precautions are needed to mitigate spread of the virus. 5:29
Recovering from even mild coronavirus infections can take at least two to three weeks, according to a study published Friday and led by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They surveyed 274 patients in several states who tested positive for the virus. After three weeks of having symptoms, about one-third of middle-aged adults had not fully recovered, and for those 50 and older, the rate was almost half. Patients with chronic illness, especially obesity, were more likely to have lingering symptoms.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada has seen 113,206 confirmed coronavirus cases. There are 5,418 active cases overall in the provinces and territories, with 98,873 listed as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting indicates that 8,915 Canadians have died.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch says indoor spaces like bars and restaurants are contributing to the uptick in coronavirus cases among younger people, but shutting them down may not be the answer. 3:04
Health officials in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex area reported the highest number of new infections in the province on Friday, most connected to farms, and that has Premier Doug Ford looking for a way to impose mandatory testing for migrant workers.
“Unless testing is mandatory for all residents, including farm employers, this measure if implemented clearly targets low-waged, racialized people and is racist and discriminatory,” read a statement from the Migrant Workers Alliance For Change.
Ford says his team has been asked to consult a constitutional lawyer to find out if the province can mandate such testing.
Windsor-Essex reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, attributing more than 40 of those to agri-food workers.
The province has sent mobile testing units to some farms, but the uptake isn’t as high as Ford would like.
Whether it’s because they’re returning to work or socializing more, COVID-19 is becoming more common in young people, says infectious disease researcher Craig Jenne. 6:32
Manitoba was set to go ahead with a scaled-back Phase 4 plan for reopening on Saturday.
Casinos and movie theatres will be able to operate at 30 per cent capacity of the site.
The current site capacity of 30 per cent for faith-based services and powwows will be maintained, while the requirement for participants to break into sub-groups has been eliminated.
The draft plan proposed that Manitobans could see walkup counter service in bars, microbreweries and distilleries reopen, but that section has been deferred.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new confirmed case of COVID-19 on Friday, involving a woman in the Eastern Health region between the ages of 20 and 39.
The woman is a resident of the province who had recently returned from travel in Southeast Asia. Officials say the woman was symptomatic during her return home and went into self-isolation upon her arrival.
The province has reported a total of 265 cases of COVID-19, 259 of which are considered recovered.
Health officials in British Columbia have announced a new community outbreak of COVID-19 in Haida Gwaii. Until now, the remote islands have managed to avoid any cases, but 13 local residents have now tested positive.
What’s happening in the rest of the world
Russia on Saturday reported 5,871 new coronavirus cases and 146 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
The nationwide tally of infections has risen to 806,720, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said. The death toll now stands at 13,192, and 597,140 people have recovered.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bulgaria passed 10,000 on Saturday, as the Balkan country reported 270 infections in the past 24 hours, official data showed.
Eight people had died from the virus overnight, taking the official death toll to 337. Total infections stand at 10,123. Some 5,252 people have recovered, data from the official coronavirus information platform showed.
Police officers check documents of commuters in Kokata, India on Saturday, one of two days during the week when a lockdown has been imposed in West Bengal state to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. India is the third hardest-hit country by the pandemic after the U.S. and Brazil. (Bikas Das/The Associated Press)
Vietnam reported its first local coronavirus infection for more than three months on Saturday after a man in the central city of Danang tested positive four times for the virus, a government statement said.
Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing program, Vietnam had kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.
Filipinos stranded due to COVID-19 restrictions crammed inside a baseball stadium on Friday while waiting to be transported back to their provinces through a government transportation program at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila. (Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)
In the Philippines, thousands of people were crammed into a baseball stadium in Manila on Saturday, breaking social distancing rules despite coronavirus risks, after people wanting to return to their home provinces flooded a government transportation program.
Officials had reserved the stadium as a place to test people before transporting them back to their home provinces under a program to help people who had lost their jobs in the capital return to their families elsewhere.
Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.
Hong Kong reported 133 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, including 126 that were locally transmitted, a record for a daily increase, as authorities warned that the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.
The Asian financial hub reported 123 new cases on Friday, after it extended strict social distancing measures this week.
Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 18 of whom have died.
Face coverings are now required inside most enclosed public spaces in England. England is also offering most people a free flu vaccine to guard against overwhelming hospitals this flu season. 3:31
In England, swimming pools and gyms were starting to reopen Saturday for the first time since the U.K. went into lockdown in March. At least a third of public pools were expected to remain closed.
The country’s new rules on masks-wearing took effect Friday, with face-coverings required to enter banks, stores and food shops. Refusing to follow the rule can result in hefty fines.