By Connor Lynch
While death statistics capture the headlines, rarely do healthy people die from COVID-19. Those most at risk are over the age of 60 or have a serious pre-existing health condition.
Retirement homes have been hardest hit.
According to federal statistics released in mid-April, 90 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths were of people aged 60 and older, and half of those deaths were of residents of long-term care and retirement homes.
The good news is that some elderly people have tested positive to COVID-19 and exhibited few symptoms. A Stanford University study of New York state (the worst-hit state) has found that the “overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.”
The chance of dying from COVID-19 could be as low as 0.01 to 0.02 per cent, the study found. In Canada, the case fatality rate as of April 30 was 5.8 per cent.
Though it’s comparatively rare, younger people have died. In Ontario, at least two deaths of younger people have occurred: Keith Saunders, who worked at a Real Canadian Superstore at Oshawa, died at age 48 after contracting the virus. The Durham Region Health Unit confirmed that Saunders had no pre-existing conditions. Another man, aged 41, also died after contracting COVID-19 back in late March, but he had Type 2 Diabetes.
Diabetes, as well as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), lung disease and cancer, as well as people with a weakened immune system (if they’ve recently undergone chemotherapy, for example) or are over the age of 65 are considered to be high risk from COVID-19, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
In Ontario, specific demographic information can be difficult to find. Health units make individual determinations about where the line is to be properly drawn between protecting patient privacy and protecting the public. Some health units released some demographic information related to age or if the person lived in a retirement or care home, but many released no additional information about deaths at all beyond how many there had been.
In Ontario, east of Toronto, here’s what we know about the 257 deaths associated with COVID-19 as of April 29 at 4 p.m.
• At least 115 were residents of long-term care or retirement homes.
• An additional 39 people were over the age of 65.
• One man was aged 48 (with no pre-existing conditions), another man was 41 (with Type 2 diabetes).
COVID-19 deaths in Eastern Ontario exceed 250
By Connor Lynch