Modelling shows COVID-19 cases stabilizing in B.C., but children now most at risk

Wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19, Karin Brodbeck drops her son Ricardo Brodbeck, 6, a Grade 1 student, off at Lynn Valley Elementary School in North Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck )

An independent group that analyzes the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia and Canada has released new modelling containing some good news but also raising concerns, especially about the impact of the virus on children.

The report by 12 epidemiologists, mathematicians and data analysts, from the universities of Victoria and British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the private sector, covers the period up to Oct. 4.

It shows pressure on B.C.'s intensive care units remains near peak levels but that COVID-19 cases stabilized through September due to masking, vaccination and other public health measures.

However, the report finds cases among B.C. youngsters rose steeply in the Fraser, Interior and Vancouver Island health authorities as children account for nearly 50 per cent of unvaccinated residents in the province.

It says as vaccinations allow for looser restrictions, the COVID-19 infections among those under 12 are higher than at any other time in the pandemic and at least 20 per cent will have had the virus within two years.

The study says children will benefit if a vaccine is approved for those aged five to 11 and that would help prevent the spread to unvaccinated adults.