Now that the next vaccine push will be targeting children aged 5-11, let’s look at the actual numbers for that age group.

The following figures come from Health Canada’s comprehensive database on COVID-19. Dating back to early 2020, there have now been a total of 1.68 million cases and 28,838 deaths.

(According to Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, COVID deaths include cases where COVID was thought to be the primary or secondary factor contributing to death. According to a Stats Canada report , 90% of COVID deaths list a secondary cause on the death certificate, most commonly Alzheimer’s, chronic heart disease or dementia.)

Of the 1.68 million COVID cases to date, the most infected age group are those under the age of 20. There have been approximately 350,000 cases in this age cohort, making up 21% of all cases.

But despite experiencing the highest numbers of COVID cases, Canadians aged 0-19 experience the lowest hospitalization rate.

Only 2% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are among those under 20. Compare this to my age bracket (30-39) with 7.5% hospitalization, my mother’s age bracket (60-69) with 17.7% hospitalization, or my grandmother’s age bracket (80+) with 25% hospitalization.

Of the 350,000 cases for Canadians under 20, only 1,824 have been hospitalized. We also know that a significant number of these were incidental hospitalizations — meaning that they went to hospital because they were suffering from something completely unrelated but happened to test positive for the virus during routine screening.

So despite having the most exposure to COVID, young Canadians are not suffering the same health outcomes as older populations.

When it comes to the mortality rate in this age group, the facts are clear: it’s basically nil.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 17 COVID-related deaths in Canada among children and teenagers. Not 17,000, not 1,700. Just 17.

That makes up 0.1% of all COVID deaths in Canada. The COVID case-fatality rate for Canadians under the age of 20, therefore, is 0.002%.

In other words, COVID is not a threat to kids. It wouldn’t even make the list of the top 10 causes of death for children.

And notably: the numbers show that a fully vaccinated adult is still at a much greater risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID than an unvaccinated child.

Researchers have known this since the early days of the pandemic.

There is a “growing body of literature that is giving us some experience with that COVID-19 look s like in children, which, as we’re learning, is very different than what COVID-19 looks like in adults,” American pediatric infectious disease physician Dr. Jennifer Schuster said in June 2020.

The science shows us that COVID is not a deadly virus for kids.

So why are we going into overdrive with protective measures for kids? Mask mandates at schools, rules preventing kids from talking during their lunch break, social distancing measures and at-home virtual learning — all of these have negative impacts on a child’s ability to communicate, learn and enjoy their precious childhoods.

Readers of this column will know that Alberta recently announced its youngest COVID victim — a 14-year-old boy. However, the boy’s family clarified that he had tragically died of stage 4 brain cancer, not COVID. Alberta retracted this information and said they will now only announce a COVID death in a young person after an investigation has taken place.

Canadian parents need to know these facts and more as they assess the various heavy-handed measures that are being placed upon our kids.

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