Young Canadians died more from 'side effects' of the pandemic than the disease itself

The latest data from Statistics Canada paints a grim picture for young Canadians.

Between January 2020 and April 2021, it found that 5,535 Canadians died younger than 65 years of age.

How many died of COVID? That's the shocker: there were only 1,380 COVID-related deaths for that same age group, according to StatCan. The amount of people who died from issues unrelated to COVID among younger Canadians was four times higher than COVID itself.

The report suggested that “the excess mortality is, in large part, related to other factors such as increases in the number deaths attributed to causes associated with substance use and misuse, including unintentional (accidental) poisonings and diseases and conditions related to alcohol consumption.” In layman's terms, any unintentional death related to consumption abuse, alcohol or otherwise ( overdoses of narcotics, opioids and hallucinogens)

Statistics Canada has actually confirmed that the break in “availability and access to harm reduction programs [caused by COVID], supervised consumption services, and in-person support services for substance use” may have played a factor in this high rate.

In the 44 and under category, the number of overdoses resulting in death rose from 1,605 in 2019 to 2,125 in 2020. Alcohol-related deaths also rose in the age groups of 45-64 (1,790 in 2020 vs. 1,525 in 2019) and 0 to 44 (480 in 2020; 325 in 2019).

Statistics Canada suggests the “economic, social, and psychological impacts of the pandemic as well as the public health measures in place may have played a role in increasing alcohol use among some individuals.”

That report concludes that “mortality dynamics” will evolve as the pandemic does.

The agency will continue to monitor how other causes of death may decrease, and how routine behaviours, lifestyle changes, less road traffic travel and reduced influenza activity could play a part in those potentially lesser numbers.

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