Not a week goes by without seeing media coverage and public health messages taking young Canadians to task for partying.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic amped up in March, footage of young adults skirting the guidelines for a good time has earned admonishments from everyone, including the World Health Organization, deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo and actor Ryan Reynolds.
The latest target? Ontario’s Western University students, as recent coverage of group socializing earned widespread online mockery; a confirmed outbreak this week grounded campus activities to a halt last Thursday.
Students from Western University are seen ignoring social distance rules and gathered in large groups - 📹 abbys33 https://t.co/ScjES4PHll#London#Ontario#Western#WesternUniversitypic.twitter.com/McWG0mDPAx
— blogTO (@blogTO) September 17, 2020
But as people have noted, Western University’s cases has been wrongly malaligned as a party outbreak by officials.
Can we stop this narrative. It's not just parties. Windsor case tracing was family gettogether. Ottawa was secondary to cottage. Western was a student watching basketball with friends.
It's happening in groups<10. It's not just partying hooligans. It's everyday gatherings. https://t.co/8K7ZChbmNb
— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) September 18, 2020
National COVID-19 cases among young people has trended upwards in the summer and well into autumn. Twenty and 30-year-olds are the most likely age group to test positive, with people under 40 making up a majority of Ontario’s latest test batches.
In Quebec, Montreal Public Health Director Mylène Drouin has named young people ages 18 to 34 as a large chunk of COVID-19 cases.
But it’s currently impossible to say for sure whether partying is the leading cause of COVID-19 spread in Ontario: the cause of over half of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases are currently unknown.