The results of a survey conducted by the BC Centre for Disease Control in May show that young people felt the effects of the pandemic and related measures more than older groups.
More than 395,000 responses were used to construct an online dashboard, which members of the public can now explore to see how different populations throughout the province have been affected by the pandemic and related health measures.
The data has also been used to inform public health decisions over the past seven months.
One survey question, for example, asked whether or not people perceived the novel coronavirus as something that is far away.
In the Vancouver region, 16.8 per cent of people perceived the virus as far away, while here in Kamloops in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap Region, 26.2 per cent of people perceived it as far away.
The dashboard is able to drill down to multiple levels, including health authority, health authority region, subregion and centres within those subregions.
Some regional data for more rural areas is not available due to a limited number of responses.
B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer, Dr. Réka Gustafson, said the results are not surprising, but noted the data does confirm some of the issues those in public health are concerned about.
“We know emergencies tend to exacerbate health inequities,” Gustafson said, noting the survey shows how the pandemic measures have impacted younger age groups and others who are more vulnerable due to economic disadvantages.
She said that finding was “not surprising, but it is an important thing to highlight.”
For example, in the Interior Health region, 26.1 per cent of those in the 18 to 29 age group indicated they were not working due to the pandemic and related measures. That figure declines in older age groups, down to 15.3 per cent in the 50 to 59 age group and to 9.6 per cent in the 60 to 69 age group.
Many other indicators follow the same trend, including financial stress, housing insecurity, concern for food insecurity, worsening mental health, feelings of helplessness and stress.
Other differences emerge when looking at households with and without children, male versus female, ethnicity and more.
The data for the survey was collected seven months ago, in May, when B.C. was in the process of flattening the curve during the first wave of COVID-19.
Gustafson said she wishes the data could have come out sooner, but noted the size of the data set meant more time was needed. Despite it being seven months old, she believes it still has value.
“Who is at risk, who is burdened by the experience of the pandemic, I don’t think that has changed,” Gustafson said.
Peruse the data by clicking here.