Toronto Mayor John Tory has said the city is considering using TikTok and other social media platforms to help spread awareness of COVID-19 to a younger audience as the threat of the virus continues.
During its weekly COVID-19 update on Wednesday, Tory revealed that the reported age distribution of recent COVID-19 cases has continued to shift towards younger age groups, reports CP24. Tory told the press and members of the audience that in the past two weeks, the average age of COVID-19 cases was “39 years old compared to 52 years overall for the entire pandemic outbreak”. However, the age bracket has continued to go lower. “The proportion of cases among those who are less than 19 years of age and those 20 to 29 years of age has increased significantly in the last few weeks,” Tory continued to say.
“Beyond our usual communication methods, including the usual social media sites, we are exploring how we can get the message out to young people including using TikTok and any other platform we know can more effectively reach the younger people who are being more affected as time goes on by this virus,” Tory added.
During the weekly update, 24 new cases were reported, adding to the growing 15,000+ total since March. There have been a total of 1,164 COVID-19 related deaths in the city, with no new deaths since Tuesday. 14,230 cases have recovered from the virus, increasing by 30 since a day prior.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vinita Dubey joined the meeting via phone to examine the rise in numbers for younger people. Dubey claims that the rise in younger cases is not due to a specific outbreak but rather from community spread. “What we’re finding is that those who are less than 19 or 20 to 29 have a proportion of cases that are coming from community spread and this means they can’t necessarily identify someone who had COVID where they could have got it from,” Dubey said.
While the recent release of the COVID Alert App will likely help support community members in contact tracing, that is only one part of the battle. Raising awareness and keeping COVID-19 related risks in the minds of the younger generation may assist in decreasing those case numbers.