MONTREAL — A 16-year-old has died of COVID-19 complications at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, becoming the virus’ youngest fatality in Quebec.
In a statement to CityNews, the hospital says that generally a young person who dies of COVID-19 would have had significant comorbidities, which are often chronic or long-term conditions.
Citing privacy laws, the hospital could not divulge more information on the death.
“It’s incredibly tragic. I think it speaks to the virus and its virulence. I think people think that if they’re young, they’re immune to it, that they’re safe from it, and that’s not the case,” said Pravital Baral, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In August 2020, a 19-year-old reportedly died in the province of virus complications.
Don Béni Kabangu Nsapu succumbed to the virus at Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital in Terrebonne, Que. His family had said at the time that the young man was considered healthy.
“Even people who are healthy are suffering from this virus… so I would really urge everyone tuning in to pay attention to it,” said Baral.
“Be safer than sorry. For young people too. Generally speaking, most of the hospitalizations and deaths we see are among the older people, are among the people with pre-existing conditions, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re young, you’re not going to be affected by it.”
The latest data shows that 10- to 19-year-olds make up 11.8 per cent of the province’s COVID cases, with 37,576 cases in that age range.
“The variants of concern that are circulating are more infectious, more transmissible. Somehow we think these are leading to the younger hospitalization. It’s a really rough time. Especially now with more and more variants dominant in our regions, I think we need to continue to be precautious and take on all these restrictions and take on all the public measures we have, mask up, and avoid indoor gatherings.”
-with files from Alyssia Rubertucci