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Coronavirus: Younger demographics lead infections in Manitoba, Canada

People wear face masks as they wait to cross a street in Montreal, Monday, September 21, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.
People wear face masks as they wait to cross a street in Montreal, Monday, September 21, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The Canadian Press file

Younger demographics lead the pack in COVID-19 infections in Manitoba and Canada while the novel coronavirus‘s total infections increase across the nation.

Federal officials warn the virus will continue to spread unless some early pandemic precautions are re-adopted and close contacts are reduced.

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an address to the nation Wednesday.

Read more: Canada ‘on the brink’ of coronavirus surge, second wave underway in some regions: Trudeau

Meanwhile, Manitoba began to see an increase in cases in August after a spring and early summer plateau — it started with clusters in western and southern Manitoba, before September surges in Winnipeg rocketed the total number of infections to 1,674 as of Wednesday.

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As of Sept. 23, 369 people aged 20-to-29 have been infected in the province — the heaviest-hit demographic, based on provincial data.

The second-hardest hit demographic — 30-to-39-year-olds — has seen 318 people infected, according to provincial data. 

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Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, pleaded with younger people to take precautions seriously in a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday in which she and other public health officials warned infections country-wide could potentially increase to 155,795 total cases and 9,300 deaths by Oct. 2.

“Young people were part of the collective solution to crushing the spring wave and now with incidence rates in this age cohort, they are a critical element in the solution. We need to ramp up the defences and stop a big resurgence from occurring,” Tam said.

“I am making a special call-out to young Canadians: we need your ingenuity and your drive because we won’t get COVID-19 back on the slow burn track without your help.

“This is your generation, this is your time, you’ve got this.”

Read more: Ahead of throne speech, Canadians see coronavirus pandemic, jobs as top concerns: Ipsos poll

People aged 10-19 are the fifth-hardest hit demographic — 191 youth have been infected.

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Most but not all teenagers are taking COVID-19 precautions — handwashing, mask-wearing and physical distancing — seriously, Winnipeg high school students told Global News Wednesday.

“Personally, I am. Not everybody is, but personally I am,” said Grant Park High School student Zane Schellenberg.

“It’s really half and half, a lot of people are saying it’s like a joke… but then a lot of other people are saying it’s really real, and some of them don’t even come to school. It’s really an equal bunch,” said Samantha Keen, a student at the same school, adding that most people she knows aren’t attending large parties.

“I feel like some people just don’t think they should take it seriously because a bunch of young people don’t really get affected, but I feel like they should because like if I got infected and I infected my grandparents or something… that wouldn’t be very fun,” said Catherine Caparas, another Grant Park High School student.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission' Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission
Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission