When COVID-19 first hit, all we heard about was senior citizens dying in large numbers.
Now part of the focus has switched to young people and their role in helping stop the spread of the pandemic.
People like “Young Conner in Burnaby,” a dude I came across while trying to enjoy a meal on a Burnaby pub patio.
My table was the next one over from a group of young people out enjoying some beers in the afternoon sunshine this week. One out of the six had a mask with her, which she dutifully wore when she arrived.
“Young Conner in Burnaby” made a joke about her doing this, but it seemed harmless. Then I heard him get more annoying as he hassled the server who was trying to take their order.
The server was reading some of the beer specials and “Young Conner in Burnaby” (I heard his name used by his embarrassed friends) and he kept saying, “I can’t understand what you’re saying” and “maybe take off the masks so I can hear you.”
Dude thought he was really clever, but he was being a jerk. This is the kind of flippant attitude that makes like tough for workers risking their lives to server toads like this.
It’s also why more health officials are putting their focus on young people.
Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam doubled down recently on warnings to young Canadians to stop fuelling the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Tam delivered that warning because of the worrying trend of rising infections among people aged 20 to 39. Tam says that age group accounted for the highest incidence rates for COVID-19 cases in parts of July.
Tam outlined how the daily national case count, based on a seven-day average, is rising again across the country after falling earlier this summer.
"I must urge all Canadians, particularly younger adults, to not give in to COVID-19 fatigue," she said.
"This is your generation and your future that is being shaped. Younger age groups are not invincible against COVID-19," said Tam, who returned to the government's public briefings after her own summer break.
"The upward trend in daily case counts is worrisome. We know that we have the means to keep COVID-19 under control, but this is by no means a sure thing. It is going to take all Canadians doing their part and working together, with public health, to keep the curve down."
Tam noted that less than one per cent of the Canadian population has been infected, which means the population remains highly susceptible to getting sick.
"If we let our guard down, the disease will work its way to our parents, and grandparents and other vulnerable people who need to be protected through our actions," she said.
"Now is the chance to be a lifesaver. We all need to take this disease, and our responsibility to protect others, seriously."
- With files from the Canadian Press
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.