A screenshot of Rich Coleman’s deleted tweet. (Twitter/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

A screenshot of Rich Coleman’s deleted tweet. (Twitter/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Former cabinet minister Coleman deletes inaccurate tweet downplaying COVID-19 death rate

The tweet drew harsh criticism on social media

Former Langley East MLA Rich Coleman tweeted and then deleted a meme that downplayed the risk of dying from the COVID-19 virus.

On Boxing Day, Dec. 26, Coleman tweeted a meme that asked “How will we know if the vaccines are working? Will the survival rate go up from 99.5% to 99.7%?”

He deleted the original tweet that evening, saying online that “on reflection thought it wasn’t that funny. My bad.”

Coleman, who was the Liberal MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove and then Langley East from 1996 to earlier this year, was deluged with criticism on the social media site both before and after he deleted the inaccurate tweet.

Coleman did not run for re-election, and the Langley East seat is currently held by NDP MLA Megan Dykeman following the October provincial election.

“Sometimes you don’t get it right, and I didn’t,” Coleman told the Langley Advance Times Monday.

“It wasn’t me trying to make any comment about vaccines, because I’m a a big supporter of vaccines,” Coleman said.

He said he apologized for the earlier tweet.

The total death rate from coronavirus in B.C., according to the BC Centre for Disease Control statistics is not 0.5 per cent or 0.3 per cent, as the original tweet suggested, but 1.66 per cent, with the survival rate 98.44 per cent.

To put that into perspective, if 1.66 per cent of British Columbia’s population of 5.07 million people died, that would be more than 84,000 deaths – equal to more than half the total population of Langley.

The death rate from COVID-19 is not evenly distributed.

There have been almost no deaths among British Columbians under 40 years old, even though more 20 to 29 year olds have contracted the virus than any other age group.

But starting at middle age, the threat of hospitalization and death rises sharply.

B.C.’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, presented a slide in her Dec. 23 briefing showing that among 60 to 69 year olds who tested positive for COVID-19, the death rate was more than five per cent.

Those aged 70 to 79 had a nearly 20 per cent chance of dying, and the death rate was about 40 per cent for 80 to 89 year olds.

In Langley Lodge’s outbreak, one of the worst in the province, 25 residents of 51 who contracted the disease died. In addition to being a death rate of almost 50 per cent, the outbreak killed more than 17 per cent of the approximately 140 residents in the entire facility.

More recently, Langley has seen outbreaks at the Fort Langley Seniors Community that killed 11 people and in Langley Memorial Hospital killing 10.

Vaccinations began in B.C. in mid-December, with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines approved and now being deployed. But public health experts and authorities have been concerned about misinformation making people hesitant to get vaccinated, thus making the population more vulnerable and drawing out the pandemic.

READ MORE: Langley Lodge outbreak raises questions about outbreak that killed 25

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

AldergroveCoronavirusFort LangleyLangley Advance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen Ferguson has left the Cowichan Valley Capitals to play with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Capitals say goodbye to Ferguson and Richter

The Caps traded another Union College commit away last week

Handwashing is one of the important COVID-19 precautions. (File photo)
Editorial: Time to knuckle down on COVID precautions

It would be foolish to think that we have not had any COVID cases in Cowichan until now

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson’s Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Most Read