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

Members of the Quesnel RCMP Detachment wore their best pink shirts to support anti-bullying efforts. (Back row – Constable Sean Terry, Sergeant Rirchard Weseen, Constable Bob Kalman, Constable Alyssa MacNeil Middle – Constable Doug Erickson, Patti Thompson, Cindy Osip, Constable Cody Brown Front – Dana Bouchard, Staff Sergeant Darren Dodge, Kellie Hipkin) (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel RCMP goes pink in effort to stop bullying

Officers and staff from the detatchment participated in Pink Shirt Day

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Jacob Bowden competes at the 2020 Provincial High School Rodeo in Quesnel. The Quesnel student was named to the provincial (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Jacob Bowden named to high school Cinch team

The Quesnel grade eight student was named to the team in 2020 as well

Billy Barker won’t be dancing this summer, as the festival named in his honour will be cancelled for the second consecutive year. (Observer File Photo)
2021 Billy Barker Days cancelled

The annual summer event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 as well

Quesnel RCMP confirmed they are investigating a residential break-in at a home on the Barkerville Highway. (File image)
Thieves make off with $300K in Cariboo miner’s retirement gold

Tim Klemen is offering a reward for the return of his gold

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read