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

A grass fire west of Williams Lake, seen here Tuesday, is considered to be being held by members of the BC Wildfire Service. (Photo submitted)
Bella Coola Valley Arts Council’s (BCVAC) Ida Eriksen enjoys a full life since retiring to the Bella Coola Valley Coola in 2013. She volunteers for BCVAC and likes to carve out time for art, gardening and hiking. (Photo submitted)
Art House Gallery keeps community connections close during COVID times

An art sale of the artwork of Ernest and Jill Hall will take place this weekend

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

A black bear tries to get at a bird feeder at a home near Williams Lake. (Laura Ulrich photo)
Managing bear attractants a top priority in B.C. for 2021: Conservation Officer Service

Garbage, fruit trees, bird feeders, compost and livestock are common attractants for bears

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

New HousingHub financing funds will encourage developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Video captured Wednesday, April 14, shows a white BMW driving along the seawall between Vancouver’s Plaza of Nations and Science World. (Krimda Toravantian/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Motorist takes a drive along Vancouver seawall

Pedestrians near False Creek expressed disbelief after seeing the car join them on the walking path

Most Read