America’s COVID Pandemic Is Now Skewing Younger
THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Young adults in their 20s now account for more cases of COVID-19 than any other age group, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From June through August, people in their 20s accounted for more than 20% of all COVID infections in the United States, CDC researchers found.
Unfortunately, these cases have implications for older folks who are more vulnerable to severe and potentially fatal COVID infections, the CDC says.
In the southern United States, increases in the percentage of COVID cases among 20- to 39-year-olds preceded increases among seniors 60 or older by an average of more than eight days.
“Younger individuals, who may not require hospitalization, spread the virus to older, more vulnerable persons,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. “This change in infection patterns underscores the need to fortify vulnerable populations, especially those in nursing homes and assisted living centers, to insulate them from chains of viral transmission.”
It’s not in the United States alone that COVID cases are trending younger, the CDC added.
A similar age shift occurred in Europe, where the average age of COVID patients dropped from 54 between January and May to 39 in June and July, with people in their 20s representing nearly 20% of cases.
It makes sense that young adults will be more vulnerable to infection, given how they work and play, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
“Younger adults also make up a significant percentage of workers in front-line jobs, including retail, public transit, child care and other positions with higher potential for exposure to the public [restaurants, bars, entertainment] where it may be difficult to consistently adhere to social distancing and wearing masks,” Glatter said.
Young adults might also feel less inclined to follow social distancing rules and are more drawn to large gatherings, as seen in massive parties at several colleges when students returned to campus. Those parties, of course, presaged COVID outbreaks at a number of universities.